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August events in Mallorca

It’s August, and it’s hot. A lot of people are taking a daily siesta and turning nocturnal to try to escape the heat. Most events are outdoors this time of year, and all of them happen in the evening!

Tonight, if you’re quick, then you can get tickets to see UB40 play at Port Adriano, and Afrojack is playing at BH Mallorca in Magaluf.

There are many fiestas happening all over the island, Sencelles, Alcudia, Sineu, Cala D’Or, Valldemossa, Montuiri, Can Picafort, and Puigpunyent all have something going on at the moment.

Alternatively you can go to the outdoor cinema in Palma, the films are either in English with Spanish subtitles, or in Spanish or Catalan with English subtitles. Entry is free and there is no need to book. Tonight it is an American movie called Maudie. Every Saturday evening they will show a movie suitable for children. Most of the showings start at 9.30pm.

Or on a hot summer’s night you’d like to listen to some jazz then get yourself over to Sa Pobla where there Jazz festival is going on. Tonight is the Mallorca Jazz Collective lead by pianist Toni Voquer.

There is a lovely Sunset Market every Wednesday and Thursday in August in Puerto Portals from 6pm to Midnight. There are stalls, live music and activities for children as well as some nice stalls to browse.

Every Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday in Port Adriano if you are dining out then watch out for the micro flamenco performances which are happening all over the port. Dancers, singers, and musicians will tour around the restaurants giving diners a taste of flamenco with their meal.

The 24th Illes Balears Classic yacht race begins tomorrow and runs over the weekend. The marina at Club de Mar will host an exhibition of classic boats, the oldest being the Marigan yacht from 1898 which the public can visit on Friday 17th.

From August 17th through to the 29th of September there are activities planned at the Es Baluard museum with their summer festival. Many of the events are free. Check their website for more info. https://www.esbaluard.org/en/actividad/fes-2018

Over in Felanitx from the 24th of August to the 1st of September you can enjoy art at night. Galleries and other cultural spaces will open their doors for the evening and anyone and everyone can wander in and out enjoying the art and the atmosphere.

If you’re feeling fit then you could sign up to the first nighttime triathlon which will take place on August 25th in Sa Pobla. The course is a 400 metre swim, 20 kilometre cycle, and 5 kilometre run. You can sign up via the website, www.elitechip.net

From the 31st August until 9th September there are the annual fiestas in Santa Ponsa, on Tuesday September 4th there will be the fire run at 10pm and on the night of September 8th there will be the annual reenactment of the invasion of the Moors and the battle with the Christians followed by a huge concert on the beach. The following day in the evening there will be a Holi Party which is inspired from the Indian festival of colour, everyone is asked to wear white, but beware as you will soon be covered in non toxic paint powder of every colour! Finally the fiestas close that night with fireworks.

(PS From September the Writers Group will start again to meet every Thursday at the L’Antiquari Cafe in Palma from 11.30 to 1pm).

MARCH EVENTS FOR MALLORCA

Tomorrow evening, Tuesday the 13th March there will be a “Mad for Mutts” Palma Dog Quiz Fundraiser. It starts at 7pm at The Boathouse in Palma. There will be loads of prizes on offer and it’s a big support for animals which need rehoming. DETAILS HERE: Mad For Mutts

On Thursday March 15th there will be a book launch for Samantha Meade-Newman Whittington, her first book “Rosamunda y las Montanas del Norte” will be  Biblioteca Can Sales in Placa Porta de Santa Catalina from 7pm.  Also that same evening Club Ultima Hora has organised a conference with Chris Sharma, a famous climber from California who will talk about sports climbing in Mallorca. The event is free and starts at 8pm at the Trui Theatre. You have to pick up an invitation from the Palau de la Premsa in Palma beforehand. DETAILS HERE

On Friday March 16th at 8pm you can join the Mood Singers for The Rhythm of Life concert in aid of Cala Nova Cancer Care. The event will be at the Anglican Church in Son Armadans Palma. Tickets are 10€ per person including a drink and nibbles.

Also on Friday evening it’s the opening night of Stereo in Magaluf, marking the beginning of their season. DETAILS HERE

From the 16th to the 18th of March you can try out the island’s best craft beers and live music at the Bierkonig Centre in S’Arenal.

