March 2011

Hello!

My word, spring is everywhere and I hardly feel the year has begun.

Those of you on my Olive Farm Facebook page will know that my feet have barely touched the ground this year. Directly after Christmas, I was in London for the France Show at Earls Court where I met many readers, some of whom have become longstanding friends now. On the Saturday, a lunch was arranged and thirty or so of us went off to celebrate together after my talk and book-signing that day. It was great fun. I am sure that another such event will be organised at some point in the near future so if you want to be included, please join the Facebook page and introduce yourself.

Otherwise, my time has been spent travelling, preparing the documentary film series of The Olive Route. I have been very touched by the many mails and messages I have received from some of you who are keen to know when and where the programmes will be shown and if they reach your particular TV networks. Others, too, have written to enquire after my safety. Very thoughtful. The changes that are taking place along the Maghrebian coast and into the Middle East are both joyous and worrying. Selfishly speaking, it certainly creates concern for the safety of a small film crew. On the other hand, no-one can begrudge these millions of brave citizens the opportunity to speak out and rid themselves of the shackles of dictatorships. Might we describe what is happening as the first technological political revolutions? The power of the people to find their voices and to communicate with one another across previously closed borders has been very exciting to observe though I have worried for the personal safety of certain friends who, so far, are all safe and unharmed.
It has involved swift changes of schedules for me.  I had intended to visit both Tunisia and Libya during these early months of the year, but quickly reconfigured my programme.

Hello!

My word, spring is everywhere and I hardly feel the year has begun.

Those of you on my Olive Farm Facebook page will know that my feet have barely touched the ground this year. Directly after Christmas, I was in London for the France Show at Earls Court where I met many readers, some of whom have become longstanding friends now. On the Saturday, a lunch was arranged and thirty or so of us went off to celebrate together after my talk and book-signing that day. It was great fun. I am sure that another such event will be organised at some point in the near future so if you want to be included, please join the Facebook page and introduce yourself.

Otherwise, my time has been spent travelling, preparing the documentary film series of The Olive Route. I have been very touched by the many mails and messages I have received from some of you who are keen to know when and where the programmes will be shown and if they reach your particular TV networks. Others, too, have written to enquire after my safety. Very thoughtful. The changes that are taking place along the Maghrebian coast and into the Middle East are both joyous and worrying. Selfishly speaking, it certainly creates concern for the safety of a small film crew. On the other hand, no-one can begrudge these millions of brave citizens the opportunity to speak out and rid themselves of the shackles of dictatorships. Might we describe what is happening as the first technological political revolutions? The power of the people to find their voices and to communicate with one another across previously closed borders has been very exciting to observe though I have worried for the personal safety of certain friends who, so far, are all safe and unharmed.
It has involved swift changes of schedules for me.  I had intended to visit both Tunisia and Libya during these early months of the year, but quickly reconfigured my programme.

Hinterland Sicily

Instead, I spent most of January in mainland Italy and Sicily (glorious, as always), and then with the assistance of a good friend of mine doing volunteer work in Jerusalem, I very swiftly put together a schedule for Jerusalem and the Occupied Territories of the West Bank. My friend and I took a memorable walk in the Nablus region looking out across to the Jordan Valley where the almond trees were in blossom and I met a string of inspiring people working in the hope of finding solutions to the problems, moves towards peace: rabbis, farmers, volunteer workers, activists, journalists… The media is always so ready to paint such black pictures of any given situation but frequently on the ground what is most inspiring, in spite of the deep anguish, is the force of the human spirit. It reminds me time and again that we all have the possibility within us to affect change. Of course, our individual destinies might not takes us to war or troubled zones. The changes we instigate or support might be within our communities, but let us never forget the power we have to bring about change. Our fortitude and emotional resources are, I believe, limitless.

The road to Bethlehem

In the light of all I have been seeing, the difficulties certain Arab nations are facing, farmers, ordinary citizens, and the news that is coming in on a daily basis, I feel a real sense of hope, fragile but positive, even within areas of turbulence. One Palestinian farmer said to me ‘It’s a marathon, sometimes running, sometimes walking; always keeping the candle burning.’
So, forward we go with our film work trying not to be daunted by the troubled euro and tardy contractual contributions, jumping from one spot to the next knowing that any schedule we make could be changed at a moment’s notice. I pray for Libya, its brave citizens and scorn the petrol companies for using this as an opportunity to hike prices, the governments for not easing fuel taxes, and I am holding on firmly to a mental picture of those magnificent Roman sites along the Libyan coast that I want us to film before the year’s out.

What else is keeping me busy? The paperback of Return to the Olive Farm is to be published on 12 May. I am doing a little publicity here and there but please can I count on you all to tell your friends if you have read it and enjoyed it? If not, please rush to the shops and purchase it for yourselves and for your loved ones. As my wonderful editor Alan Samson said of it last year, ‘I guarantee you’ll enjoy it.’

Life at the farm continues as always with minor challenges and many small joys on a daily basis. We have organic olive oil now, growing plenty of our own veggies, receiving honey from our bees, and I am now trying to set up the Mediterranean Food Company I have been talking about for the past couple of years, offering produce from small holdings around the Med. I have found someone to take the reins and run the company alongside me so fingers crossed there will be more news on that soon.

If you want to hear more about the new books I am writing, where I am at with all my plans etc, please do join the Facebook page, OLIVE FARM and please don’t forget the paperback publication of Return to the Olive Farm!
Thank you, as always, for writing to me and for reading the books. Without you, none of all this would be moving forward.
I believe this is a very special year for many people all over the world. Exciting, if dangerous, times, and I wish you peace and good health.

All good wishes,
Carol

 

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