Today I’d like to share with you a cautionary tale regarding credit/cash cards and how it is quite good - nay, essential to know when they run out.

Picture the scene - my beloved and I are getting things organised for a Christmas trip back to the UK, when all of a sudden panic strikes as I discover that all my ‘cards’ ran-out at the end of November.

Naturally enough I blamed her for this oversight and then went into a complete hissy fit, come nervous breakdown. You see, my Spanish bank credit and debit cards are now out of date, as are my UK equivalents.

Brilliant! The thing is - who in heavens name actually knows the end dates of their cards? Okay, there is bound to be the odd nerd who revels in this sort of thing, but most people with a life to lead haven’t a clue when their ‘plastic’ runs-out I would say. And what about our banks in all this? I have to say that when I got on the phone to my local branch to speak to Juan who usually looks after me, unfortunately he was on his holidays and so I was dealt with by a cocky young fellow who seemed to be doing something else whilst clearly not interested in me, or my problem. I reminded him that in the past that the bank would send our bank cards by post - but he seemed oblivious to this practice and blithely told me to come in to the bank at the end of next week to pick up the aforementioned cards. With this, I naturally climbed aboard my ‘high horse’ and reverted to sarcasm, which was never going to work now was it? All I got from a certain woman at the end of my call was the usual - “That went well then love.” If I thought that was traumatic, I hadn’t bargained on phoning my UK bank on their enquiry line. After spending 20 minutes listening to interminable instructions for inquiries about this-and-that and being subjected to some light operatic arias, I was put through to a charming young lady who made no bones about the fact that I must be as thick as mince in failing to notice my sell-by-date on her banks credit/cash cards.

However, how do you tell a nice Geordie lady, that even if she sent my cards by post to me here in Andratx immediately, the chances are that they will not get here until July at the earliest - Why? Because they just won’t! The moral of this story? Check the end dates on all your various bank cards etc plus driving licences et-al - because you really don’t need the aggravation. End of!

I have confessed before on these pages that I rather like a good list and for that very reason I have purchased a small blue book from my local Mueller store for the single purchase of making lists within it. Indeed, on its front cover I have written the word ‘LISTS’ in capital letters and underlined it three times as this does appear to be the right and proper thing to do.

Lists are lovely, lists are lush, lists are…? I’m so sorry, but I can’t think of another adjective starting with the letter L that could properly describe my love of lists.

But I have to say that over forthcoming Christmas and New Year period, this has got to be the optimum time of the year for list makers.

Come on, a comprehensive list of ‘things to do in 2020’ cannot be sniffed at; nor can specific lists for those trying to loose weight in the New Year and feel the need to jot down stuff.

My favourite list over the past few weeks was more a ‘spreadsheet’ than a list, as it itemised every present we would buy for our extended family and moreover, I could cross-reference every gift as to cost and place of purchase. You really ought to try it yourself. However, be warned as your partner in life may want to stab you to death.

I was talking to a friend the other day, when during our conversion we both wondered whether the British ex-pat population on the island has diminished over the past couple of years.

Indeed, save for checking every single municipality for the numbers of registered British citizens who are formally ‘resident’ now as opposed to say, 10 years ago, I guess that it is anybody’s guess. For instance, I wonder if the British Consulate has any information regarding this? Anyway, in talking to my friends and contacts, the general opinion is that there has been a general decline in Brits living and/or working here in Majorca.

Frustratingly, it is very hard to tell. Not made any easier by the fact that many folk who are long-term ‘stayers’ don’t (and never have!) become formally resident.

Complicating this issue, is the fact that the summer brings with it hundred, if not thousands of British seasonal workers. Nevertheless, it appears that the general assumption amongst those interested in this subject, is that there are less Brits living or working on the island, than even a few years ago. Before anyone inevitably, but probably wrongly - points toward a so-called Brexit fallout I’m not sure if anyone really knows the reasons why.

A former work colleague of mine believes that as the people who arrived here in the 1980’s and 1990’s pass-away there has not been an equivalent influx of middle-aged retirees to take their place.

Whilst that seems like a sound theory, what about the younger British incomers who arrived here in the ‘noughties’ and beyond with their families and professional, portable careers? Frustratingly, without hard figures it is hard to get beyond guesswork, personal experience and rumour - but that doesn’t have to be the end of it.

Via this column, I would be fascinated to know readers own ‘take’ on this issue and even better, if anyone has concrete figures they can share, I think we’d all be fascinated to know the proper facts of the matter.

Putting it this way - I am not the only person on this island who has noticed a ‘falling off’ of social interaction between British ex-pats - but, as some would have it, younger people living and working on the island who have young families do not behave in the same way as retirees. Please let me know what you think.