Every week Frank Leavers our man with the dirty Mac and half empty glass of inexpensive vino is looking at what lies just below the sophisticated gloss of island life. Come on folks; tell our Frank what’s really happening in Majorca.
I know that I can become a tad obsessive on occasions, but since reading in Sunday’s Bulletin that there are counterfeit euro notes in circulation on the island, I have been studying banknotes that cross my path with a certain alarming intensity. Well, that’s according to a certain woman that I know. Anyway, you can’t be too careful can you? As the check-out chap at our local Mercadona found out, I am not to be trifled with when it comes to the possibility of ‘iffy’ money entering my wallet. Indeed, we went into a sort of mutual, money ‘mythering’ - as he closely studied the 100 euro note I gave him for our weekly shop and I in turn cast my eyes over the euro notes in my change, just in case he was passing onto me - Sexton Blake’s. Alas, it has to be said, I am constantly studying banknotes and feeling them, as suggested in that Bulletin article. Strangely enough, it almost as if I’d rather like it if I found a dud note in my change and then I could really make an awful fuss about it all. I wonder, is this all I have to look forward to in the years to come?
I’ll ring you back!
l In the United Kingdom a huge crackdown has been underway for some time regarding the use of mobile phones and other devices whilst drivers are at the wheel of their car. However, if the authorities think that they have a problem in Blighty, they should come here to Majorca and stand for just ten minutes by the roadside. It would probably be easier to count those who are not on the phone, rather than the other way around. We are not talking of a quick “I’m driving, I’ll ring you back,” - oh no, this is a full-on chat complete with gesticulations and elbow steering. Mostly I find, these conversations are held by women - funny that. Indeed, I’d like to say that it was always the ‘boy-racing’ community at fault, but that’s not strictly true you know. No, not at all; I find that a woman at the wheel of a car whilst in mid conversation, will slow down, or speed up, depending on the intensity of the matter in hand. For instance, if she should be having a row with her husband on her phone, the chances are that there will be a mini traffic jam behind her until they kiss and make up. How do I know this? I just do!
Murdering music on a Sunday
As last Sunday afternoon was so beautiful I was persuaded to take an afternoon stroll along the promenade of a popular seaside resort in my part of the island. Hey, don’t you just love my “popular seaside resort” description, as if I were describing Bognor Regis? Anyway, as you can imagine, we were not the only folk to take a walk in the sunshine and so the bars and cafes were full to overflowing and all was well with the world. Well it was, until we decided to stop for a well earned glass of something cool, alcoholic - and very pleasant. Because, all of a sudden and out of nowhere, appeared a chap with a large sombrero and matching poncho and he started to sing - really badly. Now then, I know that when street entertainers ‘ambush’ people when they are relaxing in the sun, we are supposed to take it all in good part and cough up 50 centimos to get rid of them; however this bloke was so bad, he was practically heroic. Alas, he only had three songs in his rather limited repertoire and after about 5 minutes he moved amongst his reluctant audience shaking his sombrero at them with a rather hopeful look on his face. Nobody responded. A few minutes later he was joined by a woman similarly attired, save for a slash of lipstick that went from ear-to-ear. I have to tell you that in all my life I have never heard such a terrible voice as she failed to hit one single note in tune - even accidentally. I did wonder at one stage if Sonny & Cher were in fact a rather good comedy routine, but unfortunately they were not, and at the end of their short ‘set’ they weren’t to be brushed aside and moved amongst all on the terrace with a certain menace - i.e. standing over individual members of their reluctant audience demanding money - or they would start again from the top, but this time torturing the music of random 1950’s crooners for our pleasure.
Walking in a winter wonderland
For what it’s worth, I still think that our tourism authorities could do more to promote specialised activity tourism during the winter months such as the vastly underestimated walking market. I happened upon a walking magazine (there are scores of these top rate mags covering every conceivable outdoor activity) the other day and as I flicked through its pages I noticed that quite a few British counties, European regions and countries such as Canada and New Zealand were featured heavily in advertisement features and really good professional articles. I don’t know, but I suspect that we in the Balearics miss a trick in not placing ourselves before niche markets such as these in a way that others do. Pompous note to whoever! Perhaps we have to market ourselves more often (and in different ways) to be more than just a summer sunshine venue and promote ourselves to growing audiences who seek outdoor winter adventure. We have a beautiful island full of natural wonders; so why do we almost always revert to type and go into a lazy preset mode of sun, sea, sex and sangria?