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Olives from the tree

December 4, 2009

Chaos theory at its finest.  Isn’t it strange how two random observations can come together in the mind?

A week or two ago cyber-friends Chris & Catherine updated their blog, The World is our Lobster.  At the risk of a paraphrase too far, they decided to step out of the rat race and take a different track.  They sold their home, quit their jobs and bought a camper van to allow them to tour Europe.  Actually, the order was rather different and a massive amount of planning went into their adventure.

They are currently in Italy, in Hector the campervan, having done about 4,500 miles so far.  Their intention is to visit all 47 countries in Europe; for an explanation of how they decided on 47 it’d be best to read their RAQs/FAQs.  All being well we hope to see them in Cyprus early next spring.

While they were back in Northern Italy Catherine complained that her idyllic image of wandering through olive grove was being ruined by the olive harvest.  Poor old Hector’s roof was, once more, at risk from falling things as they were parked under a tree due to be harvested.

However, keen to see the benefits of all the work that goes into harvesting olives they tried olives straight from the tree … and were not impressed.

“Four hours for one tree! I taste an olive and it’s disgustingly bitter, obviously the cheap oil variety rather than the marinate-in-garlic type.”

We sometimes exchange emails with them after each weekly update but didn’t get a chance that week.  Had we been able we intended to mention that olives are not edible straight from the tree, not something we knew until we arrived here.   They need to be split and washed and soaked in a brine solution.  The brine solution needs to be changed every three days.  This part of the process takes at least a couple of weeks.  Then, and only then, are the olives fit to be tasted and possibly flavoured.

All of which begs the question;  who first discovered that the olive becomes edible when treated in this way?

Anyway, we didn’t get the chance to email them and then the moment passed and then the whole thing disappeared from the mind.  Until this week, thanks to the UK’s Telegraph newspaper.

Their Personal Finance section has a regular finance/entertainment cross-over piece where a celebrity is asked about how they handle money.  Articles typically cover types of investments, property purchases, financial mistakes, the importance of family and lessons learnt.

This week’s interviewee was Peter Andre.  Peter has strong ties to Cyprus, his family are Greek Cypriot and many of them still live on the island.  He visits regularly and he refers to it as his second home; he and his ex-wife Jordan/Katie Price built a large house over towards Pervolia.  During his acrimonious separation from his wife he came to the island to be with by his extended family.  Occasionally we see him and members of his family in Larnaca.

In the Telegraph he comes across as surprisingly level headed.  Presumably the reason for agreeing to the article was to put behind him much of the recent speculation and gossip about his life.  The aim of the piece seems to be to get across how down to earth he is.  How important family is to him.  How he’s worked hard to stay close to his roots.

WHAT DIFFICULT LESSONS HAVE YOU LEARNED ABOUT MONEY?

I think the biggest problem people have is spending money before they earn it. If you learn to live so big, there will come a time when the money isn’t flowing in, so what do you do?

Yes, I do have a beautiful home in Cyprus, and dad and I like to sit outside and eat olives right from the tree. We do love the simple things. Making a conscious effort like that does make it easier to adapt your lifestyle if you’re ever forced to.

So, until we moved here we didn’t know the work that goes into making olives edible.  Neither did our fellow cyber-blogging friends.  But Peter Andre … how is it he, with his time spent here and with his family and still close to his roots, didn’t know?

The full interview is here.  We’ll leave you to wonder whether one careless statement may lead to people wonder about the remainder of the piece.

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