Let’s start with the Definition of the word “FOLLY”.
A lack of good sense or normal prudence and foresight. A foolish act or idea, and an excessively costly or unprofitable undertaking. Which includes: “Ricky Renee’s”, “Stringer’s Last Stand” Eric Lindsay’s “Folies de Londres”, etc. etc. etc: and last but not least “San Simeon”.
Stupidity and extravagance, that goes into making up part of the definition of Folly, and I regret to say all these things pertain to me. I think I must be the idiot who invented the word Folly
When Ray and I decided on moving to Spain after the run of the Magic Castle Show at the Cambridge Theatre in London.
Ray wanted to buy an apartment on the Costa del Sol in Spain.
I wanted to build a house, because the cost of building on the Costa del Sol was so reasonable at the time. Who was I fooling! Folly!!!
I didn’t know it didn’t include, the excavation, the retaining walls, the paving to the villa, a swimming pool, the land fill, you name it, it didn’t include it.
The house I designed was a brilliantly extravagant and picturesque structure that was built to my fanciful taste, and I have to say I planned it well. In fact it was my ‘Folly’! It had white marble floors throughout, Cazares stone Paving and Retaining Walls. Solar Panel Heating. You name it the Villa had it.
A view of the layout of the villa. It was large!
The main entrance to San Simeon, looking through to the center atrium.With the barbeque.
On closer look the two candelabra in the entrance were an exact copy of those in the film Sunset Boulevard. Ray loved that film, so I had them made.
Inside the villa to the center atrium
The atrium set for a dinner party. This was a usual occurrence during the summer months. Otherwise we would eat on the terrace or in the dining room.
The Terrace from Scorpio’s Cage, so he could see me constantly. It also overlooked the Pool. This is me on the front terrace, with my Agent Jamie Phillips who happened to be staying.
Scorpio in his cage with all mod cons and a dormitory for him to sleep. Also he could watch the comings and goings of all ad infinitum.
Here I am feeding Scorpio by hand in his cage, which I did every day. That is how tame he was.
This is a photo of my beautiful tame leopard Scorpio.
Front view of the villa from the road. The little roof to the right of the terrace was where Scorpio’s cage and dormitory was. The Hollywood Double Staircase led down to the Pool Area.
A secondary view of the Villa from the road.
Paying so much for the land was Folly, because the Builder that was recommended to us, by ‘friends’ (who most probably got a cut) robbed us and the plot of land that we original picked for the house, was in a different position to where our builder intended to build it. Most probably he got his plot a whole lot cheaper. Everything was completely different to where we had originally agreed. It was all a disaster!!!
He refused to return our deposit. Big fiasco! Money lost!!! (That was a time when I really needed Sadie’s Frank, or someone who could do maybe knee caps!)
So it meant getting another builder and starting all over again.
Ray tried to talk me out of it and normally when he made his case I would always listen and do as he said. After all he always knew best.
But I didn’t know he was ill and he hadn’t the strength to stand up to me to make his point.
So I went ahead and designed my dream house.
Idiot that I was. What a stupid action and idea it was on my part.
The lounge, looking through to the dining room.
The other end of the Lounge leading to Ray’s Bedroom.
The dining area
Me with my “Soungeroff Clown”
The full Kitchen
So by now you must fully understand the definition of the word Folly. My Folly!!! A popular name for a very costly structure that I had built. Where ignorance is bliss it is Folly to be wise.
Thesaurus explains it as; a building or project that costs a lot of money. How right they were! What the Hell!
This was my Study that I built for myself, full of Magic.
Zee had this wonderful contract to Star in a new Revue at the Scala Cabaret in Barcelona and also Madrid, which was Spain’s equivalent to the Lido Cabaret in Paris. So for the whole time I would be working in either Barcelona or Madrid the Villa was being built. Or so I thought and by the time my contract was over, the villa would be finished.
Ha! Ha! Who was I kidding. The only thing that would be over was that everybody would be dead!
Ray’s Master Bedroom with Bathroom en suite
If I say so myself, the Villa was beautiful, and finally when it was finished. Finally! Finally! Finally!
My parents had died, Ray had died, his Mother had died, and I was left alone in this fucking big Villa with Scorpio my Leopard and Suki who was on her last legs, and the Villa still wasn’t completely finished. The swimming pool had yet to go in.
When the swimming pool, at long last, which was the last thing to be finished, and if I say so, finished it was a work of art.
Everyone now was dead, including Scorpio who was put down as he had accidentally ripped my throat open (my fault completely), and also Suki from old age.
By that time I had lost it completely and I was drinking quite heavily.
Uncannily, the pool was finished exactly to the day one year later that Ray had died.
Was that an omen or what?
A fitting epitaph!
The mosaic was King Neptune on a Chariot drawn be three Sea Horses. It was quite beautiful.
Ray couldn’t swim so I designed the pool with two shallow ends, with the centre that was just 6ft. So that if Ray had had problems in the deep end that once he had started struggling he would have been in shallow waters. Little did I know that he would never see or use the pool?
Please note: All these photos were taken post Ray’s death.
(Ray loved the name)
William Randolph Hurst built San Simeon and everyone said it was a Beautiful Folly. It was a Castle on the Grand Scale.
Whilst the Castle was never completely finished, it stands as the remarkable achievement of one man’s dream.
So in my very small way I was doing the same thing and had the gall to name it the same as his fabulous Castle!
I designed a Villa built around a center courtyard, very Spanish. There were four Master Bedrooms with Bathrooms En Suite one in each corner of the house.
There was one for Ray, one for his Mother, one for my parents, and one for myself. There was also a covered 3 metre Terrace running around the House, perfect for keeping the Villa cool,and shaded from the sun.
As time and the years passed and I had lost all my loved ones, I grew to hate the villa and Spain. I knew that I had to break away from a dream that had become a Folly. So I packed everything up and returned to England with Ray’s Urn. The removal firm lived up to their name, and in transit, removed half my possessions’ including most of my silver and valuables. Except those that I had managed to pack into my car. But that’s another story…………….