On Saturday 17th March there will be a mindfulness workshop. Designed as an entry level to mindful meditation you will practice meditation, mindful waking and eating and talk about the health benefits. DETAILS HERE

On Saturday evening at MariSol Yoga in Placa del Progreso in Palma there will be a women’s circle event from 8pm to 9pm. It’s an open event and all women are invited to join.  DETAILS HERE

Sunday the 18th of March will feature the St Patrick’s Festival in Santa Ponca, there’s plenty of market stalls, entertainments, and the Guinness will be flowing!

On Wednesday 21st March there will be the grand opening of a new handmade ice cream shop in Palma, called Bo Bom Gelato. They will be offering “true” Gelato, gelato cakes, Italian hot chocolate, Easter Eggs, and freshly made Italian Easter cakes called Colomba, and plenty of Prosecco as well!  DETAILS HERE

Also on Wednesday 21st March from 10am to 1pm there will be a Spring Equinox inspired session, the Sacred Chant Awakening the Divine Femine. It will be at Peopletree in Alaro and led by yoga teacher Jeanne Lurie. It will include a gong deep relaxation session.

On the evening of the 21st of March you can catch the Moscow Ballet at Palma Auditorium performing Swan Lake.

On the weekend of the 24th and 25th of March there will be the Sheep and Goat fair in Calvia village. There’s always loads going on, including plenty of animals to go and see, pony rides for children, market stalls and plenty of fun and games.

On Saturday March 24th there will be a  Car Boot Sale at the BIC school in Magaluf from 1.30 to 4.30pm. Anyone who wants a pitch should contact the school in advance.  Also on the same day you can catch the Fiesta de la Primavera at Port Adriano, El Toro where they promise to offer loads of family friendly activities.

Also over the weekend of the 24th and 25th there is a theatre event called Spring In The Magic Forest. It’s aimed at kids and will be performed at the Palma Auditorium. The show is in Spanish and English and the kids will be invited up on to stage so make sure they wear their animal costumes. DETAILS HERE

Also on Saturday March 24th there will be a March For Our Lives event held in Palma. This is a protest in support of the kids and families in America who are marching all over the country on this day in an attempt to change the gun laws. The march organisers are asking for everyone to come and join them in the peaceful protest to send a message from across the world to the US government.  Meet in Plaza La Lonja at 10am, wear a white shirt with red or blue, bring friends, family, neighbours and anyone who cherishes peace and life.     DETAILS HERE

28th March art exhibition opening at the Century 21 Palm Beach offices in Paseo de Mallorca. The artist Sebastian Bispo will be showing his most recent works.

On Saturday 31st March the next edition of the Vegan Day Out will be hosted at the Son Alegre Vinyard in Calogne. It starts at 1pm and will feature live music, yoga, meditation, cooking workshops, an organic wine bar and more. DETAILS HERE

If you like fun fairs then you have until the 15th of April to go along to the Fira del Ram. It’s down beside the Son Castello industrial estate in Palma and is open every day.

Looking into April, there will be an training event for entrepreneurs on the 13th to the 15th April called Woha.  DETAILS HERE

Christmas in Mallorca, the Grapevine continues…

How was it for you? Christmas I mean. Have you come out the other side intact? I really hope so. We have work to do this year. But first, a recap of various healthy and/or drunken activities that I was able to be involved in over the festivities.

Christmas Eve at the Cathedral in Palma, Vicki McLeod photographer

Christmas Eve

Every year that we have been here for Christmas we’ve gone into Palma on Christmas Eve and had a wander around, looking at the lights, passing by the Cathedral (we always seem to coincide with the end of the German language service so my husband often bumps into real estate agents he knows!) and some kind of chocolate and churros stop off. This year we also stopped off outside of Nice Price and put some money in the tins of the Rotary Club who were outside collecting.

