I go down to the Club for a night and then to Alwaye by “wog” bus. Arrive in Bangalore and go to the office to discover that one Pimsen has been suggested by ACSEA as my relief, subject to AOC’s consent. Also an official letter saying I am ‘tour expired’ and will be repatriated to the UK – though when, it does not say. Most people hang around two months or so before they are called up, but no doubt I shall be an exception and take longer. Or they might even change their minds again and keep me in India!
I go and play some squash but not much good. Also I get a shot of T.A.B. and cholera at the same time and feel lousy for a couple of days. Albert goes to Vantngen in Mysore with my skins.
I go out again and get the jungle sheep after an arduous search cum stalk. He is 4’. Yesterday we go down to Willie Laird’s and beat for pig. No pig seen but I knock off a hind, and later a doe jungle sheep. I should have had a buck too, but I rush after him too quickly.
We go down in the evening and see two huge stags come out. The Mudavan (?) takes me to about 200’ and though it’s pretty dark at 7.30pm I manage to hit the best, a great black beast, on the third shot with the .303, then miss the other one, who had been watching in amazement. He crashes down and falls about 20 yards but when we get there he has gone. Next day the Mudavan finds blood, shoulder high, for about 400’ and then it stops, so he is lost. They found the one I got in the evening, however, though they only sent down the skull and not the skin. He is very small, only – well, too small to measure!
I go out yesterday with Gouldsbury and miss quite a nice jungle sheep with two shots. I collect a couple more squirrels today, making 14 in all, though I lose two, and try and get a black monkey, but cannot get a shot. I wear my overalls and greased boots on the hill.
My stag is hit and has gone to ground in the jungle somewhere. Yesterday I have breakfast at 6.30 and set out at dawn about 7.10, returning at 7.30. We sweat up and down the grassland slopes, up to 8724’, but see no saddlebacks. Plenty of ibex and one lot of five comes quite close. One decent stag at which I fire twice downhill, nearly 200’, and I miss and he gets away.
I see a white hawk type with a black bar on his wings. Also a buck jungle sheep, but not worth shooting.
This morning out at dawn and plenty of sambhar, but the wrong sex. About 11.30 we beat some jungle and out comes a stag towards me. I miss first shot and then stop him with a full deflection shot at about 50’.
The boy serves up wonderful food, though he is not the cook, and he only has a grass hut to perform in. Many Nilgiri laughing thrushes around.
Yesterday evening I go out with C.P. Gouldsbury after jungle sheep but do not get a shot. We see a couple of red mongeese, with bluish grey heads and tail underparts – looks more like an otter. This morning we ride up to about 7200’ amongst the grassland switch blades where there is a shooting camp. We have lunch and then I am left with Poosari and a houseboy for the night. We go out at 5.30 and sit on a hillside looking for sambhar but only see a small stag about a mile away. The sun goes in, it gets rather cold, and we return to camp about 7.30.
Whilst discussing tomorrow’s order of battle I ask what time we go off and the boy points to the moon. I think this is a bit odd, when he says ‘big stag’ and there is a stag with its family on the skyline about 200-300 yards behind us. We stalk it and I try a shot with the .303. The sambhar is below the crest and it’s so dark at 7.55pm that I have difficulty in getting a bead (JDW: bead sight). I see the strike in front of his nose and he goes onto the skyline where I get in another at his behind. I hear no dull smack, but he leaps in the air and vanishes – quien sabe?
I return to a bath and some whisky. The hut is wood and grass, daubed over with “matti”, with bedroom, bathroom and saloon.
I fail to score as we do not see a single stag. Next day I collect five squirrels before lunch and another four this morning. Yesterday evening we go out and see a lot of Barking deer, or jungle sheep, in fact they bark very nearby. We stalk a buck, but he has gone when we get up. Later I shoot a hind as C.P.G. (JDW: C.P. Gouldsbury, my father’s host) is allowed to kill off eight a year. It is downhill shooting, about 660’, with the .303 and very good shots too. It’s a bit small when we pick it up, but we see no stags that day.
Food here is grand, “Scotch” at night and a good book in a good bed!
I get 14 days leave and go up to stay with C.P. Gouldsbury, a planter in the High Range, at Yellapatty, some 18 miles from Munnar. I travel up in the train with one Daphne Acton whom I met in a “conga” at Coonoor the other day. I spend the first night at the Club at Munnar and Mrs G. Collects me the next day.
We have quite a party the night before with the two Boyd daughters and a couple of R.A. majors, breaking o/s gramophone records on each other’s heads. Yesterday morning I walk out with a .22 in “Whipsnade”, a prolific patch of jungle opposite the bungalow, and bag three Malabar red squirrels, one of which I lose as it falls onto the top of a dense thicket. I also miss an eagle of sorts, and see a couple of black monkeys which are getting scarce about here. Yesterday evening out with Poosari, the shikari for Sambhar, but I only see a couple of hinds and get back about 8.20. It gets damn cold waiting from 5.30 to 7.30 for them to come out of the jungle into the tea.
Today I go out with a .22 in the morning, unsuccessfully, and am now (4.55pm) sitting on a mountain spur spying out the land – i.e. the jungle and tea below. I am about 7000’ and below me is a saucer shaped valley of 6000’ or so, with the factory lines and much tea in it. Above me towards the grassy heights where the ilex live and away over the ridge lower down I can see the plains 40 miles away or so. I come up here on the back of a horse with two lads carrying my guns (.430 and a borrowed .303), sweaters and the tea. Poosari is now glued to the thin end of a telescope. I could buy me a wife and live here I think!