I started working for John in 1977 at the Railway Technical Centre. My overwhelming memory was of someone who continually came up with new ideas and gadgets made from very basic materials. Some were just crazy, but others went on to become great inventions; no-one involved in track maintenance in Britain will be unaware of the stoneblower; a tool conceived in John's living room using Sally's vacuum cleaner. It was a pleasure working with him on such things, some as mad as the FROG trolley (For Recording Of Geometry), a frame that leap-frogged along the track recording the rail profile and it's equivalent that was towed behind a machine, known as TOAD. I caught the inventive bug from him, and we continued to work together at Laser Rail after he retired from BR and I started my own business having left BR. My favourite phrase that he used was "it's better to have something that works but shouldn't than have something that should work and doesn't". Fond memories indeed.