Nicholas, the charming English owner and former Classic FM broadcaster, lives in the village and knows the area well. Maribel, the caretaker, lives next door, a big plus: she rustles up a meal when you need one, and her ‘gambas al ajillo’ are delicious! The house is fresh, spacious, airy and new, designed for outdoor living for most of the year. Las Pinedas is a small hill village: mini-market, bar (good tapas) and a bread lady who visits every day. Step in to the kitchen; enormous, well-equipped, inviting and the first room you enter, it opens onto a sitting room with a wood-burner and a colonnaded patio with a pool. The décor is bright and breezy: Moroccan silks and Andalucian plates on the walls, a fountain burbling under the bougainvillea, good books on the shelves and squishy sofas on which to read them. Three double bedrooms lie alongside the pool, the master bedroom is upstairs and the bathrooms are en suite. Upstairs is a roof-top dining area too, with a barbecue, handsome furniture, table tennis and a canopy for shade. La Carlota’s shops and cafés are a ten-minute drive, Cordoba’s treasures are almost as close.