The Christmas Day Dip in El Toro, Vicki McLeod photographer

Christmas Day Dip

Another traditional (and let’s face it, unhinged) event for us is the mad dash into the sea at El Toro beach at midday. It’s been organised by Emma Conlin and Leon Blakely from Universal Nautic for as long as I’ve known about it. Everyone, including the pooches, were dressed up in Christmas outfits or fancy dress. One pug in particular caught my eye. There was much merriment, and brandy, and cava. We’d taken our little dog Basil along with us for an outing but completely forgot that the midday signal to run into the water was a firework. As I was knee deep in the sea ready to take the photo and my family were lined up to run like loons into the chilly waters no one was keeping an eye on our nervous dog. The firework went off and so did he careening across the beach and into the unknown roads of Port Adriano. Forty five minutes and many tears later we found him, or he found us, either way we were reunited. Thankfully!

The HIghland Games in Peguera, photographer Vicki McLeod

The Highland Games

A break from tradition for us on Boxing Day meant a trip to Peguera beach to join approximately 130 other people to take part in hilarious The Highland Games organised by local Scot and all round jolly lassie, Amanda Hibbert and her lovely family. We competed in teams in the various events including Wellie Flinging, a piggy back race, a tug of war and tossing the caber. I’m not going to lie, I’m very proud to tell you I was the overall winner of the women’s division in the caber toss. Finally, I have discovered my athletic gifts. We were joined on the beach by a German gentleman called Phillip who was dressed in Lederhosen, he participated enthusiastically, and said  that he learnt a lot about Scottish culture in the process.

Christmas walks in Mallorca, Vicki McLeod photographer

Christmas Walkies

I believe that most Christmas activities if they are not eating or drinking should involve being outside and that at least one dog should be in attendance. Hence I like to go to or organise plenty of walks and messing about, it’s a good way to burn off some mince pies, and also get out of the house and enjoy our beautiful island whilst everyone else is away visiting their families. We were joined by a good turnout of about thirty people for our “round the block” walk around the edges of our village. Some of the walkers hadn’t ever been to s’Arraco before and have subsequently been back a couple of times since to walk as they enjoyed it so much. Perhaps we should found the s’Arraco tourist board.

Orient waterfalls, photographer Vicki McLeod

A trip to Orient and the waterfalls

A place which I have often read and heard about but up until now had not had the chance to go to see are the cascadas between Orient and Bunyola. It did take some determination to make it happen, but I was not disappointed by the beautiful walk we were treated to. Again we took little Basil who behaved himself impeccably on and off the lead, and we were joined by more friends who were inspired to come along and explore. The actual walk is as difficult as you want to make it. You wander along a path from the road down to a stile and then another one which asks you to put your dog on a lead. Then you come to the river and stepping stones (which is where you might want to kick yourself for not wearing more waterproofed footwear, so take my advice and make sure you do) there you have to hop over a few stones and perhaps get a little damp in the process. Then another short walk through a forest which could have been taken straight out of a Tolkein novel and you are there alongside the waterfalls. When we were there we watched some canyoners abseiling down the rock face through the water gushing over the side, it looked exciting, but a bit too cold for me. My companions thought it looked like something they would like to have a go at, and the guides from “Tramuntana Tours” seemed very competent so perhaps they will go back and try. We kept walking for a while and then decided to turn back and return to the cars but we could have kept going for quite a while apparently. A fifteen minute drive to Alaro later and we were sat in the main square with glasses of wine and slices of pa’amb’oli. Very civilised.  We’re intending to go to more places this year which we have not been to in Majorca, it’s not exactly a 2017 resolution as much as the same one we’ve been making for years now and not managing to realise. Next up is the Barranc in Biniarix, and then Galatzo in Calvia. I’m determined to finally visit these places in Majorca this year and get to the really special spots which I haven’t been to yet.

What’s next?

January is normally a month that moves at a slower pace for me because of the weather, but still it’s a great time of year to be on the island. We’re looking forward to the St Antoni and St Sebastian fiestas and to slowly moving back to speed after a much needed Christmas break. But there’s always plenty coming up in Majorca to keep us busy. Just as I write my husband is starting to receive his annual phone calls from professional cycling teams arriving on the island who want him to photograph them training and racing. I have started a new project which I will be writing about on Sundays in the Majorca Daily Bulletin, and also on my website http://www.mallorcamatters.com. Happy new year everyone, my best wishes to you all, I hope you have a healthy and peaceful 2017.

