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.
With the latest Covid-19 lockdown coming into force across the Balearic Islands today, we have been trying to get out-and-about i.e. walking - in our corner of the island as much as possible. As last Sunday morning was cold but pleasantly sunny for a while, we hiked from Andratx Town down to the port and I must say that scores of other people clearly had the same intent.
As an inveterate people watcher (i.e. very nosy!) I did notice a couple of things that caught my attention. Firstly, I want to make it illegal…and perhaps even to carry a jail sentence, not to have a bell attached to a persons bicycle or scooter. Time after time, we had to jump out of the way as somebody covered in tight-fitting Lycra flew silently past us at about 40kph. As I am a rather good remonstrator, I found myself theatrically shaking my fist at these cyclist as they sped along the designated ‘walkway’ weaving past fellow pedestrians and their families innocently out for a Sunday stroll.
The second thing that struck me whilst walking to - and then arriving at Puerto Andratx, was the fact that the wearing of face-masks has become very random indeed. Now than, you will have to take my word for the fact that I am not one of those dreadful busybodies who is forever on the lookout for those who don’t adhere to the so-called rules during this pandemic - but, for me and the person with me, we both agreed that about a third (i.e. between 30% - 40%) of people out-and-about didn’t even have a mask with them to pull-up whenever they may pass someone.
Interestingly, if not scientifically provable, we reckoned that middle-aged people and people with families would observe the rules, whilst we noticed it was twenty-five to thirty-five year old couples who would most likely avoid any form of face-covering. As someone who has become used to Spanish protocols during these difficult times, I wonder if anyone else out there is surprised (to say the least!) at the fact that in the United Kingdom, hardly anyone seems to wear a face-mask, outside of certain very restrictive areas, and not always then either!
Is there anything more satisfying in life than lighting a fire in your living room? Naturally enough, I am not talking of becoming a pyromaniac, but the lighting of a fire and the pleasure it can bring. Since the weather has turned cold I have been much mocked because of my keenness, nay insistence, of firstly preparing and then loving lighting a fire in our modest wood-burner.
By the way, what is the difference between a ‘wood-burner’ and a fireplace; is it just snobbery I wonder, or something deep and meaningful? Anyway, as the afternoon starts to meet the evening, there I am knelt by the fireplace, old Bulletin’s scrunched-up to act as a base for firelighters and kindling (I love that word!) I’m in seventh heaven. Seriously, I don’t suppose that there is anything as deeply satisfying and timeless as lighting a fire.
Julie says that she half expects me to beat my chest in manly affirmation as the flames flicker into life. And it has to be said that I was actually very cross with her the other day when she took it upon herself to light the fire when I was out playing tennis with my mates. However, wood for the fire is not cheap - have you bought a bag of wood at a garage lately? Moreover, buy a bag of pine wood that is cheaper than the proper stuff, and it will fizzle out quicker than er, - well, you know! Luckily, I have a wood ‘stash’ hidden away from the last time I had a big garden cut-back last year, but it is fast disappearing.
If this cold-snap continues for much longer I may have to resort to unconventional means to sustain my wood supply. The Mallorcan bloke up the road with the ‘small holding’ he hardly ever visits, seems to have a vast supply of wood just over his fence! Say no more shall we?
BAD WEATHER BLUES
I am not a weather expert, but after living in the lower reaches of the Tramuntana Mountain range, I do on occasions wonder why - whenever the weather is bad Puerto Andratx seems to cop a hell of a lot of the aforementioned nasty weather than almost anywhere else on the island.
The Bulletin regularly carries dramatic pics of pounding waves, half sunk yachts and masses of scattered maritime debris. I wonder if this scenario was always the same in the wake of any storm and why always Puerto Andratx? A ‘yachtie’ pal of mine did his best to describe various weather patterns that might come into play when the port gets bashed about on a seemingly monthly basis in winter, but alas, his analysis went way over my head. Anyway, all I know is that if it should ever get a tad breezy and I had my pension fund tied up to a berth down the road I would be very nervous indeed.
I LOVE A LETTER!
I often get ‘feedback’ from Bulletin readers regarding what I may have written about in all manner of subjects and it really is (mostly!) nice to hear from readers. However, as you can imagine, almost all of these missives come to me via my email address placed at the top of the article I have written. Indeed, if you feel the need to pass comment on my writings or make suggestions please feel free to contact me in that way. However, earlier last week I received a proper letter from a reader and I was particularly pleased yet rather surprised by it. Funnily enough, the kind lady who wrote to me told me how modern technology was helping to keep her extended family together during this pandemic. So, how funny that her very welcome letter was presented to me in such a traditional fashion. Thank you!