Geoff Read has previously worked at London Zoo and Marwell Zoological Park.Within this interview Geoff discusses highlights within his career including watching the birth of a snow leopard and Princess Anne’s visit to the Zoo. Geoff talks us through what we can expect from his first publication ‘Earwigs to Rhinos’, reflecting on years of fond memories and lived experiences as a zoo keeper.
A baby ape swinging under the table, a kangaroo in the supermarket, a deadly insect bite. Geoff Read, head zoo-keeper for over forty years tells his story. This book gives us a true snapshot of what zoo life is like.
The ride of emotions is tangible as we read about the birth, death, and conservation of some of our rarest insects and animals. This peppered with snippets of his family life makes this a colourful, informative, and nostalgic read.
In the 1950’s, as a child Geoff lived in a flat in London. A boy who searched the old bomb-sites for creepy crawlies was perhaps not in favour with his mum for storing the so-called projects under his bed! But Geoff knew he wanted to work with animals and insects. His interest was insatiable, often getting him into trouble.
Sandra was the girl next door and elated when Geoff asked her out. Being a teenager, she was naturally excited and spent the afternoon getting ready, wondering where their first date would be. Little did she know she would be teetering down rubbly paths in her highest heels, to a privet hedge to look at insects. Despite the shaky start the romance blossomed.
Geoff never excelled at school and was desperate to leave so when he saw a vacancy for a position at London Zoo, he lied about his age and applied. His father had died whilst he was young so once offered the job, he had to break the news to his mother. He was on the road to live his dream. Later he married Sandra and moved his young family to the country and took up a position as head keeper at Marwell Zoo, where he remained until retirement.
The book is full of raw emotion and honesty, attention capturing moments, a near death experience, conservation and much more. You cannot fail to want to read on to see what the next chapter in Geoff’s daily life brings.
For any further questions about the book Geoff is open to discussing at one of his book signings:
Marwell Hotel Friday 13th August 2-6pm
Geoff will also be at the Burley Village hall Craft Fair in the New forest:
July 26th until 1st August
‘Earwigs to Rhinos’ is available to purchase from:
PG Wells Winchester:
(Released Tuesday 27th July)