When the poet and scholar Robert Graves asked the American writer Gertrude Stein what living in rural Majorca was like, she replied: “It’s paradise – if you can stand it.” Seven years ago I moved with my family to a small Basque village nestling beside a river in the foothills of the ‘French’ Pyrenees. Ever since, I have felt that this place was also a paradise – if only I could stand it.

My family roots lie in the rural Shropshire Hills, but by the time I arrived here I had been living a cosmopolitan life for nearly 30 years, travelling the world for my work and living in the cities of London, ...


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