Charlie was originally called Tigger, one of the characters from the Winnie the Pooh stories. When he came to me, at just over 8 weeks’ old, I sat with the name Tigger for a couple of days before deciding that Tigger was definitely not a name that suited him. As he was always up to mischief in the harmless way that kittens have, I mentally tried out several names before deciding on ‘Charlie’. And that suited him to a ‘T’!
Charlie loved Garfield with a passion and learned all about life at Garfield’s knee. That knowledge was passed on to Billy, Timmy and Joey when they arrived but Charlie was stricter than Garfield. His motto ‘I’m firm but fair’ would echo throughout the hallowed halls of the Daily Mews Mansion on an almost hourly basis as he put them through their educational paces. The stories of Charlie’s ‘Miss Jean Brodie’ metamorphosis are mentioned in the articles’ section of this website, as are many others.
He was a serious little chap, only laughing when the occasion merited a feline titter but otherwise he was quite sober in countenance and in character. Hugs and cuddles were usually on his own terms but once on your lap, he would happily stay there for as long as he felt necessary, or until something distracted one or either of us.
It came as a huge surprise when Charlie suddenly became unwell very late on Friday night. He had seemed fine up until then, and then waking up on the Saturday morning to find that he had died in the night was a tremendous shock. He was not quite 10 years old and I felt that the best was yet to come from this quiet, stoical little cat. One of my favourite memories can be found in the Flu and Feline Frolics stories (chapters 1 – 4) when he climbed up the curtains, walked along the curtain track and then abseiled down the curtains, landing in a saucer which was balanced on my knees, that then sent him tobogganing down my legs to land on the carpet – still in the saucer, eyes wide with glee at such a great journey.
Charlie packed more into his ten short years than would be possible in a human. The legacy of those 10 years are shown in Billy and Timmy who are incredibly nice cats, with a knowledge of right and wrong – all thanks to ‘I’m firm but fair’ Charlie (aka. Miss Jean Brodie for a season).
Rest in peace little one.