beloved lost books

A few days ago I re-shared something I’d written a while ago about a book I’d had as a child, which I had loved and lost. Now without giving anything away, I have some exciting news about it which I will reveal shortly. In the meantime, here’s something I wrote about my beloved lost book a while ago:

I’ve written a couple of times about stories I read a child which had a big influence on me but I no longer have the books they were in, or remember who wrote them or even what they were called. There were so many children’s books published and probably these couple weren’t by a well-known author, a writer whose name has faded into obscurity and who no doubt died many, many years ago. I have done all I can to find them – I scour second-hand books shops and web-sites about children’s books but I truly believe they are lost to me. Just in case you might know these stories, here again is a description, as far as I remember:

  • YAK 1 – this was a story of some children, probably brothers and sisters or cousins, who were sent to stay with some elderly relatives in the country. At the bottom of the garden was an orchard and in it was a decrepit old caravan with an even more decrepit old car still attached to it. The car was so old it was covered with moss, lichen, and trailing vines – its registration was YAK 1. One morning when the children went down to look at it, the car had become an actual yak, and when they went into the caravan, it set off and they had some wonderful adventures in the caravan pulled by the beast.
  • Widows and Orphans – in the same book as YAK 1 was a second story; some children, maybe the same ones who had an adventure with the caravan, were sent to stay with different relatives, maybe grandparents who lived by the sea. In the village was a very strange and rather sinister sweet-shop, owned buy a rather sinister and very strange lady, a massive, fat lady with wild hair, bulging eyes and a beaky nose. She sold sweets in jars, including a jar of ‘widows and orphans’ (or so I remember) Somehow, the children went to the sweet shop at night and the woman had transformed into a massive octopus (or squid) utterly terrifying! The widows and orphans had turned into tiny rowing boats which scuttled across the floor on their oars like horrid little creatures – I was reminded of them when I watched ‘Minority Report’ and the tiny spider robots went in search of the Tom Cruise character. The story in the book  was really creepy, and almost haunted me! somehow there was an island and a cave and the children ended up in there – I have no idea how or why! An island and a cave appear in a horrifying scene in my novel ‘The Double Act’ – I’ve only just thought of this, but I wonder if my inspiration came from that story from long ago?

Here is a link to my novel, ‘The Double Act’


  1. Klausbernd

    Hi, dear Lois,
    we can hardly remember our children’s books. Later we read a lot of Astrid Lindgren, about Nils Holgerson’s journey journey by Selma Lagerlöf and old Greek mythology and Homer for children. Our dear Master recently said he would like to have been Sigmund Freud’s children because he read to his children in the evening F. Nansen’s “Farthest North”. I can’t remember my earliest books. My Grandma used to read to me H.C. Andersen’s fairy tales that’s the earliest I can remember.
    Keep healthy and happy
    The Fab Four of Cley
    🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Lois

      How interesting, dear friends, that you mention the Nansen book, I have it but yet to start reading it. I had a copy of Anderson’s stories when I was little too – it was a very old book and may have been my grandmother’s! It wasn’t a children’s version but a translation of the original, and I struggled with some of the stories because they were a little dark! They made a great impression on my, however! 🙂 These stories from childhood remain within, sometimes deeply buried, all your life don’t they!
      The weather is much milder now, but with the spring we have very high tides! Luckily there are good sea defences here, and flood gates which can be shut as we live about 400 yards from the sea and about 4 inches above it!
      I hope you have a pleasant weekend with warm spring weather! xxxx

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Klausbernd

        Dear Lois
        our dear Master is very proud that we have the first English edition of Nansen’s book in our library. The edges of the first pages are eaten by bookworm which makes these two volumes very special.
        Most of the fairy tales like Grimm’s collection are quite dark, aren’t they?
        We have high tides here as well right now. We are about half a mile from the sea but 10 meters above sea level. We have flood gates here as well but they are open right now. They close when we have these high tides and a strong northerly wind.
        It’s sunny and warm and we will get our canues out and afterwards mow our front lawn.
        Wishing you an easy and happy weekend
        The Fab Four of Cley
        🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

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