Saturday 1st November 2014

A dandy, a bamboo raft and a motorcycle crash – all par for the course on our Great Indian Adventure

Leaving our wonderful hosts Richard and Elizabeth Wheeler and their beautiful Deodars Guest House in Almora was a wrench indeed, but after a long and tortuous drive through the mountains and eventually down into the low foothills, we eventually found ourselves on the banks of the fast-flowing Ramganga river, ready for the next stage of our momentous journey – and momentous it certainly was for the 84-year-old Rosemary, who is no longer able to walk long distances over uneven terrain. Our super fixer Sumantha Ghosh, with this in mind, had organized a form of transport that might well have been a more common sight in her parents’ day, but which has since faded into the mists of time: a dandy. In this case, a stout wooden seat had been attached to two (rather uneven) wooden poles, forming a sort of sedan chair, and a team of stalwart villagers had been persuaded to carry the somewhat bemused Rosemary the two kilometres or so of rough and uneven track to the scene of her next adventure: a crossing of the Ramganga on a bamboo raft mounted on four inflated inner tyre tubes.

Rosemary in her dandy

Once the two of us had been fully dressed up in life jackets and helmets, the delicate procedure of maneuvering Rosemary onto the distinctly unstable raft was successfully accomplished, and she was hauled across the torrent, followed on the next few runs by myself, our luggage and the team of dandy-bearers. The last section into the delightfully isolated Vanghat camp saw Rosemary triumphantly carried, again in her dandy, and we duly settled into what was to become our home from home for the next four nights.

The intrepid Rosemary prepares to cross the Ramganga river

Rosemary was not the only intrepid one

Vanghat is a place that will surely call me back in the future. Situated on the very edge of the Corbett National Park, and unreachable by vehicle, it is a haven of peace and tranquility. Wild elephants are frequent visitors, and even leopards and tigers are not unusual. We were not treated to any sightings of these this time, but a highly poisonous Krait, a tiny but deadly snake, was spotted by one of our fellow guests climbing up the wall of the toilet block…while he was in mid-flow. He emerged from the building somewhat rapidly.

Early morning and late afternoon bird walks are a great feature of this spot – a luxury that is not permitted in the Corbett Tiger Reserve proper, where tourists can only circulate by jeep or on elephant-back. Highlights for me included the almost indescribably dainty Little Forktail, a tiny bird that frequents shady streams and waterfalls, hopping from stone to stone, constantly opening and closing its black and white tail feathers, giving the impression of a light flashing in the shady streambed, and several unusually approachable Wallcreepers. With their long, down-curved beaks, pale grey plumage and quite extraordinary butterfly-like flight on bright red and black wings with round white spots, Wallcreepers are normally seen distantly as they forage on remote, sheer cliffs, but here I was surprised to find at least three probing around and under the large boulders that line the Ramganga river, allowing a close approach and affording outstanding views.

Wallcreepers have truly beautiful red, black and white wings

All too soon, after a remarkable stay that included the 90th anniversary of Rosemary’s mother’s arrival in India, when like many British wives-to-be, she was whisked immediately from the dockside in Bombay straight to the church in order to marry her fiancé, Rosemary’s dandy was ready for our departure from this magical place, and the return journey was made, bamboo raft and all. However, our transport experiences were far from over.

Shortly after we had started the car journey back towards Ramnagar, while rounding a rather sharp bend, our driver swerved slightly to avoid a pothole, and in doing so grazed a motorcyclist who was coming around the corner in the opposite direction. What followed seemed to transpire in horrifying slow motion. The motorcyclist struggled to keep his balance, but eventually lost his balance, and I watched as he toppled over, and both he and his bike slowly disappeared over the edge of the road, crashing down into a deep ravine.

As soon as we had pulled off the road, we ran back, and with some trepidation, I looked over the edge. There was the overturned motorbike lying with its wheels in the air, and beyond, the sprawled body of the man lying face down, his head invisible between the large rocks and under some vegetation. He was breathing erratically and twitching slightly, but I feared the worst. The immediate question was how to get down to him, but before we could tackle that, we called the remarkably efficient 108 ambulance emergency number, which was answered immediately, and directions to the scene of the accident were given.

