The sun sparkles in the sky like a fiery orange opal while gentle waves crash against the shoreline. I’m standing with my toes immersed in clear and glassy water, feeling the warm, writhing shingle beneath my feet.
A year ago who would have thought that such palpable liberty would be mine? To stand, looking out to sea in the port of Soller without a mask obscuring my mouth, and a gentle breeze caressing my hair?
While many understandably felt a creeping terror, unease or despair during those initial dark days of the pandemic, I made up my mind to focus on the best things of life - family, friends, animals and above all my unrelenting passion for the Balearic Islands and Mallorca in particular.
I set about finishing my second Mallorca based crime novel, Haunted Magpie, and then began trawling through my copious notes made in various journals about my islandwide travel adventures the previous year. Having written the first two books in a new Mallorca- based crime series fairly rapidly, I decided to revisit my travel series and to write the seventh.
Much as I had enough material, there were small producers and businesses that I really wanted to visit. So, despite a few tricky Covid restrictions on the horizon, I set off to those that I hadn’t been able to visit prior to the beginning of the pandemic. I had a blast and realised that while I was blissfully on the road, enjoying liberty, many back in Blighty and elsewhere were having a miserable time of it. While researching the new book, I steadfastly refused to read any depressing news (the ostrich approach) and boy, what an inspired decision that was!
Friends would call me from the UK, quaking in terror and full of fear about the virus while I’d be regaling them with facts about Mallorcan almonds and basket weavers, or perhaps the new born chicks in my orchard. ‘Have you gone mad?’ a good journalist chum asked. ‘Are you aware that there’s a global crisis in progress?’ ‘Indeed,‘ I replied, ‘and what do you want me to do about it?’
The hysteria, panic and wholesale fear whipped up by a bored, hungry-for-funds and sensationalistic world media made me even more resolved to write the book. It would be called Peacocks in Paradise, a flight of fancy around Mallorca, and be filled with hope, happiness and good cheer.
No face masks would be allowed to wipe their filthy cotton interiors on my pages and there’d be no ridiculous speculation, fearmongering, conspiracy theories or any other Covid-inspired tripe in my book. No. Life is all about making the best of things, taking inspiration from other wonderful souls who often, against the odds, have turned acorns of ideas into fabulous businesses celebrating the best of local fare and products. My book would be a symphony to good sense, a nod to local producers, and above all, a rise above the obscurity.
On my island journey, I met the bakers of ensaïmada pastries, red pepper cultivators, the founders of Agromart, palm leaf weavers in Capdepera, almond producers in Son Servera and pottery and whistle makers in Portol and Sa Cabaneta. I visited fantastic local bodegas and popped by gin and brandy makers on the way.
A good friend and I have also been climbing every mile, the Tramuntana mountains over 1,000m in height. There are 54 in total and we only have four more left. I record our mad adventures in the latest book and our participation in the famed Palma to Lluc overnight walk. Never again!
The joy of Mallorca is that having written seven travel books, I have come to the conclusion that I will always find something to surprise me, make me draw breath, smile and say, ‘What? I don’t believe it!’
The golden isle is a treasure trove of wonderful people, producers, wildlife, breath-taking scenery and all good things. It is a veritable Eden and with the right attitude, positive mindset and resolve, so much bounty can be discovered.
I like to think that my readers will accompany me on my journey of joy, fill their spiritual coffers with fresh, fluffy ensaïmada bakes, delicious wines, and feel the fibre of the palm leaf, smell the gin and appreciate the odour of the earth. I want to share the splendours of our island with the wonderful visitors who keep our economy going and who appreciate their holidays and moments away from work and everyday life.
For those of us who live here in Mallorca, life is a wonder but we also experience the same hassles and worries that everyone else has back home. The difference is that we enjoy dreamy horizons and vistas and heaven sent sunshine and Mediterranean food. We live an al fresco lifestyle and have so much to be thankful for.
So, I hope that in highlighting the beauty and wonders of Mallorca, I will bring a smile to the face of many a visitor. Peacocks live on my land and are a constant noisy reminder of the power and endurance of the natural world. I may curse the blighters at six o’clock in the morning and yet, I could never ever imagine life without them. My peacocks in paradise are here to stay and, in truth, I’d never have it any other way.
Join Anna at her book signing at Universal Bookshop in Portals Nous on Tuesday 10, August from 12 noon to 2pm. Please call or email owner Kay Halley in advance to confirm attendance.
This is due to Covid regulations. T: 971 676 116 or email email@example.com