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Great memories of a golden boyhood

AFTER much cajoling by my beloved stepdaughter, I've finally produced my book of boyhood yarns, Mr Kirby the Dancing Man, which started life as bedtime tales I told my children in the 1980s.

Darling Laura was always the one whose imagination was truly captivated by these stories, and it was her constant badgering that finally won the day. I've now produced a small edition of these true tales from what I call 'a golden boyhood'.

Dedicated to Laura - naturally - the book includes 16 yarns featuring characters I knew in my birthplace, Wigston Magna, Leicestershire, during my 1950s childhood. They include the legendary Mr Kirby, an 86-year-old eccentric who used to leap in the air and kick his heels after reciting verses by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow..

These were truly wondrous times when boys, in particular, ran free in the fields in a rough-and-tumble world full of fun and adventure. I still rate the 1950s as the most wonderful decade of my life. I hope this book captures some of its warmth and spirit for future generations.

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