Before we had even had time to figure out a way down to the victim, a bus arrived, and several agile young men leapt over the precipice to the rescue. However, as there was plenty of shouting and a highly charged atmosphere, it was felt that as a foreigner it might be wise for me to slip away, so our driver, who was in considerable shock and was extremely anxious to drive the motorcyclist to hospital himself, drove Rosemary and myself a short distance further along the road to a safer parking place, where he paced backwards and forwards, holding his head in his hands and biting his lips with worry.
It was not very long, however, before Sumantha appeared, reporting that the ambulance had arrived, the man had sat up and spoken, and that a friend of his had arrived, and what looked like a total catastrophe had turned out not to be quite so horrific as I had initially thought. Of course we do not know if he had sustained internal injuries, but the signs were relatively comforting.

Following this unexpected trauma, we (and much more so our driver) were in need of some calming refreshment, so we stopped off at Sumantha’s home for breakfast before heading on to one of my least favourite towns, Haldwani, a teeming cauldron of humanity where I had had an unpleasant experience of becoming entrapped in a potentially violent protest in 2006, and where this time we were caught up in student demonstrations and roadblocks.

Getting through Haldwani is never easy, it seems

Once we had extricated ourselves from what we re-named Helldwani, our route took us up into the Himalayan foothills again, to the lakeside settlement of Bhimtal, where we had a lunch appointment with Peter Smetacek, who has become well-known in these parts as the Butterfly Man (although he does not particularly like that title!). Over many decades, first his father, then his elder brother and now he, have amassed one of the largest private collections of butterflies and moths in India. As my grandfather had also created an impressive collection of the butterflies in his final year in India, and several of my grandparents’ friends had later bequeathed their collections of Indian butterflies to me, I am familiar with many of the butterflies here, and especially of the Kumaun hills, and it was a delight to re-acquaint myself with many of the beautifully colourful insects that I know so well.

With Peter Smetacek, the Bhimtal butterfly man

This meeting with Peter may well lead to interesting things. As he pointed out, these old collections of mine, dating from the 1890s till 1948, provide greatly valuable baseline information on population and habitat change over a long period, and he and I are now planning to publish the lists of the butterflies from each locality, and if possible compare them with more recent surveys, allowing comparisons to be made. In addition, there is a project to designate a “Butterfly Valley” in the area, an idea that we might well collaborate on in the future.

So, after a most interesting visit, we continued our journey through the hills to Pangot, our home for the next four days….more of our adventures there in the next instalment.

Rosemary in her unusual form of transport

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Wednesday 29th October 2014

The Great Indian Adventure begins!

