Wednesday 15 April 2009

Lost In Spain #3: Geologist In Da Field

The Lost Geologist started it, and Johannes Lochmann, Silver Fox, Kim, Hypocentre and of course Geotripper have all obliged. So, now that I have an up-to-date photo of me in the field, here goes:

Now, because I was a staff member on this trip (and not being assessed on the quality of my notebook and observations) I left the hammer and hard hat at home, and I have a horrible feeling my hand lens went walkabout in a saltmarsh in Norfolk as I can't find it.

Hair: Sometimes in a ponytail, but that interferes with my favourite field hat, so recently I've started putting just the fringe (bangs) back in a clip. It lowers the chances of me getting a sunburnt scalp, and if I have hair over my ears they avoid a good roasting too. My field hat is a proper brown felt cowboy hat bought at the Central States Fair in Rapid City, SD, in 2002.

Sunburned peeling nose: Rarely happens. I use SPF15 every day and usually have the field hat on, so my face usually goes a bit browner and freckly. REALLY freckly.

Beard: Not yet.

T-shirt and Logo: Many of them. The one I'm wearing in this photo is from SciBlog 2008, but I have a great collection of Sedgwick Club t-shirts, plus some of my own and ReBecca's t-shirts from CafePress.

Vest: I wear a fleece mostly. The thickness of the fleece (or even the number of fleeces!) depends greatly on the weather. It was probably about 15°C when this was taken, and shortly after finishing the climb I had to remove the fleece.

Things in the Vest: I'm a backpack girl. It has pretty much everything in it - survival bag, first aid kit, waterproof jacket and trousers, lunch, a Platypus bag of water, wallet, notebook, pen and (if it isn't round my neck) my compass-clinometer.

Belt and Buckle: Not really a weight-bearing belt, so the hammer goes in my backpack or on the back in the netting. I do put my camera on my belt though, and my knife.

Pockets: Mobile in the left hand pocket, handkerchief in the right hand pocket. I had two further pockets down the legs, so I was able to put my little tin of Nivea moisturiser (I get such dried lips in the field, this is a life-saver) and the car-keys in each.

Rock Hammer: I have a 2lb masonry hammer. It's 12 years old and my father nearly wept with pride when he took me to B&Q to buy it. I use it more for DIY now than hammering at stuff, and on a day-to-day basis it stays by the side of the bed in case we get burgled (while I'd never try to fight off a burglar with a gun I do rather fancy my chances swinging a hammer at a knife-wielding thung).

Hands: I have practically NO coordination whatsoever, so I like to keep my hands free to grab hold of rocks, vegetation, and the odd unfortunate colleague if I lose my balance. I always wear my watch, and my three rings - engagement ring, wedding ring and a simple Black Hills Gold band. Paul bought my engagement ring with the specific intention that it should be able to deal with the field, and as such the stone sits completely flush - no danger of snagging.

Legs: I wore shorts once on this fieldtrip and was so appalled by how large, wobbly and pallid they were that I put trousers back on and never dared bare them again. However, courtesy of a "short cut" that the Great White Leader took us on, when the staff were out on an afternoon hike, my legs managed to get scratched, bitten, bloodied and bruised.

Pants: Ah, two nations divided by a common language... I always wear pants in the field, and a quick survey of the staff revealed that not many of the male staff changed their underwear every day. On the trousers front (versus underpants) it's multi-pocketed combats all the way. I was appalled at the number of students that turned up in jeans, and more so at the hotpants-plus-leggings crew!

Shoelaces: Mine are still in perfect nick.

Socks: Bridgedale socks with arch supports for my flat feet.

Boots: I bought a pair of North Face boots in SD in 2002, and I am amazed and delighted that they have lasted this long with no damage. Having said that, this was after I did my long geological mapping stint, so I've probably only done the equivalent of one field season in them since I bought them.

Ironclad bladders: (((Billy))) commented about the British climate and our lack of rock exposure in response to an earlier post. Well, one advantage of having vegetation cover is that there's always somewhere to have a field piss. The basic rules are to make sure you can't see any of your party, be sure to face down a slope, and try not to piss on your trousers. Having said that, I'm pretty good at lasting a day in the field, and only needed one field piss on the most recent trip.

Brunton compass: I have a Sunnto compass-clino. Bruntons scare me. I've only seen these enormous cast-iron monstrosities. I suspect they're more accurate, but have never found this to be a problem.

Eyes: Always shielded with my trusty wraparound sunglasses, to delay the appearance of those tasty crows-feet wrinkles (with added tan lines).

Brain: Mine was well pickled by the end of the visit, and my blood was probably chemically indistinguishable from San Miguel.

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