Happy Easter!

A belated Happy Easter to you all!

I spent it up in the Lake District with Jon’s family and enjoyed the mountains. We ate local food, did lots of walking, ate our Easter chocolate eggs and probably drank a little too much. Fortunately the exercise from going up and down hills meant that I didn’t gain weight – or lose any! This was the view from the cottage:

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My folks had a good Easter as well. Easter is a bigger deal in Portugal and much less of a money making scheme than it has become in the UK. The village where my parents live is also quite religious and Sundays are very much a day of church-going and spending time with the extended family. I really like that atmosphere, not so much of the church-going because I’m not a religious person, but I love how family-orientated they are.

We learnt from one of our Portuguese friends, Amelia, that it is traditional for people to make food and share it with their family and neighbours to celebrate Easter. We learnt this when Amelia knocked on our gate with some fresh homemade sweet bread and a quarter of a cake! Mmm! photo (82)

Amelia explained to us that on Easter Sunday the parish priest from the church goes around to *every* house and blesses the family and house. The priest tends to carry a large cross and each of the family members will kiss the cross (and probably kiss the priest as well, knowing the Portuguese). There is ONE condition though, you must let the priest drink and eat whatever he wants in your house and in exchange you will have a year of good luck. That doesn’t sound like a bad job to have, if you ask me!

Okay, so you might be wondering what the heck those two colourful pumpkin-like things at the top of the picture are. My Dad had to fly back to the UK for a few days and left Mum to her own devices, which is generally a bad idea (Mum has a bit of a habit of accidentally locking herself in bathrooms). This time she decided to occupy her free time with some painting. Those pumpkin things are actually gourds and they were a gift to us from one of our neighbours. This is what they looked like unpainted:

1398082_177858255750747_1262757651_oI asked Mum to take us through the painting stages, here we go:

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And the finished product:

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I think that they look great! They’ve joined the orchids to brighten up the living space outside the kitchen.

One final note: I’ve booked my flight to Porto leaving next week! Yippie!

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