New book and fresh olive oil tour + video

By Martin Kirby

In wishing you all a cuddly, cherry-topped Happy New Year we offer the following – a parcel of ribbon-tied happy thoughts that may help to keep us all afloat in this year to come. And in case you think I’m a bit late, we always think the bleak end of January is a good time to send smiles. We send too you a link to the You Tube video Ella made of our recent new book and new harvest olive oil tour – click here. We wish for everyone the fully-inflated rubber ring of humour, and in doing so remind ourselves how vital it has been here on the farm with all its hues, heavy burdens and common aches that are the consequence of the tap-dance of modern life. As with the magnificent mirth-inducing musical raspberries that my 90-year-old father blows at anyone who has had their ready smile wiped from their hard-drive (or has had a common courtesy bypass operation) we have ways to dissolve the accumulatively seriousness of existence into a fit of the giggles. Check out the new pictures on our gallery. The following stars of 2010 feature. Wandering minstrels Michael Hatherly and son Jacob (they had just wandered up the track from the holiday cottage) tweaked the cord of merriment back in August with a guitar, tiny drum and precious little. Michael is my oldest friend. Jacob is my delightful godson. Their friendship is something to behold, unbelievably precious to share. Then there was the sensation when Elvis rolled up to join the olive harvest. Words fail me. With us for some almond bagging frivolity were Sophie and Steve from Brisbane Down Under, stopping off at Mother’s Garden for five weeks at the end of their European tour. They have been rays of light, and stayed with our friend Annie to hold the fort, feed the ponies and keep the home fires burning while we whizzed around England during the first two weeks of December. As we trundled down the track 6ft tall Steve skipped alongside us adorning the hire truck with flower petals. Yes, we ventured north during the bitterly cold, snowy first two weeks of December. Brrrrr. We clocked 4999 kilometres and 10 book and olive oil events in 12 days – meeting hundreds of lovely people who ventured out to see us despite the deep bleakness of early winter. Despite the onset of foul colds, snow storms coming in horizontally off the sea in -17 Scarborough and ice on the inside of our otherwise reliable Fiat truck, despite pulling my back lugging olive oil boxes hither and thither, we got round, signing a very significant number of books, delivering new harvest olive oil and, generally, giving the tree of life a damned good shake. Maybe you heard me making a fool of myself on Radio York and Radio Norfolk. (I was breaking some teeth in for a friend). They allowed me to rattle on for an inordinately long time as we talked about this life, my new book Shaking The Tree and why people might want to dwell on the thought of moving abroad. We had taken Ella and Joe Joe out of school because we wouldn’t dream of leaving them behind and, well, the trip would be an education (in meteorology as it turned out). They also got to see Windsor Castle, Delia Smith, Stephen Fry and Norwich City lose 0-2 to Portsmouth. Delia’s Canary Catering chefs have been using our olive oil for years now, and she’d invited us to visit Carrow Road to watch a game. So there I and the children sat, not sure at first if singing and shouting was acceptable behaviour in the directors’ box. But I let rip anyway after a few minutes, genuinely oblivious to the fact that Stephen Fry, seated directly in front of me, was filming some sort of documentary. Poor chap. I forced a copy of my English novel Moon Daisy on him. It had been 35 years since we’d last spoken (our paths crossed as teenagers) and he was utterly charming, but I’m not entirely convinced he remembered me. We have, needless to say, returned with more than we left with, not least heads and hearts brimming with happy memories of eyes-closed bear embraces, beaming faces and the certainty that the vast majority of people are utterly gorgeous. Keep warm, keep well. Sending all good thoughts from Mother’s Garden for the year we will all share. Be happy. And a present of raspberries to those who refuse...


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