On The Blower

15 Mar

There are few small creatures as disarmingly lovely as the Pill Millipede, Glomeris marginata. I was introduced to my first pill millipede by an amazing gentleman called Mr J.Gordon Blower. What Mr. Blower didn’t know about millipedes was not worth bothering with – he was a world renowned Myriapodologist. He was a modest man “I was responsible for the deaths of millions during the 2nd World War you know!” (He worked as a war time military entomologist responsible for controlling Mosquitoes and thus Malaria) and was blessed with a fine intellect. Respected by his peers and adored by his students. I was his last Ph.D. student before he retired in the mid 1980’s to draw and write in his beloved Lake District. I made this box for him and inlaid it with a curled up pill millipede and and an awakening one. He was responsible for the final polishing of my scientific mind and abiding interest in The Living World. Sensitive to the human condition, not just a cold intellect – when I announced to him in my 3rd postgraduate year that my girlfriend was pregnant he said “Excellent news Henk….I think I’ve got a bottle of Madeira somewhere …. ” whilst lighting a No6 cigarette and patting me on the back.

Gordon's box

I was lucky to be in a position to chose my mentor;  like The Wart, the ill formed youth in T.H.White’s The Sword in the Stone, I had found Merlin. And all the ‘Pills of Wisdom’ he introduced me to were disarmingly lovely. and unfolding, the best of which has been my daughter Polly.

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