Mancor de la Vall countryside

Mancor de la Vall countryside.

09-11-2020Peter Clover

Like most people across the Island, along with the rest of Europe and the entire civilized world, we have all had it up to the back teeth with Covid-19. Yet whatever your stand on this global pandemic, there is no getting away from the fact that it has sadly and seriously affected every simple pleasure that previously defined our social playground. Bars, cafés, restaurants, cinemas, theatres, gyms, shops etc. have all been unconditionally compromised.

Some extraordinary people still don’t seem to be aware or bothered by this rabid pandemic, and live their lives as they always have, albeit at tremendous risk to everyone. But personally, along with a respectful majority, my own existence has taken a seriously different direction, along with a huge dive away from my original life-plan. Like many people, after a lifetime of hard toil and dreamscaping, I imagined a sunny future involving some well earned leisure opportunities, from enjoying time at the beach, casual meetings with friends, eating in Majorca’s many wonderful restaurants, and holidays embracing global travel. Unfortunately, currently all on hold!

But it’s not all doom and gloom! One of the things that has helped to get me through this summer and continues to see me through the many imposed lifestyle restrictions surrounding Covid-19, has been a daily walk in the glorious Majorcan countryside. A good walk can do wonders for your mental well-being, enhancing your outlook whilst elevating your positivity. Filling your lungs with fresh air immediately invokes a sense of calm and tranquility; while the obvious exercise benefits from walking are guaranteed to improve the mood, and lower stress levels and anxiety, along with embracing the soul with Mother Nature’s big hug!

Rather than sitting idly at home following the ‘obesity or bust’ route, we prefer to follow a completely different path entirely. Walking in the countryside is a simple activity, which thankfully due to our immediate location, we can indulge in quite effortlessly, and virtually from our front doorstep.

Everyone has found their own ways of coping during these unprecedented times. Whether you are a stay at home survivor shielding a health issue, a cautious nervous type who ventures out like a timid rabbit, or an all out ‘don’t give a flying flamingo’ radical type - as individuals, all our lives matter, along with how we choose to live them.

It can be confidently said, that certain individuals are still displaying a cavalier and careless attitude towards safe protocol. A policeman friend of ours is beside himself with frustration at all the daily breaches he has to deal with in Palma, against those who simply refuse to comply, irrespective of others around them who are trying to make a difference with their own personal sacrifices!

My tent is pitched in the ‘cautious’ camp, and although it is somewhat restricting, I prefer to support the informed science and government guidelines which are desperately focusing on reducing the virus and not driving it with callous, and continually thoughtless behaviour. But then I suppose we are all going to see things differently!!!

Yet personal fears and concerns aside, a daily walk in the wonderful Majorcan countryside has become a true life saver, and opened my eyes not only to the change in seasons, but a change for the better in some of society’s behaviour.

Meandering along a peaceful country lane does not legitimately require a face mask, although I must say, the majority of like-minded individuals out enjoying nature in all its magnificence, usually carry one, which they considerately put on when approaching and passing others in single file formation to respect distancing. It has become a welcome, and appreciated ritual which shows consideration for fellow passengers in life, whilst demonstrating the ease and simplicity of employing a basic protocol.

Of course, cyclists from God knows where across the island, who race along the country lanes in large group formations, are totally exempt for some ridiculous reason (or loophole) from wearing masks, and are free to dispel aerosols (possibly infected or otherwise – who really knows?) to everyone they joyfully pass. Yes! We ALL have a right to live and pursue our recreation as we seem fit; yet sadly, as walkers we don’t seem to have any say in the matter when it comes to enjoying the country lanes!

Group cyclists make no effort whatsoever to pull over as they pass, and unless we dive into the hedgerow, or stand in a ditch, our safe distancing is severely compromised. I have even seen elderly walkers faltering, almost on the verge of toppling into the road as selfish speedjocks race past without a thought for anyone else on the road. I immensely admire the sport and fitness attached to cycling, but not the arrogant attitude which seems to accompany the majority of cyclists who ride in convoys and invade our country lanes, treating them like race tracks. Local cyclists riding solo or in twos are no problem at all, and seem to respect walkers out enjoying a milder form of exercise. Some even wear scarves, out of safety protocol concerns, which is a great step forward.

However, the other day I thought I was actually seeing things, as a small group of lycra clad club cyclists passed, not only at a safe distance, breaking their formation to ride single file, but WEARING FACE MASKS! I couldn’t believe it, yet was instantly filled with respect and gratitude for their thoughtful consideration. (It can be done after all).

Cyclists travel freely all around the island pursuing their sport. They enter villages, ours included, exempt of face masks when ALL pedestrians in the village are under compliance to obey government legislation. I applaud those young, mask wearing athletes who took time to reflect and think forward outside of their own ‘speed’ agenda, and took time to consider others. Let’s face it, as a cyclist, the only people you are likely to encounter while racing along a quiet country lane are walkers! And WE have rights too! Majorca is criss-crossed with mile upon mile of exquisite, picturesque lanes beneath sun kissed skies, flanked by lemon, fig and almond trees, surrounded by rolling mountains, olive groves, dry stone walls and an organically landscaped rural countryside.

It’s OUR countryside too! So can’t we just share it sensibly and respectfully?

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