From her early childhood, when her inspirational mother would take her on trips along her beloved Ridgeway in a horse-drawn cart, Candida Lycett Green has retained a love of green lanes and tracks, of moving along at horse's pace and casting an eye on the beauty of England through the back door. Her insatiable appetite for exploring unknown territory has led her to travel all over the country by horse for weeks at a time, and often these journeys have come at important turning points in her life.
Lyrical yet down-to-earth, framed by a recent 150-mile journey through Yorkshire and Northumberland with a friend, Over the Hills and Far Away dips back into past journeys by horse that also reflect her idyllic childhood in the bohemian Betjeman household, a charmed youth in the Swinging Sixties, a year-long honeymoon journey overland to India, early days at Private Eye, and the ups and downs of thirty-nine years of marriage and motherhood. Her story is made all the more poignant by her recent fight with breast cancer.
A small treasure. It is sharp, finely written, sometimes very funny, and would move a black-hearted croupier to tears.
There is an appropriate sense of fresh air blowing through the book's prose ... we are given not only new insights into both her father and her daunting mother, we also come to realise how many of their attributes she has inherited ... The book's power, finally is that it is full of life - life regained, and life reaffirmed.
Candida Lycett Green is good, clever and beautiful ... a writer of books about England that look almost too affectionate to be serious, but which, like her father John Betjeman's poetry, turn out to be both ... What brings her and the book its strength ... is her almost total recall of past happiness ... There is much fun in this book, and great anecdotes. Lycett Green has such joy in life - why should it end too soon?
Eloquent, observant, bracingly idiosyncratic and filled, like a really good journey, with worthwhile detours.
Joyful tales from the saddle and the country pub are offset by entries describing the discovery and treatment of Lycett Green's cancer ... bracing, but never bleak and often funny. Neither sentimental nor undignified, it is how you would hope to fight illness ... Lycett Green is always good company.