Beach in Pollensa. | R.D.


Every year the hum of a scorchio summer seems to creep up and take me completely by surprise. Even after seventeen seasons on the island, the arrival of serious sunshine still comes as a celebrated shock to the system.

Locals, bronzed, born and bred across the burnished Balearic islands still wave their hands with incredulity at the arrival of temperatures hugging the 36 plus slot on the thermometer, when little more than a month ago the temperature was simply perfect with cool evenings and welcome breezes wafting through the winking shutters.

So . . . what to do?
Each year we religiously take task and plan our escape to cooler climes with the threat of renting somewhere for a month or two in Northern Spain where the climate is more clement, and a spattering of cooling rain comes as a whispered promise.

We plan in detail every year, yet never actually see the fantasy through, conceding to the stark reality that the searing summer scorch only lasts for a few weeks anyway; eight tops. Many locals simply pack the necessities then lock up the house and go to their summer home on the coast during the hottest season. It doesn’t have to be a grand villa and usually, more often than not, it is just a modest residence, yet perfect as a retreat to take advantage of the cooler coastal air.

Escape is a curious concept. We are lucky enough to have an apartment overlooking the bay of Pollensa, yet only embark on daily visits as our house in Mancor has a garden, a small orchard and enough potted plants to be confused with a garden centre, so each year we face the summer days and revert to the Mallorcan way, enjoying and surviving the scorch on this beautiful sun kissed island where thousands flock to enjoy the same weather we are desperate to get away from!

This year, with so many travel complications, failures and unreliable promises from unreliable airline companies, we consider ourselves extremely fortunate to already be here on this fantastic holiday island of Mallorca – heatwave and all, without having to experience airport chaos.

Mind you, when you are on holiday, anywhere in the world, you don’t seem to notice the heat at all. You just lie back on the sand or the designer sun-lounger, take it all in your stride and relax with a cocktail or two. Yet when you live and work in a sunny location, your daily routines are quite different from those idling in the bliss of a vacational void. Every single chore you undertake seems magnified and hindered by a debilitating struggle with the heat.

I honestly don’t know how builders, manual workers, or anyone else involved with the complexities of physical labour exist outside in such caustic conditions. I suppose it’s a survival gene that kicks in when you realise that if you’re not on holiday, then life MUST go on! You just have to get on with things. There are everyday jobs that need to be done. Yet even the simplest of chores like vacuuming turns your back into Niagara Falls. And ironing!!! Well, if your room doesn’t already feel like a sauna it soon will! As for cooking! Probably best to keep the oven switched off. Keep meals light and cooked on the hob, or avoid cooking completely with fresh, healthy salads.

Summer days, Mallorcan ways, all best spent like a local. So while the Mediterranean sun is searing, observe the Mallorcans. See how v-e-r-y slowly they move. No one here is rushing around in this heat. Adopt the Spanish walk and amble everywhere. Seek the shade, preferably under a tree as the air is decidedly cooler than under a parasol. Sit quietly squatting mosquitos, and don’t even think of doing anything strenuous or manual after 11am. It can always wait until ‘mañana’. Or next month. After all, why the rush? It will cool down, eventually. Won’t it?