Many e-scooter riders don't wear a helmet. | DANIEL ESPINOSA


Local residents might mumble darkly about cyclists on the roads of Mallorca but for my money the real danger lies in the explosion of e-scooter riders coursing along pavements without helmets or manners. In Soller, there is a plague of them and few of the young riders seem to care whether they are breaking the law or not. They merrily ride at speed the wrong way up one-way streets and make the pavements their own so that pedestrians, pensioners and mothers with pushchairs have to swerve out of the way. No one seems to stop them though there’s a lot of moaning about their takeover of our streets. Just this week, one did precarious wheelie moves right outside the Guardia Civil offices and along the street without a seeming care in the world.

Perhaps, sadly, it will take a very bad accident to help these lawbreakers to realise their vulnerability. Helmets are there for their security and safety, and abiding by the rules of the road may well save their lives.

EIVISSA. RATAS. Una rata en una calle de la ciudad de Eivissa.

Smelling a rat

We have an old Mini Cooper in our drive that has more years on the clock than Methuselah. All the same, I’m very fond of it and value the many years it has given us good service. It’s also a useful back up should our newer, shinier and more handsome Mini Cooper give up the ghost. The old timer has been due for its MOT but appointments have been as rare as dinosaur eggs here in Mallorca. Luckily, our trusty local mechanics finally managed to secure a date, but disaster struck. My Scotsman was about to drive the car to their workshop for a check-up when he found the engine dead. We assumed that it was through lack of use but no. Our mechanic discovered that rats had set up home in the engine and munched their way through various cables.

Not to be outdone, our mechanic and his brother towed the car away and managed to get the car fixed in time for its MOT. At this precise moment, I have no idea whether it passed. All digits are firmly crossed. However, in the midst of all this ratty business, the Scotsman set off in the newer Mini Cooper, the very same day, for an appointment. To his horror, he found that the gearbox wasn’t working properly, and the car petered out plumb in front of the Soller tunnel, much to the fury of passing drivers and coaches.

Given the irritating amount of traffic whooshing into Soller and back these days, I rather vengefully thought it served them all right. As it happened, one nice Mallorcan driver offered to call the staff in the tunnel and while I called the insurance company for a grua, they helped push the car off the road into a layby. Our kind gardener happened to be at the house and set off to help in the rescue mission. Meanwhile, in Spanish, I tried to give exact details to the operator as to where the car was located. She wanted everything but my inside leg measurement, including the business name and street of our local mechanic. Did he and his brothers have a sign outside the workshop? I hadn’t a clue. They’re brothers, I suggested. How about Taller Germans Bernat or something like that? The patient woman at the end of the line explained that she wasn’t in Mallorca and had no idea. Amazingly, I wasn’t far wrong, and we located the exact spot on google for the crane driver.

What I find extraordinary about this tale of woe in which we find ourselves car-less, is that we have plenty of seeds and corn down in the nearby orchard, dint of our hens and ducks, which the rats can access. Why in heaven’s name do they prefer to eat car cables? My Mallorcan neighbour says it’s because rats like warmth, but the engine of the old car had been sitting cold for some time. My view is that the rats on our land aren’t very bright. They honestly don’t know a good thing when they see it. Meanwhile, the newer Mini Cooper mercifully hasn’t been attacked by rats but has a worn gear disc apparently. As a non-car-techie, your guess is as good as mine.

Photo: Anna Nicholas Facebook

Saved by the Czech Republic

My videographer and I were out and about in Fornalutx and Soller filming a new promotional video for my books, when our kind volunteer-dash-model declared that he would have to leave early for work. We had one more sequence left to film down on Can Repic beach, so we headed over there hoping to find a willing victim to lend a hand. The term ‘lend a hand’ is relevant as this is exactly what I needed: a hand wafting in seawater.

The beach at that time of morning was quite empty but a pleasant looking couple was ambling along in shorts, their bare feet enjoying the waves on the shoreline. I decided to take the plunge and approached them and asked for their kind assistance. It took some time to explain that this was a murderous assignment for my crime books and that no acting or speaking was required.

It transpired that the holidaying couple was from the Czech Republic and that the husband, Tomas, was an acclaimed poet. The chances of two writers meeting under such bizarre circumstances are pretty rare and so we both celebrated the moment. Tomas dedicated his latest poetry book to me, and I rushed back to my car to present him with a copy of Fallen Butterfly, my latest crime caper. Despite not having any English, Tomas, played ball, striding into the water to assist with arm and hand shots.
Sometimes, life can be beautiful when we all connect and help one another, whether we speak the same language or not. I will never forget such a wonderful moment and the kindness shown to me by two tourists who took the time to make a difference to my day.