pets

Events in Mallorca in September

Sunday 9th September Almond harvest day at Eden Animal Sanctuary . Got a little frustration to get out? Bring a big stick and take it out on out almond trees for their almond harvest! They will start at around 10/ 10.30with tree whacking and have some kind of vegan lunch together. The funds from the harvest will go towards transport which is much needed for rescues, vet visits etc and all the rest will go directly to the animals, especially for upcoming vet bills. Apparently, they can make up to 700 EUR! Contact Nicole at http://www.edensanctuary.org

Extatcic danceTuesday, September 11th at Sala Oshum in Palma there will be an ecstatic dance night which is an evening dedicated to dance without alcohol or drugs. This will be a monthly event.

If you are new to ED, it is pretty easy…
1. Move however you wish
2. No talking on the dance floor
3. Respect yourself and one another
4. Ecstatic Dance is a Drug & Alcohol Free Space
Friday 14th September there will be Prawn Star night at The Boat house. Grilled King Prawns, salad bottle of rosado, live music and the coveted title of Prawn Star 2018….your first pet’s name and your favourite sea creature…fun night.

september songAlso on Friday 14th September at 8pm at the Anglican Church in Palma there will be an evening of music and comedy in aid of the church. Tickets are 10€ each including wine and nibbles. You can buy your tickets in advance. Phone numbers on the blog. 634200242, 659734899, 971737279

street foodThe following week on the 20, 21, and 22 September Peguera is having a street food festival every evening with live music, and activities for kids as well. On Saturday 22nd September there will be the annual American Car Club at Port Adriano from 11am onwards. Music and street food. Also on that Saturday there will be an Indian Head Massage workshop in Palma from 4pm to 8pm at the Kika Health and Wellness Centre. You can learn this wonderful technique from India which is very relaxing and easy to give. No prior experience is needed. Reservations: 653 207963 Taught by Sarjan (sarjanbiodinamica@gmail.com)

Sunday 23rd September SOS Animal Party at Puerto Portals which is a very important fundraising event for the charity. Every year they have a flea market, dog competitions (mixed breed dogs, pedigree dogs, and seniors get prizes), our raffle and delicious cakes, face painting and music.

Cat behaviour posterLooking forward into October there will be a pet behaviour seminar focusing on cats and their crazy ways. On 27 and 28 October Palma. You can email info@canatess.com to book your spot.

The big event of the month happens at the end, in Binissalem. The Festa des Vermar which is the annual grape harvest festival that includes parades, celebrations, grape-crushing competitions and a wine tasting contest. You can look forward to live music, activities for children, wine tasting sessions, grape-stomping competitions and a popular picnic where the traditional “Fideus de Vermar” (a type of paella made with short noodles instead of rice, cooked with lamb, tomatoes, sobrassada and Binissalem red wine) is served. One of the highlights of the festival is the grape battle, if you are planning on going, wear OLD CLOTHES! Look out for the Dimonis and the Corre Foc, and the wine fair as well at the Parc de Sa Rectoria and Plaça de l’Esglesia. The final day of the festival sees traditional entertainment in the main square. Enjoy the Binissalem giant puppets accompanied by ‘xeremiers’ earlier in the day as well as free wine served from 16:00 in the church square. The full programme and dates have not yet been released so you will have to keep an eye on the Binissalem website.

UPDATE:

  • Sat 22nd is the grape fight
  • Sun 23rd pressing grapes competition
  • 28th is dinner in the street
    29th floats around the village
    30th last day
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April events for Mallorca

During the day tomorrow, Wednesday April 11th, there is an Open Day at Palma College for any young person interested in studying there. In the afternoon there will be a fundraising event organised by Inquisitive Crew at Galibos Bar in Astilleros de Mallorca. This event starts at 5.30pm. It is to raise money for cancer charities and is for women by women.  Finally for tomorrow in the evening there will be a Charity Jazz Night organised by the Rotary Club of Calvia starting with dinner at 8pm at the Hotel Saratoga and followed by live music. You can book by emailing info@kate.es

The Road Bike Festival also kicks off tomorrow  and continues for four days. It’s a festival is dedicated to road cycling. You will find it on the road linking Playa de Muro and Alcudia, and will feature parties, live music and stalls with the latest road cycling gear, workshops with experts, test rides, cycling races and lots more.

On Thu 12th Apr the Mallorca Walking Event starts in Peguera. Over four days hundreds of people will hike along paths and trails in Peguera. Different routes will take participants along nature paths through charming villages, and beautiful beaches taking in the Mallorcan coast and the impressive Tramuntana mountain range. There are routes of 30, 20 or 12.5 kilometres each day. You can register at http://www.mallorcawalkingevent.com

Over the coming weekend of April 13, 14 and 15th up in Alcudia you will get the chance you’ve been waiting for to try cuttlefish, it’s not just for your budgie! Alcudia will be hosting its annual cuttlefish fair and there will be an exhibition, a craft market, a boat show, children’s parties and a playground, and a food market.

