The experience of sitting under an ancient olive tree eating great food, is always one to put you in a positive frame of mind.
It's no wonder that when big companies want to flog us their latest margarine-type spread, they treat us to adverts featuring Tuscan octogenarians pole vaulting through olive groves.
Everything about olive trees is splendid, a point brought home to me when I got lost in an olive grove in Crete, giving me ample time to figure out that unlike the Leyland Cyprus, Thuja and other brutalist trees, no silvery-leafed olive tree ever looks quite like another. Each is an individual, with its gnarled trunk and distinctive shape testifying, more often than not, to hundreds of years of growth. And while suburban barrier trees provoke many an ugly neighbour dispute and mark division, the olive tree creates a natural, inclusive canopy that encourages conviviality and pleasure.
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