None of my aunties are this much fun.

Henry Pulling, an unmarried, retired bank manager meets his last remaining relative, a colourful septuagenarian aunt called Augusta, at his mother’s funeral. Within days his mother’s ashes have been used for marijana smuggling purposes without his knowledge (luckily the police believe him). He then finds himself travelling around the world (and Brighton), being dragged into various crimes and meeting people unlike he has known before, prostitutes, CIA operatives and drug dealers, all thousands of miles from his garden, and new lawn mover.

‘Travels With My Aunt’ (published 1969) is my bath book. I have a work lunch break book (Dune), two bedside books (Lanark and A Brief History of Seven Killings) and so on. If I have different books in different places, so I keep up with them all, that is if I continue going to work, bed, and having baths.

So far my favourite line is this, not long after they have arrived at their Paris hotel, so quite near the start of the travels –

I restlessly out and crossed the little garden where an American couple (from the St James or Albany) were having tea. One of them as raising a little bag, like a drowned animal, from his cup at the end of a cord. At this distressing sight I felt very far away from England, and it was with a pang that I realised how much I was likely to miss Southwood and the dahlias in the company of Aunt Augusta.

Poor chap, not a loose tea leaf or teapot in sight.

I had no idea a 1972 film of this existed, starring Maggie Smith, and I must get it.

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