East of England Meeting

Saturday 28th October 2017

Lewis Woolnough

This joint meeting of the Eastern Counties Microscopy Study Group and the Iceni Microscopy Study Group was held in the Village Hall in Bradfield St George in Suffolk, with exhibits in the morning, followed by lunch and then presentations in the afternoon. It was good to welcome 30 people to the event this year. Again, there were as many exhibits as the hall could reasonably accommodate and with a good variety of subject matter.

John Rhodes explained how lichens can be used as indicators of air pollution, and used his Olympus VM stereomicroscope to show some lichens.

John Rhodes’ exhibitJohn Rhodes’ exhibit

Peter Sunderland showed a selection of slides that he had made, using a stereomicroscope with a digital SLR camera connected to a monitor, and also showed some antique slides.

Peter SunderlandPeter Sunderland

Peter Sunderland’s antique slidesPeter Sunderland’s antique slides

Stephen Parker used his PZO Biolar microscope to show some of his antique slides, with a Chinese inspection camera attached to a monitor.

Stephen Parker’s exhibitStephen Parker’s exhibit

John Tolliday showed his home-made rig for macro-photography beyond 1:1, which included an Olympus OM-D camera attached to a laptop, 2 flash guns with diffusers on flexible arms, a specimen holder with a ball-and-socket and a crocodile clip, a laboratory jack for vertical movement, a mechanical stage for fine horizontal movement and focus rails.

John Tolliday’s exhibitJohn Tolliday’s exhibit

Maurice Vaughan brought some plant galls for us to examine, and some keys for identifying them.

Barry EllamBarry Ellam with Mo Vaughan’s exhibit

Lewis Woolnough brought a spherometer and an example of its use.

Lewis Woolnough’s exhibitLewis Woolnough’s exhibit

Lewis WoolnoughLewis Woolnough

James Rider used his Olympus BHS microscope to show thin rock sections using crossed polarisers, and his Bausch & Lomb StereoZoom to show creatures in moss.

James Rider’s exhibit of moss creaturesJames Rider’s exhibit of moss creatures

James Rider’s exhibit of geological slidesJames Rider’s exhibit of geological slides

Barry Ellam demonstrated a 1921 Watson microscope.

Barry Ellam’s exhibitBarry Ellam’s exhibit

Gordon Brown brought numerous microscopes to see and discuss, including an Olympus JM darkground zoom stereomicroscope and 3 Watson System 70 compound microscopes (with binocular head, trinocular head and vertical photo tube).

Gordon Brown’s exhibitGordon Brown’s exhibit

John Gregory used a stereomicroscope to show slides of foraminiferous sand, mites and ticks.

John Gregory’s exhibitJohn Gregory’s exhibit

John Gregory and Tim NewtonJohn Gregory (left) and Tim Newton

Duncan Edmonds brought an unusual Reichert Visopan projection microscope dating from the 1950s and some books.

Reichert Visopan projection microscopeReichert Visopan projection microscope

Robert Ratford used several stereomicroscopes to show live invertebrates including a “Bearded Dragon”, and his son Samuel showed geological specimens.

Robert Ratford’s exhibitRobert Ratford’s exhibit

Brian Norman used his trinocular Kyowa compound microscope with a Raspberry Pi computer and camera in a housing made with a 3D printer, sending an image via HDMI to a Technika television. His subject was a culture of tardigrades (water bears), with several of them crawling around the pondweed.

Brian Norman’s exhibitBrian Norman’s exhibit

One of Brian Norman’s tardigradesOne of Brian Norman’s tardigrades

Other exhibitors included Bill Morris (watching silver crystals grow), David Skeet (yew sporophylls bearing pollen, viewed with 1929 Watson Service microscope), and Stephen Livermore (wax cell mounts).

There were also a Quekett sales table, and items available from John Garrett and Gordon Brown. Free slide preparations and a selection of stains and other chemicals were made available by Maurice Vaughan and Ron Cushing respectively.

Quekett shopQuekett shop

Our excellent caterer, Lynn Cardale, again provided light refreshments throughout the day and an excellent, two-course lunch; the main course was built around pork produced about 400 yards from the hall and there were three lovely puddings available. This meal has been an important feature of our recent meetings and is much valued by participants as it contributes to the creation of a pleasant atmosphere for relaxing and socialising with friends, old and new. Barry Ellam’s lovely cake, which has become an established feature of the meeting, was again kindly provided for afternoon tea.


The merry hum of a “Gossip” meeting in progress was evident throughout the morning and, in the afternoon, we enjoyed two presentations. Chris Thomas highlighted some of the key findings of the very successful distribution survey of Spotted-wing Drosophila that he had organised and to which several attendees had contributed data. He then demonstrated how easily all of us could extend the value of some of our project work by submitting data on-line to such sites as iNaturalist to assist with the building of distribution maps for species. A selection of Tim Newton’s beautifully mounted beetles was available for us to admire. Tim helped us to know more about the different groups of beetles. The enthusiasm and good humour of our speakers ensured that there was no after-lunch snoozing!

The success of these events rests upon the various contributions of numerous helpers, who were thanked for their support. James Rider deserves a special mention for his work as Treasurer and general labourer. Also, Stephen Parker, Treasurer of the Quekett Microscopical Club, was asked to pass on sincere thanks to the Club’s Committee for their financial assistance in paying for the hire of the hall. Thanks should also go to all who attended the meeting and particularly those who took along exhibits; their involvement is essential if a meeting of this sort is to be a success.

Numerous folks have sent thanks and positive feedback which is, of course, much appreciated.

Report by Lewis Woolnough, photographs by Robert Ratford

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