This was the message I received this week from one of the UK people trying to sort out their status before the end of the year. A little late in the day it is true. Three months to the reality of Brexit means the solicitors and gestors of the valley are very busy with incomers. Even those who intend buying properties know that it is unlikely they will complete a sale by the end of the year. Problem is they need to show residence and a lease before the process can start. So the people renting out their properties this winter are welcoming clients. Residencia appointments, fingerprints plus so much more needs to be in place. Private health care and so many differences from when Trev and I rocked up in this world.
There is a difference in the process and there is the same about expectations. Some new friends love so much about our world. The weather, the scenery and charm being high on the list. They love the sporting opportunities and the space. What they didn’t join for is the tradition and observances. They are not in the slightest bit interested in the church calendar which dictates celebrations and bank holidays. All very quaint is their view and of absolutely no interest to their life at all.
This is altogether a shocking affair to me who has spent the last twenty years understanding the history of the Soller Valley. I know I will always be a ‘foreigner’ here but I am very interested in the stories, traditions and the past of this place. I am an avid reader of local news and understand the politics of Soller and the ‘Movers and Shakers.’
My new friends say ‘‘why do you bother with all that’. They are not unhappy with the accusation they are trying to create a little bit of London, Harrogate or Edinburgh in this place. Where are the shops, the night life and the UK brands, is their question?
Although I am not part of the new group in their thinking I can almost see where they are coming from. It is the same as those, who in later life, discover Cornwall. They love the art and the fact that the Tate is there. They love the dressed crabs and the sea shanties – up to a point but their real life is their own behind their front doors. It is there they shelter from the rain.
The interesting fact about those making that decision in 2020 is they are doing it quickly. Today Soller calls them but in six months’ time they will be joining all the moaners about lack of transport and parking. Some of them will then up sticks at and head for the nicer suburbs of Palma. There they will find the bars, sophistication and be a stones throw from the sea.
The statistics begin to come into their own as the population changes. Mallorca continues to win the day as long as local people retain at least 50% of the stats. The more the young leave to find work their places are being taken by people from many different countries. The respect for the traditions and life of the island do not necessarily come with them. Indeed, they often bring in their own customs to enjoy.
In the Soller Valley the cuisine gives an indication about who lives here. Japanese, Mallorcan, Spanish, Chinese, Indian, Mexican, Italian, German, English, French and pizzeria’s are to name but a few. This is in relatively small town Soller. The South American influences are also very evident and delicious.
All the incomers to the Soller Valley bring themselves and their ideas. Some of them will stand the test of time and be able to have 20 year memories. Many will love us for a while and then drift off after a couple of years and profit from selling their property. There is room for all and this is one of many ways the circle of life makes this a fascinating place to live.
In the meantime, I will keep telling the stories of the past and encouraging all to attend the fiestas and special moments in the Valley. Keeping an open mind on everything is the way I walk through life. I hope you enjoy the journey with me.