Saturday, 22 October 2016

Magical House

The front of the house.
On Thursday I went to Bournemouth where, among other things, I had a look at this unremarkable house.

I stood for a while and looked at the front.  And then I walked to the garden at the back.

And I gazed up at the rooms under the roof.

The back of the house.
And I cast my mind back sixty years to the house as it was then. When there were chimpanzees wandering round the house, inside and out.

Chomley the Chimp at the back of the house.
And when a young man sat up at the top of the house, writing in long hand his book about his childhood in Corfu.

Some family and friends at the front of the house.  Gerald Durrell is on the right.  The woman on the left is Margo Durrell; she was the owner of the house which was always open to her brother and an animal or two or ten or more.
The book was My Family and Other Animals.  The house is at 51 St Alban's Avenue in Bournemouth.  The chimpanzees living in the garden behind the house were the first denizens of what would become a world famous zoo.

This is the sort of thing that happens in nondescript houses here and there in England if you know where to look. Magic happens.