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high pit wilma :- This was a 14' wide x 10' high arched roadway,supported by 3-piece arched girders.

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Bates Pit by High Pit Wilma

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Guy Sande :- Hey, pard!

That's our equivalent Western US hardrock speak for your "Greetings, marra" - I think.

But now you've got to translate for me what "ploatin thi caunch" means. I googled "caunch", and it wasn't anywhere near as dirty as I thought it was going to be. If I've got it right, it's what we would call the "face", right? But I'm stumped on "ploatin".

Looks like you've got a freshly shot round siting there at the face, so maybe Willy is resting from barring down the loose? Scaling down the back? (prying the rocks ready to fall?)

I'm fascinated by how close our terms seem to be - similar enough to indicate a common heritage, but yet different enough it's clear we're on different continents.

high pit wilma :- Heh! heh! I can see that you and me are gonna have fun!
Watcheor marra! [pronounced "wa-atch-ear-or..."-said quickly,with a "roll" to the "r"-it's English Northumbrian ["Geordie"]-local mining dialect,for "hey pard...!!
Over here we call the mines "pits",and i was a pitman[miner],for nearly 30 years,seven of which i was a pit Deputy/shotfirer.
I came back off Deputy work,and onto Development 'cos i didn't care much for being an official of the mine..!!
Now,"caunch"...is a nickname for a "Ripping lip",that is,the part of the longwall coalface,at each end,where the high arched roadways are driven.
You have the face conveyor belt [armoured],under the ripping lip,
advancing with each "shear" taken off,so you have to drill and fire the 
ripping lip,[caunch-pronounced..caa-aanch],to creat height,and erect your arched girders,3' or 4' apart,depending on the managers support rules for that district.
Strictly speaking,where i am sitting on the big heap of stones,isn't a "caunch...it's a dead-end full face of a new proving roadway,called 
"R10's Tailgate". We just call it a caunch,for ease of definition!
R10's Maingate,or "Mothergate",was about 60 yards outbye,down the fresh air intake road,and we were driving these new roads into a virgin coalfield,after we had driven through a 36feet thick Whinstone Dyke..[igneous intrusion],but Maggie thatcher closed our pit before we got that far..so we left 60 million tons of virgin , clean coal,5feet high,never to be gotten.........well,Maggie gave the orders,but Ian Mcgregor,who fought with your unions,did the dirty work..!!
You are dead right,Silverminer,when you guessed about "ploating",
it means hacking down all the raggy,loose stones,and making the place safe,to start and "timber up"...we put the girder "crown" up on the "forepoles",to support the roof,until the "shot" is all "ridd"[redd]
then we put both girder legs in and strut,and timber the girders all around.
Hope i haven't been too long-winded here,but it's hard to explain pit-work in brief terms!!

high pit wilma :- Oh, by way, Silverminer,Wilma was a nickname i was kindly given ,as a young pit lad,in 1959,at 15 years old,and it stuck,at all the pits where i worked..
Did me a good turn,cos i was well-known by everybody,with a name like that,when it came to overtime,etc,gaffers remembered my name..!!
I got it cos i grew my hair long,with rock and roll hitting the scene in those days,and my marra's said i looked like Wilma,out of the flintstones....all straggly,with the pit water,you know what it's like,working wet,and you look like a drowned rat?....!
Bill, or Willy,is my real name...but i answer to anything anybody cares to call me!!Heh! heh!

Michael Chesterson :- Hiya Bill, you are givvin me nightmares here, i've fired quite a few of these buggers in me time, i can still remember the chill doon the back of me neck ,when you went back in after fireing to see shot wires still hanging,shudders!!!!

high pit wilma :-  Hi Michael,i spent seven years on deputy-work,and came back into the N.U.M. in 1978.
Some solid drivages i used to fire were 20feet wide by sixteen feet high for the first 40 or 50 yards,to take the conveyor driveheads.
I had ti stem oot 100 holes,wi 250lbs of Polar Ajax,fired all at once,using millisecond delay dets.
NOO!!...........THAT used ti shake the roadway up a little bit,AND change the air direction,mekkin yi deaf for a couple of hours...but the worst thing was the reek,it hung roond aal ya shift,cos wa ventilation was non-existent...!...so yi went yem wiv a stottin' heed wi the Nitro-glycerine fumes.
A sumtimes fired 1000lbs of polar ajax in a single shift,but the inspectors nivvor knew wat was gaanin on at Bates!
They eventually caught us using Ajax wi 4feet of coal in the seam,and that was the end of that,after years of getting away with it!!
Michael,if any hardened aad-timer tried ti convince yi that he wasn't bothered in thi slightest,aboot finding shots that hadn't gone wi thi rest,a would think he was living in cuckoo land.....when yi have wife and bairns at yem,it did cross ya mind,.....if these buggers decide ti have a little bit mair delay than they shud hev..............
it happened at Choppington high pit,when a was a young lad,where shotfirers shot thasell's.
It sticks in ya mind!!

high pit wilma :- That's a mighty big heap there!,it makes me look smaller than i am,and i'm 5ft-101/2..not big,but not as small as this big heap makes me seem,it's a measure of how BIG it actually is!!

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