|Cover photo: |
Some of the children of Fawler about to be given a ride by Fred Able, "The Donkey Man." About 1955-56.
No, not another book about my usual subjects - general science, biology, atheism, religion and it's fallacies - but a much more personal book; a book about my childhood in rural Oxfordshire in the 1950s and 60s.
Of course, I cover my realisation that I was an Atheist and how my love of nature and science developed but I also cover life in general in a small agricultural hamlet. I talk about how important the countryside was to us as a playground and in particular how important the River Evenlode was to us children.
We spent the summer swimming, diving or lying half asleep with noses buried in fresh clover on the river bank and generally showing off to the local girls whose bodies were taking on strangely fascinating shapes. Some of the girls even began to wrap themselves in towels when they got changed. It was all very strange!
I also write about how we discovered sex and how our relationships grew from childhood friendships in what was virtually an extended family, to become intimate lovers, discovering sex together as our bodies grew and developed.
The village green, the centre of our lives, where we grew up together, fell out, made friends again and later kissed and cuddled and touched and explored one another’s bodies as we discovered our sexuality, and where we later said our departing goodbyes, is now lifeless.
And I describe how this all came to an end as technology transformed country life and ended an ancient way of life for ever.
Probably the one saving grace for me in the morning assembly was that we would occasionally sing a hymn that had the words “will obey” in it. I could shut my eyes and picture this Willow Bay, with its sky–blue sea gently lapping on golden sands and fringed with weeping willow trees. Wherever in the world Willow Bay was, probably on a tropical island, I determined to go there one day. Hopefully, there would not be cannibals.
The book also incorporates passages from a previously unpublished personal memoir of childhood written by my sister, Patricia Broome.
It is available direct from the publishers as a paperback ($10.95), or as a paperback or ebook for Kindle from Amazon USA ($10.95 paperback, $8.75 Kindle) or Amazon UK (£8.75 paperback, £6.95 Kindle).