Tiger, Tiger, my encounter in India with the noblest of creatures.
This is a true story, I was on holiday in India and we spent 7 days at a magical place called Ranthambore. We stayed in a small camp of bungalows near the reserve and we had a wonderful experience. Every night we ate outdoors and I have never seen so many stars in the sky.
Far from the dust track that we were following we came upon a wide lake. It was slightly cooler here, the lake looked inviting, but I had been watching crocodiles almost four metres long sunbathing some way off and I decided that the lake was theirs. I think crocodiles are a little possessive and they probably would not be too pleased about me swimming there.
Above in an incredibly blue sky, Fish Eagles circled in their usual carefree manner. I leant against a fallen log and soaked up the scene trying to commit the moment into my securest memory bank.
There were a number of alarm calls from the langur monkeys and various deer and then suddenly there was an unusual quiet. The colourful peacocks that wander the forests of India call constantly but even they were quiet now. A movement across the water on the far bank caught my eye; it was just a blur nothing definable, just a slight movement in the tall bulrushes across the lake. I stopped and stared, frozen to the spot, wishing my hearing had not been dimmed by countless years of rock and roll. There it was again a movement; a flash of colour, a fleeting glance told me that this was what I was in India to see. My heart was beating so fast that I was sure that anything in the forest for miles could hear it.
A movement in the water told me that the crocodiles I had been watching earlier sunning themselves on the lakeside had now taken to the water. Like prehistoric logs they floated deceitfully harmless looking, their cold yellow eyes watching from beneath scaly hooded eyebrows.
They seemed of little consequence when for the first time the big cat came into view. I could not reach for the camera, not daring to move a muscle, not wanting to waste this chance to see the real jewel of India.
It seemed to stare right at me, and then its huge front legs bent and its back arched as it dropped its head. With its eyes fixed on me, it lapped with a huge pink tongue just like someone’s favorite pet cat at the refreshing water of the lake. It lifted its head to watch the crocs for just a moment and then satisfied that they were not a threat, it took another drink.
It was not a young animal, in fact, I thought I could see grey whiskers around its nose. Water dripped from its beard; with a sharp flick of its head the water was gone in a fine spray.
Slowly it backed out of sight. I stood watching the space it had left; mesmerised until the shrill call of a peacock proclaimed the show to be over. What a moment, of all the many memories and sights of my trips to India that will always be the best.
I wondered afterwards, had it seen me? Surely it did, perhaps if it went through the forest thinking what on earth was somebody from Yorkshire doing there, and had it missed its chance to taste a real Yorkshire pudding?
- Recipe for India's White Chicken Korma Curry as made for the Indian Rajs white banquets of
An unusual curry which was a favourite of Moghul Emporers, usually served for banquets at the Taj Mahal.
- Indian style Chapatis and Roti, cooking on an India style cast iron Tawa pan
An easy to follow guide for making great tasting chapaties and roti. Lots of tips and advice.
- Indian Jewel, The Taj Mahal. Why you should visit.
My account of visiting one of the most iconic buildings ever built. The thrill of a dawn viewing.
- My Ten Favourite Places in India
A brief travelogue of India, surely the most fascinating place on earth, with a selection of ten of the author's personal favourite places.
Romance and Adventure
Young Ben Stone is fleeing for his life over the bleak Yorkshire Moors. From being a child, he has been besotted by the local landowner’s daughter Ruth, but after her wicked brother is accidentally killed, Ben fears that he will be blamed. Ruth convinces him he should go on the run; otherwise, her father who is also the local magistrate will probably have him hanged for murder.
Trying to keep out of the way of the law, he runs into a wandering band of thieves. They take him as a prisoner and he is forced to endure a desperate winter in their secret lair. When he does escape their clutches, his fortune changes, and he is taken in by a friendly parson. The parson runs a small orphanage in Cartmel, where Ben recovers his health and spirits.
A brief spell working at a chandler’s shop in Barrow in Furness is rudely interrupted when Ben is pressed into the navy. The year is 1801 and the Royal Navy is desperate for men.
Despite this poor start, Ben takes to life in the navy, and quickly gains promotion. He is set for a promising career, when his past returns to haunt him, in the person of Ruth the landowner’s daughter, who has been married off to the new Governor of Jamaica and needs transporting out to the Caribbean on Ben’s ship. During the voyage, Ruth takes the opportunity to revive Ben’s feelings for her.
When he returns to England, he is confronted by his past and has to face a court-martial over the death of Ruth’s brother. Can he clear his name? What part will Lady Ruth play in his future? Ben is in for many varied adventures before his life is settled.