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This is a romantic, utterly alluring leap into Spanish sunshine, remote mountains and rural life. Jason Webster had lived in Spain for several years before he and his partner, the flamenco dancer Salud, decided to buy a deserted farmhouse clinging to the side of a steep valley in the eastern province of Castell n, near the sacred peak of Penaglosa. With help from local farmers - and from a twelfth-century Moorish book on gardening - Jason set about creating his dream. He had never farmed before, and knew nothing of plants, but slowly he and Salud cleared the land, planted and harvested their olives, raised the healing herbs they learned about from local people, set up bee-hives and nurtured precious, expensive truffles, the black gold of the region. And beyond all this they started to fulfil another vision, bringing the native trees back to the cliffs ravaged by fire.At the same time they became drawn into the life of the valley- this is a book rich with characters as well as plants. It follows the people of the village from the winter rains to baking summer heat, from the flowering of the almond trees in spring to the hilarious, fiery festivals and ancient pilgrimages, and tells the history of the region through folk-songs and stories of the Cathar and Templar past. Jason and Salud lived through storms that destroyed their roof and fire that swept across their valley, but as the year passed and his farm flourished Jason found himself increasingly in tune with the ancient, mystical life of the sierra, a place that will haunt your imagination and raise your spirits, as it did his.At the same time they became drawn into the life of the valley- this is a book rich with characters as well as plants. It follows the people of
Jason Webster was born near San Francisco in 1970 and brought up in England and Germany. After spells in Italy and Egypt, he moved to Spain. He is the author of Duende! A Journey in Search of Flamenco (2003), Andalus- Unlocking the Secrets of Moorish Spain (2005) and Guerra- Living in the Shadows of the Spanish Civil War (2006) all of which received stunning reviews.Jason has appeared in several TV documentaries on Spain, and writes for The Observer, Sunday Times, Guardian and New Statesman. His wife, Salud, is an actress and flamenco dancer from Valencia- their wedding is the climax of the current book's narrative.