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For Caine Hill!

titleAs so often on retiring to the Queen Vic for a ‘libation or two…’, our conversation traversed a terrain that was as well worn and grooved as the glorious gruffy ground itself. All the while, empty pint glasses piled up around us like so many stacks of miners deads.

Then sometime this summertime, on a late Thursday lunchtime, we rested and refreshed from overseeing the newly made excavation of Holme Close Hole near Wigmore. After extolling the events of this excavation, our conversation once more settled upon an in depth consideration of Mendip lead mining. This surprised me because over the preceding weeks I had pondered, and possibly even partly rehearsed all that I might say to Tony given the chance to have yet another pint sat alongside him, there at the Centre of the Universe. However such sentiments remained unspoken. Sentences suspended in deference to the dynamics of dying departing days, maybe to be uttered in another moment, maybe not.

Instead we delighted in debating the details of Stocks House shaft with its Ancients’ and artefacts, its damp and dangerous diggings, its shotholes and serpentine swallets. The conversation reached its natural conclusion. The Hunters’ was shutting. Tony turned to me and said with a smile;

“You know Tangent…it was only you and me that truly appreciated that dig.”

I replied, suggesting that I thought Trevor too was a keen proponent of the place, but halted and met Tony’s hand sealing his statement with our habitual hearty handshake. Something that we held always in readiness for moments like this; of mutual agreement, inspiration, keen observation,  or most sacred of all an actual breakthrough…

With that we went Land Roving across Mendip to keep on digging for a few days more…

Good luck Tony. For Caine Hill!