Here is a description of the classic children’s book The Lighthouse Keeper’s Lunch, written by Ronda Armitage and illustrated by David Armitage: “Every day, Mr Grinling, the lighthouse keeper, cleans and polishes his light to make sure it shines brightly at night. At lunchtime he tucks into a delicious and well-deserved lunch, prepared by his wife. But Mr Grinling isn’t the only one who enjoys the tasty food. Will Mrs Grinling think of a way to stop the greedy seagulls from stealing the lighthouse keeper’s lunch?” There have been a number of sequel books to The Lighthouse Keeper’s Lunch, which was originally published in 1977.
Ronda Armitage, originally from New Zealand, first went to England in 1966. Her husband, David, was born in Tasmania. In the late 1970s, they moved to England to stay. Ronda was a primary school teacher for several years and she is a trained counsellor, specializing in family therapy. She has written more than 30 books including several non-fiction books for older students. Most of Ronda’s children’s books are illustrated by her husband, David, who is an artist. In addition to his work as a children’s book illustrator, David Armitage is regarded as one of the UK’s leading abstract artists.
This interview was conducted at the Belle Tout Lighthouse in England in July. Belle Tout is about a mile from Beachy Head Lighthouse, which was the inspiration for The Lighthouse Keeper’s Lunch and its many sequels.
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Jeremy D’Entremont is the author of more than 20 books and hundreds of articles on lighthouses and maritime history. He is the president and historian for the American Lighthouse Foundation and founder of Friends of Portsmouth Harbor Lighthouses, and he has lectured and narrated cruises throughout the Northeast and in other regions. He is also the producer and host of the U.S. Lighthouse Society podcast, “Light Hearted.” He can be emailed at Jeremy@uslhs.org