The Flockhart family lived near us in the George Square days while Ross was Chaplain to Overseas Students. Their eldest child was a year older than ours, and we remained friends after they moved to Aberdeen, then back to Edinburgh where Ross taught at Moray House for a number of years before becoming director of the Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations.

Dick always wanted Ross to take his funeral service, but when the time came, rather suddenly, we knew only that Ross and Pamela were on holiday in Perthshire. None of our mutual friends had an address for them either, but the problem was resolved when our son entered "David Flockhart" into Google, and 10 minutes later I got a phone call from Ross. We are most grateful to him for his input to the service of thanksgiving for Dick's life.

Ross had asked me to let him see some of the messages we received, and he picked out the following to quote on Friday:

Two images: I have set up an experiment in the optics lab at the JCMB, with more enthusiasm than care. Dick comes in and notices. Some of his colleagues would have launched into a bout of sarcasm, but Dick quietly smiles and says, "I'm looking at an intellectual offence here..."
And again, when describing the precision needed to make the etalon, he tells us he asked the men who grind them how they do it. "They say they do it the way hedgehogs make love... very carefully."
The point was made that some people see science as diminishing humanity. It was the rainbow argument: the beauty of a rainbow is lessened when it is explained through equations and ray diagrams. That has never been the case for me. At school, I disliked optics. When, in my second year at university, I learned that there was to be a full term course on the topic, I was less than thrilled. Ten weeks later, thanks to a quietly enthusiastic lecturer with a mathematically elegant approach and a dry sense of humour, I was captivated.
(Thank you, RMS. I don’t think you would want to be identified any more explicitly than that, but you should know that I now see the layer of beauty beyond the coloured arc in the sky )
Rainbow at about 1 pm on 1st April 2003; Broadhaven, Dunbar
Click on picture to see it in high resolution
(317 kB).

The wall on the right is where we live; the sea was as still as this when I looked out at sunrise on Friday (29th April 2005) and saw 6 eiders gently quoo-ing as they swam in circles beneath our bedroom window, a perfect start to a lovely day.

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