A highland fling

our wee adventure on the Black Isle


Once again, it’s feria time in Yunquera! The early October fiesta is the Big One, the main village feria, which also celebrates the harvest.

Not that the harvest (aka vendimia) was much to celebrate this year! We don’t grow grapes ourselves, but our friend Manuel does, as does our neighbour below. The harvest wasn’t spectacular by any means – the grapes small and few – but apparently the sugar content was good, so the wine should be of good quality. You don’t know these things for sure, of course, until the first barrel is tapped in a couple month’s time.

This rather fits into the poor harvest of…well…everything this year. Our garden has produced enough for our winter needs (as well as to give to friends), but it’s been a struggle. The tomatoes were late, and at one point we thought we wouldn’t even get enough to jar. The green peppers were small and few, although the hot peppers were fantastic. The aubergines (aka eggplant) were small, but numerous and succulent; the melons the same. Potatoes, onions and garlic did well, despite the 2 month late start. The green beans didn’t germinate at all, and the sweet corn barely did; yet okra was plentiful! Go figure.

The feria last night seemed to reflect the difficult year. Everything was the same as usual…but not. Everyone was having fun, but it was more of a struggle, as if people were determined to carry on despite their problems. The town has less money to spend, so there was less entertainment. Parents doled out money in small amounts to children keen to ride the bumper cars or merry-go-round – you could almost feel the parental worry as pockets emptied.

Flamenco in Yunquera (photo by kent@imagenary.co.uk)

Flamenco in Yunquera (photo by kent@imagenary.co.uk)

Andalucians are no strangers to hard times, though – the area was punished terribly for their anti-Franco views. They have long memories here in our village, and remember all too well the ‘hungry years’. This attitude probably serves them well during “the crisis”, certainly more so than their free-wheeling, mortgage-carrying city cousins Up North.

We joined in the celebrations last night, saying hello to friends and neighbours. We supported the effort as much as we could with our presence and pennies. It’s all appreciated, and while watching the flamenco isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, we like to show by our smiles and applause that we enjoy their culture almost as much as they do!

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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