In 1996, former Country Living garden editor Miranda Innes decided to change her life completely. Tired of urban living, bored of her career, out of love with her long-standing partner, she and her son spied a romantic ruin in Andalusia amid its own olive groves, and made an offer. What happened next - selling her London house, and handing in her notice at the magazine - was going to be straightforward, or so she thought. She had not counted on the sudden emergence of a New Man in her life, the plans of Arsenal football ground to purchase her back garden, a badly slipped disc and the logistics involved in moving a lifetime's possessions. Nor had she realised what a struggle re-building the house, room by room, or planting a garden in the hostile terrain of southern Spain would be. But helped by her new husband, Dan, and an assortment of eccentric locals, not least by the worldly wisdom of Juan the builder, she made it, and over the ensuing four years, the house and pool were built and the garden began to take shape.
This is the story of how Miranda got to manana, of her love affair with Spain, and a countryside where 'great jagged peaks range above little fields, white villages tumble like sugar cubes down the sides of hills, and white houses grow room by room in a puzzle of rectangles, topped by corrugated cinnamon-brown terracotta tiles moulded on a man's thigh'. Illustrated throughout with line-drawings by Dan Pearce, Getting to Manana is a book to read and treasure.