Every week Frank Leavers our man with the dirty Mac and half empty glass of inexpensive vino is looking at what lies just below the sophisticated gloss of island life. Come on folks; tell our Frank what’s really happening in Majorca.
My head is spinning. Why so, you might ask? Well, just keeping track of the Spanish governments latest pronouncements regarding whether visitors to the island have to be quarantined or not, is becoming somewhat of a bad joke. I sympathise with any news outlet (including this one!) who has to somehow make sense of the latest pronouncement regarding - what is, and what is not required of visitors and returnees to the island. It seems to me that that these pronouncements are not even being contradicted by the next one-in-line on a daily basis, but - on what seems to be every hour! Quite how much of this mind-changing has to do with proper concerns about health, as opposed to seeking to challenge the UK’s current foreign travel protocols is anyone’s guess. However, the confusion caused can’t be very helpful to anyone.
Certainly not, those tourists seeking to get to the island for a holiday - because, it has to be said - ‘why would they’ given the mixed messages that are being aimed at them from all quarters. It has to be said - thousands of tourists ‘snuck’ onto the island as some sort of pilot scheme, but even if done on a regular basis - it will not make an iota of difference to the mainstream of island based tourism. What might help it along in some way, might be a clear and concise approach to what is expected of visitors that doesn’t change at every ministerial briefing. Also, and very importantly, it might give those who’s business is in the tourism industry some sort of firm basis on which they can make their operational decisions for the rest of the season and beyond. Indeed, through contacts in the islands hotel, travel, and entertainment sectors - I understand that the next week or so will be crucial if the Balearics are to have a tourist season at all this year.
I was a little bit envious of my colleague, Humphrey Carter’s, brilliant Sunday Interview with travel journalisms doyen, Simon Calder. Calder nailed the British government over their quarantine plan pointing out that its actions (or inactions!) could bring Britain’s travel industry (inbound and outbound) to its knees. As someone who likes to think that he understands politics, Simon Calder’s intervention was ten times more compelling than the usual wheedling complaints from opposition politicians, with their innate ability to be always right in hindsight. I may have been mistaken, but Calder used the word ‘clarity’ on a number of occasions during his interview, perhaps highlighting the fact that clarity is the one thing that is sorely missing from the current situation.
And now for something completely different! If you have been to a beach recently, have you noticed how aggressive the seagulls have become? If so, I have a tale to tell. Last Sunday morning, as is our habit - we visited a quayside cafe in Puerto Andratx for a coffee and a read of the Sunday papers.* As I scanned my Bulletin the young couple on the next table did much the same thing but also ordered a couple of buns for good measure. At this point, I have to explain that I am not some sort of weirdo spying on the eating habits of others - but, a concerned citizen, as a very large seagull dive-bombed their table and flew away with a large bun in its beak - all done within a blinking of an eye! The whole terrace witnessed the incident and the local regulars around us said that this happens all the time. Indeed, a huge punch-up ensued as other very large and stroppy seagulls joined the fray with the rest of us looking on in amazement. Someone murmured that the gulls were ultra aggressive as the lack of tourists had severely limited their usual food intake and they were now desperate for food. Yet another strange consequence of Covid-19 perhaps!
*Apropos nothing! Has anyone else noticed that many British national newspapers, printed in Spain are not on the news-stands anymore? Without compromising my loyalty to the MDB I like to get the occasional mid-range British daily paper on occasions and will always usually buy the horrendously expensive Sunday Times as a matter of course - but, not anymore it seems.
IT’S AN AGE THING!
It appears that I have become a bit-of-a-bore - this in itself would not surprise many people that know me, but - I have an excuse. Since returning from the UK I have been attacking my garden with a certain amount of embarrassing gusto. Over breakfast I will go into great detail as to what I will be doing at the bottom of the back terrace and what with - and how long it might take. She in turn rolls her eyes in that really annoying way that she has - and says every single time - “Don’t overdo it.”
Naturally enough, I do overdo it - and have to lay down somewhere and nurse a sore shoulder or a severely scratched finger. All this would have come as a huge surprise of Frank Leavers Esq. even ten years ago. Any further back in time and my former self would find this whole ‘gardening’ scenario ridiculous. Alas, a friend recently sat me down and talked me through how boring I had become about my garden and gardening in general. As I started to protest, he laid a hand on my shoulder and explained that it was an “age thing” just like shouting at the television and repeating yourself, so I will refrain from banging on about my garden and just let it be known discreetly that if the editor should want or need another gardening correspondent - I’m his man, as long as he won’t expect me to know all the names of the flowers and stuff in the garden because I don’t, but - I could learn you know!
THE RADIO-ONE MALLORCA - RADIOTHON
I like to - if I can, use this end-piece to help support a local charity or good cause. Last year this yearly charity gig raised 25,363.11 euros for various charities and the organisers are hoping to top that figure even during these difficult times. Presenters - Richie Prior & Ayesha Wood will be broadcasting live and non-stop between 07.00 on Friday June 19 - till 19.00 on Saturday June 20. It will as always, be loads of fun - but more seriously that will be looking to raise money for the following charities - Great Ormond Street Children’s Hospital - Son Espases Hospital here on the island - Cancer Research and Yachting Gives Back. You can listen to Richie and Ayesha’s efforts via 93.8 and 102.0 FM and you can ‘check out’ what you can do to help them via social media or phoning 691-231-139. Good luck!