03 August 2017

Last mine before junior comes

One of the blokes who tends to come with us on Thursday Nights, Simon, is one of the stalwarts of UK mine exploration. He's been going underground since way before I realised that was a hobby! He also found, well before my time, a kindred spirit in a lady living further east: Briony. If she would be at Simon's place during weekends in which we had underground plans she would sometimes join us.

Then she moved west to join Simon permanently. I hoped she would join us underground a bit more often! But she soon took a job for Go Below, and that is not conducive for wanting to go undergound outside working hours. And then she got pregnant. And broke her knee. We wouldn't see much of her!

The knee is pretty much healed now, but her pregnancy is now such that she doesn't fit inside her caving gear anymore, or her SRT harness. And with all the extra weight she now carries the walks to the entrances would not be very enjoyable.

As soon as the kid arrives, we will probably see a lot less of Simon too. So we did a ceremonial last trip plus dinner to wave them a temporary goodbye. We had initially thought of a BBQ but the weather wasn't cooperating. With a small crew we went into one of the nice but not-so-big mines in the vicinity. We spent a lot of the time taking the mickey out of marriage and parenthood and not so much time exploring, but I suppose this was the day for it. Serious opinions on the merits of such varied greatly among the participants! As did experiences, of course.

Edwyn staring down a ladderway. Pic by Simon

When we got out it was still earlyish; Edwyn, Phil and Simon went home to fetch family members, and I took the others (David and Jason) home to give them a cup of tea. They lived out of the way and wouldn't bring anyone to dinner. Having a nice hot beverage between mine and food was quite nice!

We dined near where I live. Briony was indeed festooned with an impressive bump. I hope all goes well with her and Simon's new phase in life! And I hope we see both parents back underground soon. Phil already volunteered to baby-sit!

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