Fresh from UK and sensitive to his humble background, it took John time to assimilate into jungle life. When I first arrived in Chitwan, he could be found leading a group of tourists armed like a sahib on shikhar with a shotgun that only we knew was for show. After a late night session at the Lodge bar, he survived a close encounter with George the resident rhino, who was not as tame as he looked.
Our amusement was not appreciated when John led a group of guests, creeping silently through the night to the hide where tigers were viewed on their kill. Only tonight it was a false alarm, no tiger in sight and the buffalo bait very much alive and mooing.
One evening he left a little old American lady behind in the grass blind – we were only alerted by her plaintive “coo-ees” which were in danger of attracting a curious tigress. Escorting the Nepal royal family on one of their many visits, he broke all taboos by grabbing the untouchable Queen to lift her over a flooded ditch.
John savoured the vicarious glamour of riding elephants and hanging out in the haitisar but needing four elephants at six o’clock for a morning guest safari he never lived it down when six elephants appeared at four o’clock. However when the kitchen caught fire, John was on the thatched roof attempting to douse the engulfing flames while I, tallest of all, thrust up the buckets of water passed down the line from the Reu River throughout that dramatic night.