I've just got home after my second deliberate attempt to fish for eels. Yep, I caught one, this time on a hair-rigged sprat head. It was around one and a half pounds and proves that my efforts are progressing in a favourable direction. It was a fabulous evening out on "The Levels" - a pair of Stonechats greeted me, as I walked from the car, whilst, as dusk fell, first a Short-eared, then two Barn Owls put on a fantastic show; a real treat to be there and watch the display.
Work had been fairly painless - simply going through the motions and doing what was asked; then I got a text message from Gadget. Tony Harman had passed away on 29th September. A real sense of loss, as I read it. I've mentioned Tony a couple of times in my recent, moth related, offerings. He was an outstanding entomologist, held in high regard by his peers. As new recruits (1994) to mothing, he took both Benno and myself under his wing and assisted our progress with his obvious and infectious enthusiasm for the subject. He was a collector - no two ways about it; and I wouldn't be able of align myself with his Victorian approach in 2015. However, he has played a key role in my personal journey and I am very proud to be able to say that he was a friend.
His stories were endless, he would recall expeditions to the Himalayas, Borneo, Java, The Amazon - all in the cause of adding to his collection. A great British eccentric - mothings' version of Fred Dibnah - how I wish he'd been a teacher at my school - with his excited enthusiasm, anyone would want to learn. My other memories of T.W. Harman (look him up in Skinner) are of laughter filled afternoons when he would come around to my house, in Ash, on the pretence of assisting us with our moth id.
Tony enjoyed a drink - my (first) wife, Julie, was a "buyer" for the Channel Tunnel and our house was always well stocked with French "dumpies" which were cheap as chips at this time. He didn't require much persuasion - "Like a beer Tone?" We'd be as silly as sheep - then he'd drive home. A wonderful and generous guy - sleep well old mate. I rang Benno with this sad news - he was at work but agreed that I should blog a few words about this character we knew, called Tony Harman - "The Moth Man"