Lions, and Tigers, and Bears – oh my!

You could literally write a book for every family filled with a collection of their stories, from things grandparents say about modern technology to that time when the child mistook rabbit poo for chocolate. Today I want to share one of my favourite stories from my family, about my Mum and her second student accommodation.

My Mum studied music at the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester, with an interesting opening few weeks. In fact, she lasted only three weeks at the halls of residence when her course mate upset the kitchen staff (the line ‘this shit is inedible’ was mentioned) which led to them being banished. They then went on a search and found a couple of rooms to rent within a family’s home, but it wasn’t exactly ordinary. 

The landlords of the house were friends with the owners of Bell Vue zoo, and so they were the ones who usually took in animals after they were rejected by their parents. This meant that, when my Mum moved in, there was a lion, two tigers, three afghan hounds, a seventy-year-old man, and a baby.

A fantastic and almost unbelievable setting, this was the place were a couple first-year students lived. The lion apparently loved going out in the car, so they would plonk him on the front seat and go driving – stopping at zebra crossings were the best part of the journey, as the reactions from people all around them were hilarious. Another time when someone came to fix the oven and walked through the sitting room to say hello, only to encounter the lion spread across the sofa who let out a roar at the stranger. The tigers apparently had a game that they liked to play with them in the garden, where one of them would distract the two of them as the other stalked them. 

The story ends when the lion had to go back to the zoo as, although he was relatively young, he was very big. Unfortunately he was too tame to go into the enclosure with the other lions, so had to go into a cage on his own. My Mum and her friend stayed for a year and left when there were a few leopards and the baby-turned-toddler.

If that happened today, it would no doubt be a viral hit on buzzfeed with photos being shared all over the internet. A few people have even rolled their eyes at the story, probably muttering to friends later on that it couldn’t possibly be true. When you get down to it, it’s ridiculous to think about all of these stories that everyone has – so I’m making it my goal to find out as many as possible. Talk about great inspiration fodder.


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