When I was a child and young adult, I was lost and confused, trying to make sense of the mindless, violent bullying that I was subjected to on a daily basis. I found great comfort and inspiration in two books – Winnie the Pooh by A.A. Milne, and The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame.
These books, populated by animals both good and bad, helped me cope with my current problems and gave me tools to prepare myself for the future. They gave me an idea of the sort of characters I already had in my life, and the sorts I might meet around the corner. I realised I was not alone. I tried to model myself on Rabbit in Winnie the Pooh. He was a practical chap who made the best of a bad situation and got on with life. A lot of the time I felt like Eeyore in his gloomy spot, but everyone got together to help him, and I thought I would be brave and look for supportive friends myself. Eventually, I found a few. I took inspiration from Ratty in Wind in the Willows – he too was a pragmatist, could make up a mean picnic basket and enjoyed life on the river, something I’ve always done. I must admit I secretly admired Mr Toad, though, and have occasionally been known to drive too fast!
So, having made some sense of life, and finding myself with sadness in my heart over the death of Madam, I decided to turn my grief into purpose, not only to make Madam famous, but to try in some small way, to add to the body of useful literature, populated by animals, that helps us all, both children and adults, to get through life’s difficulties with tolerance, bravery, humour, mutual support and problem-solving, understanding and love.
In the Gozo Cat Detectives:
- Madam has learnt that her magic fur still works and that she is much loved and respected despite her absence.
- Whistler has learnt that he can rely on his friend Charlie, a dog, his natural enemy, to help him out, as he has helped Charlie out before. He’s gained organisational skills too. He’s extended a helping hand to Missy.
- Max has learnt to drive, found a new friend and is feeling more happy and relaxed.
- Ziggy has learnt that you need bread to make a sandwich and has taken practical steps to avoid this by gnawing through sachets of cat food. He’s used his knowledge of farming to persuade a goat to help solve a problem.
- Missy has learnt that just because you look different it doesn’t mean that, when you’re lost and frightened, you’re on your own. She now has a loving family and many adventures to come. She’s gained in confidence and self-respect.
The Gozo Cat Detectives and their friends have realised that working together in a tolerant way can give you the confidence and ability to solve your problems, as well as self-respect, inspiration, and most of all, love and friendship. Let’s work together.