Good things come to those that wait

Alaro, ascent, Mallorca, Vicki McLeod

My daughter, affectionately known as La Gidg (new readers, please note, that’s not her real name) just turned eleven. When she was nine she fell over down a stoney track whilst we were out walking on Sa Trapa with a group of friends. She sliced her leg open across her kneecap and spent many months with a dressing on her leg, finally leaving a spectacular 2 inch by 5 inch scar and a big indentation where normally you would have some fat. At the beginning she was very self conscious of it, but after a while she stopped being so aware and let us make jokes about her almost losing her leg in a shark attack. That impressed some of the boys at school I can tell you. But we knew in the long run we’d have to do something about the enormous scar. It also took us a very long time to convince her that it was a fluke accident and that this shouldn’t stop her from coming on walks with us, last weekend she marched up to the top of Alaro (pictured) with me.

During the summer of 2015 we became obsessed with keeping her recovering skin away from the sun and it’s damaging rays with an elastic knee bandage. Day after day we had to be vigilant in order for the skin to not be permanently damaged. Then after the summer had gone we went back to the doctor to ask about what we could do to reduce the scar. Luckily for us this sort of procedure is available here, basically some fat is taken from another part of her body and put into the scar to smooth and fill it out.  We were told that we would be able to get her knee operated on to refill the indentation, she’s missing quite a lot of fat there, and finally today we received the call for her to go in next week for her operation. That’s about six months since the initial consultation. Now, I was about to start crowing about how good the health service in Mallorca is, but then I thought I would just check the waiting times for plastic surgery back in the UK. Guess what? They are the same. Does this mean I can compare the two services or not? I can’t make my mind up. I know that if we were living in the UK we wouldn’t have the access to our local GP in the same way that we do here, but the waiting time has surprised me. However it is the first time we’ve had to wait for anything for quite so long, in fact I had been revving myself up for a phone call to the hospital with my best Spanish practised (there’s nothing quite as intimidating as a telephone call when you’re not sure of your vocab). So at least I can strike that off my To Do list now. The op itself falls on Halloween so La Gidg’s costume for the evening is already decided, clearly she will have to go as a Mummy. Wish her luck for me please. She’s not looking forward to missing breakfast.

 

Christmas Survival

Xmas Tree Bauble

It’s happening, it’s here. The main event if you’re to believe the hype. Can it possibly live up to the expectations? Well perhaps we should measure our expectations to make sure that we can get through the next week or so with the least amount of stress. I’ve been reading around the subject of “Christmas Survival” and there’s plenty of articles out there on the web which can give you some ideas, but if you don’t have the time, here’s my round up of the best.

Blog Photo - Back to School 3

Don’t try and do everything

If you are responsible for cooking and hosting the Christmas Day activities, then don’t take it all upon yourself. Ask other family members to bring different parts of the meal, such as snacks, salads or desserts – don’t be afraid to ask for help. Make sure you have some time for YOU, even if it’s just allowing yourself to watch one special TV show that you really want to see.

Everything in moderation

Christmas seems to be all about excess – but there is not much enjoyment in feeling the size of a padded Santa suit or as stuffed as the festive turkey! The best advice is moderation – apply it to everything you eat and drink. Drink moderate amounts of alcohol and try to alternate soft drinks or water with alcoholic ones. As for food, have a bit of what you fancy but try not to stuff your face if you can help it! Difficult I know, but try.

Get active, rehydrate and sleep!dog-christmas-xmas-bulldog-medium

You’ve got to balance your festivities with some time to rest, and recuperate. Active recovery, such as taking a walk in the beautiful landscape of Mallorca is a perfect way to do this. Follow it up with a snooze on the sofa or an early bedtime.

Don’t be on your own

If you are concerned about being lonely over Christmas, either being single or unable to spend it with family, then do something about it now. Think about inviting a few others over who are in the same boat as you and consider offering your house as a venue for the event. Also try not to turn down any invitations to other festive events, provided that you are giving yourself a chance to recover in between!

