Es Torrent de Pareis - Original painting by Peter Clover. | Peter Clover

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Even after eighteen delightful years on the island I still have to regularly pinch flesh to remind myself of the reality that I am actually living here in Mallorca. Most mornings it still feels like an impossible dream, and I can’t believe how lucky I am, especially with tourists currently struggling with overcrowded airports, ruthless airlines, cancellations left right and centre, along with strikes and goodness knows what else in their battle to reach our sun blessed shores; with or without their luggage!

Yet, with all the angst, stress and tribulations which ardent travellers puts themselves through, most still consider it well worthwhile once their bare feet hit that golden sand, their toes twinkle in the cerulean sea, and the island magic takes over with its calming vibe.

With recent soaring temperatures which have scorched the island, how easy has it been for us to simply jump in the car and be at the cooler coastline within 30 minutes. No traffic jams. No airport fiascos. No worrying flight, car hire queues etc. etc. All it requires is time to pack a quick, beach-style lunch, throw a couple of towels and a book into a bag, and we’re off at the drop of a sandal.

Puerto Pollensa is a personal favourite. There is always a lone tree along Pine Walk to be found, offering a combination of perfect shade along with a gentle sea breeze. We tend to leave all the busier beaches well alone for the summer season until the traffic from tourists calms down to a gentler rhythm, preferring the quieter hum of isolation.

However, on occasion, there exists an enthusiastic tourist of a more curious kind. A specific type of gregarious holidaymaker who likes to know the ins and outs of a maggot’s backside, and can’t resist the temptation of a poke at your privacy. I am myself an open, friendly, chatty person. Yet sometimes, just sometimes, I crave peace, quiet, and private time to reflect, or work, without interruption.

Enter the chatty chappies. They hover just a little too close for comfort on the pretext of sharing a little shade in passing. Then it’s – “So where are you staying then?” If lucky, I can ignore that one. After all, I could very well be as deaf as a post. Other Half instantly feigns sleep! Determined to intrude, chatty chappies try again and inform me exactly where they are staying, inviting me to swap notes, offer info on available tours, become desperate to share photos of That Lot at home, and show me floor plans of their hotel and possible advantageous room rates.

Sorry! But at this point I usually force a smile and say – “I live here!” knowing immediately that I have just opened a floodgate that will probably shame the Spanish Inquisition. “Oh luvverly. Where abouts?” “Where abouts what?” I’m into playing the mischievous, game now. “Where abouts do you live, exactly?” More questions tumble at me. Suddenly it feels like I am being questioned by the KGB or interviewed for a job I don’t want! I tell them that we have a townhouse in Mancor de la Vall. “Where’s that then?” Along with an apartment in the port. “Oh lucky you. How much did you pay for it?”

I shut down now, hoping Ron and his wife will just poodle along and seek conversation with someone else. I know his name is Ron because the tattoo across his stomach tells me that. It also informs me he was ‘established’ in Luton 1974. Feeling guilty for not wanting to chat, I find myself apologising. “Sorry, but I’m trying to work.” “But you’re writing?” “That’s right. I’m a writer.” “What you writing then?” Well actually Ron, I am now writing about you. And by the way, there is only one ‘T’ in Luton!

Ron is charming enough but obviously likes to ‘engage’ with everyone he meets.

It’s the same dynamic when I’m painting, which I do frequently. Someone super friendly will sidle up with – “What’s that supposed to be then?” In creative mode, I sometimes don’t want to chat. I’m not trying to be unfriendly. I just want to focus, and don’t always feel like explaining the intent of my work, particularly as I have only just applied a brief blocking in, and started the initial underpainting. I sometimes paint with a palette knife so the images are not always immediately obvious. If only the chatty chums would turn up when the painting is complete and not set up a distracting camp behind me the moment brush hits canvas. A little shy in a spotlight I find it unnerving. Maybe not to some, but for me it kills the creative. “Then maybe you should go where there’s no people around then!” I can just hear some people saying that. Well sorry, I thought I had!