Wednesday, 21 March 2012

I had the most amazing riding holiday in South Africa...

21st March ~
I wish you could stay longer.’
So do I,’ I said, as we walked round to heave my luggage into a waiting car.
Sophie, I wanted to ask: would you like to consider becoming my partner in the horse safaris?’
I’d love to, Sarah-Jane but I can’t. I’ve too many commitments.’
It’s not that easy, I’m half way through my contract with the BBC.’
London will be horrid,’ she insisted.
Yes, but,’ I said, leaning against the car, trying to explain, ‘I’ve agreed to direct a long-running drama series.’
I know.’
It’s such a good opportunity. I can’t turn it down.’
I would have loved your help here.’
Rebecca might come. She’s a fantastic cook.’ Sarah-Jane and I pulled ourselves up onto the boulders so that we could see her little camp below with the horses milling around in the kraal. I tried hard not to cry.
It’s good that you came.’
Yes, it has been wonderful, much more than a holiday.’ I stood looking out across the vast, wild country through which we’d ridden. It was still early in the morning and quite cold. The mountains were standing dark against the rays of the rising sun. A huge grief welled up inside me; I didn’t want to go at all. Tears started streaming down my face.
Sarah-Jane.’ A voice came out of the darkness. ‘You left your revolver under the front seat of my Land Cruiser.’ The Game Warden had come to look for her. Time for me to go.
Goodbye, Sarah-Jane. And thank you for such an amazing time. I’m sure things will work out.’
Come back as soon as you can.’
I will. Goodbye.’ I drove off towards Johannesburg and an aeroplane that would take me back to what I thought I had to do.
Landscape of South Africa by Sophie Neville

At this point my life became very busy indeed - until 9th April, when my diary begins. The diary of my encounter with Chronic Fatigue. 

Wednesday, 14 March 2012

Reviews ~

Funnily Enough - it really is!
Sophie Neville's book 'Funnily Enough' is quite the most delightful new book I have read for many a long year.
From her diary she writes of a time when her relentless life in front-line television production was 'crashed into the buffers' by a then desperately little understood affliction. She charmingly engages the reader about her struggles with the medical condition and as a result, herself, her beliefs, her whole world, and writes as to you, personally, like an old and valued friend. It is beautifully written and every page left me smiling contentedly for hours: refreshingly different and a real tonic in itself.

Sophie draws the reader into her real life where, with the support of her wonderful if slightly unconventional family and friends far and wide, despite the setbacks, she triumphs over the adversities to new sunlit uplands in her life. It is surely also a 'must read' for any past or present sufferers of what is now called 'M.E.' for it brings hope and faith, and the charity from which she gives so much of herself - to everyone.
It is a very enjoyable and HAPPY book, nicely illustrated with her quirky sketches from the time. The excellent title is true except that I want more of Sophie's affectionate writing style and her lovely sense of humour. Highly recommended, 'it ticks all my boxes': don't risk being 'sorry for a might-have-been'!
Peter Bell
'Funnily Enough' the bestseller on Amazon Kindle by Sophie Neville

This is my first review on a book, but I just had to do it.
This book, is a must to read, it is written in diary form, but takes you through Sophie's days, in a day by day format, at a rate of knots, and describes her journey through her illness, the highs and the lows. The book describes her move back home to live with her parents and the many situations that happen. These incidents will have you in stitches, as you imagine what actually might have been, like the time when her father is attacked by one of these motorised garden cultivators, and his manhood is only saved when the machine decided to cut out.......
The characters who pop up in this book are wonderful, from Alastair, to Mrs Hawkins...
I could go on but I think what you should do is get this book, "Funnily Enough" and make sure you have plenty of time, are sitting comfortably, have been to the toilet, got a drink and a snack to hand, as you will not really want to move until you have finished it........
Dave Holbourn

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Friday, 2 March 2012

Reviews of Funnily Enough ~


‘Funnily Enough’ is a joy to read ~

I didn’t know what to expect when I picked up this book. I didn’t expect to be reading it two hours later. I was gripped from the first page. It is not just the humour that carries one through, or the wish to discover more about M.E., but it is a curiosity to know more about the fascinating life that Sophie was leading and the characters around her that are drawn so well for us. There is never a dull moment. Bring on the next one Sophie. We’re waiting!
small figure at the washing line

