Saw Naples

Posted on March 4, 2008

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Roger Bowden was my partner in geography. In a large group of second year geographers in 1989 there were only a few physical geographers and of that, only two biogeographers. One of them liked soils (Roger), the other plants (me).

In third year Roger and I, along with Di Twaddle and Sharon Jack, did our field trip project on Thyme around Bannockburn. We had an idea that we would be able to measure the effect each plant had on the soil around it (ie the halo) in order to determine its invasiveness. We dug up a lot of Thyme plants and took soil samples at five depths and at intervals away from the plants. We ended up with 1000s of soil samples. Then we spent the entire winter analysing the soil. Other groups, notably the climate group, were finished in hours. Not once though did Roger complain about our ridiculous research design. He just plodded along feeding sample after sample through the AA. Nor did he complain about his diet, though it gave us lots of excuses for increasingly elaborate cakes.

When I was working for the Regional Council one summer, Roger hitched rides into Central to collect yet more soil for his dissertation (published with Richard Morgan). For our Masters Roger came with me to Central to count plants while I held ladders for him to climb lampposts to reach trays of moss (collecting heavy metals).

Some Deadwood, June 1993His funeral had a smattering of old geographers with Al Cross, Tessa Blackett, Stephanie Brown, along with Richard Morgan and Sean Fitzsimons. It being a Catholic Mass there wasn’t much space for personal details but in the bit they did, the importance of geography was stressed, even the Deadwood Society got a mention.

Roger was my best man. He died recently, way too young. I miss him lots.

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