Every town in Majorca has its chatterers amongst the Ex-Pat Community. I apologise at the outset for all who hate the word ‘ex pat’. We have tried to come up with another but it still sticks as the descriptive word for people wh.o relocate from the UK and settle.
Knowledge, experience and opinion is born from the moment you arrive. This is often shared with the group who arrived in Majorca the same time as you did. You both have similar experiences which bond you. In the Soller Valley the current most vocal, of the groups is the ‘Class of 2000’. I am one of that group and I am happy to stand alongside the other wordsmiths of the 2000’s. My crew, which I will introduce you too, is Rachel Fox, Anna Nicholas and Barry Byrne.
We all write, take pictures and share our Soller Valley lives with audiences’ world wide. Let’s talk Rachel first who many of you will know from her weekly photographs on Spotlight on Soller. This is published in the paper every Tuesday and has been for the past ten years. Her credentials as a local photographer are well known. The running of ‘Rachel’s Laundry’ in Soller means she knows all about dirty washing and gossip! She is our go to ‘mother hen’ and the laundry is a community hub of laughs and tears. What you may not know about her is for the last 11 years she has been ‘Blipping’. Blipfoto is an Edinburgh-headquartered online daily photo journal and social networking service allowing people to save a record of their life in pictures; sharing their photographs and telling their stories one day at a time. It has a positive ‘Be Excellent’ ethos.
Rachel has told a story and uploaded a picture every day and has a world wide following. The most unlikely people have learned about us from her eclectic network of followers. Blip reunions take place here and the world meets Rachel in Soller Square. All this in addition to being a poet and a budding writer. This lady is a mixture of words, pictures and good vibes about the Soller Valley which she spreads to all who and have the ears to hear and the eyes to see. www.blipfoto.com
Anna Nicholas is a name you will all recognise as a prolific author amongst many other talents. Latest book will be launched on 11th November in Universal Bookshop, Portals. All her books have a local twist and introduce many to the delights of the Soller Valley. Anna is a travel writer and contributes to many UK publications. A huge background in PR gave her introductions to many in Majorca who have appreciated her professionalism and ability to ‘Brand’ their locations to a wide audience.
Anna is usually a traveller and adventurer herself. Covid has clipped her wings a little this year and her life is very Soller based in 2020. She has a colony of cats and other small creatures, including chickens she looks out for. You will bump into her anywhere on the island as she reviews hotels and restaurants. You will see her running from L’horta around the Port most days. Saturday market day will see her somewhere in town with Alan. Saturday is also the day her weekly article appears in the Bulletin. Anna is a great ambassador for the Soller Valley and the rest of Majorca.
Now its Barry’s turn for the spotlight. You may remember he appeared in the paper recently talking about air quality. His words were carried on via radio and TV and now the Balearic government are watching the Soller Valley air quality. This gives you some of his credentials as a prize agitator for worthy local causes. His day job translates for major newspaper organisations. Years in Madrid before the Soller Valley set his career, as his own written skills were more and more in demand.
Barry lives in the beating heart of Soller and has a view on most everything. He feeds a colony of cats near the station and has been known to trawl the streets looking for the odd stray who does not turn up at feeding time. In lockdown Barry became known to a huge audience who followed his daily writings about the rules and the reasons for everything we were doing. Many people relied on Barry’s research and information to get them through the first stage of the crisis.
The Facebook page ‘A force to be reckoned with, Tramuntana’ is Barry’s daily project. He updates local issues and looks for volunteers. This is also where people contact him directly to answer their Brexit questions and sort their complicated paperwork out. As a gifted linguist he can march into the Town Hall and have that conversation in Majorcan for those who need help.
The fourth voice in this group is me, Shirley Roberts. Readers know me from writing in The Bulletin, on www.sollerweb.com, and the daily outpourings of Sollerweb Facebook. I take photographs of our world and write about them. We raise money for local projects and currently our focus is on the Sollerweb Calendar which is raising money for the Soller Foodbank. One of our biggest successes is in creating the Calendar for local events which has brought so much business to our Valley.
We are all four, voices of our beloved Valley and share its delights every day. We live here and have no rose coloured spectacles on. Warts and all we love the bones of this place which is evident in all we do.
We are the ‘Four Voices of the Soller Valley’. All born elsewhere but today, even after twenty years we are sharing our adopted place in the universe with you, every day.
The Gang of Four are looking forward to the next twenty years.