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.
As a ‘Lay’ person, when it comes to tourism, I’m not really surprised that the industry on the island seems to be ‘whistling to keep its spirits up’ - but as we move into July I wonder what we can expect from the rest of this totally disrupted season? With clubs announcing that they will not be opening at all and bars and entertainment venues severely limited by social-distancing I really can’t imagine young people flocking to the island as they would have most certainly have done in the past.
Similarly, that basic ingredient of a vibrant tourism venue i.e. Mr & Mrs Bloggs and 2.4 children, have a lot more on their minds at the moment other than where to go on their holidays. With the kids schooling disrupted and no clear idea when they might be going back, I would have thought that a foreign holiday, mid pandemic - is not the family priority it once was. Nevertheless, with the support of ‘empty-nesters’ - those loyal and steadfast visitors who come every year (usually when families have cleared-off - usually in September!) the current season might be saved to a limited degree. Indeed, how ‘last year’ does that debate regarding cruise ship passengers clogging the streets of Palma now seem? I have mentioned before in these columns that I understand that many businesses reliant upon tourism will be making some very tough decisions during the next week and that frantic discussions are being held at the moment that will ‘colour’ the rest of the year here in the Balearics and let’s face it - for the rest of the traditional Mediterranean tourists destinations as well.
On a personal level, my own daughter and a group of ten of her friends have booked to come for a short break on the island to celebrate her - ahem, 40th birthday! At the last count, three of the ‘girls’ will not be coming “whatever” - four are more than a little wobbly and are thinking about it, and just three of the original party (my daughter included!) are determined to travel for their long weekend trip together on the island. Let’s face it, this debate is being held amongst family and friends in many households across most of northern Europe and beyond at the moment.
Time for some scooter regulation?
As I was strolling along a quayside location in a popular island resort just yesterday, I found myself leaping about like a demented frog. Why so? Well, bless them - it seemed that every ‘electric scooter’ on the island was out-to-get-me as I was making my way peaceably along The Kings pavements. Come on, what is all this about? Are these ‘things’ allowed on the pavements as a matter of course? Moreover, are they entitled to spin along at speed going the wrong way along a one-way system and perhaps most importantly, are these scooters licensed or insured in any meaningful way? Because, I would have a small wager that if one of these trikes crashed into you and caused you injury, nothing could be done in terms of compensation. The whole scenario is faintly ridiculous, unlicensed vehicles shooting about at 30-40 kph on public walkways. At one time workers at boatyards would use these vehicles to get across distances quickly; nowadays - every psychopath on the island appears to have one, so as to frighten as many peace loving pedestrians as possible. Come on, joking aside - isn’t about time that these vehicles were properly controlled, insured - and made to pay at least 500 euros per annum for pleasure involved in frightening the life out of me. And I’m NOT joking!
The working week!
Whilst I am in a typically grumpy mood, can I ask this question - do Majorcan ever work a seven day week? Rude I know - but, random and unexpected fiesta days do tend to happen on a regular basis here. I think that I have now grasped the big national fiestas and when they happen - it’s the small local affairs that always take me by surprise - as per-usual for no apparent reason I find that my local post office, hardware store, chemist shop and gymnasium are unexpectedly closed (I might have made up one of those options!). While I’m at it, why is it that your local PO has the slowest computer system since Alan Turing and his mates broke that Enigma Code during the second unpleasantness? I may have mentioned this before, but - my pal behind the counter says that a new system was talked about 5 years ago but nothing ever came of it! Oh dear!
You may have noticed that I have been introducing the subject of gardening into my Wednesday and Friday columns recently? Indeed, some of my oldest friends have been left open-mouthed in amazement at my increasing interest in all things that grow in my garden. Being a single minded sort of fellow, I have made the humble red geranium my flower/plant of choice and at the last count I have about thirty of them artfully placed around my garden. So proud of my geraniums was I that I posted photos of them via social media. Hoping for at least a few gasps of amazement, all I attracted was a snide comment from an old (ex!) friend, who took obvious joy in announcing to all and sundry that his only memory of me and gardens in the past was that of overgrown borders, weeds and occasional boozy afternoons spent mostly in deckchairs.
The silver surfer!
A technical episode! Or how my 91 year-old UK based mother-in-law has done a ‘factory re-set’ on her new laptop. It seems that she lost everything whilst pressing every available ‘function’ and Julie spend 2 hours yesterday afternoon shouting at her down the phone to re-instate her system (her mum is a little mutt-and-jefe!) Mind you, how many people born in the 1920’s could boast this level of silver-surfer status? Indeed, thanks to her laptop her encyclopaedic knowledge of real-estate values in Gloucestershire has been enhanced even further. As for this pandemic - she mentioned the fact that as a young girl she was once “strafed” by - “One of those Messerschmitt’s when I was walking home from school during the war and broke my shoulder.” So it appears that Covid-19 holds no terrors for her - as in - “…the ladies in the Co-op say I should get someone to shop for me - what for?” Respect!