Flying Upside Down, by Richard G. Walker, subtitled 'Childhood memories of war and the fragile peace that followed'
Published by Woodfield, 270 pages. Paperback (N6313)
From the rear side cover: In this evocative memoir Richard Walker recalls his boyhood and teenage experiences, growing up during, and after the Second World War in Stopsley, at the time still a village on the outskirts of Luton, Bedfordshire.
In common with many others who were children during the wartime years, Richard looks back with mixed feelings to a time when to a child's mind, the war seemed both frightening and exciting but was mostly just an inconvenient interruption to the otherwise enjoyable pursuits of childhood.
Richard lived in a 19305 house with his careworn parents, his elderly grandmother, his cousin Margaret, who had come to stay after the death of her mother, and his dog, Jock.
With a keen interest in firearms, fireworks and rocket propulsion - acquired from his father, an engineer and wartime ARP firefighter - Richard was soon conducting pyrotechnic experiments in the old barn behind his home and in his favourite playground, a piece of common land known as 'The Brickfields' - an abandoned brickworks that Nature had reclaimed. Here he was free to conduct his 'scientific research' in secret, accompanied only by Jock and Cousin Margaret, with whom he had a distinctly love/hate relationship.
We then follow him through his teenage years in the postwar period of austerity and 'political uncertainty culminating in two years' compulsory National Service, a never-to-be-forgotten rite of passage experienced by a generation of British youngsters. For Richard it was a to be spell in the RAF which marked the beginning of his adult life.
The condition of the book is generally excellent. The covers are clean and bright, the spine is tight and intact, and all pages are clean, intact, unblemished and tightly bound. There is an old price printed and a small price sticker, both on the rear side cover.