Melvyn Bragg's first ever memoir - an elegiac, intimate account of growing up in post-war Cumbria, which vividly evokes a vanished world.
In this captivating memoir, Melvyn Bragg describes his life from childhood to adulthood in the Cumbrian market town of Wigton, from the early years alone with his mother while his father fought in the war to the moment he left for university. It is the tale of a working-class boy who grew up in a pub and expected to leave school at 16, then won two scholarships to Oxford; who happily roamed the streets and raided orchards with his friends yet had a breakdown when he was 13; and who was deeply embedded in a close-knit community but had to choose whether to leave it and the girl he loved behind.
It is equally the tale of the place that shaped him; an elegy to a proud northern town steeped in the old ways but on the cusp of change, with the new NHS and council estates beginning to take effect.
Bragg paints vivid portraits of his parents, relatives and the people he grew up with, from vicars to gypsies, teachers to rogues, and evokes such enduring rituals as the horse fair, hound-trailing and potato-picking week. The result is an engrossing, beautifully written memoir, which gives an unusual insight into one of the most renowned figures in the arts and poignantly recreates a vanished era.