While heading home from holiday one late summer evening in early September, the Durrell family spied a sign on the side of a dusty country road leading to a farm, offering kittens for free.
On a whim, Mr. Durrell, a tall, willowy and quiet man with an easy-going nature, stopped the car and looked questioningly at his daughter and son, sitting in the backseat, expectant and cautious smiles on their young faces. ‘OK’ he said, answering the unspoken question in their eyes, ‘let’s go and have a look’. And so it was that the little ball of black and white fluff, later known as Rag, arrived at the Durrell’s large, old and rickety home at the end of a dirt track in the village of Moreford. Mrs Anna Durrell was the one to choose his name.
He was what you might refer to as scruffy, his fur having a mind of its own and sticking out any which way it chose, making ragged the first thought that came to mind when looking at him. So Mrs Durrell, of Nordic background, decided to call him Ragnar, after a legendary and very brave Viking who may or may not have existed, from the dawn of time. Ragnar quickly became just plain old Rag, and it did not take him long to settle into his home at Lane End, cuddling up to 8 year old Martha and 11 year old Henrik, whenever he got the opportunity.
He soon got to know the neighbours, Rufus the hound dog living with Mr Farrett next door, the rabbits Philomena, Edith and Rose that had free roam of Mrs Christie’s garden two doors down, Bertie the ram who often popped his head between the hedge from the field behind the house to say hello, and of course Lilly the mouse who lived under the decking in the back garden and could regularly be seen rushing across the lawn in search of any tasty tidbits Rag may have ‘accidently’ left on the ground.
These and the wild animals that lived in the bushes, trees, streams and burrows near his home, soon became his friends and allies, so it was with contentment that he sat on the garden wall surveying his surroundings one early morning in May. And that was when he spotted it, a strange and unfamiliar creature in the undergrowth beneath him. He was puzzled. What could it be?? Little did he know that what he was looking at was to lead to a future of close friendship and adventure that was to last a lifetime.