The image of rural Sussex is often formed from behind car windows as folk speed by quaint cottages, wooded vales or the rolling Downs. Add to that glossy brochure pictures of the natural beauty of the countryside and it all seems rather idyllic. Appearances can be deceptive though. Onwards and Downwards is the story of a daughter of Sussex whose native stubbornness and pragmatism saw her through the ups-and-downs of life. She didn't always keep her calm but she certainly carried on as is related in a tale which mixes the smiles and tears as well as the hopes and fears which constitute a human life. A touching trip down memory lane in twentieth century Sussex. Rachel West ('Virginia' in the book) grew up in Rodmell and Ringmer in East Sussex and experienced her teenage years during a time that 'teenagers' didn't exist. That didn't stop her from trying to assert her independence, t always to the liking of her parents and that led to inevitable tensions. A touching tale of an 'ordinary' life in Sussex which is extraordinary ne-the-less, as all individual lives are. Rachel's grandparents were neighbours to Virginia Woolf and Woolf's words brought Rachel comfort and recognition throughout her life, which she describes with charming honesty, there is whitewashing or spin here to make anything seem any better or worse than it was.