With all the success Team GB has had on the water - rowing, sailing and canoeing - so far, the timing of Hadley Wood author Aubrey Rose’s first children’s book couldn’t have been better.

Sea Olympics is a beautifully presented, large-format picture book that tells of a very different type of Games – held deep under the sea off the coast of Cornwall, with the sea creatures taking part in events such as the camouflage competition, the high jump out of the water, the slow movers’ race and the seaweed relay.

While it seems extremely timely, the book has been a long time in the making – the 85-year-old writer and former lawyer first had the idea for the book ten years ago.

“My grandchildren used to stay with my late wife and I,” he explains, “and I wrote ten children’s stories for them, but largely put them in the cupboard. I wrote two sea ones – one of them was Sea Olympics .

“They were read in the local primary school, which was very nice. My granddaughter, who was about six at the time, said she preferred it to Winnie The Pooh !”

When the question of finding an illustrator for his picture book came up, Aubrey had a bit of luck. “I was sitting in The Coffee Bean in The Spires shopping centre in Barnet,” he remembers, “and there was a woman next to me drawing the heads and faces of the people coming in. I said to her ‘they’re very good’ and asked if she’d like to illustrate a story and she said yes.”

The woman was Elisabeth Newson, a piano teacher from Whetstone, who “produced the most amazing artwork,” says Aubrey, “it’s lovely.”

Continuing the local connection, Sea Olympics is published by Chaville Press, based in North Finchley, and the publisher, Keith Martin, is from Friern Barnet – an arrangement that reflects Aubrey’s very strong local connections.

Aubrey has lived in Barnet since 1980 and has been president of the Barnet Society, helped to establish The Bull Theatre in Barnet and used to coach 10 and 11-year-olds in a local football club. “One gets involved in local things,” he says.

And what of the human Olympic Games – is he following those? “Very much so. I’m amazed at the gifts of these people. And the Olympic Park is a magnificent tribute to Britain. The whole thing is absolutely marvellous.”

  • Sea Olympics by Aubrey Rose is available from Amazon or from Chaville Press. Details: 020 8445 8750, www.chavillepress.co.uk