Vicki Beeby is with me today to talk about a fascinating ornament that she loves. I’ve known Vicki for many years now, so it’s lovely to find out something different about her. Vicki has just published The Ops Room Girls with publisher Canelo. I’ve read the book and loved it, so will share my review below. But first, back to the ornament that Vicki loves …
I may be cheating a bit, because my favourite ornament isn’t in my own home, but my mother’s. I’m also not sure it really counts as an ornament, being part of an ostrich egg. However, it has fascinated me all my life and, indirectly, led me to an unforgettable three years in Botswana.
During my childhood, the egg lived in a display cabinet in my grandparents’ house. It belonged to my grandma, who collected it during her childhood in South Africa. When she was only a few months old, her parents, my great-grandparents, moved from Somerset to South Africa in the hope the dry climate would cure my great-grandfather’s asthma, this being long before the days of Salbutamol. They set up an ostrich farm—ostrich feathers were a desirable fashion accessory in those days—and my grandma spent the first ten years of her life on this farm in the Eastern Cape. I don’t know how she came to own the egg shell, but I like to think it was an egg that hatched rather than one used to make a giant omelette!
Sadly for her, but luckily for my future existence, the family were forced to return to England at the outbreak of the First World War. My grandma often spoke of what it was like to grow up in South Africa, and I developed a longing to visit Africa for myself. My wish came true when I was employed via a British Council scheme to teach maths in state schools in Botswana. I’ll never forget the thrill of being driven out to my first school on the edge of the Kalahari, seeing an ostrich striding alongside the road on its powerful legs. Who knows, it might have been a descendent of the ostriches on my great-grandparents’ farm! So now the ostrich egg is doubly special. It’s a reminder both of my grandma and my own time in Botswana.
How fascinating, Vicki Mx
About Vicki Beeby
Vicki Beeby writes historical fiction about the friendships and loves of service women brought together by the Second World War.
Her first job was as a civil engineer on a sewage treatment project, so things could only improve from there. Since then, she has worked as a maths teacher and education consultant before turning freelance to give herself more time to write.
In her free time, when she can drag herself away from reading, she enjoys walking and travelling to far-off places by train. She lives in Shropshire in a house that doesn’t contain nearly enough bookshelves.
To keep in touch with Vicki, you can use the following links:-
About The Ops Room Girls
I’ve put this cover in full size so that you can see the lovely detail Mx
It is 1939 and working class Evie Bishop has received a scholarship to study mathematics at Oxford when tragedy turns her life upside down. Evie must seek a new future for herself and, inspired to contribute to the war effort, joins the Women’s Auxiliary Air Force as an Ops Room plotter.
Posted to a fighter station on the Sussex Coast, Evie befriends two other WAAFs – shy, awkward May and flirty, glamorous Jess. Faced with earning the approval of strict officers and finding their way in a male dominated world, the three girls band together to overcome challenges, navigate new romances and keep their pilots safe in the skies.
But the German bombers seem to know more than they should about the base’s operations, and soon Evie, May and Jess are caught up in a world more dangerous than they ever imagined…
Thank you for joining me, Vicki and for such a fascinating post Mx
My review of The Ops Room Girls
5 Stars : I so enjoyed this book! I was right there with the heroine, Evie all the way through each page, feeling her emotions and was sure I could even hear the aircraft engines. What a great depiction of life in World War Two as a WAAF. Loved all of the characters, especially Evie, May, Jess and Alex. Finished reading the story with a tear in my eye. I need the sequel now please.
When there’s so much to be afraid of, can May help bring festive cheer to the Ops Room?
After failing to help evacuee siblings whom she witnesses being separated, May wishes she’d had the confidence to speak up. When Jess suggests a pantomime to boost morale on the station, May is desperate to help – but is held back by her own insecurities.
With her low self-esteem also affecting her relationship with Squadron Leader Peter Travis, May is fed up with being her own worst enemy and decides to take charge of her destiny. But the past she ran from plus a crisis with one of the evacuees throw May into the midst of a drama that will test all of her newfound confidence.
May, Jess and Evie must work together once again to help each other through the challenges of war and of their own hearts.