I actually couldn’t put this book down. It is a very interesting account of Sophie’s life while living back at home with ME but is also absolutely hilarious in places. I would recommend it to anyone whether suffering with ME or not.  Sara Maughan 

Sophie Neville

Thoughtful, interesting and entertaining ~

I really loved this book which was quite a surprise to me as I was not sure I wanted to read about Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (M.E) or someone else’s faith but it was brilliant and made me laugh throughout. How could one not enjoy a book that is so full of wonderful characters drawn from family, friends, colleagues, otters, parrots, dogs and others? The author observes life carrying on around her while she is too ill to partake and weaves her story of illness, exhaustion, despair, hope, faith and recovery with skill, perception, humour and a light and very individual touch. I look forward to reading Sophie Neville’s next book. Mrs. J.C. Heron

Dove Frieze

Secret Diary of a Film & TV Star ~

This is a fantastic book which really delivers what it promises! If you want a true insight on behind-the-scenes family life of the British upper-classes and their adventures working in film & television on shows that you will have heard of, including Eastenders and Doctor Who - from acting and directing to supplying the frisky animals which appear on wildlife programmes and as TV ‘pets’ – it provides a funny and heart-warming portrayal which will have you smiling on every page, even through the toughest and most bizarre of times.

And on the subject matter of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (M.E), an illness that doctors were only just starting to grasp at the time, it provides a journey with the author Sophie’s experience through the recovery period, encounters with a menagerie of alternative therapies, and those dark moments when it seemed only God could be paying attention.

Down-to-Earth, uplifting and funny – exactly what it says on the cover! And the illustrations by Sophie are cute and quirky, reminiscent of Quentin Blake. Highly recommended. Review by Lisa Scullard 

 Funnily Enough by Sophie Neville ~

A personal journal with comic illustrations, this is truly a tonic for the trials of life we all go through. Sophie, a young BBC director, comes down with chronic fatigue syndrome and is cast upon her family and friends for a year. ‘Funnily Enough’ makes compelling and very amusing reading while also taking a serious look at the guilt and shame, the utter frustration and desperation, the perseverence and development of character as Sophie eventually comes through with a renewed hope and energy in the light of God’s grace.

Whether you could do with a review of your own auto immune function or have a friend or family member who suffered from ME, this book promises to be enjoyable reading. You will meet many colourful characters in Sophie’s journey with telling family relationships, medical help and alternative therapies, eccentric relatives and heart-warming friendships.

Some of it is mind-blowing, the worst being a hospital stay and finding a tramp sleeping on the back seat of her car; the best being the habits of her mother’s tame otters. The book is written in a light and sketchy style (like the delightful watercolour illustrations) and thoroughly referenced with an impressive bibliography.

by Wendy Chandler, South Africa

Julia Fenn's letter to Sophie Neville about 'Funnily Enough'

Fun, adventure, tribulations and triumphs ~

Sophie’s book “Funnily Enough” is so aptly titled. It is a courageous tale of illness overcome, trials met, and lots of courage displayed. All the time told with humor accompanied by delightful wispy watercolor sketches. This little book is truly a tonic, and the reader will be uplifted and sent back into the world ready for new adventures.

I knew Sophie when she was 12 years old, when I produced the feature film “Swallow and Amazon’s,” and she played Titty so delightfully. Now we’ve all grown up, and she’s clearly grown into a fascinating, humorous, witty and wise person. Her insights into family, work in a giddy TV world, just life . . . and getting through the day, are an inspirational delight. Thank you.  Richard Pilbrow  Ridgefield, CT, USA


‘Funnily Enough’ is an honestly written and humorous account of the mental, physical and spiritual struggles encountered by Sophie Neville during the time that she was fighting CFS. Anyone who has experienced at first or second hand the difficulties which those who suffer from CFS must face, will find this both lively and thought-provoking, yet with some really meaty questions and issues at its centre.

Sophie does not apologise for who she is or where she has come from – it is delightfully refreshing that she tells things exactly as she finds them, and her open direct relationship with God and her exploration of the Christian faith is at the very centre of all she does, providing enormous encouragement and opportunity for reflection.

The book develops in style and moves from a fairly easy read to a much more analytical and serious text, which is full of great insight into the nature of God and faith, the big questions surrounding why people suffer, to the positive and uplifiting ending, which is all interspersed with wonderful whacky humour and tales of the Neville family, and Sophie’s friends and all their combined eccentricities.  Katy Bagnall

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