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The Necessary Aptitude: A Memoir Hardcover – 15 Sep 2011
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"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)
The eagerly-awaited memoir by one of Britain's most-loved personalitiesSee all Product description
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It traces her life and career starting from the post-war growing up as the youngest of six children in a council cottage in the Vale of White Horse, Berkshire. From there it moves on to schooling and subsequent joining the Women's Royal Air Force and her posting to Singapore and Germany, where she blossomed. Her description of watching a camelion changing colour is magical.
From there it moves on to her subsequent jobs and the events that led up to her winning the tacky "Opportunity Knocks" talent show, with its slimy host Hughie Green and the dreaded "clap-o-meter" measuring device, so stops around 1975.
The title refers to the number she was knocked down during her life and told she "did not have the necessary aptitude" to succeed. The story is told with much humour, as you might expect, and is very touching in parts.
Call me an old softie, but I thought the book was brilliant.
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