The moment I saw this place I knew this was where I was going to live and write. The main house was built over a ruin that dates back more than two hundred years, and is now a large downstairs space – called an adega. The walls are made of local schist stone, which is shades of brown and sparkles in the sunlight on account of its quartz content, and because they are so thick the interior retains its heat in winter and makes the place cool during summer. An all-year round maintained temperature. That was the other feature I always liked about the houses and buildings down south – the whitewashed walls and terracotta roofs, somehow, they seemed perfectly fitted to fend off the summer heat, while standing sturdy against any winter storms. Set off from the main building was another stone ruin which has now been transformed into a south-facing lodge, with large sliding glass doors overlooking the mountains and valleys away to the far-off coastline. The writing desk is placed on the top floor in order to provide the best view of all. There is no sound up here other than birdsong or the breezes blowing through the eucalyptus and so no distractions to upset the creative atmosphere. A perfect place, in fact, to live and write.