This week in Soller has been glorious. Beautiful weather every day and picture perfect conditions for the visitors. The environmentalists complain about the Mediterranean sea conditions and pollution. Yet on days like this the sea in Puerto Soller is crystal clear and inviting and we see the fish at our feet very clearly. How does that work then has always been my question to those who say they will not swim in the sea as their chlorinated pool is safer.

Do our experiences always have to be safe? ‘Edgy’ and ‘first hand’ work for some and others will do a business plan on risk. I make no judgement on either but there are plenty of people who do, in our world. They are often those who spend their time rescuing walkers who have been hiking in the mountains in flip flops and fallen. The mountains worldwide are walked by those who have prepared for the journey and those who haven’t.

Every week, in autumn, discussions are held in the business and hotel sector of the Soller Valley. Five hotels have announced an early closure as their future bookings will not pay the costs of November. This is extremely disappointing in a sector where a ten month opening each year is the norm. For staff, the protection of ERTE is gone and entitlement to unemployment benefit is dependent on the amount paid into the system in recent working years. This is crisis for some and they are going ‘home’ for the winter to consider their options. Staffing has been an issue everywhere in Mallorca this year and looks likely to be a problem for next as well. The Italian influx which we welcomed are largely going home for winter as new comers are not entitled to winter financial benefits. It is hoped they return in huge numbers next year.

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The local politicians are in busy mode and the Mayor has done an ‘about turn’ on the funding of cat castration. A dedicated team in Soller and the villages look after the street cats. Castration at a very early age is essential and funding for this was stopped by the Town Hall on the basis that the money had run out for this year. This makes no sense considering the millions the Town Hall has in the bank. Individuals paid personally for many cats to be treated and lobbying the Mayor became an art form. A new deal has been struck with local vets and hopefully the programme will be underway soon.

This is the time of year when we say goodbye to many friends. Some will be back next Spring and continue to negotiate their way round the Brexit time frames. Others have come to the end of the road and health issues have made then decide to return to the UK. This is not a reflection on the superb health system we enjoy here. It is more about language and the proximity to family when you are feeling vulnerable.

The business partnerships which haven’t worked out are also having repercussions. Some are leaving to have a fresh business start. They will remember their time here as bitter sweet. When it was good there is no place on earth like it, but when the sourness crept in it is time to make new decisions.

The Soller Valley continues to reinvent itself with new arrivals to live here and visitors discovering the place for the first time. The bumper wedding year brought in many who have never considered Mallorca as a holiday destination. After attending weddings here they have changed their minds. At least two wedding visitors of my acquaintance have gone on to make house purchase decisions in Soller, this year. This is the tip of the iceberg I am sure. The Soller Valley holds magic for many who emerge from the Soller Tunnel into the mountain light and discover our whole new world.