The almond blossom is throwing its annual blanket of colour across the landscape. | sepasgosarian

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The masks are officially off again. Yippee!!! At least if you are ambling outside that is! Mind you, some people never really had them on in the first place. Well, not properly anyway. They were appropriately evident on the surface, yet slung beneath chins, hanging loosely beneath noses, and sometimes dangling so low they worried the ‘nether regions’ and could easily have been mistaken for jockstraps.

But now, we no longer have to be concerned about the minority who apparently breathe through their chins and can move forward to a hopefully, brighter and safer future.

Boris has cancelled Covid in the UK. But in Spain, and here in Mallorca, the more sensible citizens are stepping forward with cautious yet calculated steps. And not simply throwing caution, along with their masks, to the wind as though it is all over!

I feel confident that we will all look back on these most trying of times and reflect, that personally, we did the very best we could to contain this nightmare. Anyone living and surviving this unprecedented time of global distress and disharmony will become part of an historical era, stating that we were there amongst the statistics and the many struggles of this perilous pandemic. Undoubtedly, for some of us, the worst two years of our entire lives.

Yet, liberty issues and conspiracy theories aside, along with financial hardship and disastrous ruin for some, the majority of people have come through this nightmare, and are now excited about getting on with their lives. Looking back it’s actually quite difficult to recall exactly how life was before the devastating curse of Covid tarred us all with its blighted brush!

Although I have 100% supported the government’s mandate on mask wearing throughout the pandemic (not the dirty dishcloth disasters but the proper FFP2/3 recommendations) I must admit it feels totally liberating to once again be able to walk freely, away from bustling crowds, and enjoy the refreshing Mallorcan air without a face covering of any description.

Even with the snap of cold weather the island has never felt more appealing, with bright golden sunshine (most days), and sky the colour of a robin’s egg unfolding each day.
Although we are already halfway through it, the month of February is possibly one of my favourite times of the year when the island is sublimely peaceful and relatively quiet.

The lazy country lanes are safe and tranquil before the cyclist season kicks off. And the almond blossom is throwing its annual blanket of colour across the landscape. More than four million almond trees can be found, flourishing across Mallorca, and it’s no surprise to learn that Majorcan almonds are considered to be amongst the best in the business.

Although there are almond trees in evidence all over Mallorca during February, the central and eastern regions of the island are considered to be the best areas for showcasing the Balearic blossoms with the biggest concentration of almond trees being found around the rural towns and villages of Bunyola, Lloseta, Marratxi, Sant Llorenç, Santa Maria, Sencelles and Selva; yet another reason I feel totally blessed to be living here on this part of the island. Japan might proclaim its cherry blossom fame in global proportions, but the showcase of Majorcan almond blossom is almost as stunning.

Surrounded by all this natural beauty which the island displays in abundance, I often ask myself why we didn’t move here earlier! Although relocating to a different country is never easy, it was actually one of the easiest decisions we had ever made in our lives.

We first came to visit Mallorca over thirty years ago. And apart from the obvious and evolving concepts in tourism, the colourful island vibe has itself remained pretty constant. OK, so there weren’t so many cars on the roads back then, and the island hadn’t yet been designated as a summer cycling park, but our initial holiday visits presented wondrous surprises across an incredible diversity which the local landscape offered.

For us, it was never about fun-packed beaches and tourist hot spots. It was always about the contrast of a constantly changing coastline. We fell in love with the dramatic rocky landscapes; the cerulean waters; the hidden coves; the graceful beaches of sugar-soft sand; the lush pine woodlands and the surreal backdrop of verdant mountains. And none of that has changed one iota, even through the curse of Covid.

Even today, after fifteen years of living on the island, we never tire of the organic rural villages, the terraced orange and lemon-grove hillsides, the acres of native olive trees, the rocky ranges; the gravity defying dry-stone walls, or the breathtaking plains which sweep across the central savannah.

The stunning landmark beauty of the island never fails to steal our breath away. Absorbing Mallorca is still a favourite novelty that never disappoints.

During the past two years of Covid restrictions I have been so grateful to the island for getting us through this potential nightmare. Socially, we haven’t been up to that much at all. On the entertainment front no-one has been invited to the house and visa versa. When friends phone and ask ‘what have you been up to?” the answer is always the same.

The truth is, we are busy doing nothing, which might seem boring to a lot of people, but just feeling the island’s vibe and being here in Mallorca has somehow been enough. Engaging in all those simple everyday things which we used to take for granted has made up the essence of our days.

An early morning walk to the bakery through our sun kissed village certainly makes me feel alive. A country walk is bracing. A coffee in the local square watching the world saunter by at a distance is therapeutic and relaxing. The wafting aroma of garlic infused sofrito as it simmers away on Mallorcan stoves always makes me want to rush home and cook something Mediterranean, preferably in a terracotta greixonera.

Why is it that things always seem to taste so much more authentic when cooked using traditional vessels and utensils? It’s those simplest of pleasures which have filled our days. Watching exotic plants flourish in our small Mediterrannean garden. Waiting for the ‘Birds of Paradise’ to bloom. Plucking fresh oranges and lemons from our orchard trees.

Coastal walks on isolated beaches. Here in Mallorca, we wake to shades of a golden dawn, echoing the gentle sound of shutters sighing open to start a peaceful day of doing absolutely nothing! Do we need any more?