Friday, November 9, 2007

Day 34 - A Pickin Good Time

It’s harvesting time again. Today we head to Michael’s olive plantation to pick olives and have them pressed into tasty organic olive oil. The trees are heavily pregnant and about to drop.

The true realities of farming dawn on Nicole when she realises there will be no bathroom facilities. This produces a mild shock, exacerbated by the working track-suits and trainers required for the job. Not one to enjoy dressing down, Nicole attempts to maintain some sense of glamour and insists, as a bare minimum, on a splash of lipstick and perfume, at the somewhat bemusement of Paul and Michael.

We take the coastal, nerve shattering cliff-top drive to the orchard on the West side of the island, and get to work. The sunshine beats down and the car radio serenades us with Greek melodies. At the first tree, we each start in a different position and work in a clock-wise direction. Michael instructs us in the technique for collecting: slowly picking one olive at a time and being careful not to put any leaves or stems in the collection buckets, as it will make the olive oil bitter.

Fine we think, not knowing any better, after all it is only going to take three days according to Michael.

Time marches on and 11.30am rolls into 1.30pm - lunch time. The good news is we have collected twenty-five kilos of olives between us. The not so good news is that it is all off one tree.

Michael is very relaxed about the situation. However, we are slightly concerned at the size of the task at hand and cut our lunch break short to get started on the next tree. We work non-top picking olive after olive until the sun goes down at 5.30pm, by which time we have cleared less than three trees.

There are fifty two trees to be picked!

At this rate, we calculate, it will take twenty-six days to finish the job. However, despite the naked, raw facts of the situation, Michael still insists that it is a three-day job. We can’t quite follow the algorithms used in his calculations.

No bother though: whilst our old office-based lives seem light years away today; Nicole has surprisingly discovered that she enjoyed the day’s labour; Paul always thought he would, and we can always adjust our business research plans.

So, exhausted, we head home to get an early night’s sleep, ready for another day in the field tomorrow.


Anonymous said...

What happened to day 33?

Paul and Nicole said...

day 33 is "in the pipeline". That's what happens when one player on the team isn't pulling his or her weight! :-)

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