Published: 28/06/2014
ISBN: 9781783065387
Format: Paperback

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Once a Man – Twice a Boy
Memories of a Bedfordshire Farmer
by Claude Banks

Open this book and read whatever chapter appears and you will be transported back in time – Tardis style – into village life around Pertenhall and Kimbolton over the last 80 years. You will immediately become part of the scene. Claude Banks treats readers to a rich potpourri of stories of village life with a wicked eye for detail… Feel the austerity of the agricultural depression leading up to World War 2. Giggle at the exploits of the local cricketers and footballers; we imagine we are in Claude's classroom at Kimbolton Grammar School in the late 1930s.

Stories are told with understated humour, including his recollections of service in the Home Guard under the command of a real life Captain Mainwaring. Indeed, all seemed to change with the advent of World War 2, especially with the influx of American Air Force personnel and how they brightened up local village life, soon to be followed by Italian and German prisoners of war who worked on the land.

There are many, often inadvertent, comparisons to life as it is now. Whilst appreciative of past times Claude is not wedded to them and shows huge adaptability to the challenges that every decade has put before him. He is a true old fashioned naturalist and treats readers to stories about nature and country pursuits – especially shooting and horse racing.

Overall, the book provides superb insights into past country life with its full range of joy and tears, and a cast of characters that Chaucer would have been proud of!

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