Picking Olives

My brother-in-law is picking his olives and sometimes we help him (not enough, and he gives us oil; I think of the little red hen).  But there has been no rain since April and the olives are dry, not plump and oil-filled. Still, like our nextdoor neighbour, he hopes to squeeze enough oil out of the (abundant) olives to provide oil for the coming year. Last year there were worms—from Italy—in the olives and the harvest wasn’t great either. “Every two years,’ my brother-in-law says, ‘there’s a decent harvest. It’s a pattern. The life of a peasant is really not easy.’

Our neighbour says he’s not even going to bother harvesting the olives this year, but then he goes out and does it anyway, because he needs oil for the winter. How would he eat without olive oil?

A beautiful morning, crisp, sunny with bands of mist stretching across the Plain.

Still reading Tolstoy, and a lovely Italian novel called La Mennulara, and when we can get it—the village shop having closed for the holidays—Le Monde. And a strange mixture of Ashbery, Heaney, Douglas Dunn.