A final word…

Christmas should be fun but if you find that previous years have not been enjoyable then consider doing something about it – try something different. One way would just be to get away from it all and remove the majority of the hassle from the whole festive experience. Although – we all know how stressful preparing for a holiday can be!

Happy Christmas for me and my family to you and yours. Vxxx http://www.mallorcamatters.com

F-F-F-Frio

Family Neilson McLeod in full Dragon Onesie Glory

Family Neilson McLeod in full Dragon Onesie Glory

Isn’t it cold in the sunshine paradise that is Mallorca? Do you remember your first winter on the island? Were you as amazed as I was at how horribly cold it gets here? There were some moments during that first winter when my husband and I kicked ourselves for not doing our homework properly, how could we not have known how damp and downright nasty it can get here. We barricaded ourselves into the room where our log fire was and took turns cuddling the dog to keep warm. If we hadn’t been given an electric blanket as a Christmas present we wouldn’t have a daughter now, and that is an actual fact.

It wasn’t that we didn’t have heating in our house; it was that it was ineffective, and expensive to run. Now a decade down the line we live in a different house, and we don’t have a dog. The cats aren’t so willing to be long term hot water bottle replacements, and also not as good.  So my husband and I have to run heaters under our desks to keep warm whilst sitting still for hours on end writing witty prose and photoshopping pictures. The Mallorcans used to put a heater under the kitchen table and then tuck the tablecloth around their laps, so we’ve modernised it. Which I suppose is how we managed to get an electricity bill which is 150% more than our normal bill. A whopping €577 for two months. And that doesn’t include the really, really chilly month of January. When the electric bill hit the mat both my husband and I started acting like our dads, yelling grumpily at each other to “Turn that off, shut that door, don’t forget the LIGHTS!!!!” Getting such a big bill has not been conducive to a harmonious home. It’s January after all: post-Christmas, no fuzzy happiness, and we’re deep, deep into tax return misery. Any second now the Hacienda is going to ask us for money which we’ve already spent on our electricity bill and the ridiculously expensive autonomos bills. Have you seen that information this week about the comparison between the costs of National Insurance in the UK and here? Six months contributions in Spain are 1650€ and the same six months in the UK? 78€ Things have got to change: we’ve been watching the events in Greece this week and wondering what will happen to Spain in the upcoming national elections, which we won’t be able to vote in, even though we contribute 20% of our income in taxes. Another thing which has to change.

Time to get happy, so let’s reach for the wine, although no, of course, it’s January so we’ve eschewed alcohol, and chocolate, and bread. Then there’s that moment when you look at each other and think “What the **** have we done?” Which is when I remembered that we own “onesies”. We bought them for each other in a flash of ironic Christmas shopping excitement in 2013. So now, when I am at home this is my office outfit, it keeps me warm, it’s saving on the heating, and apart from the tail getting in the way now and again, it’s very comfortable. So if you call me and I answer the phone I will have to try to keep the amusement out of my voice, can you guess what I’m wearing?

Who cares, as long as I’m not freezing.

http://www.familymattersmallorca.com

 

 

The enemy within

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When I was growing up breakfast time was always a battle. A daily war would be fought between my brothers and I about who would get the top of the milk and who would get the toy out of the cornflake packet. If you were having a good day you could score both, an okay day would be at least the others not getting a toy, and if you were having a really bad day then you would be the person with the black cornflake or rice krispie in your bowl. What is it about that? Even though there is probably nothing wrong with the offending nugget of cereal you probably wouldn’t ever eat it, would you? “Don’t be so silly”, we would be told by our grandma, “just eat it”. But there would be squeals of disgust and in some cases a bona fide reason to completely abandon breakfast all together. At least that’s how we would see it.

Breakfast in my house these days is a bit more of a random affair. La Gidg, who is now nine, is getting quite self-sufficient with breakfast and I am trying to train her to make healthy choices. Some of the cereals that we have in our house are muesli based and not the sugary options that perhaps she would really like to eat, so occasionally we have a tussle about what I think she should be having for her brekkie, and what she wants.

