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Castles In The Air: The Restoration Adventures of Two Young Optimists and a Crumbling Old Mansion (Anglais) Relié – 4 mars 2004

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Descriptions du produit

Revue de presse

"Hugely enjoyable ... Corbett writes with great style and energy" (Daily Mail)

"Funny and intensely romantic" (Sunday Telegraph)

"A fascinating account of leaving London for the wilds of North Wales to restore a crumbling castle" (Good Housekeeping)

"Beautifully descriptive, this is a tale that reverberates with romance, suspense and great humour " (Good Book Guide) --Ce texte fait référence à une édition épuisée ou non disponible de ce titre.

Présentation de l'éditeur

Castles in the Air is a beautifully written, autobiographical story of rescuing an ancient mansion. Gwydir Castle was inhabited by ravers and rats until Judy Corbett and her husband Peter Welford found and acquired this 500-year-old house mouldering in the foothills of Snowdonia. Despite the toads, strange smells and squatters, they decided to mortgage themselves to the hilt to bring the castle back to life.

This is an evocatively written and genuinely moving book and is infused with an extraordinary sense of place. The couple's adventures in a gothic wonderland lead them through plots both supernatural and historical. In a museum storeroom in a Bronx warehouse they find a missing room, in the castle's Solar Tower the ghost of a young woman appears and from the far edges of the woods a silent man called Sven emerges to befriend the couple and their beloved castle.

For everyone who has ever wanted to live in a glorious house or escape from the mundanity of life - Castles in the Air is pure magic.

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Amazon.com: 22 commentaires
23 internautes sur 23 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
A remarkable labor of love and persistence 24 septembre 2006
Par Mr. Joe - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Broché Achat vérifié
In northern Wales, 11 miles south of Conwy and 4 miles north of Betws-y-coed, across the bridge from the village of Llanrwst, on the floodplain between the River Conwy and the B5106 road, lies Gwydir Castle, the ancestral home of the Wynn family. Largely of 16th century construction, it's actually what remains of a more extensive Tudor courtyard manor house, and is the finest example of such in Wales.

Peter Welford and Judy Corbett, an architectural historian and a bookbinder respectively, pooled their meager life savings and a substantial bank loan to buy the place in the early 1990s. CASTLES IN THE AIR by Corbett is the utterly charming story of the pair's labors to restore Gwydir from its abysmally ruinous condition at purchase to something resembling its former glory.

The book offers a little something for everyone. There are the restoration adventures, of course, and also romance; Peter and Judy subsequently marry in an ancient chapel on a nearby hilltop. There's a fairly convincing supernatural ingredient that involves Peter being the unfortunate focus of animosity coming from the ghost of Lady Margaret Cave, a 17th century mistress of the manor, which resulted in his being struck on the head with a spade. There's hidden treasure, in this case the original carved wooden paneling stripped in totality from the dining room and auctioned off as a single lot in 1921 to (as it turned out) the American millionaire William Randolph Hearst, and later bequeathed to New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art, which still had it stored in the original packing crates in a warehouse on the rough side of town. Throughout the narrative runs Judy's dry English wit, such as when she describes the visit by an impeccably dressed representative ("Please, just call me Bill") of The Met, who was so impressed by his first view of the castle that:

"... he didn't look where he was going and stepped into the biggest pile of peacock guano you have ever seen. Peter silently directed him to a patch of rough grass where he endeavoured to remove the vile-smelling substance from the stitching of his fine Italian shoes."

Above all, CASTLES IN THE AIR is the story of the pair's love affair with and dedication to something old, historic, and worth saving in the face of seemingly impossible odds. And it would seem they've succeeded beyond their wildest dreams; the recovery and reinstallation of the Dining Room paneling brought a visit by the Prince of Wales himself, though his shoes did stick to the floor varnished only hours before his arrival.

Judy describes herself and Peter as socially reticent almost to the point of misanthropy. Therefore, the fact that they accept paying B&B guests as well as hire out the ground floor halls out for weddings - see the official Gwydir Castle website - is indication of the financial strain imposed by the ongoing refurbishment of the manor house that continues to this day and into the foreseeable future. The Welford's affection for the ancient pile is evident in Judy's words:

"... to walk in the moon-washed shadows of the yew trees and to see the ancient profile of the house silhouetted against a cloudless sky was to feel oneself suspended out of time, as though in that moment we were living in parenthesis. Sometimes, if the night was cold enough, the trails of yesterday's peacock tails would be cast in frost across the patches of lawn we had managed to scythe the day before ... We would walk down to the bottom of the garden and sit on the massive slate bench ... with the sounds of the night rustling and chirruping around us."

