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Day 5 of the Greek Hovel Olive harvest 2022 – the worst day

Tom Winnifrith
Monday 19 December 2022

As our phones had warned the weather went downhill rapidly overnight. The wind was already howling and the rain falling as we arrived back at the Hovel. During the night I was woken up repeatedly by lightening and enormous thunder claps which arrived almost at the same time. The storm was directly overhead.

It was still raining in the morning, but lightly, so we managed a couple of trees before breaking for a late breakfast in the village with mad lefties L and G.  On the part of the road down from the Hovel which is a mud track, the puddles were deep. I drove more slowly than ever, keen not to slide the hire car into a tree or a wall.

By the time we returned we had just four hours left before dark. We harvested in the lighter rain but sometimes it was just too heavy. And it was cold rain not the warm rain of summer so it drilled into ones bones. By mid afternoon the skies were so dark, as the rain threatened again, that you could barely see the olives higher in the trees as you tried to twerk. We called it a day. Six trees albeit very high yielding ones. Our worst day.

It was also my health low point. That disease that was not covid but felt as if it had been some three weeks prior saw me feeling weak and coughing as if it was going out of fashion. I fell asleep on the sofa with two duvets on me before four, to wake up five hours later to do a short burst of writing and a podcast before heading to bed again. Monday would be critical for the 2022 harvest  and the weather forecast was better.

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About Tom Winnifrith
Tom Winnifrith is the editor of When he is not harvesting olives in Greece, he is (planning to) raise goats in Wales.
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