Joyride: To a Reunion at Kardamyli

By Tony Scotland

With a jacket illustration by Sarah Godsill

The touching account of an eccentric pilgrimage. Three Bright Old Things, widowed veterans of the Brideshead generation, set off by car from Bayswater to drive 2000 miles through France and Italy to Greece. Their objective: a romantic, and almost legendary, house on the wild Mani Peninsula in the southern Peloponnese, for a fortnight with their old friends, the travel writer and war hero Patrick Leigh Fermor, and his wife, the photographer Joan Eyres Monsell. All three had been immortalised as muses.

           Coote and Freda at Sledmere, 1993.jpg

The driver, Lady Dorothy (‘Coote’) Heber-Percy [left, above], a daughter of the 7th Earl Beauchamp, was the prototype for Waugh’s Cordelia Flyte, and eventually married the ‘Mad Boy’, Robert Heber-Percy, companion and heir of Lord Berners; Lady (Freda) Berkeley [right, above], widow of the composer Sir Lennox Berkeley, was the inspiration for his opera Ruth; and the navigator, Lady (‘Billa’) Harrod [below, at home in Norfolk], widow of the economist Sir Roy Harrod, and friend of the Prince of Wales, was the model for the narrator in Nancy Mitford’s Love novels.

2 Billa, Old Rectory, Holt. copy 2.jpg

4 Coote Lygon, Robert HP, Penelope Betjeman, Berners copy 2.jpgCoote Lygon (later Heber-Percy), Robert Heber-Percy, Penelope Chetwode (later Betjeman) and Gerald Berners, at Faringdon, c. 1938.

Intrepid, adaptable, curious and fun, each of the three ladies had her own personal reasons for making the long journey, but together their purpose was a joyous reunion with Paddy and Joan Leigh Fermor at Kardamyli, to celebrate times past, in the late autumn of all their lives.

38 The Leigh Fermors' house at Kalamitsi (Photo The Benaki Museum).jpeg

The Leigh Fermor House at Kardamyli (Photo The Benaki Museum, Athens)

Tony Scotland’s handsome new book, Joyride, is a companion volume to Bazouker, Gradual and Flèchewith a matching gold-blocked hardback cover, and design by Susan Wightman of Libanus Press.

Blocking design Joyride.indd.jpg

Like the other titles in the set, Joyride should appeal to collectors and bibliophiles as well as to discerning readers. A slim volume of 96 pages, with 53 colour and black-and-white photographs, and an illustrated dustjacket, it is available in hardback (measuring 218 x 138 mm; ISBN 978-0-9955503-2-2) at £17.50 including UK postage. It will be published on 21 November 2018, in a limited edition of 250 copies, each signed and numbered.


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