Counting fruitful days to book launch

By Martin Kirby

Phew. It is done. We have agreed both the page proofs and the cover design for my latest book, Shaking The Tree, and publication will be on December 1. I will give the exact details of the book signings (about 10 are planned so far in England, including Oxfordshire, Yorkshire and East Anglia) within the next fortnight, along with the ISBN number and cover. That is one of the reasons we have neglected the website during the last week, the others being wine harvest and Maggie going down with the flu, bless her. We have discussed more recipes and will sit down and file another one before Wednesday. On the day of the national strikes in Spain the temperature dipped alarmingly and we lit the woodburner that evening and shut our bedroom window. I immediately started fretting about how long our stock of logs would last, but the days and nights have since returned to the expected autumn comfort zone, and the chickens are queuing again to drink from the wine barrel water butt. There is a heavy dew at dawn, and the ajuntament is dishing out fire permits once again. I am itching to start wooding, clearing more space in the pine wood where, this spring, after hard labour last autumn, we saw bee orchids and other wild treasures rise from the blanket of pine needles. The labour also cuts fire risk and gives the timber time to season before it is needed for heat a little over a year from now. Not that there is much spare time. Today we are moving furniture about in the cottage and I am installing a second woodburner to ensure our winter visitors are cosy. The main woodburner has always kept the rooms upstairs toasty, but the lounge and dining area downstairs has always needed supplementary heat. In hindsight I shouldn't have bought a woodburner that is set into the wall. It looks beautiful, but that doesn't help when it is minus 12 outside. Has anyone else had the same problem? We spent an emotional weekend in a remote village in the high Pyrenees very recently (my next post), and a friend there was equally unhappy with his choice of woodburner. With the book launch approaching, and our wish to devote more time to the farm and the fresh olive oil business, we have decided to take a six months breather from the holiday cottage, so until March it will be home to a family of French Canadians. We are taking bookings now for Easter onwards. Meanwhile the figs plop to the ground faster than we can eat them, and we have discovered two sapling peach trees in the undergrowth, laden with fruit....


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