Traffic in the Soller valley is quite impossible and so walking everywhere is´ the sensible way to go | Archives


It’s that time of the year when Mallorca is bursting with summer visitors, most having a wonderful time on the beach, enjoying moreish cocktails and ices and sampling the delights of local restaurants. They can rise late in an air-con-cool hotel bedroom, enjoy a freshly prepared brekkie of choice and muse on how to spend the rest of their day. Some might slip into a balmy pool or the azure sea while others go sightseeing, stroll around villages or shop in the capital. They bask in the joy of a mostly well-earned holiday and can leave the cares of home life behind.

I’m truly happy for them but sadly, some of us worker bees who live here are still deskbound, sweating it out over a computer or worse, doing physical labour under a punishing sun. I’m luckily in the former group but even still I don’t have air con at my desk because, frankly, the electricity bills are astronomical. Instead, I have a rickety fan that blows my papers all over the place though one of the cats kindly acts as a paperweight in desperate times.

It’s fair to say that July and August are my least favourite months of the year on the island. It is horribly hot, crowded, expensive, booked out and there’s nowhere to park. Traffic in the Soller valley is quite impossible and so walking everywhere is the sensible way to go. Friends in Deya find it frustrating that I won’t visit the village during the summer but why on earth would I when it’s like Armageddon? It’s the reason that I always urge holidaymakers to visit in the months when Mallorca is at its most beautiful away from the saturated summer season, but many have children and are restricted by school holidays. I remember those days well. It’s a crafty way for airlines to charge excruciatingly over the top fares. Still, for those who are footloose and fancy free, do return at a civilised time of the year when peace reigns, the skies and sun are kind, and the beach is your own.

My husband and I have a big garden and spectacular mountain and rural views

Pandemic memories

Recently friends and I were reminiscing about the pandemic and what we did, how we filled our days and whether our behaviour, views and habits changed. Very fortunately, my husband and I have a big garden and spectacular mountain and rural views so being incarcerated at home was honestly no hardship. We kept to ourselves and gardened, and I wrote two more books. We maintained contact with close family and friends overseas via text and Zoom and hoped for better times.

Many of my friends in Palma live in small flats with kids and were forced to share workspace with partners while keeping their offspring busy. A veritable nightmare especially as no one was allowed even to go for a walk. I never borrowed a dog to get freedom though I might have bent the rules a few times. Most of us rebels did. Aside from the glorious sense of peace on the island at that time, I adored the proliferation of wildlife and how animals and birds began flocking to our land. We had countless wild ducks of all kinds, litters of kittens born, a genet hiding out in the chicken shed and I raised ten chicks in my office from just a day old. My husband felt this was a step too far especially when they developed wings and began flitting about. It was like a scene from Dr Dolittle. I’m proud to report that they’re all now hens and cockerels and living happily in our corral in blissful peace.

I think we all reacted to the pandemic in different ways. I started buying tee shirts online by up-and-coming young international artists that bore rebellious slogans. I became a Jimmy Levy fan and over-played Welcome to the Revolution and sent it to all my bewildered friends in London. They were worried I’d be carted away to a detention centre. Yes, those zealots of conspiracy theories really believed they existed. Maybe they might have happened had the pandemic gone on too long. I guess we’ll never know. I learnt a lot about my friends and neighbours, the would-be revolutionaries, the heroes, the selfish, the fearful and fanciful, the brave, the deranged and the conformists. One of my Mallorcan neighbours confidentially still tells me he’ll never forgive certain friends for their views – it’s indeed sad that the pandemic ruined friendships but I suppose it was inevitable. The so-called ‘Purebloods’ versus the vaccinated resembled a Harry Potter film thread. It’s a bitter shame that an illness created so much division, hatred and anger but there was love, courage and kindness too. Let’s hope that we can all gradually move on from those dark days with wisdom and maturity. Should there ever be another lockdown, we’ll presumably be so much better prepared, mentally and physically, for what’s to come.

Volcano blues

Just when I thought I could escape the August heat and disappear to cool Iceland to run a volcano marathon, another island volcano has started to rumble and could stop flights there. We have been counting the days to when we can wear jumpers, jeans and jackets again and feel rain on our faces, so this has proven a bit of a blow. Still, if we do get there at least my marathon isn’t around the fretful volcano near the capital. Mine is up north so providing it too doesn’t go off, I hopefully won’t actually be running for my life.