A poignant travel memoir which charts a daughter’s decision to move her elderly mother to France has proved a hit on both sides of the Atlantic.
Is That Billinge Lump is the second of a trilogy of books written by Lesley Tither - under the pen name Tottie Limejuice - about her mother, Nell Leather. And Billinge Hill, or Billinge Lump as Mrs Leather liked to call it, is a recurring theme!
Lesley, 61, from Eccleston, said: “As a family we often used to go walking at Billinge Lump and we especially went there for the blackberries.
“We took mother to live in central France’s Auvergne region, which has many extinct and dormant volcanoes. Almost wherever she looked she could see a cone volcano and, because she was suffering from vascular dementia, she would always ask ‘is that Billinge Lump?’.
“Billinge Lump features particularly in the ending of the second book too, which is rather poignant.”
For two very happy years, Mrs Leather lived in Parkside Residential Home where her older sister, Ethel, was also a resident, but, as her need for constant nursing care increased, she was moved to a nursing home in Wales.
Concerned about her care, Lesley and her brother decided to move to France with their mother so they could all live together and she could act as her mother’s full-time carer.
But Lesley’s mother was full of so many funny little sayings that she decided to start putting pen to paper.
Her pen name, Tottie Limejuice, was coined by her aunt Ethel.
Both books, Sell The Pig and Is That Billinge Lump, have reached the number one best-seller slot in their travel categories on Amazon – both in the UK and the US.
Lesley, a former journalist whose father John worked for St Helens Reporter, added: “I am amazed and thrilled by the success in the States, as the humour in both books is peculiarly British and I wasn’t sure how it would translate to the American market. People seem to love all my mother’s quirky little sayings.
“I now live permanently in the Auvergne and hold dual French and British citizenship. I work part-time as a freelance copywriter and copy editor, in between writing the books. Part three is underway now and there are also plans for a prequel.”