Just a few of the experiences shared in the book

  • Plane Icon

    Scary Flights

    An account of a scary aborted take-off in an Airbus 320. It was travelling at 112 mph when the captain applied full brakes.

  • Plane Icon

    Beijing Opera

    An account of a visit to Beijing in 1989 just before the Tiananmen Square massacre.

  • Plane Icon


    My students persuaded me to join them in a parachute jump – something you do not quickly forget.

  • Plane Icon

    Pigeon Post

    A bird that won the Dickin Medal for animal bravery. The humble pigeon has played an important role in history.

I have known Joe for over 20 years, and have read many of his articles in ATP magazines and journals, so I thought I knew a lot about him. But when he decided to put over thirty of them together in a book, call it "Barmaids and Butterflies" and pay to have it published, I had no idea what a treat was in store. He appeared to get cold feet at one point, so I offered a bit of gentle encouragement: I said "JUST GET ON WITH IT! So he did, and I am really glad.
John Doe
Dorothy Coombs
It has two additional qualities as a travel book insofar as while the author is centred here in Herefordshire, every month of the year generally sees him taking in life somewhere abroad, often in far-flung places, and not as a tourist but as a traveller – a distinction he makes clear in this book. The latter requires involvement and exchange with people of other cultures, and as this generally takes a form which is related to his abiding interests in language, local and natural history, aviation, good hostelry and company. The more one reads the more his general experiences of the world map onto his reflections at home, so one can also describe it as a thoughtful book.
Jane Doe
Mark Hughes
Joe Cocker, retired psychology teacher who played a key role in the formation of EFPTA and continues as Advisor to the Board, has published Barmaids & Butterflies, A collection of essays, letters and articles. Chapters are on such diverse topics as evolution, languages, vegetarianism, travel, genocide, camels and cultural identity.
Jimmy Doe
European Federation of Psychology Teachers' Associations

Sneak Peek & Contents

An Assisted Exit

The certificate says that on Wednesday July 8th 1981 Joseph Cocker made a parachute jump from 2,500 feet at the Hereford Parachute Club Shobdon Drop Zone. Some time after the event I wrote an account of it, at the time I was in my 40s and felt a bit old for it then! I organised leisure and sports courses for students at the Technical College and these included parachuting. One day the planning group challenged me to do it myself and so it came to pass. The idea was that after six hours of training we would make a jump in the early evening of the same day.

Full Contents

  • Here’s to the Barmaid
  • What’s in a Name ? - On being Joe Cocker
  • Alone with Foxtrot
  • To Kill or not to Kill
  • Mrs Ditto and the Brainfever Bird
  • Butterfly Minds
  • When I use a word it means just what I choose it to mean.
  • You may have noticed…
  • It all began with Dogging
  • Friendship to Kulusuk
  • Happy Birthday Charles (Darwin not Windsor!)
  • A Modicum of Wolof
  • A Day Return to Neanderthal Please
  • Grayshott
  • At the Going Down of the Sun
  • Where Monarchs spend their winters
  • An Assisted Exit
  • Hereford’s Man in the Moone
  • The Sky Train
  • Radnorshire – An Invisible County
  • Attempted Linguicide
  • Lieutenant Pigeon
  • Camels of the Clouds
  • Sapmi – a Forgotten Nation
  • Minority Languages and Cultural Identity
  • Happy Travellers
  • The Names of Moths
  • Genocide
  • The Beijing Opera
  • Wings over the Wye
  • Recreating Creationism
  • Aboriginal Australia: A People’s Traged
  • Under the Volcano or How to Live with a Violent Baby
  • Lucky Twins – Lucky Me A tribute to the NHS and the RAF

Notes from Joe - March 2014

In the last few months I have twice visited Turkey. On the latest trip in February I visited a number of famous sites from classical times including Troy and Ephesus.

The other visit took in Cappadocia in central Turkey which has extraordinary landscapes filled with volcanic formations that look like giant mushrooms.

There are many other places I would like to visit in Turkey but the country is very big – about the same as France plus Spain! There also seem to be some worrying political developments there.

In January I visited the city of Hull. Why ? Well it was recently named as City of Culture and I had never been there. It was a very friendly place and although many buildings were destroyed in WW2 it still has many impressive ones as well as the harbour and docks. It was also the home of William Wilberforce who was instrumental in the abolition of slavery, his house is now an interesting museum. In the centre there are a number of excellent pubs.

I recently spent a week on the island of Guernsey. This was very interesting, I did not realise that Guernsey and the other Channel Islands are not part of the United Kingdom, are not in the European Union and are not in the National Health Service. The Queen is their Queen but not as Queen of England but as successor to the Dukes of Normandy.

In April I shall be attending a conference of Psychology teachers in Berlin where I am running a workshop. On Wikipedia there is a list of 50 recognised countries in Europe. I have been to 49 of these and so am hoping that I might be able to visit No 50, Azerbaijan, this year. It is not so easy so watch this space.


A word about the Author, Joe Cocker.

Several friends and colleagues suggested that I should put together this collection and I hope that they will consider their suggestion worth while! It has been fun selecting and editing the pieces that appear in the book.

For many years I taught Psychology and a number of the articles first appeared in the newletters and journals of The Association for the Teaching of Psychology.

A glance through the list of contents however will show my interest in many other topics and brings to mind the phrase ‘jack of all trades and master of none!’

A number of people who have read it have said that they have found it the sort of book that you can dip into here and there, inevitably not everything is going to be of equal interest to everyone.

Barmaids and Butterflies Beerglass