Frank Leavers' views on some of the stories of the week. | MIGUEL GUTIÉRREZ - DFA - EFE - E


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.

I’ve just been boosted! Yes, indeed, my Covid-19 booster vaccination was successfully undertaken just a few days ago, in of all places - the local fire-station. It’s funny, but I guess hardly surprising that the organisation and general arrangements put in place here in the UK in terms of getting your ‘Jabs’ are very similar to that in Mallorca where I had my first and second vaccinations way back in May.

As I sat amongst the fire engines for my 15 minutes of ‘downtime’ after the jab, I hailed a passing volunteer and asked her when I would get my certificate to prove that I had actually had my booster vaccination.

Unsurprisingly perhaps, she rolled her eyes skyward and said that I was the umpteenth person who had asked that very same question that day and wearily told me that the NHS would be adding these up to date vaccine confirmations on an App apparently, when they get it all together very soon.

Well, that’s alright then! I have to say that this information from a kindly lady didn’t exactly fill me with confidence, as - a) I barely know what an App is, and - b) apparently government hasn’t quite worked out how all this might work anyway. Please don’t laugh and call me old fashioned because I am quite sure that I am hardly alone in not actually trusting a technology that in the past hasn’t worked that well (or at all) when push came to shove and proper, clear evidence, is required that vaccinations had indeed been given.

I can see it now - a kindly and accommodating police officer at Palma airport on my return to Mallorca - seeking, yet not finding proper evidence on my iPhone of any booster jab, waving me through immigration anyway - Not! Come on folks, what’s wrong with a proper piece of paper with a recent photograph of yourself to prove the proper, medically approved deed(s) had been done? Too easy, I reckon!

You are what you eat!

I have to say that over the years we do not eat as much meat as used to do, once-upon-a-time. Indeed, I have checked with she who is in overall authority regarding food here and reckon that in terms of main meals, in a seven day weekly cycle we might eat meat between three and four times.

No big deal I hear you cry - but, as most of our snacks and light lunches are usually meat free, this means that our consumption of meat (and to a lesser degree fish) has declined quite noticeably over the past few years. Do you know I can’t remember the last time I dined out and ordered a steak of any description. Men of my vintage in the past wouldn’t need to be asked what they wanted as it would always be a steak of some description and the main conversation would be about whether it should be well done, medium rare…or blood oozing out of it.

You are what you eat!

Nowadays, it seems that traditional meats such as beef, lamb and pork have made way to white-meat foodstuffs such as chicken. Part of this trend will be because of all those cookery programmes on the television and the fact that in newspapers and online new recipes and ways of cooking and presenting food is changing constantly - and as some would say, radically. I thought about this when I read that 31% of pub landlords are actively considering the end of the great British Sunday roast or beef casserole as the mainstays of their menus.

It appears that this isn’t just about vegans objecting about sitting next to meat eaters tucking into his or her grub, but - a more general and quantifiable drift away from a meat based menu of any description. When I finish writing this column for your delight, I will be looking forward to a humus and avocado wrap for my lunch. Yummy Yummy!

Red, red wine!

Writing about food has concentrated my mind somewhat on the very important issue of what to drink whilst eating! Personally, I am a red man but can be persuaded in other directions given the right circumstances. Staying here in the UK any wine drinker of substance, will weep with frustration at the cost of wine compared to that of Mallorca. I won’t go into this in any detail because it upsets me so much, but - I have become the undoubted king of the bottom-shelf in the wine section of any supermarket.

Whether it be Waitrose, Tesco’s or my local Co-op store I like to remonstrate to any available member of staff my obvious upset over the cost of wine - any wine! Indeed, when I enter the wine end of the store, I notice that staff disappear very quickly, as they know that I will moan about their prices and go on-and-on about regularly buying 2.40 euro bottles of wonderful and inexpensive i.e. cheap Merlot, in a well known Mallorcan supermarket.

As for white wine, I quite like it especially in the summer or on sunny Sundays, but alas, because it is so ‘drinkable’ I tend to drink it like pop and then suffer the usual consequences of my cavalier and disrespectful attitude to vino blanco. As for other wines such as Rose and Prosecco I am always open to persuasion as any ‘tippler’ reading this might agree.

The scores on the doors regarding wine popularity in the United Kingdom reads as follows - White wine 36% - Red wine - 25% Rose wine 14%. Interestingly perhaps, almost half of us think the hours between 6pm and 8pm is the ideal time to end another work day and knock back a glass of wine or two, or three - er, enough already!