by Gerald Durrell
I. LEAVING ENGLAND
CHAPTER I A RAIN DAY IN BOURNEMOUTH
It Was August in Bournemouth. A cold wind from the English Channel blew The rain against the seaside houses. I was ten that year and I was Lying on the floor labelling My seashell Collection. The rest of my family was sitting by the Fire trying to keep warm. Everyone was ill except for my eldest Brother, Larry. Mother and I had colds. My other brother, Leslie, had Earache and my sister, Margo, had spots all over her face.
“Mother, this Family is disintegrating,” said Larry.
“Everyone is ill And unhappy.”
“We certainly are Not,” said Mother as he looked up from her cookbook.
“Corfu,” Larry Continued, “that's the place for us! We need sunshine and more Space. My Friend George lives on Corfu. He says it's wonderful. Let's move Ther!”
“All right, dear,” Mother answered cautiously. “You go first and prepare everything And the rest for us will come later.”
“You're not going To trick me again,” said Larry. “When you said we would move to Spain, I waited in Seville for two months, but you never came.”
“You're not being Fair, Larry. I can't suddenly move my family,” said Mother. “There Are a lot of things to arrange.
Anyway, I can't sell This house yet. I only bought it a few months ago.”
“Of course you Can,” said Larry. “Sell it before we have time to ruin it.”
“It would be madness to sell it”, said Mother. “It's impossible”.
So, as it was Impossible and completely mad, we sold the house and moved to Corfu.
We travelled by boat To France. When we opened our bags for Customs inspection, it Was easy to see what each person thought was most important. My Sister, Margo, had suitcases full of clothes and medicines for her Spots. Leslie had his entire gun collection and a few clothes. He had A bottle of oil for cleaning the guns and also a book about them. Larry had two big suitcases full of books and a small briefcase with Clothes in it.
Mother had one Suitcaseof clothes and one suitcase of books about cokking and Gardening. I only took with the things I needed the most: four books About nature, a net to catch butterflies a jar full f caterpillars And my dog, Roger.
Our train passed Throught rainy Franceand tidy Switzerland.
It arrived at last In sunny Italy, where we caught a boat for the island of Corfu. In The early morning, we saw the sleepy island in front of us. We could Hear the sound of cicadas across the sea as the boat sailed Towards the island.
On Corfu, we walked out of the noisy confusion of the Customs building Into bright sunlight. Larry found two carriages pulled by tired , old Horses. The porters put he bags and suitcases into one and we got Into the other.
“Well,” Larry demanded, “what are we wainting for?”
“For Mother and the dog,” said Leslie. “Roger has found a tree.””