Friday 19 May 2023

The Crinkle Crankle Wall by Sabina Ostrowska BLOG TOUR #TheCrinkleCrankleWar #SabinaOstrowska @RandomTTours #BookExtract

After years of dreaming of living close to nature, free from a daily commute and noisy neighbours, Sabina and Robert decide to travel from Abu Dhabi to Spain in search of their dream home. As soon as they drive across Andalusia, they fall in love with its rugged beauty, whitewashed villages, red geraniums, giant aloes, and endless olive trees. Enchanted with the place, they buy a little stone cottage in a mountain valley in the middle of nowhere and decide to reform it into a guest house. With little foresight or planning, they exchange cushy expat lives for a life in the sun.

Quite quickly, however, they find themselves battling cowboy builders, no electricity, a dry well, torrential rain storms, and freezing cold winters. Through all these adventures, they develop relations with their neighbours who have lived in the valley for many generations. As they begin to settle in, financial problems confront our somewhat naïve couple, and their idea of the good life starts to fall apart. Written with a wry sense of honest humour, this story is filled with twists and turns that take the reader on a journey from a life where every day was monotonously repetitive to a place where every day presents a new challenge.

The Crinkle Crankle Wall : Our First Year in Andalusia by Sabina Ostrowska was published in December 2020.

As part of this #RandomThingsTours Blog Tour I am delighted to share an extract from the book with you today. 

Extract from The Crinkle Crankle Wall by Sabina Ostrowska 

The first house was not far from our meeting point. It was a tiny stone cottage on a steep hill. It was pretty, but it was so small that we would not have been able to fit just our clothes in one of the two teeny bedrooms. The thing about looking for a dream home is that you often start convincing yourself that this could be it. You imagine how you might fit your life and your possessions into the house you are viewing at the moment. It's a tiring exercise and one that has never ended in a happy purchase. 

Robert and I examined this miniature house that had no place for a vegetable garden and boasted one of the smallest patios ever built on top of a cliff. No matter how hard we tried to rationalise our interest in the house, we realised that we could never compress our lives to a size that would fit inside it. And so, we proceeded, onwards and upwards. The next house was much closer to our dream. It truly was a charming Spanish cottage, with giant cacti and aloes growing by its walls, surrounded by olives on flat land. Inside there was an old Andalusian-style fireplace and weathered dark wooden beams. There were even handcrafted tiles on some of the floors. The only downside was that it was a complete ruin with no water supply and no electricity. This shortcoming did not stop us from dreaming and imagining how beautiful it could be and where we could have our bedroom and the kitchen, and how wonderful our life would be there. 

Our entourage seemed to encourage this mad thinking. The house owner, who came to meet us, said that the electricity could be connected from his current house, which was just a mere two kilometres down the road. 

Amy stopped snuggling up to her boyfriend for a minute and suggested that her dad renovate the whole thing for us. 

'You'd be better off knocking it down and starting over,' she recommended. Even a seventeen-year-old could see that this house was a complete wreck. It was nothing like the photos that advertised it. The internet listing featured only a few interior details, which fooled us to believe that the cottage was ready to move in. The listing mentioned that some renovation may be necessary depending on the buyers' tastes. As we were in Spain in August 2012 during the terrible financial crisis, the owner was willing to sell us the house at a very low price. His very low price was, in fact, close to our whole budget. We realised that if we bought the house and then knocked its ruined walls down, we would be left with nothing but a pile of rocks surrounded by giant cacti and aloes. 

Sabina Ostrowska is a non-fiction writer. 

Her memoir series depicts her and her husband’s adventures of starting a new life in rural Andalusia. 

Sabina is a textbook writer and an EFL teacher. She has taught English in Poland, Sweden, the Netherlands, the UAE, and Spain and currently runs a language school in the friendly town of Alcalá la Real.  She lives in the middle of the olive groves outside the picturesque village of Montefrio.

Sabina’s debut book, The Crinkle Crankle Wall: Our First Year in Andalusia, has been very well-received by readers worldwide. Since its publication in 2020, it has remained a bestseller in the Travel in Spain and Andalusia categories on Amazon. Following this success, she released A Hoopoe on the Nispero Tree, Book 2 in New Life in Andalusia series, in July 2022. Book 3 in the series, Olive Leaf Tea, will be released in the summer 2023. 

To read free chapters from this series and extracts from her upcoming books, you can visit her blog:, or follow her on Facebook or Instagram

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