THE summer is often described as the silly season, particularly in the press, since many politicians are on holiday, and the headlines can be rather mundane or “jet setty” all about who's been where and who's done what in the summer party mode. However here on Majorca the headlines recently have been rather distressing although I can still classify them as part of the silly season ..... people behaving in a very silly way. We seem to be having an excess of deaths through forgetting that the temperature is extremely high and that our bodies dehydrate in next to no time. Added to this is a lack of respect for mountain geography. A local Majorcan girl who should have known better died from heat exhaustion when she was walking in the Tramuntana mountains, trying to go from the Torrent de Pareis to Lluc. Heavens above... that would exhaust me even in cold weather!! Two British fathers wandered along the same path with their tiny children, said to have been between 5 and 7 and were also declared to be missing.
The mind boggles that people should be so thoughtless about the needs before going walking... the Tramuntana mountains are not to be scoffed at. Puig Major (say pooch ma-joor) is higher than Ben Nevis and the Torrent de Pareis is not the place for a casual stroll. That kind of walk needs strong boots and an endless supply of water in weather like this, and is definitely not for kiddies. When I was a brownie and guide, we were taught to make signs to show us the way back because the route never looks the same the other way round. But how many of us would dream of making the odd nick on a tree trunk, put a pile of stones on the side of the path or tie a knot in a long piece of grass? I had even forgotten all about that until I started writing this article. However, even in a car you can get lost.
In my weekly investigations about the Majorcan beaches this weekend I admit to becoming completely disorientated along some of the Santanyi lanes, as getting to a particular beach was not too difficult because we followed the signs, but coming back, these signs were not facing us and on several occasions I drove straight past the correct turning and so ended up completely on a different road from where I had started. At one point I felt that I was part of a comedy film in which someone had moved all the signposts. Fortunately distances on Majorcan roads are not very long and I soon found my way back to Santanyi, but a similar mistake in the mountains can cost lives. The other silly activity is driving too fast along the roads and too close to the car in front. The first is probably one of my failings, but after having an accident due to the fact that I was too close to the car in front, I now try to keep my distance. It's a shame we only learn by our mistakes. And another occupational hazard here, particularly in the heat, is feeling sleepy at the wheel, particularly after a meal even if you have not been stupid enough to drink some wine. Drowsiness is a killer as you can soon find you are going off at an angle, which either takes you into the ditch or worse still hitting someone head on. All this has happened recently on Majorcan roads and the result has been shocking accidents and tragic deaths. It's also quite silly to join in with the speedsters who zoom along the Paseo Maritimo in Palma, a road which has a speed limit of 50 kilometres per hour and it is quite easy to find that you are bowling along at 70 with the rest of the drivers who are all in a hurry.. I know, I've been there, done that and you can forget about the Tshirt, I got the fine a couple of years ago. And since for some reason I never received the postal notifications until the final one with the surcharge, the penance had to be paid to the tune of 35.000 old pesetas! So drink plenty of water, keep to recognised paths, and just slow down, after all the summer should be the happy season, not the silly one!


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