Having relocated to this wonderful island of Mallorca over sixteen years ago, I can honestly say I have never known recent weather quite like it. Even the locals are bewildered. So much rain! We honestly started pondering on the possibility of building an Ark! And where is it all coming from? I certainly know where it’s going!
Our garden, along with the entire island has never looked greener, but the dreary dampness and grey overtones above are not what we have become used to on this sunny isle.
Graciously blessed with an almost guaranteed annual average of over 300 days of sunshine, we are accustomed to the appearance of seasonal rain at this time of the year. In fact it’s generally more than welcome as the reservoirs desperately need a top up after those arid summer months following a ‘scorchio’ season. But this recent meteorological madness has been record breaking!
As daily temperatures have seriously waned, with the darker nights starting to really draw in, a sense of cosiness has blanketed the family home, and you can’t help random thoughts turning towards Christmas. In a desperate need to brighten lives with a twinkling twist of tinsel, people have been throwing up their trees a little earlier this year, desperate for that ‘feel good’ vibe which sprinkles magic over the more depressing aspects of current life, sadly still marred by the masked veil of Covid and its vitriolic variants.
Here in Mallorca, life is slowly moving forward with some perception of normal living. Mallorca has been in a very good place, yet with the recent, inevitable relaxing of the rules, numbers are sadly once again slowly and noticeably rising. It’s really sad that those simple, innocent get togethers with friends and family have such devastating results, yet just goes to show that we still have to be so careful with where we go, what we do, and who we do it with! So keep on keeping safe. Don’t abandon protocol, especially leading up to Christmas, by thinking it’s all over!
Here in Mallorca, there have been quite a few recent autumnal fairs and fiestas in celebration of local traditions. And I am sure, that for some, there will be a few more planned events to catch up with and celebrate before the usual Christmas festivities kick in.
Although early days, the tinsel and turkey vibe is already well and truly out there, pulling at all our seasonal strings. Our tree has been up for three weeks, and I must admit I’m reindeer ready and definitely on board for a spot of early Christmas cheer, even though in the complete safety of our secure, home bubble!
The appearance of the big winter duvet on the bed always seems to go hand in hand at this time of the year with the appearance of tacky LED snowmen and those strange Santa figures we see, clinging to rope ladders that hang commercially from windows and balconies everywhere. It also suggests that maybe the mountains will turn a frosted white. Fires will definitely be lit. And you can even start thinking about digging out that favourite jumper with matching leggings, along with dragging the festive frippery from the back of Santa’s store cupboard.
The familiar ‘Chrissy’ decorations might be those same dusty old embellishments which get hauled out year after year, but if you are anything like us, special memories are linked to each and every one of those faithful, magical baubles, and like old friends, return sentimentally to the festive fold.
Over the passing of years, we have embraced a personal Christmas tradition of our own, where on holidays to far flung and remote climes, we sought out trinkets that would enhance and dangle from our festive tree back home. Obviously, with the world being on hold for almost two years, it’s no wonder people are seizing the moment and looking a little ahead of themselves to kick start a global tradition which in sincerity, represents family, peace and joy, evoking so many memories of those Christmases past!
For me, the colder weather over the past few weeks has definitely kicked-started the beginning of the festive season. The mouthwatering aroma of cinnamon and spice, along with the smell of Glühwein and freshly baked mince pies has already permeating our entire household. It might be early, but there’s a warm, cosy kitchen with sausage rolls being slid from a hot oven, which is possibly the best place to be when it’s cold and raining outside. Sadly, the pre-Christmas bake-off has already disappeared, but then there’s more where that came from!
Although I don’t mind the cooler weather, I categorically don’t like being cold! Most of our homes, since living here in Mallorca, have all enjoyed the luxury of central heating and open fires. Except one, when we were in between houses and renting through a winter period. We didn’t think heating would present a problem until we started using the electric radiators which came with the rental property.
Younger Mallorcans these days insist on all mod cons ( including heating 24/7 ) in their new homes, yet the older and more traditional Mallorcan generation don’t seem to like wasting their money on heating, apart from open fires, and consider the Mallorcan winter to be far too short to bother with the expense of central heating.
We rented this said winter property from an older Mallorcan couple, yet sadly, if we switched on more than two radiators at a time then the cooker wouldn’t work, or all the lights would ‘pop!’ off. You’ve all been there I’m sure! It quickly became an interesting challenge to manage the elected and limited electricity supply allocated to this particular property. If I wanted to use the hob then one radiator had to be switched off.
Switching on the electric kettle for a brew when the ‘rads’ were firing up was like playing Russian roulette with the national grid! We were continually adjusting the thermostats to control our domestic current. Quite unbelievable in this day and age! After all, Mallorca is supposed to be a switched on, designer led island embracing a contemporary society with all mod cons, and heating!!! We once switched on one too many appliances and the electric meter box bolted to the wall literally burst into flames.
Our neighbours at this period of time, were quite elderly Mallorcans, and therefore traditionalists by their upbringing, who suggested that we do what they did, and sit at a table throughout the cold winter nights with a copper bowl full of hot cinders taken from the fire and secreted beneath the said table. A thick tablecloth traditionally covers everything, including the chattering knees, keeping the heat under wraps and under the table.
A charming idea? Incredibly effective, yet neither Other Half or myself relished the idea of spending our winter evenings sitting posted at an isolated table cracking almonds or crocheting unwanted cushion covers for friends and relatives. We opted for buying a mobile butane gas fire which we could wheel around at leisure of whim, liberating us from the big chill!
Thankfully, we currently have all the heat and electricity we need in our present house, so while the cold snapped and the hailstones fell we have been confidently warm and snug. And even if the temperatures remain low, we won’t complain. After all, we’ve got the big duvet. Plus the Christmas lights, sausage rolls and warm hearts!