“Mummy! I am not going to eat this! It has black bits in it!” I instantly think of my middle brother and his firm stance about not eating unidentified weird bits in his cereal, and I transform into my Grandma. “Just eat it babe, it won’t hurt you,” I plead. “No, it has black bits in it, and they’re MOVING”.

That makes a bit of a difference.  I investigate. I pick up the bowl and immediately drop it on the floor. There’s a moth in my daughter’s breakfast. I cannot tell you how foul that is.

“Yes chick, you don’t need to eat that.” Once I have got over the disgust of finding a creature I try to work out where it has come from. I have a look in the cereal packet, nothing. Then I start to look in the cupboard and notice that yes, there does seem to be something living in there. Straight off down to the ferreteria, “I have “polillas” in my kitchen, what do I do?” The man rolls his eyes, shrugs and points me to an aisle with a variety of sticky bits of cardboard which are designed for the moths to accidentally fly on to. “That’s all you can offer me?” I think, surely if we can put a man on the moon we can control some moths in cereal with a bit more aplomb. But no, that’s it.

So now we are on moth patrol in our house. Every single dried food packet is in a sealed Tupperware container, as if it’s in an Ebola isolation tank. Thankfully, like the rest of Spain we seem to have been successful so far in containing the issue. La Gidg on the other hand is now a big fan of toast.

http://www.familymattersmallorca.com

Vicki McLeod

Back in business

 

Now that's what I call a cake!

Now that’s what I call a cake!

 

I’ve hardly been back to work five minutes and I am already up to my neck in community events and things to do, heigh ho. So here, in no particular order, are a few things for you to get yourself along to if you can.

Europeos Por España (EPORE) will be starting their autumn programme soon. There is going to be a talk on Wednesday October 15th at 18.30 at the Botel Alcudiamar in the Port of Alcudia. The speaker (who will present in English) will be Senor Antonio Deudero. He is the Director General of the Regional Government for Ports and Airports. It is free to go along but the group does like to know if you are going so please send an email to joyce@casa-rotger.net

My friends Anthea and Julian De Freitas are organising a dinner dance in Andratx at the Cultural Centre on October 24th in aid of the Cancer Support Group. It sounds like a great evening has been planned. The dress code is a touch of pink. The tickets are on sale for 50€ per person including drinks, three course dinner with wine, dancing to live music, a DJ, auction and raffle. You can reserve your tickets on 647 613 570.

It’s been ten years since LACE (which stands for Ladies’ Alliance of Communication and Enterprise) was founded. In the past year or so there has been little activity due to some changes within the running of the group; however it is planned that on Friday October 31st there will be a lunch meeting for any members old or new, and any women interested in joining a group for social and business networking purposes. So if you want to find out more and put your name down you can get in touch with me by emailing phoenixmediamallorca@gmail.com.

And one that you might have missed: a week ago last Friday there was a fantastic fundraising event, Mallorca’s Biggest Coffee Morning organised by the 41 Club and held at Mood Beach in Costa D’en Blanes. It was in aid of the Cancer Support Group, En Lazo de Movimiento and the Micky Heart Pillow Project. Many cakes were brought and entered in the five different categories: Best Chocolate, Sponge, Fruit, Decorated and Cup Cake. The judges had a tough time deciding but in the end they presented awards to the best bakers. The prizes were generously donated by local businesses Nice Price Supermarket, Bodhana Wellness, The Country Club Santa Ponça, Mood Beach Bar and Restaurant and Son Amar Dinner Show. There was also a “Guess the Weight of the Cake” competition, the winner was Jackie Codd from Age Concern who promptly re-donated the cake which was auctioned off to a hungry crowd. The great news is that 1800€ were raised for the good causes. Well done to everyone.

So we’re back! Get in touch if there’s something you want to say or visit me at http://www.familymattersmallorca.com

Happy anniversary Mallorca

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Ten years ago last weekend I drove a mini metro through France to Barcelona, got lost, couldn’t find the ferry port, almost had a nervous breakdown, found the ferry port with 2 minutes to go, and arrived finally in Mallorca with two cats and a car full of equipment for my new business to join my then boyfriend, now husband, who had moved a couple of months earlier when he’d been offered a job. I can look back on that day, and still remember every single event in it: including the egg sandwich my mum sent me off with at 6am from her house in France, and the hyperventilating cats that didn’t stop complaining for the whole 48 hour journey from London to Palma.

