Robin Bayley recently appeared on BBC's Inside Out to talk about his incredible journey to Mexico, during which he retraced his great grandfather's footsteps of a century before, and was led to discover thousands of relatives he didn't know he had. He recounts his story in THE MANGO ORCHARD, published by Random House in the UK. The programme was filmed in his great grandfather's home village in Lancashire and also features footage shot on his recent visit to Mexico.
As a child, Robin was enchanted by his grandmother's stories of Mexican adventures; of bandits, wild jungle journeys, hidden bags of silver and a narrow escape from the bloody Mexican Revolution. At the end of the 19th century his great grandfather, Arthur - or 'Arturo' - Greenhalgh had left England to travel through the Americas. His fabulous stories had been passed down through the generations, but Robin always sensed in them an absence. So great was his desire to fill that vacuum that he sold his London flat and abandoned a successful media career to retrace his great grandfather's footsteps.
THE MANGO ORCHARD recounts the story of parallel journeys a hundred years apart, into the heart of Latin America. Undaunted by the passage of time and a paucity of information, Robin seeks out the places where Arturo travelled and lived, determined to uncover what he had left behind. Along the road Robin encounters witches, drug dealers, a gun-toting Tasmanian Devil and an ex-Nazi diamond trader. He is threatened with deportation, offered the protection of Colombian guerrilla fighters and is comforted by the blessings of los santos. He falls in love with a Guatemalan psychic with mystical powers and almost gives up his quest, until a sense of destiny drives him on to western Mexico and the discovery of much, much more than he had expected.
Preface published THE MANGO ORCHARD in
hardback last year and Arrow will publish in paperback in April. Rights
have been sold to Guerra & Paz in Portugal and Editura Allfa in