Met an interesting guy, David Patterson, today. He spent 30 years in the employ of the Royal Botanical Gardens in Edinburgh, much of that overseas 'in the field', and much of that in Yunnan and Sichuan, working on joint UK-Chinese biodiversity projects. This seems to consist of hiking around the beautiful, remote mountainous areas on the borders with Burma and Tibet, collecting plants and advising on this and that; a modern-day Joseph Rock. In fact, the research station he set up is a 3hr hike up the mountain from Rock's old home in Yuhu, where we were a few weeks ago.
Anyway, he's just jumped ship and now works at Kunming Botanical Gardens (with whom we're planning a big arts project) but continues to spend a lot of time 'out there'. You can tell. He's tanned, fit and - as he told me - hates being behind a desk. After our meeting he was off to register for the Beijing Marathon, and then to Scotland for his summer break during which he planned to climb 11 mountains. Nice life.