Ten years on, and what has changed? Well, the signposts for the ferry off the Barcelona ring road haven’t improved by all accounts, my spoken Spanish still leaves something to be desired, and I have yet to actually lie down on a beach for long enough to get a real tan (it’s all tanning fakery if you ever see me any other colour except “pale blue with freckles”). Mallorca is still as beautiful as it was when I first fell in love with the place, and I am still friends with some of the people that I first met when I arrived. Some have fallen by the wayside, moved on or away, but this leaves room for new friends and new experiences: this something I had to learn to cope with, the transience of island life.

It’s not always easy to live in Mallorca, but I still love it. I love living here and watching our daughter grow up in a beautiful, natural way, speaking three languages, playing in the sunshine and in the sea, getting a great education in a nice setting with her school in Port Andratx and the fabulous people at Kip McGrath. Our daughter is developing into a young person with her own ideas and opinions, something which makes me very proud. My husband and I have been through business success, and failure, and success again, and we’ve become part of our community here on the island, trying to contribute in the best ways that we can. Sometimes we’ve thought about going back to the UK ourselves. We left behind good jobs with great prospects to move to an island where we’ve had to fight for everything we have, nothing has been easy to get. What about the future, where will we be in another ten years’ time? I haven’t a clue, but wherever we are I hope we will be living our lives to their fullest capacity and enjoying ourselves, challenging and pushing ourselves to do more things. When you see what you can do in difficult circumstances it certainly gives you the courage to keep trying to do more.

Does that mean we’re proud of what we have achieved? You bet your life it does.

PLAYING BY THE RULES

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We went “en famille” to our local music school’s piano recitals this week. We went to watch our little girl La Gidg who was playing along with all of the other piano pupils. She was number eight on the programme, eight of forty two. Gidg was feeling quite nervy, despite practicing a lot at home on the piano that Facebook gave us : thanks to a Facebook friend we had our baby grand donated to us three years ago, and then thanks again to other Facebook friends it was transported to our house for free! We have to live up to this; we have a promise to keep. We have been quite strict with her, I have insisted that she learn to play the piano and go to her weekly lessons which she grumbles about constantly, and music isn’t easy to learn, it’s another language really, with all of its rules and regulations. I know, I know: and the pushy parent award goes to…

Gidg managed to get through her piece, more or less. She stumbled over a couple of parts, but she didn’t give up, throw her hands in the air and storm off or cry. So, given that all of those things had happened during home rehearsals over the preceding week we decided to mark this one down as “a win” for the team.

Gidg was in amongst a mixed group of kids and teenagers, some of them also stumbling, and losing their way in the music, and some of them skipping merrily through the lot without a glance at the music or even their fingers, playing all sorts from “I’m a little teapot” to pieces from Swan Lake, and everything in between. Although it was quite tempting to just slip out the back of the auditorium after Gidg had done her bit, we stayed put. It’s not the “done thing” anyway is it? I think it’s important to show the same respect for the other young musicians as they had for Gidg. At least I thought so, unlike some of the other parents who, as soon as their little darling had tickled the ivories were bundled off back into the night. A shame really as there was some serious talent playing that night at the Andratx municipal music school. Yes you read that correctly, our local music school is run by the council. It’s strange isn’t it? The priorities that our local council have: they can’t afford to put traffic calming on the main road in our village, but they can afford to run a music college.

Despite that I’m glad that we have the school, it is fantastic opportunity to be able to study there, and it’s extremely cheap. 20€ a month gets Gidg a thirty minute piano lesson every week. If she can reach the standard of some of the other pupils then it would be amazing, having the ability to play an instrument is a gift that I would hope would stay with her for all of her life and that she may eventually appreciate. As we sat there in the darkened auditorium, with Gidg leaning her head against my shoulder finally enjoying listening to some sensitive, mournful and elegant piano playing I realised that not everything should be taught: some things should be felt to be understood, and that’s just as important as following the rules.

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Written by Vicki McLeod