Sunday, January 08, 2006

Cinnamon City - Miranda Innes

I love travel writing books - it is a weakness, I will admit to. I love being carried away by other people's trials and tribulations whilst feverently wishing that it was me there, spending money on a home to be made beautiful, a trip to enjoy to the last...they are fantastic journeys, better than made-up fiction.

Cinnamon City was a book I was looking forward to reading when I first spotted it in Ottakars in Greenwich on one of our many coffeebean buying trips to the market there.

I finally bought a copy just before Christmas, started reading it haphazzardly and then putting it aside in favour of one or two other, more pressing books, and I am glad I did. This is not a book to sit down and read in one go. It is not for the feint hearted.

Poor Miranda and Dan's trials really had me shaking my head thinking that this was never going to work.

They were lured into buying a broken and sad riad in Marrakech. She relates all their troubles with heartfelt anxiety and worry whilst lyrically giving an account of this magical city, its people and the genuine friendships they had formed with their (eventual) manager, neighbours and workmen.

I had to grin and laugh, knowing how chaotic building projects in Africa can go and then shape up magically in a blink of an eye. She and poor Dan worried fretfully as suddenly, everywhere they looked there was chaos, mud and water and the plumbing didn't work. Their palace had been turned into a tip. It was terrible and they out of money and had to borrow from friends and family until a flat could be sold in Brighton. Thanks to perseverance and the good fortune of having hired the right man for the job, it all came together beautifully in the end and apparently, the end result, like the book, is a work of triumph.

It is a genuinely an enjoyable book and hopefully I will be able to visit the now finished palatial and beautiful riad to take in all I had read about. Their website is a very basic one, showing some of the pictures in both their riad in Morocco and their home in Andalucia - both of which are up to rent throughout the year, prices on the website!


answer-man said...

ps I'm having a little trouble sending comments so if I do it twice please excuse me and I apologize.

Miranda Innes said...

Dear Liz
This has just come to me via a circuitous route, and I am so grateful for your wonderfully cheering thoughts. You should absolutely go and stay at the riad, which is now being managed - a la Fawlty Towers - by Dan himself. We're about to set up painting and yoga weeks there - since he paints and I teach yoga and we thought it would be fun. Have a look at the place at Just to be contrary we now live in Umbria.