27 June 2002
Amazingly I have managed to get myself a job although on a trial basis. It was my first attempt at trying and I was not expecting anything from it, I was more testing the waters and was ready for having to go for a few job interviews.
The job was for a welder/fabricatorwhich I had been doing for British Gas at the engineering and research station at Spadeadam. Spadeadam was home to Britains 'Blue Streak' rocket testing facility and you can still see part of the rocket at the entrance to the site. You can only get so far as most of the base is now run by the RAF as a radar and weapons range.
I went for the interview at a firm called ECM Ltd which transport cars around the country. They have 250 wagons at the minute. When the interview finished they said they would be back in contact with me but I never heard anymore from then till my wife took a call saying they wanted to see me again. I went back up to see the workshop manager and after a tour of the place and explaining what they did, he asked me when I wanted to start. Shock, horror and I was not expecting it, I had been a bit laid back about the whole thing as I was not too sure if this was what I was wanting to do.
I took the job (the first day was like going to a new school!) and even though it is a good job and well paid, I don't feel at 'home'. It might just take getting used to. At the pit you had new experiences every day, new obstacles to overcome, you moved around a lot more and you had good 'crac' and a laugh (at times). I will just have to wait and see what happens.
I was thinking more along the lines of a job connected with the mines rescue. I took a confined space course at the rescue station at Houghton to aid me before I got the job at ECM.
The managing director, David Wardle, was pleased for me and asked if I could still work weekends monitoring the shaft pumps and do the roadway dust samples so I am still in touch with what is going on at the place.
An excavator has been at work at Wrytree leveling the yard.
At the castle work has begun to scrap much of the machinery that is laying around. One of the scrap wagons even talking one of the powered roof supports !
Coal production has been very good with an average 12 shears a day. As far as I know they have 5 weeks left and on August 2nd production will cease even if the face is not won out. Something about costing too much to renew the
lease. I will try to keep you up to date with what is going on till the end.
24 July 2002
Not much going on at the mine.
As you can see from the photos of Wrytree the gravel that will eventually fill the drift has arrived.
Two walls will be built not far from the drift bottom. Wrytree drift is not very long about 100 meters.
When it was first driven money was tight and after going in at a steady gradient the then owner George Wardle nearly gave up. They decided to go at a steeper angle and after a week hit the coal. . . luckily!!
It is low here about 4' 6" and a bad walk with it being so steep. In between the two walls concrete will be pumped ensuring a solid wall with the concrete filling any cavitys.
After this the gravel will be blown down till it comes to the top and then it will all be levelled off and Wrytree will be no more.
The face has been going well with 12-13 shears a day. Not long now till it is finished, August 2nd.