So here we are, just outside the Corbett National Park in northern India, Rosemary Fox and I, back at last in the erstwhile haunts of my grandfather, F W Champion OBE IFS, whom she knew personally when she was a child, as her parents were my grandparents’ closest friends in the 1920s, 30s and 40s.
Having lost touch with our family when my grandmother died in 1983, Rosemary searched for my grandfather’s name and found my blog while I was travelling in Guatemala in 2011, and emailed me at once, but I was unaware that there was an email address linked to my blog, so it was not until my website administrator was doing work behind the scenes on the blog that he discovered more than 300 emails in my inbox, and he duly forwarded them into my regular email account. Among these messages was the one from Rosemary, in which she introduced herself and said how much she would love to re-establish contact with “The Champs”, as she and her parents used to refer to our family.
Since then we have been in constant contact, although Rosemary lives in British Columbia, Canada, but it was not until the day before yesterday that we finally met face to face – in the departure lounge at Heathrow airport. At first I could not see her, and was rather concerned that her incoming flight from Vancouver might have been delayed, and that she would miss this connection. However, when I heard a sharp cry of “James!”, I knew that she must be somewhere close by, although I could not at first spot her as she was seated behind the desk, out of sight. Later she informed me that she had recognized me by my ears….a feature that I did not know was such a prominent part of my anatomy!
From then, probably to the annoyance of our fellow passengers, we chatted virtually throughout the entire flight to Delhi. After all, I had 84 years of her life to catch up on, as well as the first few of what I hope will be many personal anecdotes of the time she and her parents spent in the company of my grandparents.
We landed at the ungodly hour of 03.15, and were greatly looking forward to getting our heads down in the comfortable-looking Thikana Guest House, Rosemary especially after her marathon journey, first flying from Smithers to Vancouver, then on to London, and finally to Delhi. But sadly that was not to be, as although my suitcase and one of hers appeared on the baggage carousel, the second of Rosemary’s did not, and a nightmare two and a half hours of battling with the Baggage Claim office ensued, with stressed passengers and ground staff all competing for the attention of just two extremely over-worked officials. We finally made it to the guest house at around 05.00, and eventually fell into an exhausted slumber.
The rest of the day was spent recovering, although we did venture out in the late afternoon to the delightful Lodi Gardens, a well-known haunt of Delhi birdwatchers and a great place to re-familiarise oneself with the commoner garden and city birds of India, which Rosemary referred to as old friends.
Back at our accommodation, we had a stimulating dinner with a colourful array of characters, including a one-eyed ex-boxer/artist and his fashion-buyer wife from New York, the daughter of a missionary couple who had grown up in India in the early part of the last century, and a most helpful and pleasant financial man from the UK, who had come to India originally for two months, but who was now in his twentieth month and feeling no great desire to return home. Drinks on the rooftop followed the delicious dinner, and the kind offer of an almost full bottle of gin, which we were instructed to empty, led to a considerable consumption of G and T, a task to which, as Rosemary reported to her sister Sheila, I contributed a good deal!
This morning, feeling slightly under the weather, we were initially extremely kindly helped by the financial gentleman to register Rosemary’s lost bag on the Air Canada Baggage Tracer website, and then we boarded our vehicle for what turned out to be a very long and traffic-filled creep along the 275 km route from Delhi to the outskirts of the Corbett National Park, named after hunter-turned-conservationist Jim Corbett, who was a friend of my grandfather’s, and who records at the back of his classic book “Man-eaters of Kumaun” that it was Champion whose remarkable images of tigers and other wildlife inspired Corbett to make a little less use of the rifle, and a little more of the camera.
And so here we are, ready for a safari jeep drive in the Park tomorrow morning, followed by another one later in the day. I wonder what Corbett and my grandfather would make of the area if they were to transported forward to today, and could see what has changed since the late 1940s, when both Champion and Corbett last set eyes upon this glorious area.

Tiger Tiger!

Following on from our not all that auspicious start with the loss of Rosemary’s bag somewhere between Vancouver and Delhi, our Great Indian Adventure has progressed very well since – although there is still no sign of the errant bag.
