Harvest time here in central Portugal, with harvest festival celebrations, regional food markets and general thanking god for the harvest. Our village is no exception, with the annual harvest Mass and procession through the village at the weekend.
So here we are, dressed up for once (yet un-ironed as we don't seem to bother with that anymore, in fact, Peter never did bother ironing, he told me only yesterday I didn't need an ironing board when I had a table to iron on).
We decided to see the Mass, standing room only at the Mass and to be honest, thank god (no pun intended), after 30 mins I was a little bored of it.
You think the priest would be a bit more engaging, but alas, alas he read from the bible without looking up, without emotion. Although top trumps gained by the waving of the incense, very cool and Gothic (well for me a non Catholic anyway). 30 mins passed and we hot-footed it outside to where all the men where (strange that the church full of women - maybe they just have more to pray for).
The harvest festival here comes with extras -
1) a procession through town of the icon with the villages walking on rose petals thrown down to celebrate the harvest
2) then a nice bit of commercialism as harvest donations are auctioned off to the highest bidder
Bags of home-grown onions going for 10 euros, squashed for 5 euros, bottles of olive oil for 15 euros and a bizarre (live) bunny rabbits in bags ready for the slit and the de-furring for the pot. Having said that, our neighbour Alfonso brought us round a (fortunately dead and skinned) rabbit the other day 'don't tell the neighbours' he sisaid 'they'll all want one' - quiet as the grave me - oh except this post! Our veg box and squash raised 7 euros and we donated 15 euros for various bags of veg!
Meanwhile, on the coast we recently saw a different sort of harvest being hauled in from the sea. Fishing with a large net cast out with a boat and pulled in by tractors. We arrived at the coast to see this going on and stood and watched for about an hour (strange, when food involved our attention span lasted longer than the Mass).
The time it takes to haul in a net this way is painstakingly slow. So, off we went for a coffee and some torradas (toast, thick with lots of butter) before returning to the spectacle of the nets being brought up the beach.
Fish everywhere, they throw out so many, mostly mullet, which a local chap said were 'not good eating'. The fish stew you could have made with the throw aways could have been wonderful.
The seagulls had a field day and all the dopey tourists try to save the half drowned fish being thrown out by chucking them out to sea (boy those seagulls can swoop). One lovely Dutch lady worked tirelessly to save as many of the fishes as possible.
Fish sorted, they sold them off. Bags of fish for 5 euros a bag (regardless of the fish). We didn't buy any this time. The car is stinky enough with the wetsuits festering in the bag, we don't need some warming fish to add to the stink!