There was an interesting Programme on Radio 4 this morning, part of a series. Caught it whilst having a shower, great place to listen, whilst drying afterwards! Interesting to hear Terry talking about his time with Gavin Maxell, and the Otters in the book the Ring of Bright Water. Particularly moving was the time one of the otters got into the house, became scared and bit right through his boot, and then later bit his fingers, and had to have them amputated. Not the happiest of posts but I will paste in the BBC comprehensive synopsis of the programme:
When Terry Nutkins was 13 he moved from London to the isolated West Highlands to live and work with writer Gavin Maxwell, whose most famous book is Ring of Bright Water. Forty years after Maxwell’s death, Terry tells in detail, and for the first time, of the years he spent at Sandaig. The romantic setting of Camusfearna (as Sandaig was called in the book) has become almost mythical since Ring of Bright Water was written – it is now a place of pilgrimage for people who love the otters, the landscape and the wildlife it describes. But, according to Terry, the purity of this little white cottage in pristine surroundings was sullied after Maxwell made his money from the book – the cottage was extended, pools were constructed for the otters and Maxwell himself became a reluctant celebrity, under constant pressure to live up to the reputation he had established for himself. Maxwell, a homosexual, entered into an unhappy marriage, the otters began a series of savage attacks and a fire devastated Sandaig House. Terry speaks to Maxwell’s former wife, Lavinia Hankinson, to naturalist and writer Sir John Lister Kaye, who knew Maxwell shortly before his death, and to Maxwell’s biographer, Douglas Botting.
If you would like to listen to this programme in the next 7 days it is available on bbc iplayer on this page http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b00n5tfj