TWO issues have caught my eye this week, both of which are relevant in my minor crusade over shop opening hours. High Street sales in the Balearics fell by four percent in October (compared to the same month in 2001). You could dismiss these figures as just a reflection of the difficulties which the tourist industry is experiencing at the moment. However, sales in the rest of Spain, from Santander to Tenerife actually rose. The difference between the rest of Spain and us is that on the mainland they believe in flexible opening hours. Shops in Madrid these days are open on most Sundays. In Majorca you would be lucky to find them open on Saturday afternoon, let alone Sunday. The only Christmas shopping opportunity I will have, will be on Sunday December 22, when I am told, some shops will open. The local government, in their wisdom, has ruled that shops can open. Thanks. The second issue was a letter we received from a lady regarding the BBC's programme on short breaks to the island. Now part of the what to do section included going shopping. She quite correctly pointed out that it is no good venturing out on a shopping expedition because the shops are closed at the weekends. So your weekend break is rather pointless if you want to go on a shopping spree. I know some people must be rather bored with my complaints about shop hours, but I do believe that it is an issue of vital importance, both for the local economy and for us who live here. The best Christmas present I could receive this year would be an announcement that shops will open on Sunday.

Jason Moore