Webmaster’s blog 2020

Alan Wood’s microscopical diary

May 2020

On Saturday 2nd May I received an e-mail from the Rangers Office on Wimbledon Common asking me to phone them, and I was devastated to hear that Dennis Fullwood had died. The neighbour who sounded the alarm did not know how to contact his family, but she knew he was involved with the Rangers. They had my e-mail address because I send them photographs of Quekett activities on the common. Nobody in the Quekett or the Natural History Museum or the Kent Geologists’ Group knew of any family except an aunt in a care home somewhere. Lisa Ashby did a brilliant piece of detective work on ancestry.co.uk and traced members of the Fullwood family in Canada who knew how to contact a relative in Carshalton, so now we will be informed about funeral arrangements and Dennis’s estate can go to family members.

Kai and I miss being able to catch a bus and go for long walks on Box Hill, Headley Heath and Mickleham Downs, but the bus ride does not qualify as a necessary journey. For exercise we are combining shopping with walks to the neighbouring towns, a round trip of about 5 miles.

April 2020

No microscope club meetings to go to, and no meeting reports to write, so I have finally have the time to work on an amendment to add more pesticide common names to ISO 1750 Pesticides and other agrochemicals – Common names. I have all of the data in an XML file as well as on my website, so I have been working on an XSL stylesheet to transform the data into HTML that I can then import into the Microsoft Word file that ISO want. I really want to give this up so that I have more time for microscopy, but it is hard work trying to get ISO to set up a database of pesticide names.

March 2020

I missed the AGM and the Reading Convention because we were in Thailand for our annual visit to pay our respects at the graves of Kai’s parents in a huge Chinese cemetery that used to be a rice field. The lockdown in the UK and the cancellation of most flights in and out of Thailand started while we were there, but fortunately our Thai Airways flight was not cancelled, although it was completely full because BA had abandoned their passengers. We came back to a very different world, not much traffic on the roads, queues to get into supermarkets, and no microscope club meetings.

February 2020

Doug Richardson bequeathed his collection of nearly 2500 slides to the Quekett so that some of them could be added to the loan sets that members can borrow. There are lots of slides of insects and their parts, and many other invertebrates, birds, fishes, reptiles, mammals, plants, fibres and crystals. Nearly all of the slides were made by Doug himself, but there are a few by other people, including Brian Darnton, Vaughan Dodge, Dave Skeet and E. Markham.

Slides by Doug RichardsonSlides by Doug Richardson

Dry mounts and deep mount by Doug RichardsonDry mounts and deep mount by Doug Richardson

Almost all of the slides have been photographed and have had Quekett slide numbers added, and a workshop was held on how volunteers can help transcribed the information on the labels into an Excel spreadsheet. The photos and data will then be added to the database of the Club’s slide collection. The participants were allowed to select any slides they liked to take home and transcribe the data.

January 2020

I haven’t acquired anything new for some time, so for the “My latest microscopical acquisition” I showed the 2 ways I have been testing to photograph slides through microscopes at Club meetings. The more promising seems to be afocal coupling, with a Leitz Periplan 10×/18 eyepiece (from Microscopium) connected via a step-down filter adapter (from eBay) to an Olympus Zuiko 50 mm standard lens from the OM system, with an OM-EOS adapter (from eBay). This arrangement is rigid and parfocal. The other way is eyepiece projection, with a simple microscope adapter (from eBay) from the days of 35 mm SLR cameras that clamps to an eyepiece tube and holds a normal eyepiece, connected to a camera with a T-mount.

Afocal coupling and eyepiece projection adaptersAfocal coupling (left) and eyepiece projection adapters

About this blog

I am Alan Wood, webmaster for the Quekett website, and author of several web pages on Olympus microscopes. I spend too much time writing about microscopes and buying more equipment. I hope this blog will help me to focus on using my microscopes so that I have something to write about!

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