"What do people do all day?" asked Richard Scarry in the title of one of his children's picture books, and it's a question that regularly haunts the newly-retired. So I thought I'd give you an idea of what's keeping me busy at the moment.
I used to have a lab, which housed my microscopes and other gear, any current research assistants and, in a side room, my collections. These are mainly made up of freshwater crayfish, upwards of 1200 bottles of them, and since each was hard-earned they represent a considerable financial investment. Think "replacement value". But that's far outweighed by their scientific value, and it's important to get them all to somewhere that will look after them, i.e. a museum.
I've cleared out most of the rest of the lab (and it's a testimony to the School of Zoology's patience that I'm still doing it over 12 months after retiring), but now I must face the crayfish (all those little dead souls). The snag is that the museum wants them all in their own special bottles, but I've got to get the room cleared pronto, so I'll have to pack and ship them and them re-bottle them down at the museum.
It's very nostalgic working through the bottles and record books. All the specimens have date, habitat etc recorded with them, but also the names of the collectors, and they bring back happy memories of field trips to the wilder parts of Tasmania.
I'm trying to cram the rest of the stuff into my new office-cum-lab, which is a fraction of the space.
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