Writing from Paris

Yesterday, I took a day off. This is quite a rare event for me, but after the olive harvesting and a house crowded with lovely friends who have been olive-picking with us, I decided it was time for a little relaxation.

We collected close to 400 kilos of olives, which for a year with not so many fruits on the trees was not too bad at all. More than I had anticipated. I made two visits to the mill and I returned with some very fine oil. Green, peppery and organic. As soon as the oil was home we decanted sufficient for a tasting with fresh bread and the general agreement was that we had done well.

IMGOur autumn has been remarkably hot – temps hitting at least 23° C on a regular basis, sometimes quite a bit higher. We have spring flowers in blossom and although it has been a real delight to olive harvest in this kind of weather and eat all our lunches out in the garden; even enjoying early evening drinks out on the terraces watching the sun hit the sea with a silver gleam like a sheet of metal, there has been a downside. The fly that attacks the olive fruit made a late appearance and was just beginning to lay its eggs into the mature fruits when we began to pick. I am very glad that I had made the decision not to wait any longer to gather in the crop. Next year, if the same weather pattern repeats itself, I will hope to set the harvest date even a little earlier: mid-October.

The summer was SO hot down in our south that even the olive fly did not want to venture out. So, our hanging of the sardines from the trees to repel them needs to take place a little later when the flies are about… By the time, the flies began to lay, the sardines had disintegrated and were no longer effective.

When I consider that the last week of November is the traditional date for the opening of the harvest in the south of France and we were finished by the end of the first week, it makes me see that the seasons are changing. Quite a few of the olive-pressing mills have not opened yet or are doing so about now yet dozens of farmers have completed their harvests already. The mill we used this year has been pressing for a month already.

This seems to me to be a small but tangible example of one of the effects of rising global temperatures…

So, yesterday was a day off for me. I flew up to Paris and enjoyed a day of leisure lunching with friends, wandering about the splendid department store, Bon Marché which, of course, is bursting at the seams with Christmas decorations, ideas for gifts and gorgeous winter clothes.  I am spending this weekend outside Paris. It is crisp and cold here and we have a huge log fire blazing in the grate. I can hear chickens clucking in the lane and the farmers are out in their very high-tech and very large tractors, preparing the fields for their next crop.

Next week I will make very brief trips to London and Rome. Following these, I have a short trip to China pencilled into the diary. The Olive Farm has been translated into Mandarin and will be published in China at the end of November. To celebrate this, I have been invited to Guangchou to help launch the book with a little publicity. It is quite something to consider its publication within such a vast market. It is very exciting. Olive oil and olive farming have become new interests for the Chinese. Also, as the country turns its attention towards the rest of the world, the Chinese have become very interested in the way others live. A small film crew came to the farm several months ago and shot a documentary about me and our life on the farm. We are hoping this will be transmitted within the next few months to help publicize the books’ publication although, as every author knows, marrying TV projects with publication dates is never easy!

The Girl in Room Fourteen continues to sell well within the Kindle bookstore on Amazon. The links are here, if you have not read it yet and would like to. I understand it is currently being translated into German, which is also very exciting. More on that when I have the information…

 :: http://tinyurl.com/kywqknu

 :: http://www.amazon.co.uk

I am completing my next KIndle Single now.

If you are thinking of visiting London in January, the France Show will run from 17th to 19th January. I look forward to meeting those of you who can make it there. I am thrilled to know that some readers are flying in from the States for this event. Thank you!

If you are looking for Christmas presents, all my books are available signed and personally dedicated through olivefarmbooks@gmail.com  So, also, is the collection of five DVDs of The Olive Route. These films are a wonderful way to offer your loved ones  a journey round the Mediterranean. We have both US and world formats available, in English or French.

And talking about visiting the Mediterranean, our little cottage, no longer occupied by our lovely gardener Quashia who has retired, has been gutted and revamped and is now to rent for short holiday lets. Again, you can contact us at olivefarmbooks@gmail.com for more details.

So, back to my desk. Today is not a day of leisure for me and I have writing to get on with.

Thank you for being such enthusiastic visitors to this site. I really appreciate it.


PS : Quite a few of you have written to ask me to post a photo of my new office space. Here, enclosed with this letter, is a snap of the sunlight hitting one of its walls.

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