Ferdinand Mount's parents belonged to what came to be called 'Hobohemia', 'a raffish subdivision of the upper class which, like some rare blue butterfly, was to be found only on the Wiltshire Downs'. His uncle was Anthony Powell, and this sparkling memoir reads like a non-fictional A Dance to the Music of Time. It throngs with characters of every shade and hue, from Harold Acton in Florence having his aesthetic flourishes crisply trumped by his outspoken mother, to the wild ways of Donald Maclean; from boneshaking cycling with Peter Fleming to discovering a 14-year-old Miriam Margolyes, 'an opulent tumble of dark curls and puppy fat' reclining on his landlady's hearth rug, hoping to pose for Augustus John. There is the strange nighttime behaviour of a certain royal, together with John Wells, Auberon Waugh and the repugnant and ill-mannered Oswald Mosley, and later on an intimate acquaintance with Margaret Thatcher and her acolytes ('Mr Parkinson would like a word, Prime Minister'). Among the beautifully turned anecdotes is sadness too- the loss of his grandfather, termed 'one of the Paladins of Gallipoli' by Churchill, and the unbearably slow and lonely death of his mother. Very much a memoir of rich experience and slowly gained maturity and happiness, it is a joy to read on every page.