It was at least three decades ago that I first conjured up Tussel Fleabane. ‘The Protector, Apply Within’, was written on the little brass plaque attached to his cottage gate post.
My intention was to highlight some of the pollution problems that were coming to light at that time and make them understandable to children through the adventures of this mythical little creature. These were issues that I was personally becoming concerned about, such as the extinction of certain species through loss of habitat and the pollution of our rivers and seas.
When I first began writing it meant printing the stories off on long strips of computer paper using a word processor and sending the manuscripts to children’s book publishers, always optimistic that eventually one of them may turn my ramblings into a book. However, it wasn’t long before one after another, the big brown envelopes began to return and along with the manuscript was the usual pleasantly worded but standard rejection letter.
It appeared that Tussel’s adventures had not yet captured the imagination of the publishing houses and the stories I had so much hoped the youngsters would have the opportunity to read, or at least have read to them, must wait a little longer for their time to arrive. Tussel had to go back in the cupboard.
Thirty years or so later many of the issues that concerned me then are still at the forefront of many people’s minds, but the methods and opportunities of getting the stories into print has changed dramatically. This has encouraged me to resurrect Tussel and his friends and to self publish Beyond the Goosebarley Bush.
So who knows, the adventures of Tussel Fleabane The Protector may yet have the opportunity to inform and inspire the children of a new generation.