Roger Windsor

Adventures in Veterinary Medicine

Sad News

I’m sorry to have to inform you that my father, Roger Windsor, died on November 22nd 2022, after a short illness. I discussed this website with him (I helped him set it up, and did minor tech-support) in the weeks before he died, and he wanted to keep it running until the pre-paid hosting package ran out, so it will remain up for some time to come.

He had almost completed Volume Three of his memoirs, A Vet for All Regions, and at his request I am currently editing it for publication in 2023.

Guy Windsor.



I am delighted to announce that Gethyn Edwards has completed his reading of the first volume of my memoirs: I have listened to the first chapter; although he is not me, his reading of the story is excellent.  We now have to go through the book together, to ensure that he has got the African and Argentine names correct.  Before he started his reading we had a two hour Skype meeting during which we discussed pronunciation and accents, and so I am sure that there will not be much to correct.




“The Veterinary Detectives –
e Sherlock Holmes than James Herriot”

This, the first volume of my memoirs, was published by the Book Guild in hardback in 2016, and when the hardback edition sold-out the publishers decided to reissue it in paperback form. However, this version has not sold well and so they decided to ‘remainder’ the rest of the copies. Rather than see them turned to pulp, I have acquired them to give to my friends and/or family.  Should you wish a copy or copies you may collect them from Middlefield House. For those coming to the reunion I will be happy to bring them with me, but we will be travelling by train. An alternative is for me to send you a copy by post:

The cost to pack and post the book in Britain will be        £4.00

to Europe will be       £11.00

to the rest of the world FAR TOO EXPENSIVE!

Payment may be made to my bank account: if you write and let me know how man y copies you want I will send you my bank details

Should you wish me to sign the book there will be a charge of £5: all this money will go to SOS Children’s Villages in Botswana, a charity with which I have had a long-standing connexion. Please write to me – [email protected]

You are welcome to have as many copies as you wish: I hope that you will pass them round your family and friends (an inexpensive present!).



My wife, Maxine Apergis was born during the second year of the Second World War, inHolbrook, Suffolk, into a medical family. She grew up in London and was educated at Cheltenham Ladies’ College; in her last year at school she won the Concerto Class at the Cheltenham Competitive Music Festival. She went onto study music at the Reid School of Music at Edinburgh University but left at the end of her first year because the course was too academic and didn’t contain enough ‘real’music.

In 1965 we were married went to live in Kenya, where Richard our eldest son was born. Son Guy and daughter Claire were born in England after our return to Britain where we bought a house in Willingham, Cambridgeshire, where Maxine met Jim Potter, a horn player who had played in the National Youth Orchestra, and who persuaded her to take up playing again as he needed an accompanist.

CClaire & Guy in Willingham  and with Maxine in the orchard

It was when we moved Gaborone, Botswana in 1986 that her musical career really took off. In Gaborone, she met and worked with David Slater, “Mr Music, Botswana”, who taught at Maru-a-Pula, the leading secondary school in the country: he also conducted the Gaborone Orchestra and ran several choirs. Maxine took lessons with David and he persuaded her to study for the Associated Board Teaching Diploma, which she obtained in 1988. Aside from her teaching, she gave solo piano concerts as well as accompanying the Gaborone Singers for their Christmas concert on Radio Botswana, individual singers, instrumentalists, and theatre performances given by the Capital Players (the local amateur theatre group).

When we moved to Arequipa, Perú in the 1986, Maxine was invited to teach at the Dunker Lavalle Music School in the city. She also gave private piano lessons: one former pupil is now conductor of The Arequipa’s Symphony Orchestra; a second is now a leading recorder player in South America. Maxine’s career as a soloist and accompanist burgeoned in Peru, where she gave solo recitals around the country for the American, French and German cultural organisations, for the British Council and in aid of a Catholic     children’s charity. She also accompanied visiting international instrumentalists, including an exciting evening in Cuzco with the French Cellist René Benedetti, when the French Consul insisted that she carry his pistol!

