The power of the humble dishcloth

For decades the ancient castle, Catajo, in my Italian village has been allowed to crumble, unloved and in urgent need of tlc. But time moves on, and the three sisters in their 90s who owned it are no more. It went up for sale last year, for €3million, but everyone knew that it would need at least three times as much to restore it. No one believed that someone would be brave enough to take it on, but here we are with a saviour, keen to preserve the important frescoes, repair the walls and staircases, recreate the garden and the entertainments court (for miniature naval battles) and make many extra rooms open to the public.

I had no sooner arrived three weeks ago than a deputation came along to tell me the latest news. Apparently a millionaire who had made his fortune by inventing Vileda dishcloths was driving past in his Rolls Royce and became curious about this great neglected castle. He has actually bought it and is in talks with the mayor about working with the locals to create something we can all be proud of and which will become again a focal point. He has even offered to let the Canal Museum move to a new site in one wing of the castle.

I look forward to interviewing the dishcloth tycoon and writing an article about him.


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