...was aged about ten or eleven, when a friend played me a few minutes on a cassette tape from what he called 'a fairy tale for grown-ups' called The Hobbit.
It was from the (apparently?) long-lost 1961 BBC Radio adaptation read by David Davis - who was one of the best and favourite performers on children's radio during my childhood
Here is a snippet of his voice - although when I knew him it had matured to be a little deeper and more 'gravelly' than here:
I was intrigued - but did not get around to reading The Hobbit for myself until I was 13, under the influence of another friend who perhaps lent me a copy.
I loved it so much that I did not want to read The Lord of the Rings because I knew that it did not have very much more about Bilbo - I just wanted another book all about Bilbo.
Still, eventually (i.e. after a few weeks resistance) I read LotR; and the rest is history...