Castles in the Air

Corbett, Judy. Castles in the Air: the Restoration Adventures of Two Young Optimists and a Crumbling Old Mansion. London: Ebury Press, 2004.

Reason read: So. I was a little too ambitious with the June book list; as some of you might remember my reading appetite was bigger than what I could digest. Originally, Castles in the Air was on my June list in honor of the month my Knight in Shining Armor and I got engaged. We were in Loveland, Colorado and stayed at this fantastic B&B called Castle Marne. Get it? Castles in the Air & Castle Marne? Well, since I didn’t get around to reading Corbett’s book I was almost forced to move it to June 2016’s list…until I remembered I had another month I could celebrate castles in. September. The month Kisa and I got married. It’s a stretch and clearly not as straightforward as June, but it works.

Castles in the Air may not have the most original book title (think Don McLean) but it is a delightful read. Judy and her then boyfriend, Peter bought the Gwydir Castle in Wales and what follows is their adventure to restore it to its former glory. At first the going is a bit rough (“chainsaw gardening” says it all) but with the help of a band of misfit artisans the couple is able to piece together some semblance of Gwydir’s old glory…hauntings and peacocks included.

As an aside, I loved the language. Torch, jumper, chilblains & jackdaws all brought back memories of my adventures with an Irishman.

I didn’t find a plethora of lines to like, but there was this one: “Not a drop passed his lips the whole evening, but plenty passed our lips, and Michael’s tongue got looser and looser as if he was taking it out for a walk on a long piece of string” (pgs 198 – 199).

Author fact: Gwydir Castle has its own website (of course it does) and according to the site Judy and Peter still own it and run it as a B&B. More castle information: it’s open the the public April – October from 10am – 4pm, Saturdays and Mondays excluded.

Book trivia: Pictures are included (in color!) but they are only on the inside covers. Peter has a few illustrations as well.

BookLust Twist: from Book Lust To Go in the chapter called “So We/I Bough/Built a House In…” (p 92).

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