KNAPPER GALLS AND NATURALISTS

Ted Ellis, Rex Hancy

As well as being a widely respected naturalist, Ted Ellis, or EAE as he signed his press articles, was a thoroughly decent person. He took the trouble to type letters in reply to those who had written to him with observations on the natural world with real thought and individuality. I have a letter he wrote me towards the end of his life. It concerns those misshapen acorns known as knapper galls. I had found some of these on Smock Mill Common in Saxlingham, and they were new to me at the time. He was not dismissive of my ignorance, but wrote at length about them, even telling me that he hoped to bring the subject up when his TV programme resumed in the autumn. I’m afraid I cannot tell you if he did or not.

His successor in writing for the EDP was Rex Hancy, whom I knew rather better than Ted. Oddly enough one of his specialisms is plant galls, and he could let me know plenty of interesting facts about knapper galls. In fact is was in talking to him that I discovered that the word knapper is in fact pronounced “nopper” and not “napper” as I had previously thought. I was Rex’s postman for several years, and I’m sorry but people got their mail rather later than they should, because of my chats with Rex.

JOSEPH MASON

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