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Sunday, July 23, 2017

My black beetle...................

Every evening a big black beetle joins us for dinner in our front garden...........

When I was at the swimming pool, I saved a black beetle that was floating in the deep end, and discovered a small spider sitting on his back!

I brought both of them back home..........and put them under one of out beautiful bushes....

OK, I've decided.......

During a beautiful walk close to my home in Eldorado this morning, I decided that when my time as a human is up, I'm coming back as a hawk..................a herbivorous I can join those I saw floating high above me......................what a great way to spend each and every early morning!

Saturday, April 8, 2017

Some of my Ladybird books written in 1980 for sale!!

Signed spare copies Ladybird books for sale:

Anyone interested in buying some of my Ladybird books, written/printed in 1980, autographed?

  • Nature takes Shape
  • The Story of the Ant
  • The Story of the Spider
  • Simple Chemistry
  • Light
  • Simple Mechanics
  • Magnets and Electricity
  • Botany
  • Zoology

$10 each...............p and p free.

Just let me know.........

Friday, April 7, 2017

The FINAL version: When I became a scientist.

                          Monday, July 14, 1947
         The day I became a scientist!

John Paull




    OK, so…….what is a scientist?

Do you have to be old to be a scientist, Mr. Paull?”

I smiled as I looked at the 5-year-old who asked me that great question. After all, the popular view held by most children is that the world of science is owned by old, wide-eyed, white-coated ‘boffins’ who spend their time poking in test tubes and looking into microscopes, beautifully illustrated by 5th grader, Paige.

Later, I opened my dictionary, looked up the word scientist, and read the following:
A scientist: a person having expert knowledge of one or more sciences, especially a natural or physical science.”

Mmmmm………not terribly helpful, I thought. That’s not how I would describe what a scientist is to a young child.

So, let me make a stab at it. Well, I know, for a start that:

  • Scientists are very curious about what they see around them.
  • Scientists are collectors – they collect things and they collect ideas.
  • Scientists use computers and read books to find out more about what they see around them and what they collect.
  • Scientists write notes and draw pictures to explain what’s in their heads.
  • Scientists talk with other scientists and learn from each other.
  • Scientists carry out experiments.

I do ALL these things, don’t I? Don’t YOU?

SO, I’m a SCIENTIST! Hey, hey!

We’re ALL scientists……… aren’t we? Don’t we explore our environment in a scientific way, whether we are aware of it or not? Don’t we look, touch, hear, smell, taste and wonder why all the time? Isn’t that how we discover new things?  And, when we discover something new, don’t we often experience feelings of pleasure?

I remember how and when I officially became a scientist, being someone who throughout his life has enjoyed exploring, asking questions and finding answers to the endless mysteries of the world of nature. It was my parents and one special teacher who fanned my science fire and got me going.

And this is MY story, dedicated to my Grandma,
Mum and Dad, and to Miss Harvey, my first teacher.

  The day I became a scientist…

     The Paull family, Grandma, Arthur Charles and Hazel Monica, their three sons, Jimmie, John and Charles, and Joseph the black and white tabby cat, lived in the busy fishing village of Newlyn.
    Our small house in Gwavas Estate overlooked Newlyn harbour, Lariggan Beach, and the beautiful Mounts Bay.
    Grandpa passed away before I was born. His name was John Paul the Younger (the spelling of the family name changed from PAUL to PAULL due to a clerical error on my grandfather’s birth certificate), and he had two brothers named John, both who died in infancy. I was named after him.

    He was a soldier in World War I, fighting in France in 1917/18.             
     In the summer of 1918, when the war was finally over, Grandpa, and thousands of other soldiers, waited on a beach in France to be taken home.

Untitled2.jpg     Wishing the ship would soon come, he spotted and picked up a beautiful rock, stroked it and wished and wished and wished………….

    As if by magic, the ship appeared on the horizon, and Grandpa, thinking it would be a great keepsake, put the smooth rock in his backpack and brought it home to England, looking forward to going back to work at Botallack Tin Mine.

    When he married Grandma, the beautiful rock was placed in the middle of the kitchen table………….and my dad told me that every evening, especially after a family walk around Newlyn harbour, my grandfather picked it up, rubbed it gently, and sent a loving wish to Grandma and their children, Tom, Evelyn, Arthur (my dad), and Katie.

When my grandfather passed away, Grandma came to live with us. She brought Grandpa’s big rock and a heart-shaped one she’d found on Lariggan Beach, and placed them on our dinner table.
Every night we would touch them and send each other a loving wish.

Family walks, either to the country lanes or down the steep hill to the nearby harbour and beach, in the spring, summer, and autumn, were the highlight of my childhood.

