This is television actress Carol Drinkwater's lyrical account of a new life in France; about her house, Appassionata, and the trials and tribulations of acquiring an olive farm, restoring it, farming the olives, overcoming the heartaches of taking on a "new" French family and understanding slowly the workings and lifestyle of a vivacious Provencal community. The book opens the door on a bustling Mediterranean world using Carol Drinkwater's old abandoned villa as the gateway to it. It explores the local landscape, the various al fresco jazz festivals, the colourful carnival in Nice, the local cuisine, meals around an oval wooden table, the cycle of olive farming and pressing, local wines, Carol's bizarre friendship with a toothless Arab gardener, hours whiled away in a magnificent hammock lugged all the way from northern Brazil because its colours were an exact match for the slatted wooden shutters, and Picasso's museum at Antibes. It is a celebration of Appassionata and its wonderful olive-groved, sun-drenched world and its unlikely cast of characters.
Anglo-Irish actress Carol Drinkwater is perhaps still most familiar to audiences for her award-winning portrayal of Helen Herriot in the BBC series All Creatures Great and Small. A popular and acclaimed author and film-maker as well, Carol has published nineteen books for both the adult and young adult markets. She is currently at work on her twentieth title.
When she purchased a rundown property overlooking the Bay of Cannes in France, she discovered on the grounds sixty-eight, 400-year-old olive trees. Once the land was reclaimed and the olives pressed, Carol along with her French husband, Michel, became the producers of top-quality olive oil. Her series of memoirs, love stories, recounting her experiences on her farm (The Olive Farm, The Olive Season, The Olive Harvest and Return to the Olive Farm) have become international bestsellers. Carol's fascination with the olive tree extended to a seventeenth-month, solo Mediterranean journey in search of the tree's mythical secrets. The resulting travel books, The Olive Route and The Olive Tree, have inspired a five-part documentary films series entitled The Olive Route.
Carol has also been invited to work with UNESCO to help fund an Olive Heritage Trail around the Mediterranean with the dual goals of creating peace in the region and honouring the ancient heritage of the olive tree.