Phoebe Caldwell

Driving South to Inverness


A postscript to an active life

A beautifully written and thought-provoking memoir about a life’s journey, from Phoebe Caldwell.



From wayward plumbing to questions of theology, from art and poetry to arguments with housing associations, and from the classic limestone landscape of the Yorkshire Dales to the stark beauty of the Scottish Highlands, the sweep of Driving South to Inverness ranges poignantly and humorously from the sublime to the ridiculous.

Now in her eighties, and after a lifetime of hard work helping people with profound communication difficulties as a result of autism or other learning disabilities, Dr Phoebe Caldwell made the difficult decision to accept the inevitabilities of old age and leave the home she loved to move into sheltered accommodation. This decision and its consequences form the heart of this passionately written memoir.

How does one take a lifetime’s memories and possessions and make them fit new circumstances, but also hold on to an identity built up over decades?

In Driving South to Inverness Phoebe reflects on her past, her family history, and her childhood during the Blitz. She revisits falling in love with her husband and the realities of raising a large family. She offers evocative descriptions of the Dales that she has now made her home and she shares her insights into life, faith, art and philosophy, the opportunities and failings of modernity, and her frustrations with her altered situation as she accepts the changes she faces.



This book can please and delight any audience but will be of particular interest to anyone who is about to undertake a similar journey to the author, or indeed if they have family members in similar situations.

Equally, Yorkshire features a great deal in Driving South to Inverness so it can be of interest to people from the county or for those who have a particular tie to Yorkshire, as Phoebe does.


ISBN: 9781911028314
Publisher: Pavilion Publishing and Media
Publication: 08 July 2016


For over thirty years, Phoebe Caldwell DSc has pioneered the development of communication support for individuals on the autistic spectrum, opening up channels of communication and emotional engagement for thousands of individuals across the UK whose previous experience had been social and emotional isolation. Phoebe’s work was recently recognised nationally when she won The Times/Sternberg Award, which celebrates the achievements of people aged 70 or over who have done most for society in their older age. Internationally, Phoebe collaborates with a range of professionals from countries including Denmark, the Netherlands, Russia, Australia and Canada.

Phoebe’s way of working is distinctive in that it is rooted in respect for the identity of the individual as they are. The Caldwell Foundation uses the term Responsive Communication to describe Phoebe’s approach to communication support.

At the heart of Phoebe’s work is her one-to-one work with individuals on the autistic spectrum who find communication difficult. When Phoebe provides this one-to-one support, family and care-givers are there observing so that they can learn the approach and use it themselves with the individual. In this way, Responsive Communication is used as a continuous communication tool so that the individual always has a meaningful point of reference.

Phoebe is employed by the NHS and local authorities to work with difficult-to-provide-for individuals. As part of this, she trains professionals, therapists, managers, practitioners, parents and carer-givers.

Phoebe is the author of several books and research papers and has produced a number of training films.

1 review for Driving South to Inverness

  1. Anne Laney, Practice Manager, Us in a Bus

    Driving South to Inverness immediately sets up a twanging of interest. South to Inverness? Surely that can’t be right? And the book continues to pose questions throughout. It’s an incredibly good read. I’m lending it to my mum next who is facing some of the challenges of aging body but not mind. I think she will find many parallels. Very many thanks for your willingness to share your life with the world Phoebe.

Only logged in customers who have purchased this product may leave a review.

You may also like…