Beasts in my Belfry by Gerald Malcolm Durrell

By Gerald Malcolm Durrell

An enthralling account of Gerald Durrell’s first task as a scholar keeper in Whipsnade Park in 1945.

Gerald Durrell used to be one in every of Britain’s best-loved naturalists, whose books, together with My relatives and different Animals, proceed to entertain and amuse generations of kids and adults alike. Fifteen of his vintage titles have now been republished through Bello.

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The last time I went up to have a look nobody had thought to scrub the front door step for ages. It was almost black. I could have cried. ’ After I had consumed several cups of tea, two slices of cake and vast quantities of strawberry jam and bread, Mrs Bailey reluctantly removed the things from the table. ’ she said, looking at me searchingly, as though trying to find signs of malnutrition on my face. ‘Are you quite sure you wouldn’t like another slice of bread or another slice of cake or anything?

In this type of weather, according to Purchase, Albert and his wives should be gambolling around like friendly kittens. On my second morning my faith in Purchase was rudely shattered. I was walking past the lions’ cage, bent double against the wind and blue with cold, on my way back to the shelter and warmth of ‘The Haven’. Albert had concealed himself in a thick bed of grass and nettles in the curve of the cage near the path. He had, I am sure, seen me pass earlier and had decided that he would surprise me on my return journey.

Not me. You’ll pay me twenty-five shillings a week. ’ I asked. ‘Of course we’ll manage,’ she said. ’ ‘Well, I still think it’s awfully little,’ I protested. ‘Take it or leave it,’ she said. ‘Take it or leave it. ’ She smiled at me and pushed the cake and scones nearer. ‘Not if you make home-made strawberry jam,’ I said. ’ She beamed at me. ‘Good,’ she said. ‘We’ve got a nice little bedroom for you upstairs; I’ll show it to you in a minute. ’ Over tea she explained to me how Charlie normally worked at London Zoo but during the war he had had to be evacuated with the elephants to Whipsnade and so she had come with him.

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