Month: January 2011


No snappy title this week, or clever things to say: I heard on Tuesday morning that little Ellie  Wilkinson had passed away overnight, after two and a half years battling a mitochondrial disease. She wasn’t quite four years old, and yet during her short life she had an enormous impact on the community here in Mallorca.

We took this little girl and her family into our hearts, and it’s no surprise that many people are feeling very emotional at the moment, myself included.

I wonder if we are all experiencing a mixture of feelings?  I feel sadness for her family, relief that Ellie isn’t in pain anymore, love for my own kin, gratitude that my little girl is healthy, and frustration that I couldn’t do more to help. But I just can’t contemplate how Ellie’s parents, Candice and Jason, are feeling at the moment. I wouldn’t know where to start.

Where can we find some comfort? I don’t know much about going to heaven and angels, I won’t speculate about that, but I do know about the influence that little girl had on our community. We’re a funny bunch normally, we have our spats and fall outs, just like one big hulking ugly family really. But many of us were inspired by her. Children shouldn’t have to experience pain and Ellie had to deal with a lot of physical pain in her short life. Who wouldn’t want to try to alleviate that? So, we joined together to help. And in doing so we were also able to find a way to cope with our feelings about the tragedy of her situation: we felt that we were doing something useful. Fundraising, raising awareness, contributing to a raffle, praying, sitting with her overnight to give her parents a rest, helping out at her home, we all tried to help in our own individual way.

We’re simple creatures really; we look for reasons as to why things have happened, to give them some meaning, to finesse an explanation where perhaps there really isn’t one. We want life to be fair, but it turns out that it isn’t. Is there something, a legacy, that Ellie will leave behind? What has she taught me? To try to be humble, to be more grateful, to see the funny side in things as frequently as possible. She’s reminded me that life is precious, and short. What about you? Whatever you are doing with your life, are you doing your absolute best? Make an effort for Ellie’s sake, to live your life to its fullest potential because she didn’t get the opportunity to.

Ellie’s funeral is at 10am in Calvia on Saturday, her parents don’t want anyone to wear black. Such a sad colour. I can imagine there will be a lot of people at the service, all wearing a dash of lilac:  Ellie’s favourite.

I hope the sun makes a special effort and shines extra brightly that morning.

Published in the on 27th January 2011


There is a collection for  funds to give to this remarkable family to try and ease some of the stress from them – heartbreaking times ahead, without having to worry about the financial burden of it all. If you would like to donate something then please do. You can make a bank transfer to the details below.

Contact & Donation Details:

Direct Transfers to Ellie’s Fund:


Numero de Identificacion Bancaria (NIB): 0216 6918 480707046371
Internacional Banking Account Number (IBAN): ES22 0216 6918 4807 0704 6371
Bank Identification Code (BIC): POHIESMM

Or leave a message here if you want to donate in another way.

Our favourite free (or nearly free) family fun places in Mallorca

Our favourite free (or nearly free) family fun places in Mallorca

(as suggested by my Facebook friends today, in no particular order)

Cooler weather

  • ‘Walking to the top of the mountain where the Castillo of Alaro and end up in the restaurant munching lamb 🙂 Kids love it, we love it!’  (Benedicte Enbom Crofts)

Alaro Castle, is on top of the mountain of the same name. It is an ancient fort which has been in existence since the Muslim era. Alaro Castle was famously the only place in Mallorca not to fall to the invasion of the Moors when they invaded in the thirteenth century. These days it is a very popular walk. You reach the mountain, drive to Alaro and, towards the town of Orient, take the road leading signposted to Es Verger, where there is a restaurant and a parking area, There is an hostel at the top of the mountain where it is possible to stay the night if you want to have an adventure! More information and bookings on 971 182 112 Alternatively you can descend back to the car park and Es Verger which is famous for its lamb.