Maxine took masterclasses with Dr H. Delgado, a former pupil of Claudio   Arrau, and was invited with her colleague Hugo Cueto to give a two-piano concert to mark the 450th anniversary of the foundation of the City of Arequipa. The City awarded her the Diploma de Honor, equivalent to the freedom of the city, for her services to music in Perú.

The 450th Anniversary Concert                Diploma de Honor

In 1992 the family returned to Britain and we settled in Dumfries, When she arrived in the town Maxine began setting up a “permanent career” for herself and since that date she has taught more than 300 pupils from the ages of under 8 to over 80! She has accompanied more than 500 singers and instrumentalists in concerts, examinations, or festivals. She nurtured the talents of the young Nickie Spence and accompanied him at his first professional engagement. Alex  McQuiston was still at school when she accompanied this fine young cellist and she accompanied him while at University and into his first graduate concerts. Claudia Wood was another young Dumfries singer who benefited from Maxine’s care. She also took part in the musical life of the community: years. She joined the Music Club, was soon on the committee and for two years was President.

When the Dumfries and District Competitive Musical Festival Association fell on hard times we signed up as trustees and help nurse the society back into financial health. Together with Doreen Jaap, Maxine revitalized the classical music section of the Festival and in one year they had more than 150 entries in the different classes; The Dumfries Musical Theatre Company, The Guild of Players, Male Voice Choir, Balliol Consort and Solway Symfonia have all used her services as accompanist. With John Chaman (clarinet) and the sadly now deceased Susan Beeby (cello), Maxine formed the Caerlaverock Trio which gave concerts round the region, especially for Dumfries Arts Festival.

Today, Maxine plays in informal groups with the leading musicians in the region. For almost 30 years she has given pleasure and provided inspiration as well as tuition to young performers, several of whom have gone on to become professional musicians. On the occasion of her eightieth birthday, Dumfries and Galloway Life said MANY HAPPY RETURNS MAXINE, and “THANK YOU FOR THE MUSIC”..

Feeding the baby leopard





Because  of my age I am very interested in a vaccine against covid19! I was therefore delighted when I heard that the Oxford team had recruited brave volunteers to be vaccinated and then be challenged with the live virus.  This reminded me of the time when I was working at the East African Veterinary Research Organisation in Kenya, where I was part of the ‘Mugug Mafia’ that worked with contagious bovine pleuro-pneumonia, a serious respiratory disease of cattle caused by Mycoplasma mycoides, that in additions to lesions in the chest, also, in serious cases, affected similar organs to those affected by covidd19, especially the kidneys but also other abdominal organs. I was responsible for the production of the  T1 broth vaccine that almost eradicated the disease from Africa. We had serious problems testing the vaccine, because if we injected the pathogenic strain into the trachea of cattle they succumbed to the disease whether or not they had been vaccinated. We had to devise a method to test their immunity. There was another similarity with covid19 in that that when vaccinated the animals showed an antibody response within 14 days, but by six weeks post vaccination many animals no longer had demonstrable antibodies in their blood, despite being immune.

To demonstrate their immunity we had to devise an indirect test, which had been worked out  before my arrival on the scene. Our statistician had informed us that there would need to be a minimum of 16 animals in each group and for our indirect test we required a minimum of three groups; a vaccinated, a control and a group to be artificially infected.  We had to purchase mobs of animals of the same age and size, and because during the trial they would be housed together we had to remove the horns. The animals were randomly assigned to a group and those in the groups to be vaccinated received 0.5ml of the T­1 broth vaccine into the tail tip, and the animals were all grazed together until it was time for the trial to begin. The animals that were to be artificially infected were anaesthetized and a plastic tube was inserted into the trachea;  a fine plastic tube was then passed into a bronchus and a culture of the pathogenic challenge organism was injected into the lung tissue.

