By Ray Fleming
Five films in English -- from the latest releases and Oscar contenders to Hollywood’s 1941 version of Wales in John Ford’s How Green Was My Valley; music of every kind from the local symphony orchestra to chamber music performed by musicians from Berlin and spiritual choral music from America and Russia; the 15th Goat and Sheep fair in Calvia and the 13th bird competition at Santa Eugenia; the more than fifty markets held all over the island on Saturdays and Sundays; cricket at Magalluf and a book fair in central Palma. And this being Easter Week, special Anglican Church services in Palma, Pollensa and Cala d’Or.
That random selection of activities and events on Majorca in the coming seven days does no more than scratch the surface of the remarkable listings which appear daily in the Bulletin’s What’s On feature with summaries of the nature and location of the events, contact telephone numbers and ticket prices where applicable. It is by far the best single source of information about What’s On and is always up-to-date -- unlike so much dead information that clutters web site sources.
Next Winter Tourism
Regular readers of the Bulletin tired of the winter tourism debate and hopeful that it was over as spring arrives may have quickly turned past Friday’s headlines with yet more news about “Winter flights”. However if they did so they should have paid more attention because this news was about next winter and what promises to be an improved availability of flights from the UK to Majorca. Leading the news was easyJet which launched 2014/15 winter services providing eleven million seats spanning the UK, Europe and beyond. Among these will be Majorca-bound seats on a daily flight from Gatwick, three flights a week from Stansted, two from Liverpool and a weekly service from Bristol. The Bulletin’s report said that easyJet has stolen a march on other airlines and been rewarded with a rush of early bookings. Perhaps when other airlines announce their plans there will also be some flights to Majorca from north of Liverpool.
The annual TripAdvisor awards for tourism in Spain recognised Calvia and Soller as among the top ten tourist destinations, the Playa de Ses Illetes at Formentera as the best beach in Spain and five hotels in Puerto Pollensa and Sa Coma as among Spain’s best twenty-five. At the presentations in Madrid the Mayor of Calvia, Manual Onieva, spoke about Calvia’s hopes that people will visit them in winter as well as summer; Soller’s Councillor for Tourism, Catalina Pomar, praised the recognition of the effort made to “modernise and upgrade the resort”. Welcome as these Trip Advisor awards will be, they are very generalised and perhaps underplay Majorca’s appeal since, for instance, they do not compare like-with-like -- the first four top destinations in Spain are Barcelona, Madrid, Sevilla and Granada whose attractions are very different from Calvia and Soller.
Some of Britain’s leading competition sailors were in Palma to take part in the Trofeo Princesa Sofia in the Bay of Palma and the Bulletin’s Francisco Cortez talked with them about their lives and ambitions. Sophie Weguelin had been hoping to take part in the new women’s Olympic High Performance double-handed skiff event with Eilidh McIntyre but an injury to the latter’s hand during training had ruled that out; however, their target is still the World Championships in Santander in September. Majorca is now Sophie Weguelin’s main training camp throughout the year for the area’s “diversity and quality of conditions...the facilities are amazing and you also get light and strong winds, flat and heavy seas, so it’s very diverse and good to practice different situations. Some of the top teams from all over the world come over here to train so you get a good feel of where you stand.”
In his “Confidential” column on Wednesday Frank Leavers wrote about the general decline in membership of expatriate clubs on Majorca, among them the Conservatives Abroad which was, he said, “finding itself under pressure at the moment” and facing the possibility of disbanding in the near future -- a fate that has already, overtaken, five Conservative Abroad clubs on mainland Spain. Although there may be special considerations for the Conservatives, Frank Leavers saw its problems as typical of many other clubs which have found it difficult to maintain viable membership levels as the new generations of British expatriates on Majorca are busy with jobs and families.
l The rugby season in the Balearics came to an end in spectacular fashion when Majorca’s El Toro RC met Ibiza RC in the playoff for the Baleares Senior League. The report in the Bulletin by Lynda Demanget included this: “Tensions and tempers were running high and a yellow card was awarded to El Toro for responding to a punch by Ibiza for which their player received a red card. Unfortunately as a result of this a fight ensued on the pitch...Two further red cards were awarded by the referee to Ibiza for arguing. Ibiza realised they had no chance of winning the match so gave up any pretence of fair play and resorted to using their fists. Booing from the spectators made no difference and the referees decided that as no more play was possible the match should be stopped with ten minutes left. The final score was 28 points to 7 giving El Toro the well--deserved championship.”
The PSOE socialists chose Francina Armengol, a former president of the Council of Majorca, as its candidate for the Balearic presidency in next year’s local elections. She lost no time in warning the current Partido party president Jose Ramon Bauza that he has “only 412 days left in government”.
A poll by the Spain’s National Research Council in March showed that only one per cent of the 2,500 interviewed considered that Spain’s economic situation was “good”. Eighty per cent said it was “bad” or “very bad”
Press reports said that Barcalys Bank was trying to sell its operations in Spain which involved 271 offices employing 2,800 staff, including several in the Balearics. Barclays opened in Spain in 1974.