‘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.
©2011 Pam Ayres (P)2011 Random House Audiobooks
“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.”Mail on Sunday
yes because I remember lots of things sheb talks about
her poems will be next
"Laugh until you cry"
This is one of the best books I have ever read. It is a pure joy and pleasure. I laughed until my body hurt. It took me down memory lane reminding me of people and an era I had once known. Pam has managed to conjure up vivid pictures of her young life through to her military career that you feel you are there with her. Throughout the whole story you feel she comes from a caring and loving family. The icing on the cake being that the book is narrated by Pam herself.
"A Real Joy"
I listened to this over a few days in December and it was a perfect pre-Christmas listen. Really warm, gently funny and evocative of an era now passed. Beautifully read.
If you want an easy, peaceful and soothing, up-lifting listen, I recommend this book to you.
"Funny, nostalgic, warm & wonderful!"
I absolutely loved this - how fantastic to hear the lady herself read this. A really special audio-book.Highly recommended.
"Do you ever want a laugh!!"
I most certainly would. This is an ordinary girl, who went through lots of trials and a variety of experiences, but made it good.I could not put this down. Every chapter was a delight. Pam made it as if you were there. Could not wait for the next part. Made me laugh, made me cry. Could relate to some of the people she worked with. What a varied life. From family problems to school, forces and work life. Every little bit made you want for more. Can't wait to get another one. I think what makes it as well is the narration by Pam herself. This would not be the same if anyone else did this. You can even imagine her having a little chuckle herself at times. Enjoyed every minute.
I would say as far as I am concerned would be Michael Caine's.
I think it was her narration.
It most certainly did. You could imagine yourself being there. I am a little bit older than Pam, but went through some similar experiences especially at school.
I do have some of her books. After hearing this, I am going to dig them out and re- read them.
"For family, friends and loyal fans"
I like Pam Ayres, and I like her poetry and performances. So, I was disappointed not to like this memoir. First, I should say that I only listened to about 90 minutes of the book ,so it might have changed for the better if I had persevered, but I do not think so. Basically, I found it rather pedantic and twee with too much focus on the minutiae. It felt as if Pam had had her arm twisted by her agent to get a biography out (because her fans wanted it) and after reluctantly agreeing she threw herself into it with her usual humorously deprecating manner. I still like Pam Ayres, but my conclusion is that being good at writing and performing humorous and popular poetry does not necessarily translate into being a good autobiographer. My feeling is that a biography, rather than an autobiography, might have satisfied me more. Having said all of this, my mother-in-law said she really liked this book, so what do I know. Perhaps it is just for family, friends and loyal fans, rather than a casual admirer like me. It just shows how subjective a book can be. My final advice is to listen to the audible preview before buying.
"Worth listening to."
Funny, moving, well-written.
Her period in Singapore contained some memorable descriptive passages.
The warmth of her voice and the dialect gave an added dimension to the book.
Her childhood experience of seeing a spina bifida child and her comments on how attitudes to disability had changed.
"A gentle and interesting listen"
The first chapter made me feel I wasn't going to like this book, but then as I got into the rhythm of the narration and started to get to know the family I was hooked. Thoroughly enjoyed this. Highly recommended.
"one of those books you miss when it ends"
Warm, funny, engrossing
That Pam read it, that made it even more enjoyable.
I haven't heard any other performances other than the odd poem
I could have if that was possible as it was I put it on whenever I had the chance.
This is just a lovely gentle story brought to life by Pam and one of those audio books that you can't wait to finish but once it's finished you really miss it and find it hard to decide what to listen to next.
I don't know what made me pick this book, I was aware of Pam Ayers and had heard the odd poem but didn't know much about her and I am not the same age or from the same area but I am glad that I discovered it. It doesn't cover her career after she became famous but ends with a summary which is satisfying but I would be happy to read a sequel.
funny - interesting - heart warming
I loved listening to this - and was sad when it came to an end. Pam narrates with such warmth and humour - her childhood, her first jobs, her time in the RAF and subsequent early days of writing poetry. She tells her story in such a self deprecating way - it would be hard not to like her.
"I'm not an Ayres fan but I loved this"
I wouldn't know.
No, it was great as it was.
No I haven't.
No I preferred to listen to it in chunks, like I do all audio books.
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