You’re witnessing the birth of something, in the picture above: like the capturing of the birth of a star through the Hubble Telescope, this lens has crystallised the moment John John Knight first bent his face round his very own ‘Blue Steel’.
Amazingly enough for a child who specialises in thwarting family group shots, here he is literally voguing for the camera: it turns out John absolute bloody LOVES getting dressed up in Bhutanese national dress. This sartorial bombshell occurred after lunch in Paro when we spotted a shop for the ladies of the group to get a costume. We fully expected John to kick off in time-honoured fashion and – instead – found him tenderly fondling fabrics and eyeing up cummerbunds like he was possessed by the spirit of John Inman.
To be fair, this was the high point of a day where the youngest member of our travelling circus had generally been on cracking form. He’s a little fella, we forget he’s just turned 3: he’s due some epic terrorism round about now so it’s no surprise John takes as much effort to shepherd around the world as the other three combined (hence why we’re travelling with Nanny Em, otherwise known as the KickAss Kiwi).
We set off for a hike after a hearty breakfast and lashings of chai tea (Como Uma Paro is an awesome hotel by the way) and we could, for all the world, have been heading up the Tyrol. After the pollution in Delhi, which the morning after Diwali was pretty close to unbearable, we now had fresh air, warbling birds and quivering cypresses: yes, I went the full Julie Andrews.
Rinpung Dzong 👆🏽there. Dzongtastic, I’m sure you’ll agree. It’s Paro’s main temple and administrative building and it’s sure purdy (not a patch on Leeds Town Hall, mind).
*Special bonus shot of John attempting to give Crazy Legs Crane a shoulder-carry. *
And so to the schmutter emporium. As someone pointed out on Instagram, the Bhutanese men’s outfit is basically a Hugh Hefner-esque tartan dressing gown, with long black socks that look like tights, a sight that provokes hilarity at the airport when you first see it (EVERYONE is dressed like this) but which you get used to remarkably quickly, but the ladies get-up is actually quite lovely (and involves a compulsory sparkly brooch so naturally the girls had a bit of a scrap over who got which).
One thing I *do* know is that the Knight Family is now sorted for the next Himalayan-Themed Fancy Dress competition we get to take part in. And provided nobody comes as an actual yak, we’ll storm it.