South Coast autumn meeting
Saturday 27th October 2018
The last day before the clocks went back started with the first frosts of the season. This reminder of the onset of winter did not deter the regular attendees nor outside visitors at the joint QMC/PMS meeting in the Village Hall at Langton Matravers on the Isle of Purbeck, Dorset.
The hall was decked with bunting – though not in honour of the microscopists.
An unexpected recruit for the day was Bob, spending the half-term holidays with Klaus and Sheila Kemp. Bob entertained everyone with his trick of catching biscuits.
Bob the dog
Klaus Kemp had brought along photographs of some of his arrangements of diatoms and butterfly scales, and some recently-made slides of arranged butterfly scales representing birds for viewing through his Leitz Orthoplan II compound instrument. These were his personal property and not for sale.
Klaus Kemp’s exhibit
At the next table, Sam Christofi was using a very similar Leitz Orthoplan II compound microscope to display the finer points of Rhynie chert with a polished thin section prepared by Quekett member Bob Chapman. From an Aberdeenshire village, this is an early Devonian sedimentary deposit exhibiting extraordinary fossil detail and completeness. The bulk of the fossil bed consists of primitive plants which had water-conducting cells and sporangia, but no true leaves, along with arthropods, lichens, algae and fungi. Laid down some 410 million years ago, this was at an early stage in the colonisation of the land and before the development of flowering plants.
Kit Brownlee and Sam Christofi
Kit Brownlee also displayed geological samples, providing a stereomicroscope for closer study of sartorite and realgar. The 4.2 × 2.8 × 1.8 cm specimen showed sartorite in association with abundant realgar on a matrix comprising the sugary dolomite (CaMg(CO3)2) characteristic of the Lengenbach Quarry, Binntal, Valais, Switzerland. One corner of the specimen showed a tightly-packed crystalline aggregate of bright red realgar measuring 1.3 × 0.5 cm. Closely associated with the realgar were two small aggregates of lead grey sartorite showing a nice metallic lustre. There were also a variety of pyrite crystals present.
Sartorite with realgar
Mervyn Bown always provides a beautifully-presented exhibit with models, microscopes and some of his excellent drawings. Although he is not a fisherman, Mervyn enjoys tying flies and showed a range of completed flies for different purposes, a selection of feathers and relevant books. He brought a trinocular stereo made by Ceti, Belgium for visitors to enjoy the details of both the tied flies and of the feathers.
Drawers of tied flies
Feathers used for tied flies
Notes on Ephemeroptera
David and Maddy Spears brought along an entire box of Victorian slides, including several Dancer microphotographs and a wide range of subjects including some from the Challenger expedition. Being David, he came equipped with a range of cameras including a Sony α7 full frame and a Sony 6000 APS-C. These could be attached by a 2× adaptor bought on eBay to his Beck compound microscope fitted with modern Chinese objectives and displayed on a large screen.
David Spears’ Victorian slides
Grenham Ireland had collected some marine copepods locally the previous day – though not as many as he had hoped as his collecting gear had disintegrated after the first sweep! We were able to view these on screen at various magnifications as Grenham provided a stereo with an AmScope camera in the trinocular head linked to a laptop and a Zeiss Standard compound microscope where the trinocular head was fitted with a Chinese inspection camera with an HDMI connection to a large TV screen. No wonder it took Grenham longer than anyone else to pack up at the end of the afternoon.
Grenham Ireland’s exhibit
Grenham Ireland’s exhibit
Jeremy Poole displayed (of course) spiders as his subjects. The main message of his exhibit was “Don’t overlook the sheer beauty of images through the stereo”. He showed his specimens using a Microtec and Vickers stereomicroscopes and contrasted these with the monitor screen displays produced using a Chinese inspection camera.
Jeremy Poole’s exhibit
Jeremy Poole’s slides
Tim Hayward and Jeremy Poole (right)
Brian Darnton provided a large table display of various photographs, books, pictures and maps relating to foraminifera for browsing.
Visitor with Brian Darnton
His exhibit included a large collection of his own slides, but the key item was the LED lighting system that he had devised for his aged compound microscope. He explained the circuit diagram to those interested.
Grenham Ireland and Brian Darnton
Joan Bingley reprised the display of alpaca fibres she had shown at Quekex earlier in the month. She also set up some of the photographs that had formed part of the Barnard display at that event and the Quekett shop. This proved popular and PMS member Michael Chambers was interested to find references to his great uncles in Brian Bracegirdle’s book on Mounts and Mounters. His grandmother was a member of the Gurr family.
Derek and Rosemary Stevens and Brian Darnton have run two meetings a year at Langton Matravers for well over 20 years and this was acknowledged during the day with presentations of books on the history of the QMC to Derek and Brian and flowers to Rosemary. The Stevens’ devotion to these events was such that they opened up the hall and stocked the kitchen before setting off to an urgent hospital appointment. Those present were pleased to have confirmed that these meetings will continue at this venue, in future organised by Pam Hamer, with the next meeting already booked for Saturday 13th April 2019.
In Rosemary’s absence, Sheila Kemp kindly kept us all supplied with tea, coffee and biscuits throughout the day (though Bob probably got more than his fair share of the biscuits).
Report and photographs by Joan Bingley