The house of olives

“It used to be agricultural land.”

On the way from the airport we had seen “arid” – not agriculture.  Dry unloved sterile red dusty waste ground – pot-holed roads running through land with no-hope written all over it.


Our verdant riad (across from the half-built shells of houses).  Our verdant riad feeling like a guilty pleasure (behind the thick walls and massive gate).

Back home now …

And I found out we had been staying in the “house of olives” (and not “the house of the Oliviers” – as I had thought the French “La Maison des Oliviers” meant).

Which finally answered a curiosity as we sat by the pool out there – watching the gardeners spraying yet more swimming pools of water on the greenery all day long … The olive trees looked much older than the eight years the riad had been built and open for us guests to enjoy.  We put it down to another of those “holiday quirks” to ponder (between lunch and dinner).

Yet … on the way back to the airport I looked again at the “land with no-hope written all over it”. And this time saw olive trees.

Bedraggled and unkempt lines of unloved olive trees.  Lots of bedraggled and unkempt olive trees.  That now looked like ex-agricultural olive tree land.  Much like agricultural land with the (smart and loved) lines of olive trees we have seen in each Mediterranean country we have visited.

I think olive trees are just like us – they so easily have no-hope written all over them unless they are loved.  Loved by those like me – whizzing along to somewhere else.  Somewhere up to my standard.  Somewhere I feel comfortable with all my expected comforts of home.

“The House of Olives.”

A home amongst the olives.  A home built of hope.  Just written in a language of imagery, sight, smells, words and sounds I assumed I knew.  And then dismissed.

They say travel broadens the mind.  I am not so sure.  I think I broaden or shrink my mind – no travel required.

Like the list of untouchables I avoid each day where I can: the swearers, the same sex have-sexers, the druggies who abstain from the prescription drugs I use, the rough sleepers who stink of urine and stale booze, the old dodderers who get in the way in queues, on pavements, when driving, the young who have no respect for others, the smart-phoners who I have to walk around … and all the others who intimdate or delay me every day.

Do I see them as no-hopers as I whizz by to somewhere important – to somewhere and someone like me?

“It used to be agricultural land.”

Just not the pretty neat fields that I call “agricultural land” – the fields loved and tended by someone.  That look loved and tended as I whizz by.

Is that why I write my instant “no-hope” verdict all over it …

That – and whizzing by – allows me to be comfortable?



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