E-scooters are very popular in Palma

E-scooters are very popular in Palma but from this month users can be fined for not obeying regulations. Archive photo.

18-09-2019Jaume Morey

It struck me the other day that a wet and windy day in mid November doesn’t show-off Majorca at its best; and it has to be said that we’ve had more than our fair share of wind and rain just lately haven’t we?

It’s also the month that refurbishments and repairs are undertaken to household and business properties and local councils like to dig large holes in their roads for no apparent reason… ‘cos they just do!

Nevertheless, be of good cheer, because this is the perfect time of year to rediscover the island. Before you took a deep breath and opted to live here on this island, like most other people I would bet that you could predict where you would be given any time - of any day of the week. Indeed, if you scribed a line from your home to your place of work via the local supermarket and schools, that arc of predictability was just that - totally predictable.

However, after living on this island for a while this sensation of ‘going around in a circle’ can take hold again. I think it’s a case of familiarity breeding contempt, as all the exciting and interesting things we used to do with ourselves when we first arrived here don’t get done anymore. I remember when we first arrived a neighbour told me that winter here in Majorca was a time to revisit all the places that you used to regularly visit, before getting yourself stuck in a rut of your own making.

THE ARC OF PREDICABILITY!
So then, rather than sitting at a window scowling at the weather or grumpily arriving home from work and slumping into a chair, why not get out and about?

This ‘arc of predictability’ can be banished very quickly if you have a mind to do it. For instance, why not on one day over the weekend drive to a place on the island that you’ve never visited before - or, back to a really nice small town you haven’t been to in ages?

Come on let’s face it - you can only drive for approximately 90 minutes at most before you’d fall off the island at some point, so we’re not talking of impossibly long journeys or treks into the unknown now are we?

If you live on the north of the island, why not take a slow drive and then a bracing walk around a small town somewhere else you’ve never encountered before - and vice-versa?

As the workload for many of us drops away at this time of year, this doesn’t have to be merely a weekend indulgence but something to do in the week on a nice day. Perhaps I should underline the fact that to undertake this re-evaluation of Majorca, you really don’t have to be like an old person ‘pottering’ around the place - but just like me, a virile, athletic, ex-pat discoverer… of interesting places to go and interesting things to do! Why not try it?

MACHO-MEN WHIZZING AROUND THE PLACE!
I find that there’s nothing like a sensible and long awaited ‘Directorate’ to get me purring over my Majorca Daily Bulletin. It seems that national regulations are being introduced to regulate electric mobility scooters (or E - scooters) so as to bring some order to an activity that seems lots of fun - but, has elements of danger to it.

For instance, at one time, the only place you would see these scooters in operation would be in marinas and dockyards as workers zipped about longish distances in a controlled environment. Since then, these scooters have become popular with youngsters whizzing around the place - and I for one don’t mind that at all because, if I were that age I’d be doing it myself I reckon.

Nevertheless, nowadays we are not talking about the odd kid or a boatyard worker doing his job, but thousands of these scooters are now being used both properly and improperly across large parts of the island - and in particular, Palma.

Don’t worry, I do not intend to go over, in any detail, the new laws that have been introduced across Spain, only to say that this action was more than a little overdue. Isn’t it funny, that in my experience, it isn’t dopey kids on scooters that are the problem, but usually older (younger!) men taking it upon themselves to weave in and out of pedestrians at speed who appear to be the problem. Macho-Moron-Man on an E-scooter is a fairly new phenomenon, but he is a real menace.

Last Sunday, we strolled along the seafront at Portixol, it was blustery but fine and because we have had such a lot of rain recently it seemed to me that the whole of Palma decided on a late morning, early afternoon stroll. On the impressive walkway the council have constructed, there is a clear definition between ‘walking’ areas and ‘scooter and bicycle’ lanes and for the most part they are adhered to in a sensible fashion.

Yet I noticed that almost from the moment we started walking, some scooter riders were determined not to use their allocated lanes and were tearing along at comparatively high speeds weaving in-and-out of groups of pedestrians some with small children. To make matters worse, our macho-man on his E-scooter seemed determined to pass at speed that other unlicensed walkway w***** i.e. the high speed roller-skater complete with futuristic tight clothing - and cool designer earpieces - presumably, so as to cut out the sound of the screams of small kiddies they have just knocked over. Time to get tough I reckon!

BLACK FRIDAY - NO THANKS
A Majorcan friend of mine, just recently made the point that Majorca and the rest of Spain didn’t really celebrate Christmas until 30 years ago - other than in the strict context of the celebration of the birth of Christ. I guess I knew that - but, in that time it seems to have embraced the commercial spirit of Christmas like any other, even vaguely Christian country. I wonder if that in ten years time, Black Friday will be elevated to a religious status and not just a retail ploy to dump old stock in the run-up to….you know what?

What has struck me in the past few years is the fact that rather like Christmas Day itself - so-called Black Friday is beginning to be anticipated with the same zeal as Chrimbo! On television this morning I witnessed an over-excited presenter wax lyrical about Black Friday - let us remember, an event totally dreamt up by American retailers that is still 9 days away. Are we all going stark-staring mad?

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