Month: February 2016

Put Your “X” In The Box


Donald Rumsfield famously said “There are known knowns. These are things we know that we know. There are known unknowns. That is to say, there are things we know we don’t know. But there are also unknown unknowns. There are things we don’t know we don’t know”. As I think about this I’m sitting in Las Columnas in Palma de Mallorca. The weather is a balmy 18°C and I have just been in a meeting with a Spanish client. Earlier today I met with an Italian artist, and before that I had a coffee with a French colleague. Now I’m working on my regular column for the Euro Weekly for the British residents of Spain. I’ve lived in Mallorca for almost twelve years now, but last weekend I went back to the UK for a quick visit. It was exciting to see the new restaurants and products which you can get in the shops over there, and it was lovely to catch up with my old friends, but would I really want to live there anymore? I really don’t know. With the EU referendum coming up my husband and I have both checked that we are registered to vote, and we intend to. We hadn’t felt that we had the right to vote for the UK general elections, after all, we don’t live there anymore. We would love to have the right to vote in the Spanish ones, but apparently, according to Spanish politicians non Spanish EU members just don’t have the interest in politics, so why should they bother changing the law? It’s a complicated situation: we are all entering the unknown, the British politicians don’t know any more than we do what might happen if the UK decided to leave the EU, they also don’t know what would happen to people like me. I’m a Brit, with a green residencia paper (currently being upgraded to permanent status thanks to Mallorca Solutions) but if my country of birth leaves the EU, will I lose some of the rights that I have here in Europe?


On the other hand, what if it improves the situation for us Spain lovers? If Britain is no longer a member of the EU perhaps I will then become able to vote in the National and Regional elections… what a treat that would be, to have a say in how my taxes are distributed. My friend Kate tells me that I shouldn’t underestimate the importance of the local elections and the power of our mayors when I grumble about it, she’s right that I don’t really understand about the direct impact they can have on my quality of life. I voted in the last local elections here on the island, did you?

Are you registered to vote?  If you aren’t registered, why aren’t you registered? It’s your duty, and your responsibility and your right to have your say. And if you don’t put your “x” in the box then it is seen as a lack of interest which subsequently leads to our rights as British nationals living in Spain to be ignored again. I for one am still a British passport holder, but if it came to it, would I relinquish my status and become a Spanish citizen? Will it come to that? Nobody knows. mallorcamatters

The Serpent’s Sting

By Vicki McLeod

Photos: Taz Darling


As the traditional family summer holiday season in Majorca gets shorter so the cycling season is getting longer. Dan and Emelie Marsh run Marsh-Mallows,  which is Majorca’s premier luxury cycling concierge service. They’re a registered tour operator based on the island,  attracting guests mainly from the UK.  Recently they ran the first ever Sa Calobra Time Trial which attracted a good mix of professional and amateur riders to the event. I went along to meet Dan to find out more.

Vicki McLeod: Tell me about yourselves.

Dan Marsh: I have always been actively into team sports.  About eight years ago, I got into cycling and when we moved here from London in 2010, I discovered a true passion for cycling amongst the inhabitants of Majorca.  My background as a director in the hospitality industry in London led me to setting up a luxury cycling company with a bit of a difference. I cycle with virtually all our groups and am still incredibly passionate about food and drink.  This island is addictive and I love nothing better than showing my clients the spots you would never normally find. Emelie is the brains behind the operation, she’s a professional show jumper, originally from Stockholm.   


VMc: So how would you describe the business?

DM: We create bespoke cycling trips for private and corporate guests.  We host luxury cycling holidays in Majorca and run a number of charity cycling events on the island.  We also organise trips to a number of sportives both here and in Europe.  


VMc:  Is it a training camp or a luxury cycling holiday?

DM: Definitely a holiday. Generally our daily rides are about 100km/60miles, we always include some challenging climbs (total ascent +1500m/5000ft) and we love non cyclists. Most trips are perfect for couples and groups of friends that want an active break.


VMc: Why the Sa Calobra TT?

DM: Sa Calobra is without doubt, the most feared climb on the island and a must do for many cyclists.  The route is 10km of tarmac draped off the side of a mountain. The 26 hairpin turns, climbs 668 metres from sea level, at an average of a 7.1% gradient.  The final hairpin is so extreme it does a full 360° turn and heads back over itself! It’s nickname is The Serpent, and it’s certainly got a sting in its tail.


I had been working with Bernat Vallori from the Escorca council to look at ways of creating a cycling event that encompassed Majorca’s most challenging and iconic climb.  This year we tested the format with about 30 cyclists with a view to developing it into a viable fundraising event for the future – the money would go to two cancer charities ASPANOB & Cancer research UK.


