The Necessary Aptitude

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Next, I applied to work in the accounts department, a sealed room where women operated clattering machines like enormous typewriters. After I had catastrophically and erroneously applied all the wrong information to several trolley loads of documents and lumbered the staff with weeks of corrective work, I was shown the door by a tight-lipped manageress. I knew what was coming. Over the relentless, furious din of machinery, I lip-read the familiar words: "Lacks the necessary aptitude."

Pam Ayres' early childhood in Stanford in the Vale was idyllic in many ways, and typical of that experienced by a great swathe of children born in rural areas in the immediate postwar years. Though her parents' generation was harrowed by war, better times were coming. Everything the family needed was within walking distance in the village, and life with four older brothers and a sister in their crowded council house was exceedingly lively. In her late teens, Pam grew dissatisfied with her life as a Civil Service clerk with only the local "hop" for scintillating excitement. Having seen three of her brothers called up for National Service and sent off to exciting destinations, Pam felt desperate for travel and adventure. She joined the WRAF and soon found herself in the Far East. There she began to write in earnest, and develop the unique talent that would make her one of Britain's favorite comics.Written with Pam's much-loved combination of humor and poignancy, The Necessary Aptitude is a beautifully written account of her early years.


Pam Ayres has been a writer, broadcaster, and entertainer for ,more than 35 years since winning the talent show Opportunity Knocks in 1975, and she has become an audience favorite for her sharp perception of the comic detail of everyday life. Pam is the author of several poetry collections, including With These Hands, Surgically Enhanced, and The Works. Her books, CDs, and DVDs have sold  millions, and she is the star of Ayres on the Air