NO ONE who attended Farringdon Secondary Modern School would perhaps pretend to be an academic, but Pam Ayres with her understanding of real life and the way she explains it has achieved much more than any scholar.

Born in Berkshire and now living in the South East Cotswolds Pam lived in the bad old days of the Eleven Plus.

Grammar School if you passed, otherwise it was the Secondary Modern.

A couple of hours at an early age could have a life time affect.

Yes, believe in grammar schools by all means but that means accepting the alternative. No cheating is allowed. You cannot have one without the other.

The book “Up in the Attic” which is Pam’s latest was bought by me for Penny’s birthday. I was anxious to read it myself but do not tell her.

There are two poems within. The first being one that describes the difficulties of parking in Cirencester, or perhaps anywhere.

Pam speaks for all of us in describing her experiences, and however annoying they were I defy you not to end up chuckling.

Most rewarding of all is the poem “Down the Line”.

Pam spoke movingly in Cirencester Parish Church last November and conveys in memorable fashion the importance of the world of the branch line which for many of us the sole way of escaping our rural solitude.

“They came from battlefields, obscene ….

To fight in battlefields obscene”

Writes Pam, adding “don’t let them hear the song of the track, Clickety clack, they won’t come back”

Do not dismiss Pam Ayres as merely a funny poet.

She can hit at the heart of family life, village life and much more, knowing both triumph and in this case tragedy.

Like the Lord of Nympsfield she can make difficult context easy to understand and in writing about human relationships she can pierce the heart.

By all means read the book and laugh but rejoice in how it dismisses pretension and most of all weep for those who did not come back from their branch line adventure.