Monday, August 23, 2010

The Olive Tree Trilogy~

Remember that song "Monday, Monday" sung by the Mamas and the Papas? If you don't, you missed a really good one. It runs in my head occasionally with the vibrancy of Mama Cass's voice coming through. On this Monday, I thought you might enjoy the buoyancy of the Olive Tree Trilogy by Carol Drinkwater which I read about a year or so ago. I sent my copies to my sister, Miriam, and she's enjoying the second one right now.

The trilogy consists of The Olive Farm, The Olive Season, and The Olive Harvest to begin Carol's long journey with the olive tree. Her journey with olive trees began after she left the television series All Creatures Great and Small, which is where I first saw her. Carol's personality is what I would call infectious, and I always had the feeling that there was more to her than we saw onscreen. Boy, was I right!

When Carol left the show, she went to the South of France to find a house on the Mediterranean Sea, but they were all too expensive for her. She had met a friend, Michel, who had asked her to marry him on their very first outing. He was more than willing to help her look for a place around the Mediterranean. He, as a TV producer, and Carol, as an actress, had both visited the nearby town of Cannes for the annual Cannes Film Festival. Realizing that the houses on the Mediterranean were out of her price range, he suggested searching for a ruin, which would be cheaper and have the possibility of refurbishment. When they came upon the overgrown Appassionata (a musical term meaning "with passion"), they both fell in love with it.

Because it was still too much money for Carol, they put their resources together and bought it. But it wasn't a quick sale...besides reading about the problems with the owner's being in Belgium and the red tape of French laws, you will read a love story. Overlooking the sea from a distance, the estate was 10 acres of land with a crumbling house and outbuildings. When the overgrowth of trees, grass, weeds, and other plants were pulled up, cut away and taken off, 63 olive trees emerged! This is the story of Carol and Michel's determination to learn everything about producing olives and how they set about to do it. Not so fast! Their arduous task takes a while.

Carol herself says this about her search for a special place: "All my life, I have dreamed of acquiring a crumbling, shabby-chic house overlooking the sea...a corner of paradise where friends can gather to swim, relax, debate, eat fresh fruits picked directly from the garden and great steaming plates of food served from an al fresco kitchen and dished up on a candelit table." If that doesn't grab you, you may not find these books as interesting or as much fun as I have. Carol's energy and sheer determination, not only for buying the place, but for getting it in shape and getting the olive oil flowing, is not just the reading of a book, but is entry into her life.

AND not only is Carol's personality infectious, but her passion for olives as well. After reading the trilogy, I did what I could to make olives a part of my life too: I bought some good olives, some good olive oil, an olives poster, and some cooking with olives cookbooks. I got a signed copy of The Olive Tree from Blaeberry Books in Scotland (eBay). Lisa gave me some very nice coasters with olives on them, and I am still searching for china of some kind with olives on it. So typical of me to go all out! Carol has made the olive come alive with all its history and influence on life all over the world, especially the Old World, which most of us find unfamiliar territory. It is the world of the Bible and the area where Jesus lived his life on earth.Tomorrow I'll talk more about Carol's life and books, tell you more about the olive and its good properties, and maybe even give you some olive recipes. Meanwhile, you can look at her web site or search for her books on to get a taste of the woman herself...videos and all.Hope this cheered you as you moved through your Monday!



  1. Thanks for the "cheering up," Mama! The olive tree and the olive itself have so much history and have been used symbolically so often. Of course, there are many health benefits in the oil, as well. Black olives...i love them! =)

  2. You're welcome, Donna! Yes, it's difficult not to write about the history, which I've recently learned so much about. But it's so easy to find the information that I've refrained. I may eventually give some information on the health benefits of olive oil. I love the black olives too--kalamata are very nice. And recently I bought two different kinds of green olives that were stuffed--one with garlic and one with pimento. But the stuffing wasn't the difference. One of the olives was delicious, while the other was much too acidic. I read that the difference is how they're processed, but one of them was small and the other one was plump. Possibly in this case, the cost would help one decide which olives taste good. Mine were from the same company (Delallo)and I got them both at Smith's. I'm not sure what I will do with the untasty ones. :o(
    Thanks for commenting!