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When a squash costs 30 Euros

Every year our village holds its 'Harvest Festival' a procession through the streets with the villages, the local priest and the icons.   Serenaded by a local band who play those religious classics such as 'Yellow Submarine' and the song I know as 'Hitler only has one ball/ Dad's Army theme tune'.

It's a time when the village fills with people once again, as the Lisbon dwellers come back to take part in this traditional annual festival.   You can spot the Lisbon dwellers by their shoes....honestly, you can.

After the procession, band performance and general standing around waiting for something to happen comes the annual harvest auction.  Money raising for the church and to pay the band fee!

Local people donate their home grown produce, usually string upon string of onions, and the biggest squash you can imagine.  These items are then auctioned to the highest bidder as our local shepherd and honey maker tries his hardest to get money out of us all!

It's a tough job.   Every year there seems to be less and less donated.  Every year there seems to be less and less people and every year his job becomes harder as people don't readily part with their money.   It's a sign of the times.  Even those with the good shoes don't seem to take part like they used to. 

But then who wants to pay 10 Euro for a bunch of figs when they are falling on the floor all around us and you can pick them from the tree as you walk by? 

The fact that strings of onions sell for 15 euro, a squash can raise 30 Euro, or a jar of honey can raise 10 Euro is a demonstration in how generous spirited the Portuguese can be when it comes to trying to keep their traditions alive.  Despite the lack of people in the village, the economic climate and the changing importance of the church as the centre of village life, this tradition continues.

And then there are the giant squash, we've come home with a half size one, which will make enough soup to last a small family a few months.  God only knows what this chap will do with the two he bought.....but at least he can get them home safely!


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