Why a Ladder is Better Than a Lounger (IMHO)

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We all want to have a bit of an adventure on a family holiday – don’t we? And October half term is a rather good time… rather brilliant time is the break during the October half term, just when the stretch to Christmas seems so unbearably long.
Last year, I took my family off to Italy to pick olives for a week. What a brilliant break that was.  “Alore!” says Bandino lo Franco, from La Vialla farm in Tuscany, “who wants to pick olives?” “Me! Me! Me!” yell my four children, aged five to 13 who are never allowed up ladders at home, let alone when armed with giant plastic orange combs.

They can hardly believe their luck. They each grab a comb, and up they swarm, combing out olives as they go. They (the olives, that is, not the children) plop down onto netting beneath the trees. When the tree is considered empty, which takes a pro about 30 minutes, but a five year old about two hours, the netting is lifted up and fruit poured into a crate.

There is no tiresome picking, pulling, or indeed carrying. Garnering olives must be the easiest form of fruit picking known to man. Amazingly, this enterprise keeps the children entertained all morning, and the next day too.

“I think its a bit like combing head lice off your head,” says Honey, 8, giggling within her tree. “The tree is your head, Mummy. The olives are the lice! Off, off, off they all go!”

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