15 July 2019

Old-fashioned success in the dig

The last time we had been in the dig was with the camera crew. That was about a month ago! And they had put the pressure on: they wanted to come back later in summer to see our progress. Our progress? Have you any idea how long we have been stuck at this bit? Every time the ceiling goes vertical the work slows down to an almost-halt. It's so difficult to get rid of big scary stuff above your head! But in the end we always manage. Not going at all, though, doesn't help, and circumstances had been getting in Miles' way. But now we were back!

We brought the small drill (we have bits for it in the dig) and got to the top. We hadn't blown up anything in a long time. About a year, actually! Blimey. We didn't quite remember what we still had there by way of explosives. But we found three charges! So we drilled three holes. This went without incident. No holes accidentally drilled all through the rock, for instance! And we hoped for the best.

We blasted it, as usual, from the level below. The sound was very muffled! We have come a long way. I went up on my own. Miles wanted to retrieve something from the level ahead. So I crawled through the gunpowder smoke and was impressed by how successful this had been. The three rocks were gone! What was left was smaller stuff. Now how much of that could come down with some prodding?

One rock was ready to go, but also quite big. I was a bit nervous dealing with that one! I managed to bring it down without incident, using the long metal bar we have, but as soon as it had crashed I was ready to scamper back down. And caught myself. Yes maybe this was enough adrenaline for one night, but the rest wouldn't be so scary! So I crawled back, grabbed the bar again, and set to work. I got quite some more down. But I am not good at waving this heavy bar around (about an inch in diameter) so after a while I put the bar away and pushed all the rubble down the hole. That was a bit of work due to the sheer bulk of the stuff. And when I got down I reported back! I later suggested we bring a thinner bar into the dig to make the prodding easier. You don't need an inch of steel for this! A centimetre will do the job, and will weigh a lot less. I hope we can dislodge a lot of this gunk! And then maybe we have some progress to show the camera crew before the summer is over...

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