A Parrot in a Pepper Tree

A Parrot in a Pepper Tree

So as promised, I’m going to tell you about ‘A Parrot in the Pepper Tree’ today, the sequel to ‘Driving over Lemons’.  It doesn’t begin in sunny Spain but in the depths of winter in Sweden. Chris is sheep shearing to earn a bit of extra cash and missing his blissful life in Andalusia.  While he’s there he receives a letter from his wife saying that some publishers in London like the draft that he has written about the farm (the first book) and have sent him an advance so that he can buckle down and finish it.  He is, of course, overjoyed and heads back home full of enthusiasm.
Back in El Valero, he employs a local guy to help out with the farm so that he can really get cracking. After struggling with writer’s block for a while, he finally gets his head down and knocks out a first draft.  It gets published and is a success from the word go! He tells us some very amusing anecdotes, such as a British journalist that comes to interview him and his talk at an English literary festival.
I’ve just given you a snippet and there are many other stories included about Chris' life at the farm, his early years and his budding career as a writer.



  • a sequel (noun) 

A book/film/play etc that continues the story of an earlier one

  • the depths of winter (phrase)

In the middle of winter

  • sheep shearing (noun)

The process of cutting the woollen fleece off a sheep

  • blissful (adj.)

Very happy

  • a draft (noun)

The first attempt at writing something

  • an advance (noun)

Money that someone receives to complete a piece of work, such as a book.

  • buckle down (phrasal verb)

To start working hard

  • overjoyed (adj.)

To be very happy

  • help out (phrasal verb)

To help someone

  • to get cracking (phrase)

To start working on something

  • writer's block (phrase)

When a writer gets stuck and doesn't have any ideas.

  • gets his head down (phrase)

To concentrate on something

  • to knock out (phrasal verb)

To produce something quickly

  • from the word go (phrase)

From the beginning

  • anecdote (noun) 

A funny story

  • snippet (noun)

A small part of something

  • budding (adj.)

Just starting or developing