  • ‘The fabulous playground by the cemetery in Palma (Puigpunyent exit) – the one which looks like a massive castle. Hours of fun….’ (BEC) (We think it’s called Ses Estaciones, but we might be wrong. See the map).
  • ‘Walking from Caimari to Lluch. Those that don’t want to walk, drive up with the paella pan and contents. Nothing better than arriving at the BBQ spot and finding hot food!’(Kay Newton
  • Roller blading on the many paths we are so lucky to have here (BEC)
  • Giants, fireworks, dimonis – lots associated with fiesta, especially in smaller towns and villages, where families rule. Select according to age of kids. (Mike Goggin,

Warmer weather ideas

  • Es Capdella swimming pool. Free to use, and has a great playground as well. Excellent and cheap menu del dia place as well – check it out at lunchtime during the week for the best deals. (Vicki McLeod)

  • Portals Vells beach – excellent for kids and nice beach restaurant (BEC)
  • Watching the boys surf at Son Serra de Marina from the bar terrace! (KN)
  • Camping at Lluc. (Nicky Tennant Brown)
  • Snorkeling in the dark at St Elm beach with under water torches! Fab! (NTB) (I’m really into this idea! Can’t wait for the summer to do it!)
  • The monastry in Valledemossa (Gaynor Riopedre)
  • Scuba diving at El Toro and the Malgrats (GB)

‘I don’t think I have ever lived in a place that offers so many fun things to do for families – both free and paying. The nature is fabulous and a good thing to get kids to enjoy from an early age and there are some great paying activities because of the tourist industry as well. How lucky we are!’ Benedicte, thanks for that!

Thanks to my Facebook friends for their suggestions! If you have a suggestion please leave a comment for everyone to see.
You can find me on fb at

Wanna be a star?


THE HIT E4 television show, The Inbetweeners, will be shooting the film version of their series on the island in Spring 2011 and the casting director, Silvia Pascual is searching for people who would like to be in the programme. If you are on the island between February 21st and March 19th and would like to be involved in the shooting of the film then she is inviting applications. You must contact her at with your name, age, phone number and a recent photograph.





Meanwhile, the team at Pickles Ballroom are looking for participants in their next Not So Strictly Come Dancing competition which will be held on Saturday 29th January. If you’ve always wanted to learn how to waltz and cha-cha then now is your chance. They are offering 4 free lessons to participants as preparation for the competition. To find out more then call Ian Pickles on 606672419 or visit

Que? by Vicki McLeod

I’ve got a big problem with my hearing. There are some things I just don’t seem to be able to catch. Low frequency sounds. It could be all that time I spent wearing headphones when I worked in the theatre another lifetime ago. Perhaps, just like I blew out the bass on the car stereo speakers one day when I played a Jeff Buckley song too loud on a long road trip, I’ve blown out my ear drums (that’s not a great idea, I hope that hasn’t happened, I’m still, ahem, waiting for my new Son Espases appointment). My husband, on the other hand, has crazy high pitched buzzing noises in his ears whenever he gets tired. Sometimes we cannot hear each other there’s so much background noise going on. Thank God there are other ways to communicate: well, you have heard about body language, and it is our anniversary. It’s ten years since we met. In a bar, I was singing in (back when I could hear), in Islington. Feels like yesterday, and another one of those lifetimes ago. So much has happened in the last decade, to us and to the world: financial disaster, marriage, baby, business, home buying, relocation, changing careers, twice, messed up modern families, environmental chaos, the need to own more stuff than you can actually use. Well, that and more, but I only have 500 words here.

So, perhaps this was an opportune moment for Lucy Egg to walk into my life. (I know, crazy name).  I came across her; she’s like a granny in a whirlwind, with attitude, at one of those networking events on the island (they are great, more on that another time). She’s a life and business coach who specialises in relationships. I tell her about mine, not just with my fella, but with my family. It’s all a bit messy. ‘Come on honey, you need to play more’. ‘What?!’ This is serious stuff here, Lucy, this is my life. ‘That’s why you shouldn’t take it so seriously’.  She runs a course on ‘Talking to Men’ which I’m going to go on, I know I need to improve my Spanish, but I also need to improve my ‘man talk’ or better still, my ‘man communication’ (it could be my ears, but I can’t entirely blame them).  So, when I should be celebrating my birthday in February (btw Aquarians rock) I will  be at Bodhana Wellness Centre in Portals trying to learn about how to create better relationships with the men in my life. (I’d like to find a course on ‘Figuring out who to be less mad at’, but she doesn’t run that yet).

