Page 1 - In the conference room
"I hate flying." 

"As the plane lifted off the runway with a sudden invincible urgency, I leaned back in my seat, closed my eyes, and thought deeply about our reasons for going to Renesse." 

"Larry had told me how Mol had gone to Holland a few months back to meet Jan Parmentier, another fine man who shared a vision and passion which matched Mol's - dream for dream! Between them, they cooked up this idea of bringing seven or eight people over from the UK to meet up with the same number of Dutch amateur microscopists." 

"We were to spend several days together studying Ocean Plankton around the Dutch Delta region. This is a fantastic part of the Netherlands, full of sea-water coastal inlets protected by a massive man-made Storm Barrier built on the ocean bed. We'll be visiting the barrier, a lovely town called Delft, as well as doing microscopy!" 

"I must have dozed off because Larry surprised me by calling me and,  when I looked out the window, we had landed at Rotterdam airport!" 

"Jan was there to greet us and whisk us off to Renesse in his car. This was the first time most of us had met Jan, but I for one could tell when I looked into his eyes - this was a very wise and caring man who had seen much in his life! More than this... he had a purpose and a deliberation to ensure we would be treated as very welcome guests. All my thoughts about Jan proved to be truer than even I had originally thought."  
Jan Parmentier 
"We arrived at the hotel. I couldn't believe my eyes when I saw how beautiful and comfortable it was. Its name was: de Zoeuuise stromen."  

Larry loved the interior especially the very liberal paintings which hung in the rooms and corridors. If there is one thing Larry loves, it is the painted female form, and I should know... he's always asking me to pose for him to paint."

The oddest thing happened. Larry went over to switch on the bedside lamp and as I heard the click of the switch, Larry gasped: "Van... come and see this..." 

I turned to look and I gasped too: the lamp had a sculptured figurine standing naked on its base, but the strangest thing was - it looked like just me! 

Whoops... sorry... I digress! We washed  and went down to meet the others for dinner.

Tony, Kit, and Eric had not arrived yet (they were coming independently by car and ferry), but all our new friends from the Dutch NvvM club were there waiting to meet us. 
"Let me introduce you to some of them, starting with Karel and Fred above. Karel is the one nearest to the camera about to be very naughty and light up a cigarette at the dining table. You bad, bad, boy Karel! Fred makes fantastic videos of microscopic life. You will see some in a minute."
"We all got on fantastically.  Tony, Kit, and Eric  
arrived in time to join our jokes and laughter over dinner. Then the real surprise came. We all went off to the conference room to discover Jan and the members of the NvvM had done an enormous amount of work setting up microscopes for all of to use." 

"We wasted little time. Like ducks to water, everyone got behind a scope and started to look at water samples Jan had collected earlier."

"When I peeked down my microscope, I was stunned to see this sight. Wim was next to me and I was just about to ask him what it was, when the little thing danced off to some other part of the slide. I never realised at that moment how this little creature was going to have a marked effect on this holiday... as you will see shortly!"
"I looked around the room and noticed everyone was deeply engrossed so I thought now was the time to take a few snaps of them. Here are some of the people I photographed..."
"Larry was being dramatic right off. He kept shouting that he had discovered  a brand new rotifer. No-one believed him, least of all Lizzie who was behind him and far too busy doing one of her fantastic drawings to listen to him." "As things turned out a few days later, Larry had in fact been the first to spot a brand new rotifer. We would not have known but Eric Hollowday, the rotifer expert, saw it too a few days later and excitedly confirmed it. We are still waiting to hear if it will be named after Larry!"
"On the left here is John Wells. He is MOL's mentor, very loveable, and very knowledgeable but you wouldn't be able to tell straight away because he is so modest. I quite fancied John a bit... there was some special about him!"
"On the right is Kees Baker. I was amazed to learn he has lived and worked most of his life in this region. Kees knew everything about the Delta region and was so very important to our group. I must confess - he took a shine to me... or so Larry said. I can only say  how flattered I was by this!" "Above, is Fred... and standing behind him is Johanneke. I didn't immediately realise the difficult work Johanneke does nor the important contribution Fred makes with his video work; it can be difficult to take everything in when you meet people for the first time.... I find!"
"On the left we have MOL... well nearly: Mol is going bald so I thought I would retouch this photo to give him some hair! I must admit I didn't do a very good job of adding back what the years took out - but MOL loved the ideal... and the sense of absurdity it represented. He asked me to leave it in for its own sake."  
"I thought you might like to see one of Wim van Egmond's fantastic illustrations, so I have included a tiny version of one of them here on the right."    "Above is Wim - in pensive mood. Wim van Egmond is an artist but I realised he had a very broad and mixed set of skills. Let me re-phrase that: Wim is a special artist who touches, feels, and comprehends the things he sees and illustrates!"
"At night in the bar, Eric would light his pipe, lean back in his seat and his memories, and - as the wine lit a glow for all of us to warm our friendship with - he would tell of years long ago; of past discoveries, fellows now departed, and battles fought. I loved to listen to him and  I must confess... I could still see the charming young man alive in him: a bright spark, signalling a great intellect, still arced and fizzled brightly in his eyes !" 

Eric Hollowday - 'Mr. Rotifer'

"Eric often told others of an unclassified  rotifer, once glimpsed in his youth - but  not recorded... a lost chance! He dreamed that one day he might find again the Plymouth rotifer. It seemed to mean so much to him.  

As the others departed for their beds, including Larry, I would stay and walk Eric to his room - wanting more of his stories... and to make sure he didn't stroll the corridors in the late of night alone." 

"As I climbed into bed at the end of the first day and snuggled up to Larry, I had no inkling of the terror I was going to encounter within a short while. It lay ahead - hidden and disguised by a shroud that divides this day from the next!"
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(c) Larry Legg, Vanessa Summers, & Lightscape1998
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