How incredibly rewarding the lives of these two must be!
13 internautes sur 15 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
an amazing project and an amazing read 24 décembre 2005
Par Monysmom - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Broché
for any fan of history or even just histoprical fiction, this is a fantasy come true .... the purchase of a Tudor castle in Wales to live in ... and the realities of accomplishing such a feat and renovation in today's age. Not only are the author and her husband brave hardy souls, but he is an artist and she is gifted with words - this is truly a great book to read!
6 internautes sur 6 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
Total awe and amazement! 19 août 2010
Par Jen Fluharty - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Broché Achat vérifié
I had the absolute pleasure of 'finding' Gwydir Castle on a trip to Northern Wales in May of 2010. Completely unaware of this castle, we were driving by and saw a peacock on the top of the stone wall. To my amazement, and totally off the beaten path of our itinerary, we stumbled upon this beautiful place. Upon getting out of the car and going to the huge wood gate, we noticed the hours of visitation were almost over. I wanted pictures of the beautiful peacocks and asked if pictures were allowed. The caretaker was gracious enough to let us in and wander about and spend as much time as we wanted to look around. I was not aware of this book until I returned to the US. I immediately ordered it! Judy had taken me back through every room of that castle and the grounds. I looked through her eyes as if I was there visiting again with the same amazement and awe that I had seen with my own eyes! This 'find' on my trip was probably the most beautiful and unexpected experience of my life. I will never forget it and it will always remain in my heart. I am thankful that the author's experience was like mine and she had the sense to write about it!
5 internautes sur 5 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
What a lovely read! 1 juin 2009
Par Shelly - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Broché
I found this book a couple weeks before our travels to Europe which included North Wales. We were staying only a few miles from the Castle and our B&B proprietor had suggested Gwydir Castle to me months before our trip. I visited the castle's website and viewed some online pictures and when I saw the peacocks and the Corbett's lovely lurchers (we are also sighthound owners and lovers of them!), I told my husband we HAD to go to this castle! It was on the Gwydir Castle website I noticed Judy's book and decided to order it from Amazon. I stayed up late finishing the book the night before we visited Gwydir just a few short weeks ago and boy was I glad I did, as it really added to my overall experience!

It was a wonderfully written, witty, fun and moving book that made the experience of visiting the Corbett's home all the better for me. What an extraordinary story Judy and Peter have to share. What incredible risks they took and take on every day all for their love of this castle and restoring it to the beautiful home it once was and always should remain.

Even if you NEVER plan to visit Gwydir Castle, this book is enjoyable nontheless and really is a good lesson for those of us too scared to take risks in our lives. Judy and her husband Peter have taken plenty and they should be proud of doing so as should Judy be proud of her wonderful book. Thank you for writing it and allowing others to share such an intimate look into your lives.

Anyone who just so happens to find themselves in North Wales, should pay a visit to Gwydir Castle. You won't regret the experience.

All the best wishes in the world to Judy Corbett and her husband Peter
6 internautes sur 7 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
Very comfortable entertaining read! Talk about an adventure.... 9 septembre 2006
Par Leeway - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Broché
I loved every minute of this book as was sorry to reach the end. I hope the author will consider a sequel of subsequent adventures? As an antique collector I'm in awe of this couple's ambition and fortitude in rescuing and restoring the ultimate antique, a wonderful old estate, and sharing this home and tale with the world. Judy Corbett (Welford) tells the colorful story with humour and grace; trials and tribulations, local characters, royalty, unbelievable discoveries, romance, and plain old fashioned luck (or is it fate?). Since reading the book, I have visited north Wales and Gwydir Castle, and both are beautiful beyond words. The resoration of the house and grounds is spot on, perfectly on tune with the age and history. Gwydir Castle and the Welfords are a match made in heaven. If you are thinking of purchasing this book, stop reading the reviews and buy it now! It's definitely part of my "keep" collection.
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