Wednesday, February 17

Tree changers

The plan is to use this diary and other notes made along the way to publish an account of life at Daramalan. May be a self published e-book but it will get written and hopefully will find an audience. I appreciate that we are escapists at heart looking for a tree change move to the country to regain our lives. We want to be 'human beings, not doings' and we are certainly not alone.

I have read almost all the available books on tree changing from Dirk Bogarde and Peter Mayle's experiences in Provence; Frances Mayes, Annie Hawes and Elizabeth Romer's Tuscan and Ligurian adventures and Patrice Newell and Joy Barrow's Australian accounts of olive groves and vineyards respectively.

But by far my favourite is Chris Stewart's Andalucian trilogy; Driving over Lemons, The Parrot in the Pepper Tree and The Almond Blossom Appreciation Society. He was the original drummer with seventies band Genesis, joined a circus, became a sheep shearer (particularly in Scandinavia), travel writer, yacht crew member in Greece, pilot and, now, owner of a mixed farm in Las Alpujarras, south of Granada, Spain.

He writes with humour and respect for his environment and neighbours. There is a great sense that he and his family are part of the community and not just tarting up a villa for summer visitors from England or Boston. The books are really worth getting hold of and are often in second hand bookshops - I guess most people read them once and pass them on. I am a book collector, well okay, a book hoarder.

I have worked in a steel mill, turkey farm, wine bar, sports centre, grain trading room, futures pit, investment bank and, now, a sheep stud. Surely finding out some of why all that happened is worth a quick read of the dust cover?

In a couple of years the Daramalan Diaries will hit a store near you so dig deep and support a tree changer!!

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