Once the donor animals had recovered from the anaesthetic all the animal were put together into a covered yard; their temperatures were taken daily and once a week they were bled and the serum was tested for antibody.   Within a few days the donor animals showed elevated temperatures, and signs of respiratory distress developed; after about six weeks the control animals started to show signs of the disease. Six weeks after the first signs were seen the animal was slaughtered, although some died earlier, and some were slaughtered on humane grounds. After a further six weeks all the animal were slaughtered.  Detailed post mortem examinations were carried out and numerous cultures were set up to try an isolate the mycoplasma. We never recovered the organism from any of the vaccinated animals. By this method we were able to show that the vaccine produced a solid immunity for 12 months and even two years after a single vaccination many animals were still protected, and so we were able to recommend that to prevent disease in their herds, African countries should vaccinate their animals on an annual basis.  I sincerely hope that the Oxford team have the same success with their covid19 vaccine.


On Saturday 15th July I attended this symposium and had a stand to sell my books. The symposium was a disaster! Instead of glorifying the role that Edinburgh graduates – the doctors, vets, teachers, priests, and engineers had had in building ports, roads, railways, schools, churches, hospitals, clinics, and universities; teaching, healing the sick and controlling animal diseases, the social “scientists” went on about the terrible role that the university had played in the slave trade by accepting money from the profits of slavery. They complained that Edinburgh was behind Glasgow University in unravelling the wicked ways our forefathers behaved: and so judging the mores of the past by present day values.

They went so far as to suggest that the David Hume Tower should be renamed because he was a racialist; Hume was a great philosopher and one of the leaders of the Scottish Enlightenment which was responsible for the prosperity the world enjoys today. Almost the only African man who was mentioned was Julius Nyerere, who apart from being the first president of Tanganyika, translated Julius Caesar into Swahili.   They did not mention that the first South African vet qualified from the Dick Vet in the 1880s,  nor that he was a Cape Coloured! Coming up to the present day Sir David Jawarra (as he became), studied for the Diploma in Tropical Veterinary Medicine during my time at the Dick Vet, having obtained his veterinary degree in Glasgow. He became the first President of The Gambia. In my year was Mike Buada, with whom I have  lost touch but when I was in Ghana, I was informed that he was Dean of the Kumasi Veterinary School.  In the year below me was Ishmael Muriithi, who became Director of Veterinary Services in Kenya and would have gone on to greater things had he not died tragically young. In the same year was Noah Wekesa, who worked in clinical veterinary practice in Kenya for many years before taking up a political career which culminated in his becoming Minister of Tourism. I believe that the University should be proud of assisting these and many other young Africans.

At the end of the morning session we adjourned to the auditorium of the McEwan Hall which is where the stalls were, and where a young Nigerian music scholar  gave a short but delightful recital of Classical and Romantic piano music. Several people showed  interest in my books. We ate a buffet lunch as we chatted to potential purchasers. The picture shows Maxine working on the stand. I did not attend the afternoon session of the symposium which was devoted to the future.  I believe that it should be pointed out to these social “scientists” that Edinburgh University led the way in African development,  and that luckily there were no social scientists around at the time !



My original intention for the cove of “A Vet in Perú” was to have a painting by Evaristo Callo  Anco, that contained the Andes mountains, alpacas, and  a portrait of me together with my son Richard.  The reason that I singled out just one of my three children was that Richard and I had worked together on a project to investigate the economic benefits to the campesino of controlling parasites in their camelid animals.  Richard had to undertake a project for his “A” Lever examination in Biology and at the time the self-financing veterinary laboratory that I had set up was in a reasonable financial position and so able to offer free veterinary services to the animals of Andean farmers. The reason for the work was to introduce ourselves to the farmers and gain their trust

I sent Evaristo a selection of digital photographs of the volcanoes near the project site, of the herds of llamas and alpacas with which we worked, together with various photos of Richard and me; I explained that I wanted the picture to extend round the spine of the book and he produced this wonderful painting, just as  wanted it and he even had an alpaca looking at the viewer from the spine as the book stood on a shelf.

However, the Publishers decided that a picture of the famous tourist venue Machu Picchu would be a greater attraction to would-be purchasers and decided to use this, although they did add a llama to the cover at my request.  They did agree to use Evaristo’s fine painting as the “frontispiece”. The story of Richard’s project is told in “A Vet in Perú”.

One of the photos I had sent to Evaristo was me wearing a tuxedo: I had sent it to him because it was a good picture of my full face and so the first draft of the picture was  of me wearing a bow tie and tuxedo preparing to undertake veterinary work!  The painting is now in Richard’s collection.  This was soon corrected and the final painting showed us both in working clothes.

