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C'an Bassa Coll

We bought this house in 1981 before Es Pins. It was a complete ruin with sheep in the field, and guinea fowl nesting in the tumbledown pigsty. Part of the roof had fallen in toward the stable and bread oven. There was no water, electricity or plumbing. We fell in love with the long, low lines of the house and traditional roof tiles, when we first saw it, one evening in June. When we managed to get the old iron key, we opened the heavy wooden doors, and entered an abandoned house with rough stone floors, farmyard implements hanging from every whitewashed wall, and one old round wooden table, on which we ate our first meal. This table is still here, outside now, under the beams and thatched shaded area beside the grapevine.

Then we went into the village of Alqueria Blanca looking for a builder. That was a long time ago when I first met Augustin Rigo. I chose the builder because I liked the name Augustin, the name of the main character in one of my favourite books, Le Grand Meaulnes, which also features an abandoned house, but that's another story. It was a wise choice and Augustin's sons, Sebastian and Lorenzo, still work for us today, almost thirty years later.

One remarkable thing about this house was that it had no windows facing towards the mountains and overlooking where the pool is situated now. Presumably this was because the cold North wind in winter would blow from this direction. Anyway, we had one member of our building team, who we would come to name the 'human pickaxe'. He would ask where we wanted a window? Then a swing, a crack, another swing, stones, rubble, a glimpse of sky and then suddenly.... the most beautiful view. It is difficult to imagine how farmers lived here in ignorance of that beautiful view from our bedroom, across the pool to the mountains of the Sierre Levante. But then, of course, they chose warmth in winter and cool in summer, rather than views.

Bathrooms, kitchens, new bedrooms, terraces, the pool, electricity, plumbing, running water. All these have followed, not forgetting the gardens of course.

Yet when we stay in C'an Bassa Coll today, we still think back to that first meal and the magic of discovering a lost world beyond the almond trees inside the old, abandoned, ruined house. We hope you will catch some fragments of our dreams. There are some early photos in the desk to help your imagination.


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