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An eagerly-awaited country childhood memoir by one of Britain's most-loved personalities

‘I never once attended a Sunday morning church service in Stanford. There was always the feeling that they weren’t aimed at families like ours.’ Pam Ayres was the sixth child in a hard-up family who lived in a council house, her parents’ generation were harrowed by the war. Yet they lived by the green in the village of Stanford in the Vale, where everything you needed was within walking distance and the sound of motorcars was rarely heard. Then reaching her teens, Pam realised how few opportunities she had. At fifteen she started working for the civil service, and for a social life she had the local ‘hop’. Pam knew she had to reach out for more, and sought it first in the WRAF. But it was some time before she discovered the unique talent that would make her one of Britain’s best-loved comics … Containing Pam’s much-loved combination of humour and poignancy, The Necessary Aptitude is a beautifully written memoir of growing up in the country in post-war Berkshire.

Reviews

Ayres gives a wonderful account of what it was like to grow up poor but respectable in post-war rural England. Some of her writing in the early chapters, describing life as the youngest of six children in a council cottage in the Vale of White Horse, Berkshire, has the original freshness of classics such as Flora Thompson's Lark Rise to Candleford

Kathryn Hughes, Mail on Sunday

I find her work sweet and sour, gentle and sad, and often very moving in its wistful way ... The descriptions of post-war Berkshire life in The Necessary Aptitude are wonderful ... The world Ayres evokes is Hardy's Wessex ... I do admire (and envy) this marvellous woman

Roger Lewis, Daily Mail

An evocation of long-gone village life as captivating as Thompson’s Lark Rise to Candleford. At the book’s height, she reaches up and touches Laurie Lee

Buckinghamshire Life

Ayres gives a wonderful account of what it was like to grow up poor but respectable in post-war rural England. Some of her writing in the early chapters, describing life as the youngest of six children in a council cottage in the Vale of White Horse, Berkshire, has the original freshness of classics such as Flora Thompson's Lark Rise to Candleford

Kathryn Hughes, Mail on Sunday

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Formats & editions

  • Paperback

    9780091940492

    October 18, 2012

    Ebury Press

    416 pages

    RRP $19.99

    Online retailers

    • Abbey's Bookshop
    • Angus & Robertson Bookworld
    • Booktopia
    • Boomerang Books
    • Collins Booksellers
    • Dymocks
    • Books Kinokuniya
    • The Nile
    • QBD
    • Readings
    • Robinsons Bookshop
    Or

    Find your local bookstore at booksellers.org.au

  • Trade Paperback

    9780091945039

    October 1, 2011

    Ebury Press

    416 pages

    RRP $34.99

    Online retailers

    • Abbey's Bookshop
    • Angus & Robertson Bookworld
    • Booktopia
    • Boomerang Books
    • Collins Booksellers
    • Dymocks
    • Books Kinokuniya
    • The Nile
    • QBD
    • Readings
    • Robinsons Bookshop
    Or

    Find your local bookstore at booksellers.org.au

  • Audio Book

    9781846573101

    November 1, 2011

    Audiobooks

    RRP $39.99

    Online retailers

    Or

    Find your local bookstore at booksellers.org.au

Also by Pam Ayres

You Made Me Late Again!
Pam Ayres - The Works: The Classic Collection

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