11 years ago this month a lovely Pixar film came out called 'Finding Nemo'. Ostensibly for children, but I remember going to the cinema to see it with my boys and a friend and her two girls and both she and I were utterly enchanted from the very first moment and confessed afterwards to shedding a few tears towards the end....
But I won't bore you with the details, other than to say it's an emotional roller coaster of a story, set underwater and starring a variety of fish,sharks, turtles and birds. There's also an Australian dentist and his rather scary young niece. It's fantastic. Watch it.
And for me, the star of the film was a cheerful, helpful and friendly blue fish called Dory. She captured my heart from the very beginning and although the voice sounded really familiar, I couldn't place the actor who voiced the part. And even when I discovered it was Ellen Degeneres, I wasn't familiar enough with her to be able to work out why Dory seemed so very well-known to me.
We bought the video and my children watched it over and over, and so did I. And had to admit that I identified with Dory. Not just because she has a short-term memory problem....though that was a part of it....but because she's an eternal optimist and utterly trusting, generous and good natured. Is this a self-portrait? No, I definitely not saying I am like this all the time but I have days where I definitely feel 'Doryish'. And there's also the occasional panic when my memory does let me down....and then I forget all about it and am happy again!
So, Dory was a favourite of mine from the beginning and then one day at work, in the office of the Education Service, a couple of teachers from one of the Special Schools came in with some art work done by the children. It was a set of characters from 'Finding Nemo' made from papier mache - and it included the lovely Dory. At the end of the period of the exhibition, I put in a request and a donation to be able to keep Dory and she stood in a corner of my office until the day I left. And then I had to bequeath her care to a willing friend, Helen, And Helen has been taking care of her ever since.
UNTIL!!! Last weekend, Denise and Jim paid us a special visit - special because despite Jim's illness, the two of them are on a great adventure around France and Spain. They have their home in Orkney and had travelled down from there, stopping off in Huddersfield where Helen had the wonderful idea of asking them to bring Dory back to me! So Dory has travelled in the back of the car through Belgium, France, over the Pyrenees, all the way through Spain and right to Alcala la Real.
I was delighted - and here we are - happily reunited. Daft as it seems, it has really moved me to have her back. Thank you Helen, thank you Denise - and good on you Dory, you keep on swimming, just keep swimming.
And I'm quite surprised and pleased to discover that my title for this blog is also rather prophetic as Pixar are making a film of the same title to be released in 2016. Think I will definitely be seeing that one! If I remember, that is....