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The Stories that Made Me: The Animals of Farthing Wood

Many, many years ago I went to England. It has remained the highlight of my life thus far (besides births of nephews and getting a house) - but one of the funniest things happened while I was over in England.

No one suspected me of being Australian.

I have a bit of an accent - apparently, according to folks, I have a "Queen's English" accent - and it fooled everyone. Every shop I went into I had to pull out my Australian Passport - even had to show it to the Ambulance Officer when I was bundled into am Ambulance just to prove to him that, yes, actual Aussie - seriously, born and raised in Australia, never been to England before.

Even the tour guide didn't believe me at first.

My accent just got worse the longer I stayed. ^_^;

England, Ireland and Scotland have always been close to my heart since I can remember even knowing anything about them - and getting the opportunity to visit was extortionary. Someday I'd love to return to the Highlands of Scotland - someday...

One of the shows I attribute to my love of britishness and woodlandness is the beautiful "The Animals of Farthing Wood" - the show that made me fall in love with foxes, but alas, I live in Australia and foxes are a pest... I still love foxes though.

The Animals of Farthing Wood is a show about a group of woodland animals who must flee from their home due to human development and drought, they hear of a magical place called "White Deer Park" - a reservation - and the first season is their epic quest to reach White Deer Park.

They make a fascinating pact that no animal shall eat or harm each other on the journey, and once enemy's gradually become friends across the dangerous roads they take.

Fox was voted as the leader, and I adored Fox - whoever voiced Fox did a marvellous job.

He eventually found a mate - Vixen - along the road.

They lost friends - and gained some - but they do eventually make it to White Deer Park, therein they meet the mystical and revered leader - the White Deer, who welcomes them to the Park. Of course - how then do they live within this new place, and how do they live without the pact that got them to this new home?

And then, well, more troubles start. Fox and Vixen have kids, there is a war with another group of foxes, the White Deer is shot. Things get complicated. Personally I liked the stories that centred around Fox and his kids, and the Grey Foxes that eventually also joined.

If anything the war between the Grey and Red foxes and their kids sort of reminds me now of a Shakespearean Play - you know - two feuding families with kids that love each other but the parents/families hate each other. As a kid, I found it all really interesting.

Oh yeah, the rat plague. That happened. That was actually pretty scary. They murdered the snakes, that was really sad. Adder - a character that originally everyone hated but had eventually had become a great friend - had finally found a mate and then he got brutally murdered by the rats.

The show didn't shy away from the fact that the characters got old, and died, or that Fox sometimes made mistakes and seriously messed things up - especially when it came to his family. One of his son's came to clash with him so much that he left - and it was the worst, watching the son go through the process of just experiencing disaster after disaster until he died at the entrance of White Deer Park with Fox running to be at his side. Peak heartache.

I know that the cartoon is actually based of a series of books but I have never actually read the books, and I guess, maybe I should add that to my bucket list of things to read. It might be a really fascinating thing to go back and read, considering just how much I appreciated the cartoon as a girl. It taught me a lot about long form storytelling and the importance of consequences to characters actions. Fox, despite being an amazing hero who saved his people, made mistakes, and he had to deal with the repercussions of those mistakes, which in the end, made him all the more relatable as a character - and he's a fox.

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