In a remote corner of rural Essex, when ploughs were drawn by heavy horses and children walked shoeless to school, young Spike Mays lived with his family in a two-up, two-down cottage, where there was no electricity, no bathroom, no running water and just a shared privy in the back yard. Beset by poverty, this was an England in the shadow of the Great War.
In this bittersweet memoir Mays recreates the village, its travelling parson, local poacher and even the local drunkard. And in the bustling backstairs world of the squire’s house where Spike served his apprenticeship we see a more privileged side to life. This warm and nostalgic portrait of a very different Essex opens a door to a distant past.