The end of another working week of 2023 and already the energy is blowing around the Soller Valley. Some companies have new bosses who are ready to make their mark early in the year. Corporate companies arrive with a bang and then spend months really trying to understand the vibe of this ‘Island within an Island’. This is an unpopular phase these days as the Soller Valley has opened up. The road tunnel and its eventual lifting of the price tag has been a game changer for the incomers. Some older residents still think their future is out to sea and in France and beyond, as life used to be.

The stories of life over the past 50 years of the Soller Valley are fascinating to me. I listen while people who can remember the dancing days of the Puerto Soller regale me with stories. Those remembering the military days tell me of parties and mayhem on the Puig Mayor when the Americans were there. So many tales of that Island within an Island.

I witnessed, this week, the real end of an era. The Altamar Discotheque on the seafront of the Puerto Soller was a landmark. All contained in the memory box of many residents and visitors. The building was sold a few years ago and the work on the new version is about to begin. The sign was taken down in front of our eyes and unceremoniously chucked in the back of a van. You really can’t do that with people’s memories. We should have stood to attention and waved a balloon or done something. We wait to see the next life of this location and others who are changing owners this year.

The new restaurant owners of Sa Frontera (on the L’horta roundabout) have created a highly expectant vibe. This was a much-loved restaurant and pit stop on the cycle rides from Deia. Closed for some years and then all change in the last couple of weeks. Paintbrushes, furniture restoration and the installation of a new kitchen before its opening day on February 1. I love the enthusiasm of the young couple who have worked here a couple of years after leaving Seville. They understand the Soller vibe now and are ready to add to it their own brand of hospitality. (Would be great if there was some flamenco thrown in too).

Some have retired from Soller shops and restaurants. Some have moved on and changed direction, but no sooner was the ‘to let’ sign up and their places were snapped up. No-one is anticipating a downturn here, that’s for sure. We are a very mixed community and those with money will keep the high-end world going in the Soller Valley.

To balance this view, I must tell you of the eighty gifts which were purchased, wrapped and given to children in Soller by The Three Kings. These were all for children who would not have had any gifts if they were not being looked out for by our Social Services at the Town Hall. We have a great, caring team and hopefully the children did not feel stigmatised or unhappy. In our town of plenty there are 200 families who are being totally supported by the community via Social Services, the Red Cross and Caritas. We all fully support the well-known saying that ‘it takes a village to raise a child’. The same can be said for Fornalutx and Deia too, as all our villages take their responsibilities seriously.

Filming is big business in the Soller and the port. The production trucks roll in and we are transformed to whatever world the producers need. Soller has been a Bollywood Market in a recent film, and we wait to see the excitement of this month’s round of filming. This adds excitement of our winter months when we have a little more time to watch the films in the making.