SIMON’S BOOK ABOUT FAMILY LIFE AT THE CASTLE IS LAKELAND BOOK OF THE YEAR!
Undressed For Dinner – the story of a family trying to lead an ordinary life in an extraordinary place has won the prestigious Lakeland Book of the Year Award 2014. It is the only literary award of its kind outside London.
Judges said the Simon’s book was a great read, entertaining, a real romp! Simon had to beat off some stiff competition.
There were sixty entries to the competition which were whittled down to a shortlist of twenty.
When Simon & Wendy turned their backs on London and bought a near derelict castle at the foot of the Cumbria fells they had no idea of the journey they were about to embark upon. Sixteen years on, the castle is known around the world as a quirky, slightly eccentric, very family friendly place to stay. But that was never really the plan…
Simon’s book recounts the trials of bringing up a young family in public while trying to turn a historic building into a commercially viable business on a shoestring.
There are hilarious encounters and antics with neighbours, guests and various animals, reflections on what might have been or could still be and a healthy dose of cynicism. It is funny, sometimes sad and often reflective.
Simon worked for a number of large international hotel companies before switching careers to become a newspaper journalist. Fate took him back into hospitality as his own boss when he bought into a restaurant partnership in London’s West End.
In 1997 he and Wendy found Augill Castle advertised for sale at the same price as a two bedroom West London terrace house on which they had just made an offer. Wendy thought it a ‘no brainer’, Simon thought the idea plain nuts. This is the story of what happened next.
A bold story, full of laughter with some sadness. A real romp!
A wonderfully honest account of life behind the kitchen door. I laughed, cried and cheered.
Fiona Duncan, Sunday Telegraph
A fascinating read. I loved it.
Janey Lee Grace, BBC Radio Two
Simon writes in a fluent and easy style. He weaves his tale with a great deal of literary competence.
Joyce Wilson, Keswick Reminder