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Memories of a golden boyhood

SO ashamed am I that I didn't ask my father about his early life that I've written a memoir of my boyhood years, so that my children - if so inclined - can see what I got up to during the 1940s and 1950s.

The 120-page book, called Outsider Looking In, describes my childhood in Wigston Magna, Leicestershire, and the people who had the greatest influence on my development.

It is not one long moan - the fashionable way of doing things nowadays - but a celebration of my working class background, and of my parents, who produced a family of five sons in straitened circumstances, braving the great depression of the 1930s and the Second World War to provide a more than satisfactory life for us all.

Dear old Wigston Magna, an unremarkable place in many ways, was not only my birthplace, but also the crucible in which my character was formed, and the begetter of my dreams. Even though I left sixty years ago, I still have great affection for it, and the characters who helped make it special for me.

The book is not only a limited edition, but a VERY LIMITED edition, with only thirty copies in circulation, and all those going to family and close friends.

Meanwhile, I'm still left wondering about my own father's childhood in the Scottish Highlands, and the people who influenced him most.

If only I could sit down with him now and ask him about his parents, his brothers, his sisters, his school, the people who exercised the greatest influence, the places he loved.

The old boy passed on in 1982, aged eighty-one, having been born in the year that Queen Victoria died.

He lived through two world wars, the General Strike, The Great Depression and into The Space Age, yet I know scarcely anything about his life during a century of great change. All his experience and knowledge died with him, and I was privy to little or none of it.

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