Wednesday, 11 July 2007


Three nights ago whilst watering the herb garden I turned around to find about ten wild PIGS galloping across the orchard towards me. Two enormous black monsters and eight of varying height, squealing with delight, heads down, bristling with muscle!

Unfortunately, the dog saw them at the same moment and ran barking towards them. Tails comically straight in the air, they turned snout and ran.

Every evening since I have sat in the dusk at around nine o’clock and watched them jumping down the terraces towards our orchard and the farm next door. I had thought they were after any fallen apples but I now think they have to come down out of the forest in order to find water. Both our streams have become wallow pits and the clay ground we sit on is harder than cement.

Below us is a bigger river and they have to cross our olive groves on their journey to get a drink. By the barking of the dogs about twenty minutes after I sight them in the valley, they have arrived!

On their return journey they seem to stop off to eat the fallen apples and last night, half a plum tree. The lower branches of this tree are about seven feet off the ground, so a Cinghale on its hind legs is much taller than the average man! Still my fertilizing bills will be cheaper this year!

Believe it or not there are three pigs in this awful photograph!! Perhaps more. A friend emailed to say that she could also see a man in one of the fruit trees!!! I do hope not. Perhaps one of the pigs was a pig of a man in an earlier life!!! Tonight I am going to lie in wait and bag a better one, sans dog, sans pussies, mit spritzer, OFF (biting bugs are a hazard at night), and cushion!

The irony of this story hit me this morning whilst driving the tractor around the lake when I saw that the porcupines had dug up and eaten all my very special irises to add to their fertilizer of two nights ago when they ate every iris in front of the house. I should have been waiting for them with not a camera but a gun! A porcupine by the way is only slightly smaller than a pig!!! Or when quills raised, probably much bigger. Hence Philip Treacey can put a couple of these in every one of his hats!!

Only one more piece of news. Simoneta exited the house as I passed with the hairs on her head and arms standing on end! Understandably, I paused and examined the contents in her hand. Beautiful, lacey pieces of material resembling the softest silk were quivering in her palm in tune with her fright.

Her answer to my question of where she had found these wonderful silky samples, then stood my hair on end. “Under your bed”. She knew and I had guessed that what we were looking at was the shed skin of a fairly large snake.
Tonight I am sleeping outside with the pigs, Lamu the dog, the porcupines, the pussies and any other animale who wishes to join us. They in my opinion are less frightening to sleep with than one snake!!

On second thoughts......

Saturday, 7 July 2007


Talking of olive oil, which of course I haven't been, it is a fantastic year in the olive groves!

Lots of flowers earlier in the year, rain at the right time, no hail to knock the young fruit off the trees, and now wonderful sunshine. Yesterday was 35 degrees!

We plan to pick earlier this year. The beginning of November rather than around the 11th. It makes sense as the weather is usually a little warmer and the oil is more peppery which our customers seem to like.

We are planning to launch our Olio Nouvello in London around the end of the month after picking and have just received interest from South Africa!!!

We didn't want to start a new business but it seems to be starting itself!

Never look a gift horse in the mouth. It might be eating your olives.