Month: August 2015

Now hear this

donkey ears

I can’t believe that I am writing this, but I might be about to “go private”. It’s totally against my lefty, hippy, sandal wearing principles but I have my reasons, believe me. I’ve been suffering with something which is very typical in Mallorca: recurrent ear problems. I started to feel rather ropey on a Sunday afternoon during a beach party for a friend of my daughter, so I took myself off to our local emergency room. I was swiftly diagnosed with an ear infection and prescribed antibiotic ear drops (Exhibit A) and packed on my way. Perfect, my normal experience of the Spanish public health system. No bedside manner, no big deal. I have my medication so therefore I am happy, bish bam bosh.

The following day, Monday, I made an appointment to see my family doctor. Off I trotted to see my doc, only to find in his place a rather sullen and completely disinterested locum. Well, it is August in Mallorca, so everyone has gone on their holidays. I was briefly examined by this chap who told me the first set of drops I had been prescribed were no use and that I should be using another set. I went to the Farmacia to collect them only to be told by my wonderful local chemist that the locum had prescribed had exactly the same ingredients as the emergency doctor. Hmm, thought I, not so impressive. But I bought the drops (exhibit B) to be on the safe side. The next day I woke to find I had an ear infection in the other ear, by now I was very tired, very grumpy, completely deaf and very behind in my work. I made another appointment. Expecting to see the same locum I went in to find another locum, this time he was a she, and if possible even less interested in my painful problem. “You already have the drops you need,” she told me. Yes, I have the antibiotics from Sunday but it’s now Thursday. “No, no, the drops you were given on Tuesday” she replied. I showed her both bottles, so these are not the same then? I asked her. She took the bottle (Exhibit A) and pronounced with accompanied eye rolling, “No, these are just for wax”.  At this point in the conversation I gave up, stood up, and went straight back to the Farmacia for confirmation that the doctor was wrong, she was. And then I called Dr Stoma in Portals, asked how much it would be to see him without private insurance and made an appointment.  He listened, he was polite, he examined me properly, even asking if my ears were hurting when he touched them. I didn’t realise that bedside manner was so important, but when you are feeling ill you need someone to be respectful and interested in you, not sullen, rude, rough and arrogant which is how I felt the locum doctors behaved towards me, aside from the obvious problem that neither of them had a clue what they were talking about.  It was in fact a revelation to me that a visit to a doctor’s surgery could be such a relief. Manners really do make the man.

The Nit de l’Art

Nit de L'Art, S'Arraco

It’s not possible to see everything at the  Just like my most favourite of festivals, Glastonbury, you have to mentally prepare yourself for that fact beforehand. It’s not like visiting a gallery where the works of art are neatly lined up in rows for you to inspect. No. This one night only event emerges out of the bricks and mortar of our village: art is pinned onto walls and fences that you might have previously ignored, the villagers allow artists to hang work from their “persianas” (shutters”) and some take great pride in having art that blends beautifully with the colour of the walls of their home. What was once an empty building becomes a gallery, nooks and crannies are discovered, trees suddenly become easels.

The day dawned last week and with it came the inevitable concerns about the weather. Anxiously looking at the sky and then at your work, often printed on to things which go rather soggy when wet, and then back at the sky, wondering about whether it’s worth running to get a tarpaulin, or can you risk it is a normal state of affairs for anyone showing their art. I hung up my stuff up on the fence, my husband put up some lights for me, we hunted down Mateo who had the village hammer and roll of gaffer tape to stick down any electric cables, then we put my business card next to them and then went off to explore.

Walking around the village, peeking into gardens and houses, we saw hundreds of creative works in a variety of different modalities: photographs, paintings and sculptures all exhibited outdoors on the streets of the town, houses, patios, facilities and interior galleries, the town square town and even the church. There was live music everywhere you turned, with jazz, blues, rock and even a late night impromptu punk performance down the back of one of the streets.

Like the old British street parties, everyone was on the street, happy faces, enjoying themselves, kids running around like wild things having fun, and the weather? Totally perfect. At the end of the evening when it was time to go, we took down my photos, put them in a bag, and walked back up the hill. Overnight the street cleaners were out, washing the pavements and removing litter. When the sun rose on Friday morning it was as if it had never happened. Another magical, beautiful night in Majorca. Thank you Nit de l’Art.