Tag Archives: True Stories

Nala’s World: One man, his rescue cat and a bike ride around the globe – Dean Nicholson

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Hachette Australia

SEP 29, 2020 | 9781529327991 | RRP $32.99

When Dean Nicholson set off on his cycling journey around the world he had little idea that his epic trip and his life would become an Instagram sensation after he picked up a tiny stray kitten in a remote area of the mountains between Montenegro and Bosnia.

Thirty-year-old Dean had been living an unsatisfactory existence in Dunbar, Scotland when he and a friend conceived of an idea to cycle the world. The pair didn’t last all that long but when Dean rescued little Nala he acquired a travelling companion who would not only become his best friend but empower him to become a fully-realised animal and environmental activist in the very best of ways.

While he already had a small following of friends and family on his Instagram feed, it was after his rescue and subsequent postings of Nala that his global audience exploded exponentially. With his Insta posts and YouTube channel Dean has not only endeared himself and his feisty little companion to thousands but has raised thousands of dollars to support small and struggling rescue shelters and charities in places that generally go unnoticed.

Their travels together of the past two years have fascinated their followers through all the ups and downs of life on the road – good times, difficult times, sickness, health, tragedies and celebrations. Their loyal fans have supported them, helped in practical and emotional multitudes of ways and cheered them on proving time and again the generosity and kindness of strangers that can still be found, even in these troubled times. And I deliberately stress that last as the book concludes with the first frightening and sweeping wave of the Covid pandemic – fortunately, Dean was able to narrowly escape being locked down in the UK away from Nala in Hungary. Coronavirus may have put the brakes on Dean’s dream trip, but nothing can stop this indomitable pair as they forge their way forward, helping whomever they can with what they can.

This hugely heart-warming and inspirational story will further Dean’s mission to support those who need it as well providing an enjoyable read whether you are a cat-lover or not. I know that when this goes onto my shelves with the other new true-life and biography books I’ve recently added, it will be snapped up immediately by one of my many readers for whom this will be an excellent follow-on from A Cat Named Bob especially.

Check out Dean and Nala at 1bike1world

Not a book – a movie

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winnie

Many of you will have read articles particularly fairly recently about the real life bear who inspired A. A. Milne’s classic stories about Winnie-the-Pooh. A recently published picture book sparked some of these.

I was so delighted to pick up the DVD of the movie ‘A Bear Named Winnie’ at the local  Km*** last Friday for the princely sum of $4.

There is so much to like about this lovely film – with character roles played by Stephen Fry, David Suchet and Michael Fassbender – which tells the story of how a young Canadian, Lt Harry Colebourn, of the Canadian Army Veterinary Corps, rescues a black bear cub. The endearing animal immediately bonds with him and despite the sometimes chaos that can be caused by such a creature in an army camp, manages to smuggle Winnie (Winnipeg) to England when he is mobilized to the front.

This is a World War 1 story with a real difference enabling viewers to glimpse the work of the veterinary corps, our Canadian compadres and the amazing friendship between human and animal.

Harry realises he cannot take Winnie to the front in France so she is placed in the London Zoo for the duration of the war under the care of a very crusty (but actually marshmallow) head keeper played by Stephen Fry.

When Harry returns from active service traumatised and withdrawn it is Winnie who rescues him in turn. After his recovery he has every intention of taking Winnie back to Canada but when he realises just how loved she is by children and adults alike who visit the zoo, he leaves her in their care where she lived happily until 1934.

In 1926 when A. A. Milne and his small son visited the zoo and became entranced by Winnie’s charm and her gentle playful nature was afterwards immortalised for endless generations of readers.

With a rating of PG this would be a worthy addition to your literary (and historical) film collection – get to that store now!