I never need to plead with Bulletin readers to send me their observations regarding the Majorcan obsession with paperwork.
Indeed, you are quite happy to form an orderly queue to tell me of your own horror stories in this regard. My esteemed editor once told me that his biggest ‘mailbag’ would always come after the MDB had printed a story allied to animal cruelty.
For me, whether it be via correspondence or conversation, it has always been about readers lining-up to tell me about some vindictive pen-pusher, who it seems has taken great pleasure in giving my innocent new friend the run-around - a sort of blood sport, without the blood. Glancing over a growing file of moans and groans, interspersed with outpourings of frustration and anger, it seems to me that we the poor idiotic ex-pat Brit are an easy target for supercilious ‘jobs-worths.’
With our cowed politeness and eager little faces, we are a gift from heaven for those malevolent small-time bureaucrats who go through life with an in-built sneer and chip on both shoulders. It’s happened to me in the past and although I want to shout “Just do your job, you jumped up little git.” However, you don’t do you? More's the pity!
A BLOOD MINDED DELAY? One reader told me a depressing tale of how he visited his local social security office on four occasions before he could complete the paperwork for his up-coming retirement pension from the UK.
This was very strange on a number of levels. Firstly, why the insistence that the local social security office should check a person out when the evidence is already there, and has been there for all to see? At first, as with all my correspondence I wondered if their lack of Spanish might have provoked the curling of the pen-pushers lip and caused another bloody-minded delay, but no, not always, as my informants mostly tell me that their Spanish is either okay or they take an interpreter with them.
A favourite yarn came from a chap who was president of his community and had been for the past ten years. It appears that a registered letter turned up for him at his local post office with both his name on it - but addressed to ‘President Cell Block H’ or whatever.
Anyway, that was ten days ago, because my reader has been back to the post office about 17 times and still he still can’t get his hands on this piece of mail that was properly addressed to him as it seems that he must get a properly ‘stamped’ letterhead to prove who he is; a fact blindingly obvious, ‘cos he has been picking up mail from the post office and the very same counter assistant involved for the past decade.
I have a theory that this form filling martinet must go home at night, put on his jim-jams and tell wifey how many hours he has wasted of other people’s lives that day.
MEAT AND TWO VEG! I see that a recent article in a popular British newspaper, once again underlined the merits of a typical Mediterranean diet. We had a dietary expert waxing lyrical about the benefits of oily fish, salad, fresh vegetables, tomatoes and olive oil plus garlic.
Nothing there to surprise anyone I wouldn’t have thought, but I wonder how many of us Brits actually eat and enjoy the basics of a Med diet? I thought not! I have to say that I exclude myself from most middle aged British men in this regard, as I love all the above Med goodies and other more exotic stuff as well. But I wonder how many men of a certain age actually do?
I don’t know what it is, but British men are perhaps the most unadventurous of all nationalities when it comes to healthy eating. A bloke I know, would never go near a vegetable of any description and certainly not any of that salad malarkey.
Potatoes are either chipped or mashed, never sautéed or “mucked about with” - and the thought of olive oil on anything, or garlic In anything, brings them out into a cold sweat. No, I’m afraid it’s a cooked dry slab of meat, alongside boiled potatoes and two or three helpings of soggy greens that will be never be eaten anyway, but looks sort of healthy. This arrangement is known as ‘meat and two veg’ and is just that. However, if you should hear someone talk of a ‘meat and two veg’ in a rather different context, that is something else altogether. I’m sorry if I sound like I’m insufferably smug on this issue, as that might be… because I am!
PICKLEBALL IN THE SUNSHINE! I recently received a note from former Majorca resident, Paul Telling, who brought over to the island a group of 30 Pickleball players in October. Now, I know that the first thing you will think is - “What on earth is Pickleball?” Well, It’s a racquet sport that is a mix between tennis and badminton and is played on a small doubles court and I am informed that - ‘once played’ a person can be easily hooked.
“In October 2019 the Club organised a 5-day Pickleball tour to Majorca. Play took place morning and afternoon over 5 days – with some exciting and close fought matches. The sun shone, the beach was close-by and the plethora of bars and restaurants near the hotel received good patronage. Most of the 30 plus, group members, took the opportunity to explore the island a little, many taking the vintage train and tram ride from Palma to Puerto Soller. A great time was had by all – and the clamour for a repeat tour in 2020 has already begun! For further information - contact Paul Telling +44 7768 716 002.”
If you have similar non profit-making sporting/artistic and social activities that you want to promote on the island, send me a note to my email address and I will try to help as much as possible.