Tuesday, 16 April 2013


Carol has written several fiction books but these are not the ones that have drawn me to this author, the books that she has written and grabbed me by the throat are her non-fiction books. These are the ones that I have included  in my SUNDAY BEST books.


Now where do I start, first of all a lot of people know of Carol as an actress, she was best known for playing Helen Herriot in the television series All Creatures Great And Small. But that's not the Carol I want to tell you about today.

I want to tell you all about Carol and her Olive Farm books, there are seven altogether one of them is an illustrated companion to all the others. The books are THE OLIVE FARM, THE OLIVE SEASON, THE OLIVE HARVEST, THE OLIVE ROUTE, THE OLIVE TREE and RETURN TO THE OLIVE FARM.

Carol's story begins when she and Michel a TV producer, (by the way their romance is woven into the story of the olive farm) buy the abandoned OLIVE FARM Appassionata, in the south of France. With very little money they begin to get the farm up and running, nothing is straight forward and along the way we find out all about the local people and food, the many animals that seem to just turn up, family and friends that come to stay, but most of all we learn all about the olives.


The olive story gets very exciting when it is discovered they are producing the finest extra-virgin oil. As we go through to THE OLIVE SEASON the water supply becomes a problem and Carol goes in search of a diviner who promises magical results, we also find out Carol is pregnant. Michel is away a lot working and this leaves Carol to manage things without him, as the harvest season approaches events cast a dark shadow over the farm.


Eventually Carol and Michel look forward to spending the summer together, THE OLIVE HARVEST but it's not to be, Carol is alone on the farm with a very uncertain future. This is when we see Carol venture out from Appassionata and start to explore other aspects of Provencal life.


 The books with Carol's wonderful writing all come together in THE ILLUSTRATED OLIVE FARM, we get to see Appassionata and all the people, animals, food and not forgetting the olives with beautiful photographs taken by Michel. 

There is no way I would have even tried to do anything like Carol and Michel, I don't normally envy people but they do seem to have a lovely life and outlook on to the world we all live in. This is why these books have become part of my SUNDAY BEST BOOKS.

Sunday, 7 April 2013


This week has been the start of A-Z April and I've loved it, I knew I would before it even started because I had really enjoyed the advent calendar blogs posted in December. I've just loved the interesting variety of subjects people have been blogging about, trying to keep up with all of them is a different matter. I'm not going to mention any individual ones as I don't want to leave anyone out, but I can honestly say in the dozen or so I have been popping in and out of there's not one I haven't enjoyed.

Quite a few people have said I should have taken part, but I'm afraid I wouldn't have been able to produce my blogs to such  high standards as the ones I've been reading. However not wanting to miss out completely I have decided to do just one from this weeks letters. The letter I've chosen is Thursdays D.
D is for Devon

Devon is the part of the UK I was born and grew up in,  It's one of our most beautiful counties and that's something I had never really appreciated when I was young. Oh how I would have given anything to live in London, the bright lights and theatres not forgetting the shops. But when I was older and had moved away I started to appreciate what a great place it is. You have the rugged landscape of Dartmoor where you can walk for miles without seeing a car or even another person, just the famous wild Dartmoor ponies and lots of sheep to keep you company.


You also have the magnificent coastline, to the north you have Ilfracombe, Woolacombe and Bideford, to the south Salcombe, Torquay and Paighton. Two of the places I'm always drawn to when I go back to visit are Dartmouth and Brixham, I would love to live in either of them ( you've got to have a dream )


Dartmouth is steeped in naval history dating right back to the Domesday Book, it was once considered as a possible site for a naval dockyard before the Admiralty chose Plymouth. Instead they decided on Dartmouth as the site for training naval officers and in 1905 The Britannia Royal Naval College was completed. Many Royals have attended the college over the years, it is said that is where our present Queen first met Prince Philip.

One of the most important events for Dartmouth each year is its famous Regatta, every August people travel from all over the world to attend the festivities. Dartmouth to me reminds me of my family Sunday lunches at The Dart Marina Hotel, overlooking the river Dart. Very happy times were had over many years with several generations of us all getting together.

The other place in Devon which brings back very happy memories is Brixham. In the middle ages it was the largest fishing port in the south west of England, it was know as the 'Mother of Deep-Sea Fisheries'


The fishing trawlers can still be seen coming in and out of the harbour followed by flocks of seagulls. Apart from fishing most of the other local industries were connected with stone. Limestone was once quarried and used to build the breakwater and for houses and roads.

To me Brixham is the place we would go to after having a day on the beach at Goodrington Sands, a walk around the harbour and the little streets of shops followed by one of the best parts of the day, seaside fish and chips the tastiest ones you will ever find.

Brixham Fish and Chips

So that was my little contribution to Aprils A-Z, I hope you enjoyed my letter D and hopefully before the month is out I will be back with another letter.