By Humphrey Carter

EIGHT years ago, British farmer and writer bought a one-bed roomed apartment in a complex here in Majorca.
George and Mary Wood were looking for a place to “relax and watch the sun go down over Majorca” and get away from the arduous work of running their small farm in Lincolnshire.

But, as George, a well known biographer under his real name, admitted yesterday “it was real shock when we first began spending time there and after spending so much time boring everyone about it in the local pub, they suggested, politely, I wrote a book , so I did. Trouble in Paradise.” British sun lovers buying a second home in sizzling Spain are never short of advice.

There are countless TV and radio programmes, self-help books and newspaper articles warning darkly of the dangers of everything from legal pitfalls to language difficulties.

But nobody alerted George and Mary Wood to the biggest threat to stress-free happiness when they found their perfect place in Majorca - the neigbours.
The Woods thought the largely German occupied Paradise apartments would be run with the precision and efficiency that the nation is famous for, but it did not turn out like that at all.

They found themselves in a community bitterly divided and rushing to sue each other at the drop of a towel.
The anticipated disputes over sunbeds were like light relief compared to the conflict over nude bathing, noisy sex, and lots more nonsense that make Trouble in Paradise such a hilarious holiday read.

Speaking to the Bulletin from a book launch in Blackpool yesterday, he said that they, and their two daughters, still use the apartment. “We've got used to the situation and there are a few more English residents in the complex now. “But, I remember early on being asked by one of the German neighbours why I had bought an apartment in a German complex? I replied that I thought I had bought a flat in a Spanish apartment complex in Majorca. “On a one-to-one basis, we actually get on fine with everyone in the complex but when all the Germans get together, they get very regimented. “I remember the first community meetings were all in German and we didn't have a clue what was going on about the noise regulations, the grass cutting etc. “And then different groups would lobby you for your support at the next meeting over certain motions on the agenda. “It was very frenetic at times and really, quite often, hilarious and unbelievable,” he added. “It was everything but peaceful. It's more peaceful and relaxing on the farm. “We come to Majorca for the excitement because there's never a dull moment in the complex,” he said.
Running a 600 acre mixed arable unit which produces corn and potatoes alongside assorted pig breeding and cattle rearing ventures was simplicity itself compared to getting on with his new German neighbours.

Dealing with the intricacies of the demands of Defra and the avalanche of bureaucracy that has overwhelmed the farming community was like a walk in the park against the bizarre disputes and legal wrangle he experienced in his so called holiday home “We love the island and the people and, as I've said, after eight years, we have pretty much got ourselves well established in the complex. “But, unlike the English and the Spanish etc. who all appear to be able to get along just fine, living with Germans still demands a very rigid way of life although many are warm and welcoming,” Woods said.

Admittedly George did arrive in Majorca bearing a heartfelt grudge against Germany.
Long before he was born his family's home was demolished to make way for a Lincolnshire airfield to be used by Bomber Command in the Second World War. “I was determined never to mention the War, and I just about made it” said George. “I believed that people from all nations could live happily together...until I tried it,” he laughs. “Nowadays we just have a good laugh about it all...our neighbours actually take their shutters in during the winter they're so proud of them. “Most people leave the shutters closed to protect the windows etc.,” he giggles.


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