Bank Holiday traffic | JOAN TORRES

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 Mallorca.

We have just completed the August Bank Holiday weekend here in the United Kingdom and as you might expect nothing much changes at all over the years. As usual, the weather has been nondescript (I can’t think of a better word!) where a sort of grey murkiness abounds, well - in my part of the world anyway.

It seems to me that unlike the Mediterranean, where I have been following your weather with growing alarm as it switches from a broiling 40oC to torrential rains and quite possibly back again. Here it is always grey with a hint of blue in the late afternoon with the temperature fixed at between 17oC and if you are really lucky, the giddy heights of 20oC and this is in August! However, in that most annoying of modern phrases - “It is what it is.” However, for those of us who live (or have lived) permanently in Mallorca what strikes me on every visit is just how green this island remains all year round.

I suppose it will do if the weather manages all four seasons in a day, but for me it catches me by surprise every time we visit. The same could be said of Bank Holiday traffic I suppose. Okay, you don’t have to be a genius to work out that the roads would be busy on the last Bank Holiday of the year until Christmas Day, but this year it seems that traffic jams have taken on a completely new meaning. Foolishly perhaps, we invited our kids and the grandkids to our place on Monday intending to take a picnic to one of the lovely parks that Cheltenham boasts.

Well, not such a good idea it seems! To get to us they had to travel separately along parts of the M4 and M5 to reach us. Thirty minutes before they are due to meet up with us I got phone calls from them, each telling me that they were on either of those two motorways and hadn’t moved at all in more than 30 minutes. Complete gridlock it seems, more than any of them had ever witnessed and so both had to return home after completing less that 20 miles of their journeys.

Number one son told me that it was probably because of people’s desires to get away to almost anywhere after month upon month of Covid-19 restrictions. This, he reckoned - allied to ‘staycationers’ driving to local beaches and beauty spots rather than flying to places such as Mallorca, caused this ‘perfect storm’ of gridlocked traffic. So let’s not hear anyone moaning when they have to slow down on occasions as they negotiate a busy(ish) traffic build-up on their way into Palma shall we?

I was reading a fascinating piece in a newspaper the other morning that claimed that most of our household chores can be divided into “pink and blue jobs” i.e. those done by men and those done by women. Perhaps unsurprisingly 74% of women who took place in this survey claimed that this division of labour was outdated. Indeed, to make things even worse for us blokes, seventy-two percent of women think that they do the lions share of household tasks whereas old lazybones only does the jobs that he enjoys doing.

It appears that the only chore we men will reliably undertake is taking out the bins and if push-came-to-shove we might, just might - clear a drain or two….If it’s no too smelly. Even the more traditional tasks that used to be undertaken by macho-men, such as washing the car and replacing lightbulbs are more likely in modern life to be undertaken by the female of the species. Apparently, gardening depends on the mindset of the man; if he enjoys the garden he will possibly get his hands dirty on occasions, if not - ladies, don’t hold your breath for too long! However, all is not lost it seems, as men have slowly but surely become wizards in the kitchen apparently. Cooking, once the territory of women everywhere has slowly become a place where men like to take over.

Nevertheless, before anyone gets carried away with this modern phenomenon it appears that although us chaps like to ‘prep’ and cook meals on occasions, sadly we are not at all keen on clearing up behind us and doing stuff such as washing up, or indeed, even loading the dishwasher. Personally I believe that I am quite blameless in this regard, because I never wash the car anyway, and really don’t mind whizzing very quickly around the house pushing a vacuum cleaner on occasions. I’m sorry to say that because I suffer from extreme vertigo I cannot go near a ladder without fainting and so my beloved has to do any jobs above head height - but, suffice it to say, I will always be on hand to hold the ladder.

In a UK national newspaper ** this past weekend a statistical breakdown of hospital admissions, medical cases and deaths in July of this year were published with a detailed narrative explaining what the numbers/figures actually mean. What drew my attention to the study was the that it was broken down into three separate areas - Firstly the number of cases of particular illnesses - In this case Covid-19 numbers were almost three times more than the second illness - Dementia and Alzheimer’s.

On the second set of statistics i.e. Hospital Admissions - Cancer at 138,780 was the highest and Covid-19 at 21,656 was the 3rd listed reason for hospital admissions. In terms of deaths registered in the United Kingdom in July of 2021 - 4,686 were attributed to Dementia and Alzheimer’s - Cancer 4,626 - Heart Disease 4,339 - Stroke 2,301 - Flue and pneumonia 1,234 - Covid-19 1,002. Make of this what you will.