Where have you been since the lockdown started 15 months ago? This was the conversation doing the rounds this weekend with surprising results. Everyone could count on their hands the number of places on the Island they had visited (except me). The majority had lived quietly at home and circulated within about 20 km of their front door. Children had been to school and attended sports clubs all within this perimeter.
Others had gone to Church or to the doctors within the same space. The discussion then led on to how many lives worldwide are led within 20 kms. We do live on a small island, but even so, there were so many I spoke to who have not gone through the Soller Tunnel in 15 months. Their world has become smaller and smaller.
Shopping online and using the internet to keep up to date meant that their habits and brains were in tact but not the distance they were prepared to travel for them. We are going to feel even more parochial this week as more visitors from other parts of Europe reach us. The world is on the move again and some of them are heading for the Soller Valley.
What's on events
Sorting the information for the Sollerweb Calendar has become a full time job again this week. Deia announced 8 cultural concerts. Xoroi in Fornalutx a full programme till November. Soller, the Prawn Fair for dates in September and the Classical Music Festival in Puerto Soller for the Autumn.
All these will be added to now on a weekly basis as the musicians link up again to the restaurants and bars which give them seasonal employment.
In recent years the Soller Valley has become ‘the’ live music venue of Mallorca. Every day there is music somewhere from a lone Spanish guitarist to prestigious visiting musicians and singers. The sunshine sounds are represented here and local talent is given a voice.
Times have changed
Times have changed in the past 15 months for those of our friends who left the Soller Valley. Many of them returned home to spend Covid as near to their families as they could. Many were expected back but it was not to be. Their lives had moved on in 15 months and the Soller Valley was no longer part of the plan.
The return moment had been missed and other opportunities presented themselves. This is a serious disappointment to many businesses and they are busy recruiting and training their teams. The seasonal workers who used to drift in from the UK are also not here this year. Brexit has made that all too complicated and all are waiting for a little relaxation of the rules. There are no promises on this so they may have to wait some time.
Nearest to you
The Soller Valley experience is on our minds as we welcome visitors back. A chat with the tourist information officer in the office near the station revealed his most asked question. ‘Where is the nearest toilet?’ comes in at number one, every day he is open. So as a business person you have to put that at the top of the list to be dealt with – surely? Toilets in the station?, toilets at the bus station? Toilets with obvious signage?
All a big fat no and all our man can tell people is to go into the nearest bar, buy a coffee and use their facilities. The Town Hall opened their ground floor toilets to the public before Covid but I believe it remains resolutely shut. I am amazed that there hasn’t been a public outcry about this.
On Firo days of the past the whole town smelt of urine the day after. The hosing down of the streets were legendary. Right now you could still have the centre being used as a urinal. To provide good quality public toilets should not be beyond the ability of our Town Hall and innovative business people. Instead we have notices in cafes saying ‘toilets only for customers’.
The second question for our information officer is ‘where is Can Prunera (Soller’s Museum of Modern Art)? The answer is ‘almost at the end of the Lluna’ ‘but don’t bother because it’s still not open’. Museum Day came and went and the doors remained resolutely shut. People are seen every day with guide books in hand looking forlornly at the closed door. So many places now open but our very special museum has not joined them.
One step forward and two steps back but we will get there in the end…