"Stands apart...This Englishman's castle might have started as a dream, but it has ended up being an extraordinary reality". ("Sunday Times"). Walking in the Pyrenees one spring morning Matthew Parris stumbled upon a magnificent ruined mansion standing on the edge of a line of huge cliffs. Later he was to discover that parts of the house dated back to the 14th century though it had not been completed until 1559; and that it had survived two massive earthquakes before falling into disrepair in the early 1960s. A few years later, seduced by 'one of those foolish challenges that grip us in middle life', Parris bought the house, L'Avenc, and set about restoring it to its full glory. This delightful book chronicles it all: the original discovery, the attempts to discover its history, and then the long effortful years trying to bring it back to life in the face of scepticism from family, friends and Spanish neighbours. The original edition of "A Castle in Spain" was published in 2005 when the renovations were a work in progress; this new edition triumphantly records all that has happened since.
After Cambridge Matthew Parris worked for the Foreign Office before becoming a Conservative MP in 1979. He resigned seven years later, after which he was the parliamentary sketchwriter for The Times for thirteen years. He is now a columnist for The Times and the Spectator, and is also a frequent broadcaster. His highly acclaimed autobiography was published by Viking in 2002, and his most recent book Parting Shots, a collection of diplomats' final despatches, is now available as a Penguin paperback. He divides his time between a flat in London, a house in his former Derbyshire constituency, and the house in Spain which is the subject of this book.
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