Delighted to receive yesterday John Godfrey’s latest poetry collection ‘Beautiful Contraptions’ – with a fine photograph on the cover of our Olive Mill. John visited the Almassera Vella on a Poetry course some years ago and I remember his fascination with the mill and the press and the way they used to operate. The picture shows one of the giant cones (‘Toledo granite’) and some of the workings. When we rebuilt the Almassera Vella in 2001 — the mill and press were two things that were untouched,  indeed the house was essentially designed around them. The cold press technique has largely given over these days to centrifugal presses — although there is still one cold press operating in the province. Some connoisseurs of Extra Virgin olive oil prefer cold-pressed olives. However at the Almassera Vella our mill and press are now simply precious sculptural objects. As John puts it:

Here is your olive-press – and still here –

though the sounds of it you’ll now

have to imagine: the effete huffs

of exhausting steam shouldn’t be too difficult;

the rush and slap of belts on pulleys,

the stutter of worn cogs a little harder maybe….


(‘Beautiful Contraptions’ by John Godfrey from Rockingham Press

ISBN978-1-904851-75-2 – available Amazon)