Being a geologist by training, were I to travel to Devon, England today, I should bring home a chunk of greywacke rock – for that is the site locale for the Devonian system (aka ‘The Age of Fishes’ in the geologic time scale). And it’s where most of the story regarding The Great Devonian Controversy – the most important theoretical issues ever to be discussed at the Geological Society of London, the leading forum for geological debate in the 1800s – was centered. That historical event “is important today because it was a characteristic piece of scientific debate: in the judgment of the relevant scientists, it resulted in a significant new piece of reliable knowledge about the natural world.” (In case you are wondering, controversies that are not characteristic “have not been resolved and are not consensually regarded as having added to the stock of natural knowledge.”) The next time you’re in Devon, please appreciate that, as noted in a collaboratively written Geological Guide to Devon’s Rocks, “Devon’s geology is one of the most varied in the British Isles and this is reflected in the great variety of its landscapes. The county records around 415 million years of Earth history and is particularly distinguished by being the only one in the British Isles to give its name to an interval of geological time of world-wide recognition - the Devonian."
|Selection of 'motto ware' from Torquay, England|
sussie – a small, inexpensive gift, chosen specifically because it has relevance to the intended recipient – that my Mom had (yes, by absolute necessity that day in Canton TX, I think) to give my Dad. The handsomely painted little tray had the traditional brown lines, blue dots and country home on a cream-colored background. The quaint saying on this one was: “Who burnt the tablecloth”. My Dad constantly smoked a pipe and was therefore always leaving little pock marks in everything that an ash could possibly burn! From then on, Torquay trinkets became our family ‘fun’ as there was a cleverly pointed quip for everyone… My Mom’s Mom was the classic worrier, so her Torquay mug said: “Don’t worry, it may never happen” and a small bowl saying: “Do not hurry, Do not flurry, Nothing good is got by worry.” Dad was rarely surprised, so he happily received another fine present of pottery decorated with truly sharp-looking rooster that offered: “A match for any man.”
Because we can’t take even the smallest gem with us in the end – remember this wisdom from DARTMOUTH POTTERY DEVON, HANDMADE IN ENGLAND (stamped on the bottom of a Torquay tray that fit three spice shakers): “One today is worth two tomorrow.”