Wednesday, 5 October 2011

Castles in the Air

Before we leave Wales and forget about it, I wanted to tell about a book I discovered not long after we came back. It's called Castles in the Air (by Judy Corbett - for some reason my Amazon thingie is broken, but it's on both and I found it in the biography section at the library. I can't recommend the biography section of your library highly enough!

The book is the story of how she and her boyfriend managed to buy an old - nearly tumbledown - castle in Wales and renovate it. She was a self-employed bookbinder (!) and her boyfriend (now husband) was, I think, something to do with grant-writing. If, like me, you love the idea of a 'fixer-up' but not the reality, this book lets you have a fabulous vicarious experience.   It's not just about stones and shingles, but about the people and personalities who became involved in the restoration including William Randolph Hearst and Prince Charles.

Gwydir Castle wasn't terribly far from where we were, but of course I didn't know about it then and we did have our own accommodation, being in the motorhome. Unlike most B&Bs which charge per person, they charge in the American style - per room, which makes £85 or £95 per night a pretty good deal.  Mind, she does say it's not like a five-star hotel or anything.  You have 'get' the idea of the castle to enjoy your stay properly. 

I wouldn't mind checking it out sometime, if we ever get down to Wales again. 


Pigtown*Design said...

Are you sure about Hearst? I am pretty sure he died a bit before they started their restoration. Perhaps you're thinking of the restoration Hearst did in south Wales at St. Donat's Castle in Llantwit Major. I spent a year at that castle, so know the story pretty well!

Shelley said...

Pigtown - You're absolutely right in the dates, but I couldn't resist the temptation to drop his name. Hearst was in fact part of the story, having bought a significant part of the decor in 1921 when the contents were put up for auction. I can see you get around and are quite knowledgeable. I know I'll be learning loads from your blog. Thanks so much for visiting here!