In the meantime, how will we celebrate our anniversary? It turns out that we will mainly be flying to the UK and trying to not spend more money than we earn in Big Tescos. As the likelihood of accruing enough points is minimal, the thrill has gone. As ever, I’ll report back.

(published in on Thursday 20th January 2011)

Playing around

IF you use the internet and you live in the Balearics, you probably use a social networking site. A survey this week revealed that 90% of the people who are online in Mallorca are registered with Facebook or Twitter, or one of the other services. It makes sense really; it’s perfect for a small-ish community to stay in contact with its members.

I spend a lot of time on Facebook and Twitter and other social networking sites. Its part of what I do for a living. I don’t play the computer games, I don’t answer online quizzes, I don’t want to. I spend all of my online time networking with other people, informing them, asking questions, answering questions, and sharing other things that I think are interesting with my friends. I find it a very useful place to spend time: I’ve made real, close ‘offline’ friends through Facebook who I might never have met otherwise.

It’s important for me to remember though that there are people who won’t use these sites, who think that they are an intrusion in their privacy. I met someone last weekend that vehemently refuses to take part, who thinks that Big Brother is going to take control of us. They could be right, but so far I haven’t been subject to identity theft, and my (albeit empty) bank account is secure. I think I’m just as likely to have my purse stolen when I walk down Jaime 3 in Palma. There are nastier sides to it I know: I’ve read the news reports about online paedophiles and suicide cults, but to avoid those isn’t it just down to common sense and managing your children’s use of the computer?

For all of the perceived dangers of social network sites, I think if you don’t use one then you’re missing out. Facebook has given me entertainment, it’s given me work, it’s given me support, but this week Facebook outdid itself. It gave me, and La Gidg, a piano. I have a new year’s resolution to encourage my daughter to learn an instrument, and I have always wanted to learn to play the piano. So I posted a comment online, wondering if there was an upright piano for sale on the island, and almost immediately got responses, one of them an offer of a baby grand piano if I wanted it. If I wanted it! Wow. The amazing thing is that I hadn’t ever met the person who offered me the piano, we’ve been online friends for a while, but had never met. We have now; I’ve been for a reccie to my new offline friend’s house. The, her, OUR piano, is beautiful, and I am so thrilled to be given it. Thank you Birgitta! Now all I have to do is find a friend who moves pianos for a living. Better get back online and pop that up on Facebook…

(published on on 13th January 2011)

Sant Sebastian Fiestas in Palma 2011 coming up  very soon!


Festes de Sant Sebastià 2011

The festivities held in honour of the patron Saint of Palma; Sant Sebastià are always something to look forward to during the month of January. This year is no exception and the fiestas are set to start on the 15th and go on until the 23rd.

A myriad of events have been organized by the town hall, including all manner of cultural events, exhibitions, competitions, activities for children, sporting events and parties across the city.

Don´t miss:
The Blessing of the Animals on the 17th of January, Sant Antoni, along Calle Sant Miquel
‘La Revetla’ live music and bonfires at many squares across the city on the 19th of January
The firework display and ‘dimonis’ show in front of the cathedral on the 22nd of January

Don’t forget:
To take something to put on the grill and enjoy a traditional Sant Sebastià barbecue, the town hall provides the fire, so just take what you would like to have on the grill.

First ‘Not So Strictly’ of 2011: Saturday 29th January

The first ‘Not So Strictly’ competition of 2011 will be held on Saturday 29th January at Pacha night club,  C/Cordoba, Son Caliu. Doors open 8pm * buffet included * reduced bar prices Tickets on sale NOW 20€ After event access to Pacha club is complimentary

They are also hosting an exclusive ‘lunch after the night before’

A delicious tapas & Full Roast 2 course dinner served with complimentary drinks throughout the meal at Pacha restaurant Sunday 30th January from 1pm Reduced rate for all ‘Strictly’ ticket holders 25€

Please call Ian or Rebecca for details or mail them at this address.

They very much look forward to hearing from you.

