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It's many years since I sat on that aeroplane, the plane that flew me away from Lusaka, Africa, away from Mum Dad and Simon.

At the beginning I lived with granny Wilkinson in Liverpool. We became close and remained so until her death. Aunt Betty and I were also reconciled, but sadly the days of dolls and trips to the pantomime were long gone, our relationship was irreparably distant, as sadly, we met as strangers.

I never did audition for R.A.D.A. instead I went into the hospitality business, starting right at the bottom. First they employed me as a tea girl at the Adelphi Liverpool, making tea for the staff. Gradually my employers gave in to my pleas and despite lack of ‘educational certificates’ started training me in reception duties, accountancy, food and beverage management, etc.

This enabled me to transfer to other hotels in the group, such as the Gleneagles Hotel in Scotland, Manor House Moretonhampstead and eventually the Imperial Hotel Torquay?

Just weeks before leaving for a prestigious hotel post on the beautiful Island of Bermuda I met my husband Captain Alan Granville – Hitchman at his night club in Torquay. I never went… we married and had three wonderful children. Together we went on to own and run restaurants bars and hotels.

Left alone, my darling brother Simon endured the parenting skills of Mum and Dad alone and has been forever scarred by his African upbringing.

My childhood dream was fulfilled when I insisted all our establishments sported Axminster carpets.

I will always keep the gold necklace with the blue stone drop which mum gave me at the airport in Lusaka. It was, to me, a symbol of a relationship that we should have had, but unfortunately were never able, to manage well.

Lillian died in 2004.

The Scorpion House

The Scorpion House is a memoir of an African childhood that is both shocking and inspiring. It is the story of Fay, a little girl growing up in Rhodesia in the 1940s and '50s within a deeply dysfunctional family.

Originally from a privileged background, Fay's father becomes a feckless and irresponsible alcoholic. Her unhinged and unpredictable mother neglects her children, but also evokes sympathy as an artistic, animal-obsessed woman trapped in a desperate situation. Fay's parents lead chaotic, rootless lives that will leave the reader flabbergasted.

Seen through the eyes of a child, this unique story is often funny and uplifting. From Hollywood, to guns and nuns, this gripping tale will engage and enthral readers leaving them incredulous and entertained.

In the tradition of the best-selling Call the Midwife by Jennifer Worth, The Scorpion House is a poignant, riveting read.

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