In 1947, returning to the UK with two young children to support, Margaret Durrell starts a boarding house in Bournemouth. But any hopes of respectability are dashed as the tenants reveal themselves to be a host of eccentrics: from a painter of nudes to a pair of glamorous young nurses whose late-night shifts combined with an ever-revolving roster of gentleman callers leading to a neighbourhood rumour that Margo is running a brothel. Margo's own two sons, Gerry and Nicholas, prove to be every bit as mischievous as their famous Uncle Gerald - and he himself returns periodically with weird and wonderful animals, from marmosets to monkeys, that are quite unsuitable for life in a Bournemouth garden.
In 1947, Margo Durrell, sister to zoologist Gerald (The Ark's Anniversary) and novelist Lawrence (The Alexandria Quartet), returned home to England after years of extensive travel in order to find a means to support her two children. On the advice of an aunt, she established a boarding house in the seaside village of Bournemouth. This memoir, written in 1951 and discovered in an attic by a granddaughter, details Margo's experiences as a landlady who was continually beset by eccentric lodgers rather than the respectable tenants she had hoped for. Unfortunately, the stilted writing does not do justice to what must have been an interesting time in the author's life. Besides lodgers, who included several jazz musicians, a painter of nudes and a bigamist, her brother Gerald visited with his snake and several monkeys who later escaped into the neighborhood. Photos.
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