Ian Pickles & Rebecca Andrews

Pickles Dance Studio

606672419 / 676583173



What’s on in Mallorca this week.

Iron Cockerel, Magalluf

Hi Vicki, we have a couple of things coming up. The first is next saturday the 15th, an open pool competiton in the bar. Its 1,50 per person for entry, and 1st prize is 10€ a drink and a shot, 2nd is 5€ and a shot, 3rd and 4th get a bottle of wine each. Food will be laid on too. Register from 830pm, to start at 9,00pm.
The second is 5th Feb, a curry and quiz night, teams of 3 or 4 players, 5€ entry per team. 4 catagories of music, sports, general knowledge and a picture round. 3 different curries to choose from at half time, inc a veggie one.

Thanks Rhonda x

Agua Bar

Hope everyone had a happy new year! Because the 1st Saturday of the month fell on January 1st, we moved Charity Saturday to tomorrow (January 8th). So if you were angry with yourself for not enjoying a beer or four at Agua and helping out some people who could use your help… Don’t worry. You can join us tomorrow! Please come to Agua Bar tomorrow for Charity Saturday and help make the world a little better.

Mallorca Hiking

We have the Palma art & architecture tour scheduled for next Wed 12th! all details on the website… starts at 10 @ Plaza Cort olive tree, easy walking incl. Cathedral, galleries 50 euros includes lunch. ta muchly Fx

La Tienda Charity Shop in Magaluf are starting their January 1€ or less Super sale on Monday. 10th January. so come and grab some bargains!!!!!!! Hi Vicki, the charity shop is to benefit locals who need it we have raised money for Baby Charlie for instance, and it is in Magaluf behind willies bar just up from Majorca Beach Hotel. hope this is of help

Zumba Classes Hi Vikki… yes you could tell all about Zumba classes..resuming full classes next week


Fight for your rights

So, hang on a minute. Firstly there is a smoking ban which is the strictest across Europe, including banning smoking in bars and restaurants, school and hospital grounds. Apparently if you smoke in your car and there are children in your car you can get fined. But we already know that smoking kills. I get it. I understand it, I support the ban. I’m down with that, as they say.

But now it turns out that the sweets that were thrown at the Three Kings’ Parade in Palma could only be thrown from the floats if they were sugar-free. The Consell de Palma did a good thing by making the event more accessible to children with special needs: there was an opportunity for sight impaired kids to meet the Kings, and the hearing impaired had a sign language interpretation of the parade, and there was a special area for seriously ill children to watch the whole shebang from, but sweets? Banning sugar? No way. Surely that’s down to me, the parent?

You see I grew up around sugar, my mother worked for Cadburys Schweppes. My brothers and I would look forward to the when she would come home from work laden with goodies from the staff shop: reject chocolate biscuits, Fry’s Chocolate Cremes, Double Deckers. Chocolate was like the sixth food group in my family. But it wasn’t always around; it was something to look forward to. Then there was my grandma, a boiled sweet addict: pineapple cubes, Army and Navy, rhubarb and custard, all wrapped up in perfect paper bags, tucked into various pockets around her person, and you might just get lucky and be awarded with something or other. Sweets are a part of childhood, they are a treat. Yes, they make your teeth rot, and they make you fat, but there’s something naughty about them that kids love. And it’s down to me, the mummy, to regulate them, not the government.

What’s next? Is the state is going to take full responsibility for my child? Can I stop teaching her to look both ways before she crosses the road because there’s going to be a lollipop lady shadowing her every move? Wouldn’t be more sensible to think about the things which could actually harm our children at these public events? Such as the insane Nit de Focs, and the demonis who run through the crowds with lit fireworks, flaming torches and chainsaws? (Well, they do down our parts). Or, what about Sant Antoni, the Festival of the Animals? In Andratx horses gallop up the main road past babies in their prams. That’s pretty scary, not even the priest who is blessing the animals and their owners looks entirely confident as he’s being born down on by a snorting, over excited stallion. Now that’s something that could do with some thought.

It’s just plain silly to ban children from sweets, get a grip Consell de Palma. Forbidding sugar at the Three Kings’ Parade was a PR step too far.

published on