By Veronica

Fishing for olives

For the last few years the village social club has asked people to volunteer their olive trees which otherwise wouldn't be harvested. A group turns out to pick them, they go to a local mill to be pressed, and the resulting oil is sold for the benefit of the local primary school. It may not be the best quality, but it's everything that's good about village life.

About a dozen of us turned out, armed against a brisk wind from the Pyrenees. It was a convivial day, but I have to say olives are a right pain to pick. Requires shaking the trees, whacking them with sticks, using combs on long handles and nets to catch the olives ... P had an electric olive rake, and even that couldn't catch all of them. And then you have to fish all the leaves out from the olives as they will taint the oil if left in.

We broke for a welcome lunch of bread, pâté, grilled sausages, and rosé at about 1 pm, and then went to the Centre Culturel to harvest the trees in their flowerbeds. Most of them were clearly not tended and had masses of olives the size of capers that we didn't bother with. That said, we packed up at about four with over 300 kilos accounted for in total. Which will make 30-35 litres of oil. Extra: another Still Life On The Run :)

Home for a rest and a hot bath to ease the aches and pains and then we were off out to Conilhac for an evening at the jazz festival. I think we haven't been since the amazing cultural high point of Richard Galliano and the late lamented Didier Lockwood in 2017. Slight hiccup when the shiny red car decided it was going to have an electronic glitch and not start, but we swiftly connected up Bruno the Peugeot's battery and were on our chilly way (the heater fan doesn't work).

The star turn was well respected pianist Laurent Coulondré. The first half was a new local band called Mojo, playing New Orleans music inspired by Dr John. It was their first public concert and they were clearly thrilled to be there, aided by an enthusiastic audience with lots of their friends. They were excellent. The drummer and bassist were grinning furiously at each other throughout, and the brass section featured a trumpet and a truly awesome baritone saxophone (huge! And rarely seen), played brilliantly. I can't link to a sample, but there was a videographer filming the whole thing, so hopefully something will go online.

Laurent Coulondré is a great pianist, but he'd chosen to augment his usual trio with a three-man brass section, which I felt made it a bit too "big band" -- sometimes you couldn't even hear the piano. He did have an extremely good double bass player and I really liked the parts where the brass players took a break. But the first half was more fun. No stamina for the "after" at the Cave à Jazz, so we went home.

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