All About Me

I was born in a snug little kennel on 8th August, nineteen hundred and something. In the wag of a tail, I was out of that kennel and busy digging up the garden… Mum was not impressed! She lifted me up in her teeth and dangled me above the ground; a position I was to get very used to! Or am I imagining things again… was that really me, or was it my dog, Gracie Spangle? You’re right… it must have been her. She is over a year old now and still likes to dig, but is actually training to swim the English Channel. It’s just the jellyfish that put her off, and the lack of swimming doggie treats!

As for me, as in the Marcia Williams, commonly known as Dotty type of me, I remember very little about where I was born. My first memory is travelling to China in a flying boat when I was three years old. We travelled a lot when I was young and wherever we went my mother believed I should drink fresh milk, even if there were no cows. So a cow called Moody always came with us; she was not a happy traveller. She particularly disliked going by boat, as the rocking motion turned her milk into butter, or just occasionally, clotted cream. I tried feeding her on boiled sweets to keep her calm and stop her milk curdling, but it didn’t really work.

Nanny travelled with us as well, but I did not feed her boiled sweets. Nanny slept on a mat outside my bedroom door, while Moody slept on my bed. First thing every morning, Nanny was meant to milk Moody so that I could have fresh milk for breakfast, spoilt child that I was! However, Moody didn’t like Nanny’s cold hands, so I usually ended up doing the milking. And now I will tell you a secret…I never drank the horrid white stuff, I thought it was yucky! I fed it to Nanny and all the other animals that I collected on our travels.

My favourite animal was Patipat, a little rock hyrax that I rescued from a dinner table in Nigeria. During the day Patipat sat on my shoulder and ate rose petals and at night she slept on my pillow. When I left to go to boarding school she stayed on my pillow for a while, waiting for me to return. Finally, she gave up and wandered back to her home in the Nigerian bush. I did not like boarding school, so soon afterwards I ran away and followed Patipat’s tracks to her bush home. I stayed with her for many moons, but finally the time came to set off down the dirt track and seek a new home and another adventure.

Since then I have lived in many homes, some big, some small and some so tiny that most people walk by them without noticing them at all.

I now live on a river in a large art boat, with my gang: Gracie Spangle and Tiza, the cat. We spend most of our time chasing ducks, reading books, making books, dreaming books, writing books or illustrating books. We are never lonely because Ella, Iggy and Abel, who are also in my gang, come for regular sleepovers. We always have a midnight feast when they are with us…and we stay up very, very, very late!

If we need to go anywhere we call on the ‘Flying Dog Service’. They have a selection of dog flights: there is Jensen who is slow and reliable, but insists on regular naps during the journey. Bozo, who is speedy, but inclined to nip the wings of passing seagulls! Or Sally… a dear thing, but only recently rescued from a life of starvation and quite unable to resist scavenging for food. This means that if she catches the smallest whiff of something juicy on the ground she will dive bomb towards it, leaving her passengers to crash land as best they can…ouch! It is a merry life and I consider myself very lucky to be me. Although, I do see that to be you would be a lot of fun too!

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