Month: May 2014

The Universal Bookshop in Portals Nous celebrates a milestone.

Universal Bookshop, Portals Nous, Mallorca, Kay Halley

Kay Halley

The Universal Bookshop in Portals Nous has been there for about 40 years. It is a lifeline to many residents and tourists who are avid readers. When it changed hands two years ago none of the locals could have been prepared for the incredible warmth and friendliness of the new owner, Kay Halley. Universal Bookshop, Portals Nous, Mallorca, Kay Halley It’s a testament to Kay’s determination and passion that her little bookshop has been going from strength to strength ever since. Kay’s two year business plan has come to fruition through a lot of hard work and support from her contact with local authors, businesses and friends. It has to be said that you have to work hard and be innovative in the current economic climate  so Kay has increased the stock of study books and children´s fiction and also stocks the latest best sellers. She can guarantee delivery of books by tracking her orders from a major UK supplier; if you are buying a present then you can get it gift wrapped for free and she also now offers cash back through the Lyoness scheme. Universal Bookshop, Portals Nous, Mallorca, Kay Halley Kay has gone to great efforts to reach out into the local community and offer her shop as a place for people to get together. Not only does the bookshop sell books but it also  stocks yarns and knitting equipment which has enable Kay to teach school children how to knit. Kay also encourages local volunteers to get busy with their needles and make blankets for Mediterranea NGO. She is always ready to offer advice and help to get you started if you are feeling crafty. Plus the lending library has developed to include books in German, Spanish, Swedish, Dutch and Danish with a small number in other languages. Children can also borrow books. And she has kept the prices competitive making the cost of borrowing a book around €2.50. Universal Bookshop, Portals Nous, Mallorca, Kay Halley Kay however is not resting on her laurels and plans to expand her work in the community, and add one or two more products to her stock. She recently ran a book fair (at their invitation) in a school in Palma and they have made her a ´Friend´ of the school, which will enable her to work more closely with them and offer a substantial commission which is something she is able to do with organisations. Universal Bookshop, Portals Nous, Mallorca, Kay HalleyA nice gathering of well-wishers joined Kay to celebrate her two year anniversary recently with a lovely reception and a delicious cake.  Kay who really is passionate about passing on skills and knowledge and spreading the love of reading said “Thank you for the amazing support that I have been given since coming here, it means so much to me that it moves me to tears”.  Good luck Kay, and The Universal Bookshop, and here’s to many more celebrations!   You can read about the blanket project here:

Easter Babies

Oliver Neilson, Photographer, Mallorca How was your Easter? Easter is the time of fertility and babies. But no, not human babies, but kittens. Of course this can only mean one thing, yes I am currently sat with a 3 day old motherless kitten on my lap whilst I am typing with one hand. It’s quite a thing I can tell you. I volunteered the family to look after some abandoned kittens, and I am quite proud to say that we have all stepped up to the mark. The kittens were found in a box behind the Eroski in Llucmajor and were passed on to Elaine and Nicky at Cat and Kitten Mallorca (you can find them on Facebook) and then passed on to us to be cared for until they are old enough to eat by themselves. We immediately named them after well known supermarkets in the UK to honour their ignoble beginnings, so if you’re looking for kittens, then I can recommend Sainsbury (pictured, loving, inquisitive, sleeps a lot) and Morrison (grey, tabby, gobby, likes to eat) as they have come from fine parents!

There are many things which I had not considered when offering to feed these tiny furballs, for example, did you know that their ears flap backwards and forwards when they are drinking milk from a bottle? Or that you have to rub their bottoms with a damp cosmetic pad to get them to urinate? Apparently their real mothers would lick their bottoms, but that’s a step too far for me. Or that when they start to poo it is actually green? Or that when they cry for attention they sound like seagulls?

Luckily for us and for the kittens we pretty much work 24 hours a day in our house (one of us is normally awake and attached to a computer in the office or working on a photo or writing an article, occasionally we even do things like cook and wash up) so there isn’t much trouble with maintaining the two hourly feeding routine, although last week when we were both at The Crew Show working we did secretly take them with us in a carry box and leave them under my desk so that we could make sure they were fed. It’s quite like having your own baby, the constant care and the milk feeds, but unfortunately no nappies, just green poo on my jeans (nice).  But unlike your own baby you can give them back when they start to wean, which is great because our adult cats are all sniffing around very suspiciously: we haven’t allowed them to be in contact with the kittens for everyone’s safety.

There have been a huge amount of baby cats abandoned in Mallorca in the past couple of weeks and the refuges desperately need foster carers who can bottle feed baby cats. You can give them back to the refuges once they are old enough that they can eat by themselves. If you can help then get in touch with me on or via my blog or through Facebook (search for me Vicki McLeod and send me a message) and I will hook you up. You won’t regret it, it’s a wonderful experience.