We sense that this autobiography has been a long time coming. Why now?
To be honest it’s because my wife Sarah gave me loads of encouragement about being able to write and my life was interesting and would make a great book. Once I’d started writing, it was astonishing to me how detail came back to me as I’ve always thought I didn’t have a particularly brilliant memory, but actually remembering things like food or music triggered lots of other recollections too.
In many ways your childhood seems idyllic. Is that how you see it?
Looking back on the early years of my childhood both at the farm in Oxfordshire and on long summer holidays in Cornwall the memories are very warm. I was fortunate really that my Father’s bi-polar disorder, which so affected our family life later, was not apparent in those golden days.
You appear to have been haunted by self-doubt for much of your life. Is that ghost laid to rest at last?
I don’t think it ever will be but at least I now know what caused it and actually I don’t think a bit of self doubt is any bad thing, it makes you try harder and stops you being too pleased with yourself.
If you could choose which to be in another life, would it be a) rock star or b) Oxford literary professor?
That’s a difficult one. I know you expect me to say an Oxford literary professor but I do have a love of getting everybody up and dancing; even last night on holiday in the South of France I had everybody on chairs swaying to ‘Hey Jude’.