When I was a child, there was always at least one feline family member around the house.
I loved them all with equal ferocity, from the softest, drooling baby kitty to the biggest, toughest tom. Or more accurately I suppose, ex-tom.
Anyway, Big Sam was one of these latter.
Spectacularly imposing with his jet black fur and gleaming orange eyes, our Sam had a reputation for miles around our country home as a lean, mean, killing machine.
He would hunt all night, every night and we were the regular recipients of unidentifiable mangled body parts proudly arranged on the doormat for our 'delight'.
After all, this was a cat on a life long mission, tirelessly waging war on local vermin of any and every variety.
Daylight hours were strictly reserved for sleeping. Alone. And uninterrupted.
As you might imagine, therefore, this was not a cat that particularly relished the company of small children.
Slightly too big to kill, yet definitely too little to be of any specific use, we kids were an inconvenience in the life of a busy super feline.
And yet, oh how we longed to love him all up. How we wanted to run sticky fingers through his silken coat, to stroke and snuggle and squeeze his warm, sleepy form.
Every so often, though, we would get lucky. In the long sunny days of the idyllic English country childhood in my mind, this beast among cats would 'come over soft'.
I would wheel out the old fashioned dolls pram, a relic of my rapidly ending little girl years, and this monster killer cat would obediently climb inside.
Delighted, we seize the opportunity to dress him up in frilly dolls' clothes, tuck him in tight, and wheel him around for the afternoon as if he was our play thing.
Until that wild, scrambling, flailing, claws out and fur flying moment when he wasn't anymore.
Recently, the kitty cat legend that is my favourite, my Sammy, has come to mind surprisingly often.
Turns out, killer as the obstacle (or, indeed, the person!) in front of you appears, impenetrable as the issue may be, if you wait patiently enough, if you meet it in the right light, the right mood, at the right moment in time, you might just find that your problem can become as compliant as a sleeping kitten.
Or at least, that's the theory by which I'm currently surviving, anyway.