One of the joys of living on this island is that the proper run-up to Christmas doesn’t start until about now, the second week in December. Yes, various churches, schools, charities and national societies have already held their yuletide events, but compared to the commercial Christmas frenzy of the UK it is positively low-key. Indeed, such is the mania generated - it seems as if we are all supposed to stand and applaud the so-called “iconic” television adverts that assault our senses almost hourly.
Believe it or not, some people on social media have whole conversations and discussions about them as if they actually mattered in the scheme of things. A friend who has just returned from a short visit to Blighty tells me that there is no escaping the hype, the desperate need to consume, the depressing cynicism of it all. I was watching a news item on the television last night when a very excitable business correspondent was making great play about the fact that the ‘retail sector’ was under severe pressure and it was essential for them to maximise the Christmas “spend” of wary consumers - Oh dear, how sad!
So then, if it is choice between the retail sector underperforming this Christmas and hundreds of thousands of ordinary working people not getting themselves into debt over the festive holidays - I know what I would prefer to happen wouldn’t you? If you think about it, in the United Kingdom if commercial Christmas starts around mid-October and if there are 52 weeks in a year, this means that almost 20% of any given calendar year is allocated to persuading us all to spend money that we don’t have - on one religious day of the year that most people don’t even believe in. We must be stark staring mad. My free tip for Christmas, so as to maintain a sense of proportion and stave off bankruptcy? Only buy presents for the kids - but if you must, limit your spend on adults in your family to 10 euros per person. Come on, you know it makes sense.
A CHIP ON BOTH SHOULDERS
Unlike many female friends of mine, I don’t suffer from an ‘Adoration Disorder’ when it comes to tennis star and local boy made good, Rafael Nadal. Suffice it to say that Rafa is hugely popular both on the island of his birth and across the tennis world. His name is a byword for good manners, sportsmanship - and an admirable never-say-die attitude to his sport. Moreover, Rafa is a living and walking champion for all manner of sportsmen and women who want to achieve great things in their chosen sport. So, quite why the Mayor of Manacor, Miguel Oliver, would want to mock Rafa’s tennis academy project in his home town, beggars belief. But, I suppose - that’s a small town politician for you? How else would a local, nationalist politician, who happens to be the Mayor at the moment - grab the odd headline through talking even more rubbish than he normally does?
Hey, I think we know the score don’t we! “Small town politico, with chip on both shoulders, tries to make a name for himself trying to ‘diss’ local hero.” I know that Rafa and his family felt that they had to - but, why give señor Oliver the dignity of a long and detailed response to his calculated nonsenses? Unlike most mega-rich celebrities, Nadal actually pays local and Spanish national taxes - he also is the finest ambassador for Majorca that any ad-man could have ever dreamed of - so why the grief? I really don’t know - all I do know is that I am becoming annoyed with myself by reporting and commenting upon what some low-grade local politician thinks about a world class sportsman who clearly loves and respects his roots.
THE DAY OF THE TRIFFIDS
If any of you have any sort of garden or outside space to enjoy, have you noticed that this year because of the wet October and November, we have a real problem with that green moss stuff that appears to get everywhere? You see it in gardens, poolside, in public spaces and because of the damp air and wet conditions it’s a bit like the ‘Day Of The Triffids’ out there. I recently asked a pal of mine who runs a property management company what to do - and after advising me on a certain chemical mix he uses to ‘get rid’ - the stuff is still gaining ground everywhere around me. Hey, I know this is very much a ‘1st World’ problem, but I do start to wonder just how much things are changing environmentally, when after 20 years living here, I start noticing little things…you know, small stuff, that I have never noticed before. It really does make you think.
Imagine my consternation when I read a double page banner headline in the Daily Mail on Monday - where it proclaimed to the world - “Corbyn’s ‘Two Fingers’ to Leavers.” Well, I don’t know what I did to provoke such a reaction from the old-boy, but it must have been something I’d written in my ‘Sunday Politics’ column that upset him!
THE 20% SOLUTION
My Spanish/Majorcan friends sometimes become over-defensive when I tease them about the strong smell of testosterone and machismo in everyday society. Doubtless, things are changing quickly and it should be remembered that the Balearic regional President is a woman and women hold a number of important portfolios in both government and in opposition. Strange then perhaps, that Balearic women earn 20% less than men! I’m not stupid, clearly there are certain specific gender issues that mitigate-against women earning the same as men in the general workforce - but 20% worth of mitigating circumstances; I don’t think so do you?
As for the recently aired series, The Mallorca Files, that has been ruthlessly plugged as a ‘must see’ programme on the BBC recently - I’m still trying to work it all out! Yes, the scenery is as spectacular as you would expect - and the main actors are both attractive and sort-of believable - but, without being unduly rude - after watching it, you sort of know why the Mallorca Files is a mid-afternoon show don’t you?