Originally posted as a blog post in March 2014
I transcribe labels. Labels he wrote a hundred-years ago.
Neat; uniform; Indian ink; small, round letters; meticulous detail.
Seventy years collecting, mounting. He used and would know
technical words, phrases, terms; precise description tells a tale.
Spring, time for lfracombe. Autumn, Torquay. A trip to Mendip,
a quarry: minerals, fragments, echoes of times long gone,
Monoclinic, orthorhombic, diagrams of fracture planes, all for this chip.
Salt and sugar, glycerine, glycerol, xylol and paraffin. Mounted, ringed, all done.
I write these down I think of the man engrossed.
Quick-witted and sharp. competent and capable alone he stands
Eric Dodderell Evens fossil collector remarkable; loyal to his post,
monitoring and identifying minerals, micro-organisms from the sands
Somerset and Devon, Cornwall and Gloucestershire your microfossils uncovered
Challenger ooze, fifty years from Antarctic, examined, discovered.
The deeper I look at his work the more he intrigues me. How can someone be so consistently meticulous? Why did he collect the things he did?
This is the beginning of a long journey to write the biography of this surprising man, a journey I will take.