As this goes online the Firo will be a successful memory. Five days of celebrations ending in the mother of all battles. Soller is a Town of 13,500 people. It has been more populated in its time, but the latest figures give us this total. There is a huge group in this number for whom Firo and its historical connections are a ‘state of mind’. They live for the event and the arrangements all year long. The history of the momentous battle and winning the fight against the pirates against the odds is firmly embedded in the psyche.
In years gone by, including the 25 that I have been watching Firo, the support has grown and grown. The photographs of the call to arms this year was amazing. Thousands of people had taken the trouble to make, buy and wear the traditional costumes and turn up, to be part of the experience. Women in their 40’s now remember when they boarded the Pagesa Tram to take them to the port for the battle. The numbers who want to do that now have to queue and take part in a ballot to get a seat. It is a high honour to be on that Tram.
There are those who do not like the size and scale of things, they leave the Valley for the day or even take a holiday away from the area. Many others pick and choose the events which give them pleasure. There really is enough going on for this to be possible. I am in that number myself. I love to see the costumes and the passion, but on Battle Day I take myself home.
The party over and now it is the turn of politics to enthral us. There is no doubt we have some special people amongst our local politicians who really want to get things done. Hopefully the new group will not have a repetition of the covid years which caused much delay to projects. The biggest criticism of our political friends is that there are many words but little action and fulfilment of promises. Let’s hope that this time it will be different.
Local politics are always a fascination to me, because that’s just what they are. The paid politicians in Palma and Madrid make most of the rules and fund things. Local politics is far more about the day to day lives of local people, social services and keeping the economy thriving in tourism decisions and encouraging new businesses here. The bureaucracy stories of the past were so difficult for anyone starting a business here or wanting planning permission for premises or their own homes. Life has moved on, up to a point, in that area.
Many of us cut our teeth in local politics and running community centres. I certainly did, back in the day in Highgate Newtown, North London. I have maximum respect and amusement in watching how it all works in 2023. So many talk the talk but have no idea of what life is like if you raise your head above the parapet. There are lots of keyboard warriors, plus those who would never speak to you directly, looking to bring you down. Human nature is not always at its finest in this world. But everyone remembers those who actually made a difference. Like that teacher who inspired you or the charity worker who taught you the meaning of the word. I seriously wish all the latest politician’s, inspiration, and humility.
The port of Soller is now preparing for the half termers and families who will spend holidays with us in the next two weeks. The child numbers seem to be down, and this is being reported in other areas of Mallorca too. The overwhelming comment is to do with flight prices making family trips exorbitant. Every year a new problem comes to the fore and this month, child numbers are occupying the minds of decision makers.
Life is busy here and we move from one tradition to another. The one that includes children and bucket and spade holidays on the beach has been with us for ever. We really can’t let that fade…
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