Autumn is here

But you really would not believe it, the weather is so warm and sunny! If you were to be staying here right now you would be loving temperatures of 24 - 26 degrees, beautiful sunny days and warm evenings, it has really thrown us that the clocks have changed this weekend as it still feels like summer!  

Autumn is a time for traditions and families, the nights are drawing in and the smell of wood cooking fires in in the air.

We have lit the grill fire tonight just to roast some new season Chestnuts and drink a glass of Jeropiga with friends.  Jeropiga is a white fortified wine licoroso not dissimilar to sherry, the Portuguese traditionally drink this with roasted chestnuts for Halloween and All Saints Day.  Halloween is celebrated here, thank goodness the commercial American and British 'tat' has not quite arrived here yet.  Its coming though, there are costumes and sweets in local supermarkets everywhere now, luckily the old traditions here still remain and are slightly different from the commercial, modern version of Halloween.


All Saints Day on 1st of November is a National holiday and families all over the country visit the graves of their families and friends to leave floral tributes and light a candle.  In the morning local children go out knocking on doors asking for "the bread of God" a traditional similar to the Halloween we know of.  The children are given bread, scones, cakes, nuts and dried fruits these are put into little cloth bags usually patchwork or embroidered especially for this occasion.  Now days it is more usual for kids to be given sweets, chocolate and coins, so much more similar to the modern way and of course pumpkins are everywhere.

This is our local cemetery in Lagares da Beira all lit up with candles.  I shall be taking the kids up there tomorrow night with flowers and candles in memory of our dear friend Antonio Pais da Costa, a very special man whom we still miss everyday.

Ishbel Ramsay