Saturday, May 23, 2009

David Meagher (aka The Moss Man)

David has actually just left us with the departure of the MV Braveheart on Thursday 21 May.

He is in the process of embarking on his third career, as a botanist, having previously worked in the field of physics and as an editor and publisher in science and education. He was anxious to return to the winter in Melbourne and place under the microscope the 447 samples of bryophyte (plants that reproduce using spores) that he has collected in his time here, some of them new to the world of science. His particular interest is in the similarities of plants on Lord Howe, Norfolk and Raoul islands.

A somewhat enigmatic character, he made a determined (but ultimately unsuccessful) effort to get us to declare Raoul a republic, usually beginning his efforts shortly after the first drinks had been consumed in the evening. I think his Plan B was to quietly go ahead and change the colour of the stars on our NZ flag, adding a new one in the process. He has told us he is doing his doctorate studies courtesy of a government scholarship but word on the ground here has it that he is secretly employed by the Australian intelligence services to extend Australia’s borders at all costs.
An example of the subtle way he tried to usurp our kiwi way of life and make us into aussies

David was particularly impressed by the pristine Nikau forests we have here on the island. He remembers his visit to the grave of Fleetwood Denham (more on this later), having read about it in The Voyage of the Herald many years before his visit here. The crater also made an impression on him, since he fell into it. He managed to remove some of his skin in the process. In fact, it is fair to say that during his stay he garnered for himself something of a reputation for being accident prone. He suffered cuts, the odd fall and managed to dislocate the same finger twice in one day!

While Andrew's injuries were being attended to, David kept us entertained with his tale of being hit by a car while riding his motorbike. Luckily, he says, there were some off duty doctors and nurses close at hand because they were able to verify that it was an opportunistic little dog that ran off with the missing piece of his leg.
Fact File:

Favourite book: Prester John by John Buchan

Favourite film: North by Northwest dir. Alfred Hitchcock

Favourite CD: Songs of the Auvergne Kiri te Kanawa

Favourite joke: A rugby team is being slaughtered by the opposition. They come in at half time, 40 points down, limping, with broken noses and bruises a-plenty. The coach, searching for a way to fire up his team, spots the diminuitive winger in the corner, muttering what sounds like “Be positive! Be positive! Be positive!”

“You see,” cries the coach, pointing at the player, “this is the spirit we need to turn this game around!”

Startled, the player looks up and responds “It’s not my attitude I need to remember – it’s my blood group!”

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