We left Delhi on Friday morning, and experienced some of the capital’s notorious traffic congestion as we inched our way out, weaving between every conceivable form of transport: cars, rickety buses with Bollywood-style music blaring out at full volume, heavily overloaded trucks, many marked with “Blow horn” on the back (an instruction which was liberally followed), and motorbikes thundering along in the into the teeth of the traffic in the opposite direction, even when we were on a dual carriageway.
The overall route we took was in fact one that would have been familiar to both my grandparents and Rosemary back in the 1930s, but in the intervening years the landscape has changed dramatically, with urban sprawl spreading along the highway, the long bridge across the Ganges perhaps being one feature that has remained from those far-off days.
By late afternoon we finally reached Ramnagar, on the very edge of the hills, and site of the Headquarters of the World-renowned Corbett National Park and Tiger Reserve. We checked into one of the many modern lodges that have sprung up along the Kosi River, close to the park entrance, and crashed out almost at once, Rosemary bearing up well but undoubtedly feeling the effects of her marathon journey from Smithers to Vancouver, then on to Heathrow, followed by yet another flight to Delhi, the loss of her suitcase, and then this long and tiring ride to Ramnagar.
Our programme for the next two days involved three excellent safari rides into the two areas of the park that are currently open, the main central areas only being accessible from 15th November. The early morning excursion took us to the southern zone, and whilst it was of course a delight to be back in this marvellous reserve, it did not provide a huge number of unusual sightings. However, the late afternoon drive, this time into the Bijrani sector, proved to be one of the highlights of my nature-watching experiences to date.
Reports of a tigress with four well-grown cubs reached our driver and guide, and it was not long before we found a Langoor monkey perched high in a bare tree, looking intently and constantly in one direction, and uttering the characteristic gruff bark that these watchmen of the jungle use to warn others of their kind, and unwittingly every other potential prey species, that a tiger is on the move.
A brief ride in our open-top Maruti Suzuki Gypsy, the tough workhorse of Indian national parks today, led us down into a semi-dried out riverbed, and almost immediately the tigress was spotted, at first ambling along the far side of the open area, disappearing behind a large fallen log, but it was not long before she emerged into full view, and then we were treated to indescribably marvelous views as she crossed over towards us, stopping occasionally to sniff at the scent marks left either by herself or another tiger, and spraying her own scent liberally as she went.
She crossed over the track and proceeded to lope right past us along the stream bed, sometimes appearing to snarl and putting her ears back, which certainly gave the impression that she was not in the best of moods, before she turned away, providing us with a final view of her scent marking a twig before she disappeared into thicker vegetation.
The beauty of this clearly well-fed and healthy tigress, despite the fact that she must have had her work cut out having to provide food for her large and hungry family, was a marvel to see, and I felt a twinge of pride knowing that it was thanks to a large extent to my grandfather that the Hailey, later Corbett, National Park was founded in 1936, providing as it now does a haven for the estimated 170 tigers that currently reside within its boundaries (it is shocking to think that that number is perhaps 10% of the total number of wild tigers left in all India).
After such a sighting, it is hard to concentrate on the other wonders that the park offers, but we were able to enjoy excellent views of several Elephants, including one group of four females with several young, with a matriarch who not best pleased to be disturbed and came out of the forest towards us, ears flapping and waving her trunk. Other highlights included numerous Spotted Deer, otherwise known as Cheetal, three or four Sambhar, Barking Deer, Wild Boar, as well as numerous spectacular birds including the almost prehistoric-looking Great Hornbill, Black and Woolly-necked Storks, Kaleej Pheasant, and the powerful-looking Stork-billed Kingfisher, with its over-sized red bill looking as if it could snap a well-grown fish out of the water with no trouble at all.
Our thanks go to our two excellent guides Nafees and JP, and to Sumantha Ghosh, a huge fan of my grandfather’s, who is hooked upon Rosemary’s tales of her childhood, when she used to accompany her parents on Christmas camps in the jungle with my grandparents in these very forests. Sumantha touchingly told me that it was thanks to my grandfather’s influence that he is not stuck working in a bank in the big city, and is instead greatly involved in the wildlife conservation movement, and lives his life surrounded by the beauty of what my grandfather so evocatively used as the title of his second book, The Jungle in Sunlight and Shadow.

