I struggle to imagine how this is still interesting to anybody other than me. But everyone who is tired of talk about digging can skip this and wait for me to write about other things.
This week we were actually with a fair number of people going to the digs. David came straight from a field trip, so I travelled with Paul (Rich wasn't coming). He volunteered his car: he had only got his license a few months ago, and bought his first car in September. This would be the first time it would be the main car coming from Anglesey! Exciting. His driving was fine, and we got safely to the parking lot where David, Phil, Simon and Briony were already waiting.
This night we would bring some more supplies in: some more scaff (that Phil had brought) for support, and some buckets for hauling as they wear out rather quickly. We took some more scaff from the manager's office (with Miles' blessing) and then we went in. There it got worse: Miles had wondered if we would need a 50 tonne jack for helping support things. These things are heavy! Some 34 kg to be precise. I had volunteered to bring it in, but only in an efficient way. That's where one of the buckets came in! We managed to get the beast into it, and I tied a rope to it, and started dragging it along the floor. That worked well! But then we came to the collapse.
People had suggested dangling it from a scaff bar and carrying it with two people, but I didn't fancy negotiating the collapse with a weigthed scaff bar on my shoulder. I bundled the whole thing into my bag. It fit! Briony took the original contents (mainly tea) and all together we made it across. I arrived on the other side rather sweaty. From there on things got easy; Simon grabbed the rope too and together we dragged the bucket to the pitch.
When we got there, David was already down, talking with Miles. A message came through; we didn't need the jack! Oh dear, all for nothing. Oh well. Bringing the thing down would not be too much faff but getting it back up would be. Maybe leave it for now! If we would chang our minds we could always get it after all.
We went into our dig. The first collapse you have to get through to get there had been made a lot wider. For me it doesn't matter too much! The passage to our squeeze was bigger too. Miles had also been wiggling some big slabs just behind the squeeze; they moved! So we started by sliding one out (I got my fingers underneath it twice - ouch) and me deciding the other one was way too big and needed blasting. So the drill came out! I also try to drill three other rocks; that wasn't an unadulterated success as two were in such an awkward position and orientation you couldn't get the drill to fit where you wanted it, which tends to lead to (too) short, and badly positioned, drillholes. But partial success is success too! Miles drilled another in a rock that had so far defied him. We decided to not wire all of them up; we only had a small detonator and that meant having to put the charges parallel, but then you can't tell if one doesn't go. There was one I wanted to be sure of as its placement wasn't ideal; that one would be done later. Another one was too far away to be wired up with the rest. We would have to come back for these!
We waited for the resin to set while having tea with pork pie. Lovely! Then we went to see what the others were up to. They were doing well! They weren't sure how much longer they would want to stay. I went back to finalise the wiring (a bit of a faff; you often blow off the end of your blasting wire so then you need to strip it again) and then came back. They were pretty much ready to go! So when they were all out of their dig I set off our two charges, accompanied by Simon, and had a quick look at what the result was. One rock reduced to powder and one only cracked. Hm! Oh well. Time to get out. I switched off the generator and followed the others out. Another productive day!