Ian Foster.

0

Ian Foster, who now lives in Alcanada near Alcudia, admits that he was never a “scholar” at school and that writing was far from his strong point. His efforts and energy were best served on the playing fields. He excelled in a host of sports and was picked for the British Olympic hockey team in 1964, but his then employers had other ideas and told him to get back to work.

After completing his education at Framlingham College, Ian embarked on his National Service and volunteered for operational duty with the Dorset Regiment in North Korea - where he spent two years on active service.

Having been born in London during the Blitz, he and his family did quite a bit of moving around, depending on the situation. But once Ian had completed his National Service in 1952, he decided to join the City and spent 25 years with Galbraiths, one of the longest established and most respected shipbroking houses in the world and a member of the Baltic Exchange.

When he retired he was the managing director, but was not one for putting his feet up or for playing golf - he still does not despite living next to one of the most spectacular courses on the island.

“I would not say I am an expert mariner, but I have enjoyed sailing, owned a few yachts and boats over the years. But there comes a time when it either becomes too expensive to maintain a yacht or involves too much time. And we’ve seen that in the nautical industry during the pandemic.

“There are those who have bought a vessel looking for greater privacy and isolation and many more who have opted to charter a vessel, specially here in the Balearics, which I fully understand, having been living here for so many years. We absolutely love the place, so I can see why many others do, although it’s not as cheap as it was for some people.”

Ian first arrived in the Balearics in 1988 in Minorca. “An old friend of mine was trying to develop what was a small natural marina called Addaia just outside Mahon. I decided to help with the investment and what turned out to be the logistics and nearly completing the entire project. When I arrived, there were moorings for around six llaüts. When I left, we had some 60-plus vessels in the marina and most of them belonged to Britons. But the owner of the marina, who was from Madrid, was not the easiest of people to work with, so I decided to call it a day and let him get on with it. It was hard work I have to admit.

“We then came to Mallorca and I got involved with helping to develop Alcudiamar. First things first, and that was sorting out the toilets and getting some showers built. But unlike Minorca, nothing was a problem, and I was advised to set my self up in a little office nearby. I acted as a consultant on the development of the marina while also promoting the new venture in the UK at events like the London Boat Show for the Spanish Tourist Board and similar trade fairs around the country.

“Everybody involved in the project was so excited, determined and easy to work with, it was a joy and a pleasure to have been part of. And anyone who knows Alcudiamar will see how has it has grown into a first-class marina in a spectacular location. The difference is that Alcudiamar is more of an owners’ destination than a charter port.

“We are so lucky in the north east of Mallorca. We’ve got Alcudiamar, which many Britons have fallen in love with over the years and have their boats moored there, while just down the road we have Puerto Pollensa, another world-class marina which is more of a charter base. So we’ve got it all up here. It’s a nautical paradise, much like the rest of the Balearics. The only trouble now is the lack of moorings, the reluctance to build new ones and the cost of the 25-year leases. But I’m no longer involved in all that.

“I was once. As the local representative for the Cruise Club in the UK and the Little Ship Club, some 6,000 members in total, I am still the first port of call for any members coming to sail in Mallorca who need some help and advice, but that’s about it. I’ve now become a writer, believe it or not.

“Having always been up to something, my wife was curious to see how I was going to fill my days during lockdown. So, I decided to write my memoirs, for the family really. But I thought it would be fun and the book was entitled More By Luck Than Judgement.

“Then it transpired that the history of Galbraiths was being written. There was a period of time which was missing and only I could fill, which I did. The result was a very extensive history of the company founded in 1845.

“My lovely wife’s next question was ‘what are you going to do now’? I had always had a fascination with the Victorian era and the Industrial Revolution. It was an era during which the UK was very much at the forefront of global industry, not to mention what was invented in the UK during the era and the wonderful buildings which were constructed. It was an era Briton should be extremely proud of. We were shipping cotton to the United States, which was locked in Civil War, or building ships in some of the greatest shipyards in the world.

“I decided to put pen to paper again and write The Silver Spoon, a fictional story about a family from Glasgow which begins in 1863 and goes right through to the 1960s.

“It charts the family’s success and how part of the family end up running a vineyard in Zaragoza. This was after one of the members signed up to fight in the Spanish Civil War and was later called up in the Second World War to help the resistance because of his language skills learnt while in Spain. Their sons eventually return to the UK. One helps the local community get back on its feet in Glasgow and, as a surgeon, attends to the most needy and sick. The other is in property development in London to keep the family’s good financial fortunes in good order.

“The thread of the novel is how the family, more fortunate that many through the generations, was committed to giving something back to those who had either helped them along the way or those who need help.

“In London, after the war, so many buildings needed to be repaired and restored, while there were vast empty plots as a result of the bombings into which the family moved to develop car parks for the growing city.

“The idea came from having had a very exciting life, travelling all over the world and, at the same time, building a trout farm as well as a sheep farm. Finally, we moved to Mallorca which is now very much home. We have family on the island and I am extremely fortunate to have my darling wife Tessa always spurring me on to do things - remember I am a Second World War baby.

“My fictional tale has been created from many personal experiences and is about people who I have always admired in the Victorian era and to whom we all owe so much for their hard work and creativity.

“How my writing creativity stands up, only time will tell. In the meantime I am also a member of the Grumpy Old Man’s Club, which meets once a month at Ca'n Barry in Santa Maria to reminisce about the old days I guess. It’s great fun and we have some great characters who come along.

“There’s never a dull moment in Mallorca, and that’s why my wife and I love the island and its people. I could not have found a better port to have dropped anchor.”

All books are available on Amazon.