Not so plain tales from the hills

I am writing this post beneath the towering deodar trees, Cedrus deodara, with the late afternoon sun casting dappled shadows and the wind murmuring through the branches. My location is Papparsalli, high on a ridge above the ancient capital of Kumaun, Almora, a town with a long association with my family, as this was one of my grandfather F W Champion’s postings as a forester with the Imperial Forestry Service, and it was from here that he, my grandmother, my father, aged eight, and his governess Kay Perry set out on their great trek to the Pindari glacier in October 1936, a journey that I recreated in October 2006, staying in the same bungalows and photographing the same scenes, precisely 70 years later to the day.
Our “home” for the last four days has been the wonderfully atmospheric old colonial house of Richard and Elizabeth Wheeler, who run it as the appropriately named Deodars Guest House. As I walked around the corner of the house just after we arrived, tired after the long and twisty drive up from just outside the Corbett National Park, via the Queen of Hill Stations, Ranikhet, headquarters of the Kumaun Regiment, I really felt as if I was coming home, and to be met by our charming hosts and welcomed so warmly was a privilege – I had spent a wonderful few days here together with my parents and cousin Be back in 2006, and I knew we were in for a treat.
This marvellous old home, complete with ancient tiger, leopard and a sloth bear skin on the walls (not to my taste but nonetheless representative of the period the house represents), takes one back to the days of the British Raj, and indeed Richard comes from an illustrious family of officers of the Indian Army, and my father and he had discussed the exploits of various General Wheelers at length during our previous visit. Elizabeth, originally from Goa, has also led an interesting and varied life, and it has been a real pleasure sharing our experiences and impressions with them, as well as listening to their own stories and enjoying their beautiful home at leisure.
Breakfast here is an experience in itself, sitting out on their terrace, trying to concentrate on the delicious spread when there is a feast for the eyes competing for one’s attention: the breath-taking panorama of the Himalayan snows, stretching from Nanda Ghunti in the west, incorporating the great trident peak of Trishul, then the long ridge of Trishul East, before reaching the holy mountain of Nanda Devi, formerly the highest peak in the British Empire (and yet interestingly not now the highest peak in India – I shall leave you to ponder that mystery and will provide the solution in my next post!). Further to the east still is the great fish-tail mountain of Nanda Kot, a peak with which I feel a special bond as it is at the foot of this giant that the Pindari glacier is located, visited by my great uncle Harry Champion in 1924, by my grandfather in 1936, and by me in 2006.
As well as the mountains distracting one’s attention away from the breakfast, there is an ornithological bonanza to behold as well, with among other delights Himalayan Bulbul, Streaked Laughingthrush, Green-backed, Spot-winged and Black-throated Tits, delightful Chestnut-bellied Nuthatches, Bar-tailed Treecreepers, Russet Sparrows and Oriental White-eyes all flitting about the terrace. The highlight, however, is the diminutive Asian Barred Owlet that perches on a broken off branch of a pine just outside the fence – on one occasion, just as I was lifting my cereal-filled spoon, it darted across and seized a cricket from a large yucca-like plant right in front of me.
Although it was hard to drag oneself away from this seventh heaven, on our second day here we ventured out in a clapped out Maruti Suzuki Alto for a bumpy and tortuous drive up to the high ridge of Binsar, with its extensive stands of protected high altitude forest, and perhaps more spectacularly, a closer view of the great Himalayan snow-clad peaks.
Here my intention was to leave Rosemary sitting on the rooftop terrace of the Tourist Rest House to admire the ever-changing mountain and cloudscapes, and to indulge in a little peaceful birdwatching along the ridge towards the viewpoint tower, a route I had taken twice back in 2006, but a tranquil walk it was not to be. Our driver insisted on accompanying me, and he raced along, constantly pointing out shortcuts to me, and saying “Main road very long long, this way short short”. Well, actually I would have preferred the long long route, but there was no holding the man back.
It was not long (long) before we reached the tower, from which I surveyed the spectacular panorama stretching along the northern horizon, and it was only a few moments after we had started the short short route back along a narrow trail that hugged the ridgetop, when a deep, ferocious-sounding “sawing” call resounded through the forest just below us. The driver and I looked at each other, and both uttered the same word at the same time: “Leopard!” Although I was delighted to know that leopards still occur here (apparently in considerable numbers), I was nonetheless slightly relieved when even the driver suggested that taking the long long route back might not be a bad idea.
Now the sun is setting behind the deodars, and sadly also setting on our stay in this delightful spot, as tomorrow the next stage of our Great Indian Adventure begins. I can only thank Richard and Elizabeth for their wonderful hospitality, and highly recommend their amazing guest house to anyone who is able to make the journey to this remarkable region of the Himalayan foothills – you will not be disappointed.

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Wednesday 8th October 2014

Hands across the Commonwealth, an astonishing Nazi link, and childhood friends reunited after 75 years

I am just about to set off for India on another great journey, again in the footsteps of my grandfather, pioneering wildlife photographer and campaigner for the conservation of wildlife, F W Champion OBE IFS. This time, I have the privilege of being accompanied by the 84-year-old Rosemary Fox, nee Wilkinson, whose parents were my grandparents’ closest friends in India in the 1930s. Rosemary, like my father, was born in the military cantonment of Lansdowne, in the foothills of the Himalayas, but unlike him, she was not sent “home” to the UK to be educated, and she and her parents went on Christmas “camps with the Champs” in the jungle.

Rosemary now lives in British Columbia, in the west of Canada, and although she remained in close touch with our family until 1983, when my grandmother passed away, after that all contact was lost.

While I was in Guatemala in 2011, she googled my grandfather’s name, and found my blog. She immediately contacted me on the email address that was linked to this website, but in fact I was unaware that such an email account existed, so I did not read her mail. Indeed, it was only several months after my return that I discovered that there were about 300 emails in this unknown inbox. Among these was the following:

Dear James,

My father, Gerrard Wilkinson, was in the Royal Garhwal Rifles & my parents knew F W & Judy Champion well. I was born in Lansdowne, & we used to spend Xmas with “the Champs” (as we called them) in the jungle in the late ’30s-’40s & these experiences had a huge influence on my life. I went back to India a year ago for the first time since 1947 & visited Corbett & other NPs. I was told Nigel had been back. I met people who knew of F W Champion & had a very high opinion of him, including a naturalist/guide at Kanha NP, who was very persistent in asking that I send him my recollections of FWC, but I don’t really have anything concrete – he was just a great man who loved wildlife, to me who was fascinated with everything that crept or crawled or walked or flew!

