As for me – for me, the grass grew longer, and more sorrowful, and the trees were surfaced like flesh, and girls were no longer to be treated lightly but were creatures of commanding sadness, and all journeys through the valley were now made alone, with passion in every bush, and the motions of wind and cloud and stars were suddenly for myself alone, and voices elected me of all men living and called me to deliver the world, and I groaned from solitude, blushed when I stumbled, loved strangers and bread and butter, and made long trips through the rain on my bicycle, stared wretchedly through lighted windows, grinned wryly to think how little I was known, and lived in a state of raging excitement.

Cider with Rosie by Laurie Lee

A brilliant account of life growing up in a small traditional Gloucestershire village before the days of cars, telephones and masses of state regulations. It is amazing to realise just how much changed forever is such a short space of time.

Along with such books as Gerald Durrell’s My Family and Other Animals and Roald Dahl’s Boy, this is a key insight into what it was like to grow up in a time and a setting unknown to us in the twenty-first century.