February 01, 2006
By CAROLINE CLIFTON-MOGG
As you walk through the oversized bamboo hut that constitutes Mustique Airport, your eye is caught by book-filled shelves on the wall beside the customs bench. Closer inspection reveals these to be the 'airport library' where residents and guests donate and borrow all manner of books, from biographies to bodice-rippers. It's and endearing idea that in many ways sums up life on the island of Mustique, a place which, dogged by cliches - 'millionaires' playground', refuge of royals and rock stars' spring to mind - is in fact a busy, self sufficient communtiy.
To understand Mustique, you have first to understand its creater, Colin Tennant - or at least, to understand his very particular, often eccentric vision. In 1953, Tennant went to Trinidad, partly to look at some property that had belonged to his family since the 1850s but visited so rarely that neither his grandfather nor father had even met their estate managers.
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