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'As a young actress, I would spend everything that I'd earn on travelling...'


Carol Drinkwater. Photo: Tony Gavin

Carol Drinkwater. Photo: Tony Gavin

Carol Drinkwater. Photo: Tony Gavin

Actress and writer Carol Drinkwater is well-known for her portrayal of Helen Herriot in the British TV series All Creatures Great and Small. She has also starred in successful films such as A Clockwork Orange and Father.

In her writing career, she has penned the 'Olive Farm' book series - which has sold over a million copies worldwide. She will read from her most recent novel, The Forgotten Summer, at the West Cork Literary Festival (www.westcorkliteraryfestival.ie) in Bantry House, Bantry, on Sunday, July 17.

What is the most important lesson about money that your career has taught you?

As a young actress, I had no financial responsibilities, no mortgage, just a rented flat. What I earned, I spent on travelling. Every break in filming or in-between jobs, I disappeared to far-flung places. And I never saved a penny. However, as a writer, I am given an advance - and then I have a book to write. I have to make the money last until the work is done and the book has been delivered. So I have had to learn to pace myself financially.

What's the cheapest - or most expensive - thing you bought when on your solo travels of the Mediterranean?

I bought almost nothing. Whatever I had with me, I had to lug it about along with cameras, computers and so on. By the time I reached Greece, my travel bag was done for. I bought a fabulous Louis Vuitton backpack that carried all my equipment. I still have it. In Lebanon, I bought a very beautiful lamp for a candle. It looks very exotic on a table in the garden.

What's your favourite coin - and why?

Years ago someone gave me a gift of a silver dollar. I still cherish that.

Are you better off than your parents?

No, I don't think so. My father was excellent with money and good at making it. I live for the day - contract by contract. I have no stocks and shares or anything like that.

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Apart from property, what's the most expensive thing you have ever bought?

During my All Creatures Great and Small days (before I became an environmental warrior!), I bought a Mercedes SL open-top sports car. I still miss it. It is owned now by a man in Germany. He tracked me down via the internet having seen my name on the logbook and every year he sends me photographs of outings he takes in it.

What was your worst job?

A few years back, in the Nineties, I worked on a screenplay for a Hollywood company, which I don't think exists anymore. I never got paid.

What was your biggest financial mistake?

I have occasionally bought one or two very expensive clothes items that I ended up never wearing. That really hurts.

What was your best financial killing?

I don't think I have ever made one - isn't that sad! My olive farm in the south of France is wonderful and dreamy but it is probably not worth too much more than I have invested in it.

Do you use any money saving apps?

No. I wouldn't know what to do with them.

Android or iPhone?

I have an iPhone.

Do you know how much is in your current account?

Not precisely, no.

Have you ever had to make an insurance claim?

Yes. Several travel claims - for lost or stolen items.

What was the last thing you bought online?

I never shop online - except to buy air tickets and books.

Do you have a mortgage?

I don't have a mortgage - but I am looking for a property at the moment. I think it is a good time to buy in Ireland.

Cash or card?

Cards - several of them, in fact.

Do you ever haggle?

When I am in the territories where that sort of system operates, yes I do. And I rather enjoy it too.

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