"A Liquorice Bootlace is not round. It's like a flat tape about half an inch wide. You buy it rolled up in a coil."
"A little nonsense now and then is relished by the wisest men."
"A person is a fool to become a writer. His only compensation is absolute freedom."
"A tuck-box is a small pinewood trunk which is very strongly made, and no boy has ever gone as a boarder to an English Prep School without one."
"A writer of fiction lives in fear. Each new day demands new ideas and he can never be sure whether he is going to come up with them or not."
"All Norwegian children learn to swim when they are very young because if you can't swim it is difficult to find a place to bathe."
"All those afternoons on the playing-fields and in the fives courts and in the squash courts made the otherwise grey and melancholy days pass a lot more quickly."
"All through my school life I was appalled by the fact that masters and senior boys were allowed quite literally to wound other boys, and sometimes very severely."
"An autobiography is a book a person writes about his own life and it is usually full of all sorts of boring details."
"Cadbury's were using some of the greatest chocolate-bar experts in the world to test out their new inventions. We knew every chocolate bar in existence."
"Did they preach one thing and practice another, these men of God?"
"Egypt was desert country. It was bare and sandy and full of tombs and relics and Egyptians, and I didn't fancy it at all."
"Everyone has some sort of a boat in Norway. NObody sits around in front of the hotel. Nor does anyone sit on the beach."
"Game-playing at school is always fun if you happen to be good at it, and it is hell if you are not. I was one of the lucky ones."
"Great excitement is probably the only thing that really interests a 6-year-old boy."
"Homesickness is a bit like seasickness. You don't know how awful it is unti you get it, and when you do, it hits you right in the top of the stomach and you want to die."
"I am only 8 years old, I told myself. No little boy of 8 has ever murdered anyone. It's not possible."
"I began to realise that the large chocolate companies actually did possess inventing rooms, and they took their inventing very seriously."
"I began to realize how simple life could be if one had a regular routine to follow with fixed hours, a fixed salary, and very little original thinking to do."
"I devised a stunt for getting myself sent back home. My idea was that I should all of a sudden develop an attack of acute appendicitis."
"I do have a blurred memory of sitting on the stairs and trying over and over again to tie one of my shoelaces, but that is all that comes back to me of school itself."
"I learned to speak Swahili and to shake the scorpions out of my mosquito boots in the mornings. I learned what it was like to get malaria and to run a temperature of 105 degrees for three days."
"I shot down some German planes and I got shot down myself, crashing in a burst of flames and crawling out, getting rescued by brave soldiers."
"I was 20 years old. I was off to East Africa, where I would walk about in khaki shorts every day and wear a topi on my head."
"I was a fighter pilot, flying Hurricanes all round the Mediterranean. I flew in the Western Desert of Libya, in Greece, in Syria, in Iraq and in Egypt."
"In 1920, with no penicillin or other magical antibiotic cures, pneumonia in particular was a very dangerous illness indeed."
"It was always a great surprise to me that I was good at games. One of these was called fives, and the other was squash-racquets."
"My father was a Norwegian who came from a small town near Oslo. He broke his arm at the elbow when he was 14, and they amputated it."
"Newfoundland was not much of a country. For three weeks we trudged all over that desolate land with enormous loads on our backs. We carried tents and sleeping bags and saucepans and food and axes."
"Nobody gets a nervous breakdown or a heart attack from selling kerosene to gentle country folk from the back of a tanker in Somerset."
"None of us, even on the sunniest days in 1934, went without his furled umbrella. The umbrella was our badge of office. We felt naked without it."
"Nowadays you can go anywhere in the world in a few hours, and nothing is fabulous any more."
"On the way to school and on the way back we always passed the sweet-shop. We always stopped. We lingered outside its small window gazing in at the big glass jars."
"Our family got ready for our first drive in the first motor-car we had ever owned. It was an enormous long black French automobile called a De Dion-Bouton which had a canvas roof that folded back."
"Pain was something we were expected to endure. But I doubt very much if you would be entirely happy today if a doctor threw a towel in your face and jumped on you with a knife."
"Pear Drops were exciting because they had a dangerous taste. All of us were warned against eating them, and the result was that we ate them more than ever."
"Prayers were held in Assembly Hall. We all perched in rows on wooden benches while teachers sat up on the platform in armchairs, facing us."
"The Bristol Channel was always my guide, and I was always able to draw an imaginary line from my bed to our house over in Wales. It was a great comfort."
"The rules of Prep were simple but strict. You were forbidden to look up from your work, and you were forbidden to talk."
"The summer holidays! The magic words! The mere mention of them used to send shivers of joy rippling over my skin."
"The sweet-shop in Llandaff in the year 1923 was the very centre of our lives. TO us, it was what a bar is to a drunk. Without it, there would have been little to live for."
"The writer has to force himself to work. He has to make his own hours and if he doesn't go to his desk at all there is nobody to scold him."
"The writer walks out of his workroom in a daze. He wants a drink. He needs it."
"There is nothing wrong with a few quick sharp tickles on the rump. They probably do a naughty boy a lot of good."
"Though my father was Norwegian, he always wrote his diaries in perfect English."
"Throughout my young days at school and just afterwards a number of things happened to me that I have never forgotten."
"To shipbrokers, coal was black gold."
"Two hours of writing fiction leaves this writer completely drained. For those two hours he has been in a different place with totally different people."
"Unless you have been to boarding-school when you are very young, it is absolutely impossible to appreciate the delights of living at home."
"When I walked to school in the mornings I would start out alone but would pick up four other boys along the way. We would set out together after school across the village green."
"When I was 2, we moved into an imposing country mansion 8 miles west of Cardiff, Wales."
"When I was about 9, my ancient half-sister got engaged. The man of her choice was an English doctor. Romance was floating in the air like moondust."