My dad would tell us about the foxes, rabbits, badgers, the plants and the birds. He seemed to know everything that lived in the hedges and fields, especially the spiders and the creepy-crawlies. Dad especially liked the seagulls and the crabs we would see on the beach.

He learned everything about them, he said, from his dad.

Sometimes, after the Sunday meat and potato pasty dinner, washed down with a cup of hot, steaming tea, Mum would put a snack in her big bag and the family would put on its wellies and head for Lariggan Beach.

If the tide was out, we’d first look to see what had been washed up on the beach, then stare into the rock pools, hoping to see a bullcod or a tiny red and blue crab scuttling under the rocks.  Then we’d look for small wishing rocks and heart-shaped pebbles. We gave Mum the best ones we found, and she put them in a tin in her big bag.
Later, when we were home, Mum kept the best wishing rocks and heart-shaped pebbles in a old, cracked green glass jar. The others were taken back to the beach the next time we went  for a walk.
I so loved these walks.

And I remember one walk in particular. In fact, I can remember it as if it were yesterday. It was Monday, the 14th of July, my 5th birthday.

As usual, Grandma Paull took me to school first thing that morning, and, as she handed me my lunchtime snack, told me she’d be there for me at the end of the day.
She wasn’t, though. I was really surprised when I saw my dad, not my grandma, standing by the iron fence.  Dad smiled when he saw some of the children rush out of the school yard, up to the street corner, and turn and slide down back towards school, skidding on the cobble road, sending up a stream of yellow sparks from their hob-nailed boots.

“Hey,” he said, “birthday walk for you, my son! C’mon - let’s go pebbling……….on the beach, ok?

“Yes, please, Dad, thank you.”  Well, what could be better? Pebbling on your birthday, with your dad? Without another word, he took my hand and we walked together in the afternoon sun towards the harbor.

We walked hand in hand on the cobbled street to The Fradgan, past Uncle Steve and Aunty Flo Green’s white cottage, past the tall icehouse towering over the small inner harbor, and crossed over to the open fish market. We reached the small stone bridge by the Fisherman’s Institute at the end of Newlyn Pier, where the Coombe River ran into the sea.

We leaned over and saw the swans and the seagulls dipping their heads into the refreshing, bubbling blend of fresh and saltwater.

Then we walked around the corner by the Austin and Morris Garage to the seafront, down the six smooth, worn granite steps, onto the beach.
The sky was bright blue, and the sun a shimmering yellow.
St. Michael’s Mount, way off in the distance, looked very majestic; its fairytale castle catching the late afternoon sun setting behind the Mousehole granite cliffs. The tide was out and the smooth, black and grey and white rocks were wet and shining in the late afternoon sun.

As the greeny-blue water lapped back and forth, herring gulls squawked and squabbled as they looked for food scraps.

We stepped over the pebbles, avoiding the slimy brown and yellow strips of seaweed, and found a nice dry spot.

“This’ll do,” said Dad. He reached in his pocket and brought out two of his OLD HOLBORN tobacco tins. “Here,” he said, giving me one, “take this treasure tin and fill it. Just wishing rocks, you know, like Grandpa’s; small ones, mind you.”
These pebbles were very, very special.   
With a broad smile and a knowing twinkle in his eye, he said,
“Bet I fill mine first.”

The competition was on. We walked along the seashore, stepping over the brown sticky seaweed, and we looked and we touched and we talked - and we collected.

The beach pebbles were so endearing, so collectable. There were thousands and thousands – all small, round, smooth, and all warmed by the late afternoon sun.

Soon my tin was full of wishing rocks (plus some heart-shaped pebbles that Mum really liked) that I wanted to take home to show Mum and Grandma. I so wanted to tell them I filled my tin before Dad filled his.

“Dad, Dad, my tin is full!” I shouted.

“OK,” said Dad, with the biggest smile, “you win. Keep the tin, you hear? Don’t lose it. Go and find one more real good wishing rock. C’mon, send your ma a wish ‘fore we go. ”

I looked around and soon spotted another small  beautiful black and white wishing rock.

I picked it up and rested it comfortably in the palm of my hand. I slowly wrapped my fingers around it and squeezed really tight.  When my fingers warmed the pebble, I closed my eyes and sent a really special loving wish to my mum and dad.

Hey,” said my dad, when I opened my eyes, “did you just send me a wish? Me as well as your Mum? I felt it, you know, a warm tickle right down my back.”

Wow! I thought. It really works! Wishing rocks are brill! And, knowing that, really lit a fire in my head.

