Tea at the Opalaco

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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