Because it was his “A” level project, Richard designed the plan of work with some input from my LABVETSUR colleague and he carried out all the statistical analysis on the results.  Despite my sending a letter to Oundle School, informing them that the vast majority of the planning had been the work of my son, the examiners were unimpressed and Richard only received a “B” grade for his project.  However, he has the satisfaction that the results of his “A” level project being published in two peer-reviewed journals.  He gained entry to Edinburgh University where he read for a Master of Arts degree in biology.

Caballos de Paso

When I was preparing the photographs for “A Vet in Perú” I searched to find a good picture of a caballo de paso with its rider, but could find nothing to compare with the watercolour by Evaristo Callo Anco, which demonstrates clearly what the sport is about. When you look at the rider you can see ‘stillness’ even with the horse is going full tilt.  The rider wears a broad-brimmed hat, a silk neckerchief, a poncho, long spurs, and his feet are held in box stirrups.  All this is clearly seen in Evaristo’s painting. The rider  must seem to be motionless, and he controls the horse with his finger tips on the reins.  Normally four horseman form a team and they perform in unison and demonstrations usually end with the horse lined up facing the audience. The set off at full speed towards the watchers and at the very last moment the horses swerve away, seemingly of their own accord.

The caballo de paso does not trot, but ambles.  For the trot the diagonal legs move together, but for the pacings horse it is the legs on the same side that move, making for a very much smoother ride.  The horse ridden by cowboys in the United States are quarter horses with a  similar action to the caballo de paso; this enables the rider to spend the whole day in the saddle.

There is a much more detailed  description in “A Vet in Perú”, the sales of which have been poor, despite the good critiques it has received.   If you do not wish to own a copy of this book, could I please ask you to request a copy from your local library. To date there have been no critiques posted on the website: who will be the first ?



  They can weigh up to 4 tons

They can weigh up to 4 tons

Reviews of ‘A Vet in Perú’ have been very positive; however, some people have told me that they prefer the first volume because there is much in it concerning Africa, and its wild animals. It is true that the wildlife of the mountains and jungles of South American, cannot compare with that of the plains and forests of Africa.  There is nothing on the continent of Africa that can compare with the marine life on the Pacific coast of South America. We saw more wildlife on a boat trip to the Ballestas Islands than anywhere else in Perú; the sea was very rough and the helmsman had difficulty in holding the boat still so that we could watch the antics of the thousands of sea lions, the waddling of the Humboldt penguins or the pelicans swimming majestically by. The movement of the boat made taking photos a difficult business. Not even the wildebeest migrations in the Serengeti compare with those islands for numbers of birds and animals. It brought home to me, the massive numbers of fish that there must be in the sea to feed all these birds and animals. I thought back to my practice days in Malton, Yorkshire where one of the more interesting clients was Flamingo Park Zoo, which had just opened up in Kirby Misperton under the direction of Reg Bloom who had come there from Windsor Safari Park after working as a game trapper in Kenya.  The zoo was constantly acquiring new animals, including a pair of southern elephant seals which had just arrived from South Georgia; they had travelled each in a large open wooden box and for the many weeks on board ship they had not eaten.  We tried them on some herrings, and one had eaten greedily, the second showed no interest in food.  We released the one that was feeding into the newly constructed pool, and I worked out a diet sheet, to slowly build up the fish intake.  I was at a loss to know what to do with the recalcitrant seal, and I finally decided to give a large dose of mixed vitamins by mouth, to stimulate its appetite; I stood on the wooden case then tickled the mouth of the seal with a small stick! – he responded by opening his mouth to grab the stick and as he did so I poured the medicine down his throat – a primitive but effective technique.  It produced a very rapid result and not the one I was expecting: within a few moments the seal started vomiting and out poured a bucketful of intestinal nematode worms! The seal was released into the pool.  This had taken place on a Friday afternoon and I suggested that they feed the seal with one fish that evening, A second fish was to be give the next morning and two more were to be given at midday, and so the quantity was to be built up slowly over the following week.  I was at a dinner party that Saturday night when the phone went.  Our hosts answered it, and indicated that the call was for me. It was Reg. Bloom, and he was very worried:

“Can you get here straight away, that elephant seal you treated is bleeding to death.”

“I will be with you in about half an hour: can you make sure that there are two or three people to help.”

I had no idea what to expect or what I would need to do: I always carried chloral hydrate, which, in those days, was a useful general anaesthetic for large animals (the new anaesthetic agents were still not available for vets).  I arrived at the zoo to find at least a dozen helpers round the pool and the seals swimming round in what appeared to be blackcurrant juice; the one who had refused to eat was obviously in some trouble as it was thrashing about and it had damaged its flippers on the concrete of the pool.

“Tell me what has happened, it seems to me that one of the seals is suffering from severe colic.”

Reg. Bloom pushed forward a young girl who was almost in tears.

“I fed the seal this morning and gave it two fish as you instructed.  I fed him again at lunchtime and gave it three as you instructed, but he looked so mournful that I gave him some more, and in the end I gave him the whole bucketful.”

“Well now we know the problem we can go about sorting it out.  But remember it takes a long time to starve an animal to death but overfeeding can kill in hours.  Can you drain the pool?” I said to Reg. Once we had drained the pool a couple of the workers roped the colicking  half ton beast,  and for the first and only time in my life I gave an intravenous injection to a seal and as the chloral hydrate went in I could see the seal relaxing.  Once the animal was anaesthetized, I was able to give it a detailed examination. Both front flippers had multiple abrasions, which I cleaned with a mild disinfectant solution.  I told Reg. not to refill the pool until the animal had recovered, and the young lady to stick to the diet: I washed up and left.  The seal made a complete recovery. I returned to the dinner party, smelling of disinfectant, but with a good story to tell. Just seeing what one elephant seal could eat in a day and there before my eyes on one small island were thousands of sea lions and hundreds of thousands of sea birds and there were thousands of such islands along the Pacific coast of South America. What a repository of food are the oceans of the world and all the while the boobies were trying to deplete them.



The book is dedicated to four people, three Peruvians and one Brit. Inginiero Luis (Lucho) Lozada Casapia, the man who had the inspiration to ask the British Government for a project to set up a veterinary laboratory, under the auspices not of the government but of the farmers’ co-operative of which he was president; Srta Aurora Salazar Calcinas, the project secretary throughout my stay in the country; Sra Roxana Bustinza de Vergeray, the first employee of the laboratory; and Ing. Reynaldo (Reggie) Roberts Billig, the Honorary British Consul in Arequipa, were the Peruvians. Keith Haskell, CMG, CVO, British Ambassador to Perú, was the Brit.  Keith died before the book was published, but his widow Maria Luisa (Toni) was able to come to the London launch in Daunt Books, Holland Park.  Aurora came to Britain to take part in the launch parties. The Peruvian Ambassador to Great Britain, Srta Susana de la Puente Wiese, who was about to demit office  and consequently too busy to attend, sent Srta Silvana Mendoza to the launch.

Turnout was excellent and people came from Somerset, the Cotswolds, Wiltshire, Hampshire, Surrey, and Suffolk also my granddaughter Rebecca came from Manchester joining other members of Roger and Maxine’s families. Robert Max from the Barbican Trio, Ralph de Souza and David Waterman of the Endellion Quartet,  who had stayed with us when they gave concerts in Arequipa, also joined the party. It is probable that there were more people from outside the capital than Londoners!  Srta Mendoza opened the formal proceedings and apologized for the absence of the Ambassador.   The talks and readings followed the same pattern as the launches in Edinburgh and London. Toni Haskell was presented with a copy of the book in memory of Keith, and Aurora was given a copy for herself, and books to take back to Perú for Lucho, Reggie and Roxana.

Maxine again produced the Pisco Sours, the papas Huancainas,  and ocopa; there were also the nibbles that Aurora had brought from Perú. There were some friends that we had not seen for several years and so the party went with a swing.

Page 1 of 2

Powered by WordPress & Theme by Anders Norén