A highland fling

our wee adventure on the Black Isle

Think you’ve got it bad?

The recession has hit all of us, in all countries, I think. There has been news of supposed ‘green shoots of recovery’ lately, but I’m suspicious. I think the hopeful politicians have it wrong – I think we’re in this for a couple of years yet, and will be taxed to pay back national debt for longer than that.

I’m not pessimistic, just realistic. We all need to find ways to cope – roll with the punches, as they say.

Older people have seen this many times. I myself remember the last one in the UK. It hurt –  mortgage rates went sky high, along with house prices, only to crash back down. No bank bailouts, though. It was during a time when I was in IT, and hiring graduate programmers. They were a dime a dozen, and only the very best got work.

The unemployment stats are really bad in Spain, and more relevantly for us, even worse in villages like Yunquera. The town hall website says there are 474 unemployed in Yunquera, out of a population of 3300. If you take only the working population, that gives an unemployment rate of about 30%. Most of those were in construction during the boom years (which in Spain, has been since the late ’70s). Now there is virtually no construction anywhere. The unemployment figures tells the story.

The town hall does what it can. There are many small projects around that they hire local people to work on. But they are usually only a few months in duration.

The only bright spot is that in a village like this, the sense of community is high. For example, our friend Manuel is hiring 3 men to help him prune the grapes, when normally he would only hire one. Families help out, food from gardens is shared.

No one starves. No one is homeless. That’s saying a lot.

Author: Ann Larson

One-time IT executive who lives on a 22 acre olive farm in Spain with husband Kenton and 2 boxer dogs. We make Yunquera Gold olive oil, and soap and skincare products from same. We aim to make natural, fresh, and handmade products at affordable prices!

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