Rosemary at centre, with my grandparents on the left and her parents on the right

I’ve been meaning to pass on to Nigel how much his father is still remembered, & was trying to Google him, & came across your blog, which I greatly enjoyed, instead. As a child I was fond of FWC & Judy & when I grew up I greatly admired FWC too as a conservationist. I was so impressed & also touched at the way he was still remembered in India so many decades later by people who weren’t even born when he was there! Judy & FWC gave me 2 of the latter’s photos as a wedding gift & they still hang in my living room. I have FWC’s books too, and treasure them. Judy C stayed with me in Vancouver in the 70′s & mentioned you & your love of natural history. I hope you get this! Please pass my best wishes to Nigel, whom I met again when he visited my parents in Devon, when he was in the Royal Navy. Rosemary Fox (nee Wilkinson)! PS If you come to BC, let me know!

Needless to say, once I had finally read this message, I responded immediately, and since then we have been in close touch, and my parents are now back in contact with her as well.

Not long after this amazing “blast from the past”, I received another email, this time from Prema Naraynen, the publisher of my book “Tripwire for a Tiger”, in India, forwarding the following message, revealing an astonishing and somewhat shocking Nazi link, from a John Buckler, in Auckland, New Zealand:

Hello,

In the mid 1930’s, the late Mr. Champion submitted a photograph for an exhibition hosted in Germany by Hermann Goering. The photo was of a tiger and taken with a tripwire.
When the photograph was returned to him in India, he gave the photograph to my Grandfather, Colonel Philip Savage of the Indian Medical Service, who had nursed both Mr. and Mrs. Champion back to health after particularly severe attacks of malaria. Colonel Savage was the chief medical officer in Lansdowne.

Col. Philip Savage, who nursed my grandparents back to health after severe bouts of malaria

My grandfather died in 1955 but the photograph has long been treasured by his children, who all grew up in Lansdowne, and we are proud of the association with Mr. Champion and of the photograph.

The tiger photograph that appeared in Goering’s International Hunting Exhibition in Berlin in 1937, and later adorned the Savages’ home in New Zealand

I would love to purchase a copy of the book for my mother, who at 88 years of age is now the eldest of the remaining children of Colonel Savage, but booksellers here in New Zealand seem to be unable to assist me in placing an order for the book. Amazon seems not to have stock and does not indicate that they can order copies either.

Are you able to suggest how I might purchase a copy for my mother?

Your assistance would be most gratefully received.

Best regards,

John Buckler

The letter from F W Champion presenting the photograph to the Savages

To round off these two extraordinary stories, it turns out that Sally and Rosemary, although Sally is somewhat older, knew each other, and were even good friends 75 years ago, in Lansdowne.

Shortly after the initial contact, I received the following mail from John:

Hello again,

I have just spoken with Mother. She remembers Rosemary Wilkinson, and says they were good friends herself, her twin and Rosemary.

If there is a way that Mother might be put in touch with Rosemary, that would be lovely – to connect with one’s childhood friend after 75 years or so is rather fairytale but I understand that there were not a lot of British children in the cantonment and friendships were important. Mother does remember her very fondly.

Best regards,

John

A charming photograph of children in Lansdowne, Rosemary fourth from the left and Sally second from the right

Rosemary then responded, with the following:

Dear John,

I’d love to be put in touch with your mother, though she will remember my elder sister, Sheila, better as they were close in age. Sheila was born in 1925 and must be the same age as your mother if she is 88, and I was born in 1930. I have a photo of your mother (I think) and her sister, and I think I have a photo of her youngest brother – ?Rodney.

I never imagined I’d ever hear of the Savages again! But when I get together with Sheila, who lives in England, we talk about Lansdowne a lot, and often wonder what has happened to the various people in our lives in those far off times, including the Savages!

Rosemary

So, thanks to the power of the Internet, via my blog and my publisher Prema in India, I have been able to connect these two childhood friends in far-flung corners of the Commonwealth, 75 years after they last saw each other. And in just over one week, Rosemary (whom I have never actually met) and I will be winging our way to India on a nostalgic journey to Lansdowne and other places she remembers from her childhood. Sally and John, I hope you, and all my other friends, will be able to follow our progress. I shall be updating the site as regularly as I can.

Sally Buckler, nee Savage, in 2013

Rosemary Fox, nee Wilkinson, in June 2013