Only eight days last month without rain. | A. B.


Slipping slightly under the radar last week was the feast day of Saint Bibiana. It was on Thursday. This saint, whose patronage includes hangovers (their curing, one presumes), has given rise to meteorological prophecy. If it rains on her feast day, it will rain for 40 days and a week, or so it is said. Unfortunately, it absolutely threw it down on Thursday. Again. But as luck would have it, the sun came out on Friday. The saint's weather forecasting credibility was thus drawn into question, and we were mightily relieved that it was.

The met agency, which relies on more sophisticated techniques than a fourth century martyr, reliably informed us that it rained in Mallorca on 22 days in November. The only surprise with this information was that there were eight days when it didn't rain.

51 days of Covid passport

Aemet was not offering too many clues as to the 40 day plus a week outlook, but the Balearic government appeared to be almost mindful of Saint Bibiana in its forecast regarding the Covid passport - 40 days plus a week plus four more days. Why was the passport being applied until January 24? Was it perhaps for the same reason that it was being introduced this weekend? Fiestas. The passport for bars and restaurants came in just in time for the Constitution Day holiday and is in force until after Anthony and Sebastian in January.

600,000 - the ultimate sanction

For any owner of a bar (50 capacity or more indoors) who flatly refuses to apply the passport rules, the ultimate sanction is 600 grand. Victor Sánchez, who pops up intermittently and protests against the government's latest hospitality measure, said that his lawyer had told him that it would be illegal to even request the passport, regardless of what the Balearic High Court might have to say on the matter.

Victor may think otherwise if he gets wind of a visit from the inspectors, with government Covid passport enforcer-in-chief, Iago Negueruela, announcing that its use is a "legal obligation" and listing all the fines for non-compliance.

Let's get vaxxed!

The high court did have its say, and the word was yes to the passport. The betting having strongly been on our learned friends looking favourably on a measure for the "collective well-being", the daily Covid data revealed one stat of greater relevance than the cases (which were predictably enough records when compared with August). This was a leap in the number of people getting a first dose of the vaccine. The Thursday report indicated almost 2,000 more in a day, which one hesitates to call a record, since whenever, but was.

How many Martyrs of the Antivaxxerati are going to remain? Their numbers were dwindling, as they buckled at the prospect of missing out on a cosy festive-season restaurant.

Vax or nothing for Spain

It looks as if we will have to get used to a new variant of the daily data. The first case of Omicron in Spain was confirmed, then the second. Mallorca had its first and then its second. The doctor who is the coordinator at Son Espases Hospital's microbiology department criticised the "excessive alarm" over the new variant.

By which time, the Spanish government had decided that it was proof of double vax or nothing for Brits aged 12 or over wishing to spend Christmas holidays in the Spanish sun. The tourism industry was once more being faced by shifting regulations.

Tourism and tourism rows go quiet

In Mallorca, the tourism industry was no doubt buoyed by the latest stats (for October), which showed that the Balearics had again trounced all other Spanish regions in terms of number of foreign tourists. But October was the last month that the Balearics will cling to this leadership. Sadly, the island's tourism industry doesn't need to get unduly concerned about hordes of British holidaymakers possibly altering their Christmas plans.

Time on their hands, and the hoteliers had a go at the government about the tourist tax and how it is spent. Iago Negueruela dismissed their complaints. They had known about the use of tax revenue for Covid funds and so the likes of "bridge" hotels for tourists who test positive. Yes, but did the hoteliers specifically know about Ed Sheeran?

The row, for now, was quietened.