The vision is to create an event that has a community and inclusive feel but has a competitive element. I want it to involve professional and amateur riders and be a vehicle for raising the  profile of young riders from Majorca. Because of the way that Sa Calobra is we would never be able to have more than fifty participants at a time so it will always feel special and won’t be a mass participation event. And I wanted it to promote the true culture of Majorca and the Tramuntana.


VMc: Ambitious!  

DM:  We were fortunate enough to attract a great deal of professional cycling support and interest. We welcomed to Majorca:  Veit Hammer, the Marketing and Event Director of the MTN Qhubeka team, Barbara Guarishi from the Velocio-Sram Cycling team, who was returning from Richmond as one of the World Champions in the Team Time Trial, Joan Horrach who is from Majorca and for the last thirteen years has been a professional rider from 2000-13 riding several Tours de France, Giros and Vueltas, George Harper, Chris Opie and Sam Williams from One Pro cycling, Guy Andrews, the founder of Rouleur Magazine and publicist, James Golding a three times cancer survivor and cycling world record chaser who had just returned from completing the Haute Route triple crown and Jakub Pieniazek, the current coach of the Active Jet Pro Continental Team.  


VMc: Wow! That’s impressive.  How did the day work out?

DM: We were really happy with how it was received and how the day went, so a success I think. A coach and bike shuttle service transported the bikes and riders from Port de Soller to the Gorge Blau lake. Everyone hopped out and cycled to the start – up over Coll de Reis and the descent down to Sa Calobra. The time trial worked with randomly generated start times, with a cyclist being released every 30 seconds at the bottom of Sa Calobra, the professionals’ start times were spread throughout the field. The finish line was under the bridge where the road loops round in a full 360 degrees. Once the riders had finished their ride they then could take a seat at the cafe at the finish and watch their fellow competitors drag themselves over the finish! After we’d done the prize giving we all cycled the 75km (800m vertical) back to Port de Soller via Caimari, Santa Maria, Bunyola and then over the Coll de Soller and went straight to Hotel Esplendido where a hot paella was waiting for us.


VMc: I can imagine that if you were an amateur rider knowing you had a pro rider right behind you might be either terrifying or electrifying! What a great idea. Was the event supported by international cycling businesses and local businesses as well?

DM: Yes, we had four main sponsors. The first one was One Pro Cycling which is a UK professional team. It  is owned by retired professional cricketer Matt Prior and businessman Simon Chappell. The team officially launched on this year in February in the UK domestic road race scene, their highlight of their first year has been picking up two jerseys in the Tour of Britain in September. They are already using Majorca as a training camp, spending  two and a half weeks this spring in Port Pollensa training and developing the culture of their team. They are intending on competing internationally and have applied for a UCI Pro-Continental licence as the next step towards competing in Grand Tours.  Our other three sponsors were Cervélo, a cycling brand making top class bikes, Hotel Esplendido where we catered for the riders after the Time Trial, we often use this hotel in Soller for our cycling trips, and SEO Iberica, who provided our web and SEO design.


VMc: Why do you think the Time Trial appealed to the visiting non professional riders?

DM: It is one thing to ride the same roads as the professionals, to ride the same bike as the professionals, to wear the same clothes as the professionals, to compare your performance to the professionals. But to ride in the same race as the professionals, at the same time at the professionals,  that is something different. The Sa Calobra Time Trial allowed them to genuinely compare their time with the pros and appreciate the speed they race up Majorca’s most feared climb. 


VMc: How are your plans developing for a repeat of the Time Trial next year?

DM: I’ve been very lucky to have had the support from Bernat Vallori at Escorca Council, I’m hopeful that between us and with the continued support of our sponsors we will be able to make it happen! I’m hoping to raise a lot of money for charity in the coming years.


For more information about other events that Marsh Mallows runs visit




Male Professionals
Harper, George 00:27:40
Williams, Sam 00:28:45
Horach, Joan 00:30:00
Female Riders
Guarishi, Barbara 00:37:47
Handyside, Katie 00:45:07
Neudorfer, Johanna 00:48:47
Local Riders
Wright, Harry 00:31:13
Fernandez Minino, Miguel 00:32:03
Goitia, Ignacio 00:32:06


