A slight smoke in Soller. | Rachel Fox


The superb weather of November 2020 is a blessing. The hours of sunshine warm our day and the brightness lifts our spirits. When I collected my youngest granddaughter from school this week I realised that the weather wasn’t working for everyone. She talked of having to wear two layers of clothes in the classroom, but that wasn’t the big problem.

The children all know that all the windows in the classrooms have to be open to keep germs away. They adapt to that the same way they do to wearing masks from the time they enter school to the time they leave. At least a five-hour stint of mask wearing is accompanied by frequent rules on the washing of hands. No, Evellia’s big problem was her cold hands.

This was a real distraction to learning and having to write with chilled fingers is harder than you think, she explained. We are all glad the children are back at school and, in spite of the masks and new rules, the children are very glad too. I have thought of thin thermal gloves and I am sure there is a business opportunity for someone to think of the chilly fingers of schoolchildren.

Can you find me a house for the next 8 weeks was a request that came my way this week? A couple of young women from the UK are here on a redundancy re -think. Covid wiped out their jobs in the UK and they were initially on holiday here in Majorca.

The longer they stayed and the worse the lockdown looked in the UK was enough for them to make a decision to stay until Brexit finally happened. A house was duly found and they are in a seventh heaven, the Soller Valley magic is beginning to draw them in. This is the story of so many who decide to stay here but this year it is a little more complicated because of lack of funds just to hang out till life gets better.

Last Friday saw me at one of the favourite locals’ restaurants in Puerto Soller. Campo Sol has been there for over 50 years and is now into second generation family chefs. Two Spanish guitarists set the scene and plenty of social distancing between tables. It was a sign to me that Christmas can happen, in fact that occasion felt just like Christmas. Lots of local people in great spirits with food and music to match.

This place is never usually open in the winter so the experience is as new for them as it is for us. They seem very happy to be busy keeping all their staff employed. The promise is that they will carry on for December too and we are delighted.

Regular readers of this page will know of the good work being done by Barry Byrne and his team on the air quality in the Soller Valley. We have a well catalogued problem with garden waste being burned every morning causing an inversion pollution problem.

This week the Government joined in finding a solution. The government has installed a high-volume sensor in the premises of the Botanical Garden and the Science Museum to carry out an Air Quality measurement campaign in Sóller, measuring the emission levels of Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons. (PAHs). This means that the air breathed by the people of the municipality will be measured and then analyzed.

This is a great start to a bigger involvement and a solution being found. One problem still to be overcome is the siting of the fires. The parts of the Valley defined as ‘Rural Land’ come under different rules and cheerfully burn on when the more urban areas stop.

Life goes on in our Valley as we move towards the end of the year. We will remember these beautiful empty days when the beaches and paths are all ours. If only there was a golden money tree helping all those that need at this time. It seems so selfish to be appreciating the opportunity to slow down and enjoy our world while so many are hungry.

The Food Bank and the Social Kitchen is catering for those registered with Social Services in Soller. So many families who have never asked for any help ever before are now in the queue. We all have so much social responsibility in Majorca right now.