The story of the real ‘good life’ of an off-grid existence in rural Spain
Paul Richardson fled the city to live on the land in a rough-and-tumble village on the edge of Europe. Immersing himself in the culture of his remote Spanish community, he learned the traditional arts of animal husbandry and vegetable growing, wine-making and home distilling, and made bread from the rye he sowed on the stone-walled terraces of his twelve-acre farm.
In prose that shimmers with wit and sensuality, the author charts his personal route-map along a road less travelled – from urban pressures to rural tranquility, and from insecurity to fulfilment. Along the way he pays tribute to the influences that have shaped his progress – from The Good Life to Henry David Thoreau, from the 1970s pioneers to self-sufficiency to his farming neighbours in the far-flung region of Extremadura.
In Richardson’s hands, off-grid living both becomes an act of rebellion and a heartening proof that a simpler, better life is possible, if only we can remove ourselves from the ethos in which conspicuous consumption is a duty and success/failure the wheel on which society turns.
Hidden Valley is a glorious narrative of one man’s journey towards self-reliance. Original and thought-provoking, it is also hugely entertaining.