La Rentrée

La Rentrée in France has several meanings. The Return. It is the time when everyone is heading home, heading north, after their holidays. It is back to school, back to the office. The beginning of autumn, the end of summer. All the big supermarkets are packed with satchels for sale, special deals on exercise books and pencils, packs of white cotton socks, labels for clothes…

For us in the south, it is the moment the coast begins to breath again. Space on the beaches, fewer traffic jams, cheaper air tickets, reservations in restaurants. Of course, for us, Michel and I, who rarely go out but stay at our desks it makes little difference, except perhaps for the price of air tickets between here and Paris.

Still, I love this time of year. Late summer when there are the very tiniest of shifts towards autumn. The temperatures have lessened. We are no longer forced to stay indoors while the sun beats down at 40°. We are enjoying temperatures of around 28 and can function normally, without the lethargy that accompanies mid-summer.

The tourists may be on the road but the cicadas are still scratching away, still hoping to attract a mate. In that sense summer is not over.  The skies are a clear Wedgwood blue and eagles are circling. Usually I hear their call and hurry from my desk out on the terrace to watch their high-altitude elegance. These days there tend to be three of them so I assume it is parents teaching their young the tricks of the sky. Red squirrels are everywhere, foraging and feasting and I suppose stuffing their faces ready to store their day’s harvest for their winter hibernation. Yesterday, while I was swimming in the pool, I looked up and there was I almost face to face with a beautiful red squirrel perched in our elephantine fig tree. Fig in hand, she was watching me. She (or he) had a white breast and a long bushy black tail. The black tails, I learned today, are their winter coat. So, a sign that the seasons are indeed changing.

As I walk through the grasses in the evening watering the land, tiny brown grasshoppers jump from under my feet. There are so many of them it is almost like a spray. We have so many wasps, bees and pollinators here these days that I can spend hours counting the different varieties on the lavender.

Our olive fruits are fattening and although this year will be a modest crop the signs are that it will be a healthy one. Organic, of course.

I have been here now for almost two months. Guests have come and gone and Michel and I have entertained our guests and worked hard at our desks. We, too, are preparing for La Rentrée.

My young adult book for Scholastic, If you were the Only Girl in the World, due for delivery the first week of October is at first draft stage and I have been thoroughly enjoying the writing of it. My first Kindle Single is due to be published in a week or so. I will write a special alert message to give more details on it in a few days. I feel very excited about it and I hope that if you have an e-book device you will buy it. It is a Mediterranean love story, a bitter sweet tale.

By the way, while on the subject of e-books, Orion Publishing have recently brought out an e-compendium of The Olive Farm six-book series. Here is the link:

And great news from my point of view, I have a new adult book on the go, which I am thrilled about because after the time given to The Olive Route films, it has taken a while to get back to an adult book. More on that before too long.

September will take me away from here for two work trips. I will be in Omagh, Co. Tyrone, in northern Ireland from the 12th September to Sunday 15th. I have two events there. On the evening of 12th the Omagh library is screening The Olive Tree and the Holy Land, one of the five DVDs in our Olive Route series. I understand that the event is free and tickets are on a first come basis so if you are in the north of Ireland, please come along. On Saturday 14th September at 2pm, I am giving a talk about the films and about the travels made for the two books, The Olive Route and The Olive Tree, that inspired the films. For further details for both events, please contact  Bernie Kirrane at Omagh District Council on +44 28 8224 5321

Please remember that if you cannot attend the events, all five DVDs as well as all my books for adults and youngsters are available, signed and dedicated if you wish, through

Later in September I will be in Paris as a member of the jury for the China Awakening Film Festival. If you are in Paris and wish to attend one of the films, some of which are extraordinary, please go to this page and you will see the details:  or +33 1 43 59 26 79

Looking way ahead, for those of you who enjoy the France Show at Earls Court in January, I have been invited back again for the 2014 event and will be posting details of this a little later on. Save the dates: 17 to 19 January. If you are on my Facebook page:   you will know that on the Saturday during the France Show, there is a lunch held in a restaurant near the Earls Court stadium for Olive Farmers. If you want to come along, please join the Facebook page and then you are welcome to join the party and have a fun Saturday with us all.

So, I think that brings me up to date. Thank you for dropping by. Where ever you are, enjoy these delicate moments of the changing of seasons.


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