Jane Lockyer Willis

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Bee Books

Bee Books

Bees are incredible little creatures and as diverse as mankind if you ask me. The African bee has a reputation of being more dangerous that the British one and the humble bumble bee does seem to bumble along. I’ve come across a number of books dealing with bees and so was surprised I hadn’t started a collection of ‘Bee books’ when I came across the Colour of Bee Larkam’s Murder by Sarah J Harris.

I was really taken with Go Set a Watchman which I reviewed as part of a collection on

Black and white: crossing the colour line

Colour can be eye-catching and nothing more so than black and white next to each other. It reminds me of a South African DJ commenting that Ebony and Ivory by Paul McCartney and Stevie Wonder was a song about piano-keys -if he hadn’t, perhaps the song would have been banned by the Apartheid government as black and white were not allowed to mix. Others who managed to avoid the radio ban to some extent were South Africa’s white Zulu, Johnny Clegg and Mango Groove.

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And of course, at TSL we have:

Sir Chocolate and the Sugar Dough Bees story and cookbook (square)

A greedy snail damages the flower fields and the fondant bees are in danger of starving. Join Sir Chocolate on an adventure to find the fruit drop fairies who have magic healing powers and discover how to make some of his favourite foods on the way. (Square book)

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Where the Bee sucks, a short story by Jane Lockyer Willis in

Tea at the Opalaco and other stories – Jane Lockyer Willis

A collection of twenty short stories. The Visit was commended for the 2011 John Walter Salver competition and Jane was also awarded second prize in 2015 for her story Undelivered. Several of her pieces have been adapted for radio. “An eclectic collection of stories exploring human relations” “Tearooms, picnics, weddings and romantic encounters abound”.

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And there’s  Curse of Magira: A novel of East Africa by David Bee, which looks at the First World War in the south of East Africa, whilst Maya Alexandri’s The Celebration Husband covers the north (with one mention of bees). Other single mentions of bees can be found in Ezra Williams’ Selected Pieces and Guthrie McGruer’s The Cardigan Cuckoos.

first published 8 June 2018, updated 2024

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Ducks

Recently I was reminded of that wonderful Duck Song my husband found when our nieces were visiting quite some time back now. It made me think of other duck mentions…

Naughty little ducklings help count in On the Farm.

The Baby Cookie Monster reminds me of a duck, don’t you think?

In his war diary of 1942-1943, young Billy Palmer talks of catching duck and pheasant for food when the latter was scarce.

A slight variation on the term duck features in Tea at the Opalaco and other stories.

And of course, we have to include The Moon is Toast for all those players who went ‘out for duck’.

The image is from Twitter, 30 Dec 2016 (@leslietate) and in case you missed what it said: Anatidaephobia is the fear that somewhere in the world, there is a duck watching you.

First published 9 April 2017, updated 2024

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Jane Lockyer Willis appreciation

Jane Lockyer Willis

Jane is for me the quintessential English lady. Her stories evoke an England of yester year infused with a gentle and often unexpected humour.

Her collection of short stories – Tea at the Opalaco – is a fine example. Jane has also published two short novels with TSL – Guys and Ghosts, set in an English village involving the pub and church. Her On the Fiddle takes us to another village setting where the manor house becomes the main focus of two petty thieves.

Prose writing is a hobby or sideline for Jane. Her main focus is theatre. She, with Melville Lovatt, was with New Theatre Company. Now her plays are available through a number of publishers – best to check her website. She has also had East Lane Theatre Club perform her work – Cocoa and Cuddles being the one we saw back in 2020. A multi-talented person, she also performs and paints. In earlier life she was a speech trainer.

If you’re looking for a tea-tme companion read, I recommend picking up one of Jane’s books.

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Enduring Art

The short story by Sue Vincent triggered this post on Art. Whilst reading it, my mind drifted to a short story I’d read (and didn’t make a note of) which also features a family heirloom with a past. I can visualise it: the young girl hiding in the cupboard of books and when caught saying she’d been reading it (upside down Latin). The gardener (reminiscent of Lady Chatterley’s Lover) had painted a fake so the owner could sell the original. One day I might find out who wrote it…

A painting of Foxton Lock in Josie Arden’s This and That vol 1 spurs a family search.
5 Gresham Place in Tea at the Opalaco by Jane Lockyer Willis tells a dark story of the fake painter Jeremy and his wife.

A little less enduring, only because it’s pavement art, is Poison Lady by Josie Arden in This and That vol 2

In addition to books mentioning art – see also Love’s Register by Leslie Tate – a number of TSL authors illustrate their own work:

first published 8 April 2017, updated 2024

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Green Eyes or Brown? #books #readingforpleasure

Some time ago, I saw mention that only 2% of the world’s population have green eyes. The majority have brown and 10% have blue.

Seeing this, I wondered how important it was for authors to specify their characters’ eye colour, so took a look through TSL’s books to see what authors have done. The result is below. Do you think it’s important to specify eye colour or should that be left to the reader’s imagination? Marthe Kylie-Worthington in Family are the Friends you Choose also questions authors focus on eyes.

The cat, Ginger, in Anna Ryland’s A Second Chance
Marla in Josie Arden’s Broken Ties of Time
Raphaela in The last rose of summer in This and That 2 by Josie Arden
Isabel in The Visit in Tea at the Opalaco by Jane Lockyer Willis
Fairytales and Oddities by Ezra Williams
Grey-green eyes feature in A Perfumed Holiday in Stuffed! by Johannes Kerkhoven
In a break from green eyes, brown eyes are mentioned in The Stillbirth Marriage in The Roots that gave Birth to Magical Blossoms by Amna Agib (Bit Nafisa)

Other books:
Doris Lessing’s lead character in The Summer before the Dark has brown eyes.

Thanks Pablo for the image

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Priests and Religious men

Priests and Religious men

Religion in the UK is apparently on the decline yet it features in a few novels – in fact a surprising number.
For example in novels authored by TSL writers, we have:

Most well-known in British literature:
Father Brown by GK Chesterton
and the Irish-based sitcom Father Ted
The Thornbirds by Colleen McCullough
all of which
feature Roman Catholic priests.

Some factual church histories include: