Home again after 4999km

By Martin Kirby

Mother's Garden is strangely peaceful. Devoid of breeze and cloud, our first day home glides, no drifts, like a hot air balloon buoyed by relief that we achieved all that we set ourselves, safely and with such encouragement.
I am floating above tiredness. The night frosts coat the ground with sweet silver and I keep standing and staring.
Being motionless is a novelty.
In a tail-chasing fortnight from 10am, Wednesday December 1, we clocked 4999 kilometres, presented Shaking The Tree and fresh olive oil to hundreds of lovely people and endured a lesson in meteorology.
How naive of me to assume that early December would be placid. How nuts of me to set such a punishing agenda that would see us plough through the snow from Kent to Oxfordshire, north to Scarborough and York, then down to Norfolk, before trundling once again on to a Dover ferry.
The enormity of France is well-documented and it shouldn't be rushed. Yet I keep doing it.
I will not bore you with the teeth-chattering consequences, but just want to thank all those who ventured into the ice air to see us. It was so humbling, and despite the inevitable impact of such an early onset of winter, we feel the trip was of immeasurable worth and an unforgettable pleasure.
Almost every drop of fresh olive oil has been sold - so already we are looking to January. If you would like to order oil in advance (perhaps with a copy of the book and/or an embroidered apron), please get in touch.
I will post photographs too, if I can find my camera .....
Keep well and warm.


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