Smiling, I put my wishing rock into what Mum called my treasure tin, a small red OXO tin that I always carried in my pocket.

Then, I spotted something different. There, lying with all the black, grey and white smooth pebbles, was a bright yellow object. It didn’t look like any of the other sea-worn rocks. It stared up at me, wanting badly, I felt, to be picked up, wanting to be touched and admired. I bent over, picked it up and held it in the palm of my hand. I ran over to Dad.

Even though I thought he knew everything about nature, I was really surprised that Dad didn’t know what I had found.

    “Take it home and show your mum. She’ll know what it is. She knows everything!”

     We left the beach, walked up Paul Hill, and when we reached #17, Trevarveneth Crescent, I skipped up the back garden path, pushed opened the glass door, and ran straight into the kitchen.

   Mum and Grandma were standing by the white enameled cooker, waiting for the kettle to boil.

    “Mum, Mum, Grandma, I beat Dad. Filled my dad’s tin first with wishing rocks, like Granddad’s. Look, see what I found. They’re brilliant. Look inside my OXO tin.”
    I took out my OXO treasure tin and showed them the small but beautiful wishing rock  I’d collected on the beach.

   “And, now, look at this,” I said, with a beaming smile. I knew then by the look on Mum’s and Grandma’s faces that the yellow rock I had found was special.

    Mum smiled at me. “You sent me a wish, didn’t you? I felt it run down my back!”

Wow! I thought. Those wishing rocks really do work!

I showed Mum the yellow rock. Again, I was so surprised when she didn’t know what it  was. I really thought my mum knew everything!

 Grandma didn’t know either. “Take it to school tomorrow and show your teacher,” said Mum. “Miss Harvey will know. She knows everything.”

“She sure does,” said my dad, “she’s a teacher!”

Not wanting to scratch it, I wrapped the yellow stone up in my white hanky and put it in my treasure tin.

At the end of my birthday tea, we stroked Grandpa’s rock and sent him a wish.
Then it was bedtime.

As I dressed for school the next morning, I put my treasure tin in my pocket to take to school to show my teacher, Miss Harvey.

Even before all the boys sat in their seats, I was standing by Miss Harvey’s tall wooden desk, the OXO treasure tin in my hand, spluttering,
Miss Harvey, Miss Harvey, see what I found. I found it on the beach, after school yesterday. Went there with my dad. You know, when the tide was out, when you can see what the waves brought in.”

As Miss Harvey looked inside my treasure tin, her eyes widened. It wasn’t, apparently, a rock at all. She said it was ancient fossilized tree resin, and said it was called amber. Miss Harvey knew amber was millions of years old and began its life inside a tree.

Resin? Fossilized? Amber? Ancient? What beautiful words, I thought. But…..whatever did they mean?

Miss Harvey held my golden amber in her hand, smiled, looked down at me through her wire glasses that balanced on the end of her sharp nose, and said loudly, so everyone in class could hear, “THIS is amber…’s fossil tree sap………it’s been washed ashore after a long, long trip in the sea. Johnny Paull found it.”

Miss Harvey handed the amber back to me and then wrote the word A M B E R on the board. She told us the meaning of the word fossil.

Show your amber to everyone, Johnny Paull, pass it around.” Miss Harvey said.
Share it – that’s what scientists do. And, Johnny Paull, you’re a real scientist!”
What’s a scientist? I wondered. Is that something dead good? It certainly sounded good. I turned a little red as I faced everyone in the room. As I held out my hand and showed the class, everyone stopped chattering. They were curious and wanted to see what I had found.

Miss Harvey came and stood next to me and, with a broad smile, said, very   emphatically so that everyone could hear,

 ”Keep it, Johnny Paull. The amber. Keep it safe. And that wishing rock. They’re  wonderful. You’re so lucky. Keep them. Keep them in your OXO tin - your treasure tin, sorry - and save them.  Save them forever.”

My head glowed. It was on fire. I was a scientistwhatever that meant!

At the end of the afternoon, I rushed out of the classroom. Grandma was waiting for me. “Well, did you have a good day, Johnny?” she asked. “Did Miss Harvey know what you found yesterday?”

“She did, she did, “ I replied, “It’s amber, a fossil, and, Grandma, Miss Harvey said I was  a scientist!”  
Then I added, “ What’s that, Grandma, a scientist?”

Grandma smiled.

“You are a scientist, my lad, ‘cos you’re always asking questions about what you see and find around you. That’s just what scientists do!”

That was it. I was hooked.  I WAS a scientist!

I’ve been a scientist - and a treasure tin collector - ever since, thanks to my Grandma, my Mum and Dad, and my teacher, Miss Harvey.

John Paull