ACTRESS, writer and film-maker, Carol Drinkwater believes in living in the moment. “I am always aware of the fact that today I am in good health and who knows what tomorrow will bring. As my lovely aunt always says, God didn’t promise us tomorrow,” she says.
With an Irish mum and a dad with Irish grandparents, she regards herself as more Irish than English and holds an Irish passport. “I don’t want to deny my English side but I am definitely much more at home with my Irish side.”
Though her heart may belong to Ireland, home is now in the South of France. Married to French TV producer, Michel Noll, she lives most of the year near Cannes, where the couple run a small organic farm.
Last month they celebrated their 25th wedding anniversary. But it hasn’t been all been a bed of jasmine blossoms. “We split up for three years and I really fought to put our marriage back together again,” says Carol, 65.
Between the farm, writing and other work projects — there is a five-part travel TV series in the offing — her output is prodigious. “I have an enormous amount of energy,” she says. “I am passionate about what I do which is very important and a great gift.”
nCarol Drinkwater will give a talk on bringing her books, the Olive series, to screen at the West Cork Literary Festival on Monday, July 8 at 5.30pm. She will also introduce, An Evening with Melvyn Bragg on Thursday, July 11 at 8.30pm. Further details on www.westcorkliteraryfestival.ie
What shape are you in?
I tend to be a little bit overweight by modern skinny standards. But I am in good health and I am strong.
Have you any health concerns?
Please God I have none. It’s terrific to reach my age and have no health problems. My sister had a complex colon cancer and my doctor made me go and have various tests — thankfully they were clear.
What are your healthiest eating habits?
We have an olive farm here. It is entirely organic. We grow our own vegetables and soft fruits — apricots, peaches, nectarines — along with lemons, oranges and grapefruits. I am into raw food. Of course I wash it all down with copious amounts of wine, which is why I am overweight.
What’s your guiltiest pleasure?
I like a very good bottle of white burgundy. I don’t drink spirits.
What would keep you awake at night?
If the dogs are barking all night — like they have for the past two nights. People think we have quite a luxurious life but it is quite a financial stress holding it all together. We do it on a financial shoe string.
How do you relax?
I love to read and swim. I walk and travel for work and pleasure. I also like to work in the garden — and being with my husband.
Who would you invite to your dream dinner party?
Graham Green, Nelson Mandela and Coco Chanel, who created the Riveria as a holiday resort.
What is your favourite smell?
Jasmine — we have lots of it growing in the garden. It is always in blossom the same time as the orange and lemon trees.
What would you change about your appearance?
I don’t look to change things. I was so anguished about my body when I was younger it really gave me an awful lot of unhappiness. I was very buxom and certain people took advantage of that. I look back at photographs from that time I think I wasn’t fat, I wasn’t repulsive, what on earth was I in such anguish about? The French say, bien dans ca peau — I have finally come to accept my shape.
When did you last cry?
I cry all the time. I cried yesterday — something I’d seen on the news or the internet. I think crying is a very healthy release of emotions.
What trait do you least like in others?
I absolutely cannot tolerate liars.
What trait do you least like in yourself?
I’m impatient. I want it all done yesterday. I’m a perfectionist, too.
Do you pray?
I am an Irish Catholic and was educated in an Irish convent. I believe in the power of prayer. I think it’s an enormously positive energy. If I have a prayer to say it is usually to the Holy Ghost.
What would cheer up your day?
A big kiss from my husband.