My Majorcan neighbours kindly insist I look no different. | EFE


Having recovered from my broken wrist just before Christmas, I knew that the time for serious exercise was coming. No more excuses. I decided to have a fun and indulgent time with the family over Christmas and New Year and then get back into running.

While my hand and wrist was stuck in a brace, there was no chance of enjoying favourite sports such as pilates so I just worked flat out at the desk and chomped my way through chocolate bars. Not surprisingly, I have put on weight and am now on a mission to lose as much as one stone. My Mallorcan neighbours kindly insist I look no different. I fluctuate between size eight and ten and yes, I can still wear the more generous fitting outfits but there’s not a lot of room for manoeuvre, put it that way. So, three weeks ago I invested in new bathroom scales and this week, treated myself to an upgraded FitBit as my old one had fallen off in the streets of Palma, never to be seen again.

The old bathroom scales in our home are basic and just gives it to you straight in pounds. The new devious device unfortunately goes the extra mile. It tells you all the stuff you really don’t want to know such as organ and visceral body fat, BMI, muscle tone and finally your body’s current ‘age’. I wasn’t surprised to see that my weight was about eight kilos more than normal but the other indicators at least showed that I was in the good to normal zones with superficial body fat, rather than organ fat, proving a little high. As if I didn’t know! Slightly cheerier was that my muscle tone was verging on excellent but the thing that made me laugh was my body ‘age.’ Apparently, with my current weight and indicators I have the body of a 44-year-old woman. I was quite relieved about this until I pondered what kind of 44-year-old. Are we talking about a lithe and healthy woman or a Tubby the Tuba? Aye, there’s the rub.

Chin Bras

Are you a secret chin-bra rebel? Go on, spill the beans. During the last few weeks, I’ve noticed an increasing number of insubordinates island-wide allowing their face masks to hang about their chins in a state of malaise. This is, of course, against the law and if caught, could carry a heavy fine. Supposedly.

In London, chin-bras have been all the rage for some time and were unofficially christened as such at the height of the pandemic. I’m not a chin-bra fan. I wear mine higher up at mouth level, ready to yank it over my nose should I see a passing police car or other sentient being. It’s a great game and makes me feel as if I’m an unperson living in Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four. But of course, as we all know, masks are very useful and a necessary evil. Firstly, they keep your mouth and nose warm in cold weather. Secondly, for women in particular, they serve the purpose of not having to wear any makeup. Thirdly, if you stick on a pair of sunglasses and a beanie hat, you can stride the streets incognito. My sister has cited another critically important reason why we should continue to wear masks. You can swear and curse people under your mask and no one will be any the wiser.

Meanwhile, on my frequent runs now to the port and hills, I never wear a face mask. If I did, I’d expire on the spot so I carry one as a precaution on my wrist. Early one morning, I was surprised to come across two Guardia Civil officers without masks. I couldn’t blame them as they were enjoying a bit of peace in a natural environment. We eyed each other a tad nervously and then tittered and exchanged cheery greetings. Ah, how delicious it was to find the machine itself breaking the rules.

Old rockers, podcasters, politicians and truckers

What a spat there has been between Spotify and Canadian-American old rocker, Neil Young. Enraged by the outspoken views of world-famous podcaster, Joe Rogan, Young demanded Spotify choose between them. Unsurprisingly, the music and audio platform chose Joe Rogan – currently the highest ratings podcaster in the world with 11 million listeners - and so all Young’s music has been removed from the site. To be snubbed by such a giant platform is humiliating enough but Young will lose millions in revenue. His moral crusade concerns the controversial nature of Rogan’s show. Aside from interviewing an eclectic mix of guests, Rogan isn’t afraid to question the Covid narrative.

For example, while Chairman Mao-Trudeau gagged all media channels from showing the 50,000 Canadian truckers driving into Ottawa to protest about Covid restrictions, Joe Rogan broadcast it on his own channel. Jacinda Arden, another politician who gags her press, must also be shaking in her boots at Rogan’s ruthless exposés. He takes few prisoners. Fellow Canadian singer, Joni Mitchell, is now following Young on his mission and vows to remove her music from Spotify. I’d imagine this would rattle Spotify’s cage far more than losing Young who won’t have such pulling power.

Surely the point is that there’s room for different opinions on media channels? Just because some might find Rogan’s material offensive or even questionable, why can’t nannying crooners (and politicians) leave us all to exercise our brains and form our own opinions? Censorship in any form is ugly, and more so when it comes from an artist. Spotify is a very liberal site and more squeakily woke than many online platforms but it has to be commercial. If these egotistic musicians with their own potentially sinister agendas win their way, it’ll be a woefully sorry day for free speech.

Anna Nicholas’s second Mallorca based crime novel, Haunted Magpie, is available at Universal Bookshop, Portals Nous, from Come In & Llibres Colom in Palma, and at Alameda gift shop in Soller, also at all good UK bookshops & via amazon.