In 2012 my wife Pat & I were having dinner with Alice and Dan Nicolson.

Alice Nicolson grew up in Lebanon, where she was born to expatriate American parents in the American Hospital on the campus of the American University of Beirut, where her father was on the faculty.  A master gardener, she was an outstanding chair of Collington’s Grounds’ Committee for many years.


Dan, a botanist, was a Curator at the US National Herbarium of the Smithsonian Institution for 43 years.  Don was developing dementia and has now died.

They had lived in Indonesia while he was gathering information for his dissertation at the Bogor Botanical Gardens, started many years earlier by the Dutch, which is a world class botanical garden located in Bogor, Indonesia, 30 miles south of Jakarta.

The Nicolsons had travelled to nearby Kuala Lumpur about the same time that I was there as a Peace Corps Volunteer (1963-65).  I asked if they had known the Lord Medway who taught biology at the University of Malaya (now Malaysia).  They knew him!  They had eaten snake with him at Glutton Square in Singapore!

Sitting at that table that night, were probably the only three people in all of the DC area who had ever heard of him!

The Earl of Cranbrook, in the County of Kent, is a title in the Peerage of the United Kingdom.  The Lord Medway that the Nicolsons and I knew, is now the fifth Earl.   He was born in 1933 and his given name was Gathorne.  He succeeded his father to the title in 1978.  He is a zoologist and environmental biologist, who was awarded the Royal Geographical Society’s Founder’s Gold Medal in 1995.  He married Caroline Jarvis in 1967 after we knew him and lived in a jungle area of Malaysia.  After three years, they took up residence at his family seat, Great Glemham House, Great Glemham, Saxmundham, Suffolk.   As Countess she ran the estate farm and raised their three children.

See also, my post “Top of the World” under Peace Corps.