Wherever I go, people seem to be carrying 1.5m rolls of brown paper.
It turns out that everyone is starting work on their Christmas displays (sorry Shona, but it's all over the place!!). Each home has a lapinha - a three-tiered scene which is lined with painted brown paper. It's not quite a crib (although some of the same people feature); it's more symbolic than narrative. On the top layer is a Jesus - he's usually featured as a toddler. The other two layers hold other figures, fruit and miniature pots of gorgeous soft green grass (which I think is young wheat).
That's the basic structure, but it's often extended into a landscape, featuring a little village scene which can contain a mish-mash of things (Santana A-frame houses, the Three Kings, more miscellaneous fruit). And the whole display is inundated with lady slipper orchids, which are the Christmas flower here.
So there you go. It's crafty-time in Madeira.
And from sprouted wheat to rice... FreeRice.com began one month ago today: giving you the chance to play a vocabulary game and at the same time donate rice to end world hunger. It started on 7 October, when 830 grains of rice were donated. Yesterday there were 75,201,580 grains of rice donated to the UN World Food Program. Quite a month!