The GrapeVine


Santosha Cafe in Palma

So, when you see a new business starting up and talking about operating within very strong ethics then I think it’s a good idea to go along, check them out, support them, find out about them, and if you like the food/place/people, then make sure you return. I had the opportunity to go to a new place I keep hearing about when my friend and colleague Aimee celebrated her birthday a week or so ago. We met up with about a dozen friends and had a menu del dia together at Santosha which is just off Bon Aire in Palma. I was seriously impressed with the venue, the care taken by the owners and staff there, and of course, the food. I found out that Santosha café-restSantosha Cafeaurant is the fruit of years of planning for the owners. They care deeply about slow food, family, community and the planet, and this care is behind everything they do. Most of the food they serve comes from local organic producers. Their menus will change according to what fresh fruit and vegetables are in season. Any animal products they serve come from animals who have enjoyed a good life and been treated humanely. Their coffee, tea, sugar, chocolate and other ingredients that cannot be Santosha Cafe (2)grown locally are all sourced from small companies who treat their employees with the same respect with which they endeavour to treat theirs. What they hope to create is, above all, a positive and welcoming space for food lovers and art lovers, for readers and day-dreamers, for coffee addicts and yogis, for worn-out parents and lovely loners and everything in between.  I’m definitely returning soon! You can see more about them on

Can Corem

Last year, at the party to end all parties: Sa Taronja, my wedding anniversary, it was fantastic, we had Jerry with his amazing free range hog roast, karaoke, too much wine, a million friends and…. these guys: Delta Flo. Now they will be performing on Saturday Great Delta Trio!night (30 Jan) at Can Corem. They play Country & Southern Rock, Bluegrass, and Delta Blues. So if you want to hear achingly beautiful, cry in your beer ballads, foot stompin’ rockin rhythms, and dueling instruments then you might want to get over to Can Corem which is between Llucmajor and Campos. Entry is 10€ per person, and you can get yourself fed there as well if you want to eat. The musicians are an international bunch. You will see and hear Isaac Vega (Spanish) playing acoustic guitar and
singing harmonies, Lynn Gaydosh on lead vocals (from Ohio, USA), and Soriana Ivaniv (from the Ukraine) playing violin and singing harmonies. Doors open at 19.00 and the show starts at 20.00. Find out more at



The AGM for Europeos Por Espana will happen on Thursday 4th February at 6.30pm for 7pm at the OD Hotel in Portals. Anyone who wishes to attend should make sure they are punctual.


Vamos Challengers!

We’ve started the first Challenge of the year, and so far, so good. I’m being fairly dedicated: getting up extremely early in the morning (by my standards anyway) to train
at Crossfit Mallorca, and then arriving back in my village in time to capture photos of the s'Arraco mistearly morning mist and sunrise. I understand from our captain, Lidia Villalonga, that she has a few surprises in store for different training venues oThe Challengers in various states of pain!ver the next eight weeks, for example I know for sure that we will be invading a children’s playground somewhere in Palma! It’s fun. Whoever thought I would write that!

Flash bang wallop!

Pernilla shooting Noemi at Mood

Bikini shoot at Mood

Even though Mood has been closed for holidays (reopens on February 12th in time for Valentine’s Day which will be lovely) we’ve seen a lot of photo shoots. One for a new wedding store destined to open in Santa Catalina, another for a bikini catalogue (thoseAll made and ready for my close up girls must have been freezing, but they look great) and even with one for a project I am involved in. A photographer who I have known about for a while, Pernilla Danielsson and the team from Look Mallorca, came to shoot their profile photos at Mood. There was hair and makeup, and hopefully there might be a tad of Photoshop to make the larger members of the team (okay, me) look a bit thinner, younger, more like Penelope Cruz… a girl can dream!


Carlos doing his Respiralia presentation

I was asked by Carlos Pons from the Respiralia Foundation to attend their ten year anniversary last week to take photos for them. I was sitting in the front row with my camera, ready for action, when up on the slide show popped my face and the faces of Margaret and Tony Whittaker! We were thanked, along with other expats, for our work in helping to raise funds for the organisation. It was a lovely surprise, and very nice to be thanked. If you want to know more about the foundation which supports children with cystic fibrosis and their families, then visit

Renee’s party!

Renee and friends

Someone else who has a big heart is Renee who will soon be celebrating her birthday. She doesn’t want presents though, she’s decided instead to raise money for animals on the island. You can make her wish come true by attending Bar Leos (opposite The House of Katmandu in Magaluf) on February 6th from 5pm until late. The theme of the party is Blue, so I guess you should wear something Euro-coinblue, or maybe go as a smurf! The singer Angel Flukes will be performing, there will be a tombola, a quiz, a raffle and karaoke, so plenty to keep you entertained. The money raised will be going to pay for the castration of street cats and to help other animals as well. Well done Renee, and the best of luck!

Supper Club Networking Group

A previous Supper Club meeting

Finally, the first meeting of The Supper Club for 2016 will be on Thursday February 18th at 7pm. If you want to attend then send me an email to