On Saturday the 14th you can watch the final day of cycling racing of the Six Day Series.
Having competed in London, Berlin and Copenhagen the final is in Mallorca with a party like atmosphere on the Palma Arena track.  www.sixday.com/mallorca/ On Saturday April 14th there will be a Violin and Piano concert at the Teatro Municipal at 8pm. The duo will perform Vivaldi, Beethoven, Mozart, Chopin, Paganini and Malte Kahler.

Also on the 14th the Lions Club of Palma will be present an evening of music at the Shamrock in Palma. You can book by emailing singen@lionsclubpalma.com the price is 40€ per person and includes a welcome drink, finger food and a donation to their charity.

Over the weekend of April 20th, 21st and 2nd there will be a comedy performed by the Anglican Church Drama Club, called Murdered to Death. I understand that is a very clever Agathat Christie / Miss Marple spoof. Tickets go really fast for these events so get your as soon as you can. Call 971 510 587, 634 200 242 or email rns@psi-mail.com

On Saturday April 21st there will be an open day at Fit Club in Son Caliu, they will have a DJ, a healthy food tasting including smoothies and the menu from Fitness Kitchen Mallorca. There will also be a competition to win a month’s training at the gym.  On Sunday April 22nd there will be a Wim Hof Method day held at Finca s’Almudaina. The WimHof method has been proved to strengthen your immune system, you learn a unique breathing technique during the day. It is also a fantastic challenge because at the end of the day you sit in a bath of ice! You can get more information on my site.

If you are an early bird then you can go to business networking events in Calvia on Wednesday mornings at 7.30am, for more information please visit http://www.mallorcamatters.com. You have to request an invitation and the email address is on my site. john@kavanaghconsulting.com

The Palma Boat Show starts on April 27th and goes through the weekend. At the same time, on the other side of the road the Palma Beer Festival will be doing its best to keep us all hydrated with 200 beer brands on offer.

On Saturday 28th April the roads of Mallorca will be filled (even more so than usual) with cyclists doing the 312 when they attempt to cycle around the island.

On Saturday 28th and Sunday 29th there will be a dog training course organised by Heather Whitehouse featuring  John McGuigan, also known as “The Glasgow Dog Trainer”. Based in Glasgow, Scotland, John has been dedicated to behavioural modification for many years in an evolutionary way, constantly training and refining his knowledge. After many years combining his work with the police service he retired four years ago and is now focused on offering education.  His specialty is the “difficult” cases, many times being dogs that have already passed through several educators with wrong or ineffective ways.  He believes that when dogs do not do what we ask, there are simple explanations – They either do not understand  or they are not motivated to do it. For info and reservations: info @ forcefreedt.com

The International Day of Jazz is on April 30th, there will be several events and concerts on the Saturday the 28th and Monday the 30th to celebrate this. The organisers have not yet released details but look out for them on my website after April 19th.

Our Nit de Foc

s’Arracó, forest fire, Mallorca, Oliver Neilson

The view from our office window
Photo by Oliver Neilson

Friday 26th July 2013

4.30pm I’m in Palma with my daughter when I hear about the fire. It’s burning vigorously in Sa Coma which is a few miles away from s’Arracó where we live. Every hour or so I call my husband, who is at home working, and then I start to see my neighbours posting photos on Facebook and Twitter of big, big bellowing clouds of smoke. A quiet anxiety begins to niggle away at me and I ask my husband to get our cats inside, and put them in a room where he can quickly put them in a travel box if need be. The hours go by. The fire moves closer to our house and our village which only the day before had been the stage for a brilliant Night of Art attended by thousands of people.

7.30pm My husband calls, he has to go out to see a client, so he releases the cats and leaves for Bunyola in the middle of the island.

9.30pm My seven year old daughter and I head for home. In Palma the sky is already dark. I know that the fire fighters in the helicopters can’t fly at night as it is too dangerous, so the fires will continue to burn unchecked. But I don’t truly appreciate what this is going to mean.

As we journey home we talk about the fire. I don’t want to frighten my little girl but I also don’t know what to expect. I ask her what three things she would want to take from the house if we had to leave quickly. She says “The three things I would take are Mummy, Daddy and Toffee” (her favourite toy). I explain that she was already on my list. We reach the crest of the hill: the town of Andratx is laid out before us. The sky is on fire. We both gasp.

I start gabbling, over and over, “oh my god, oh my god”. I drive slower than I usually would  through Andratx towards our village as I am not looking at the road; I am looking at the fire. The hills are glowing red, it is as if there is molten lava running down them and I can see flames. We are in a 4D volcano disaster movie. It’s incredible to look at, is it really okay to even be this close to the fire?

We drive from Andratx towards s’Arracó. The sky darkens and I start to think that our village has got away with it. Up, up on the winding country road to the top of the valley bowl, but as I turn the car into s’Arracó I have to slow down to a crawl. The landscape to the right of the village is alight.

When we get to our house which is on the main road of the village I am not surprised to see that all of my neighbours out. It’s a sharp contrast to the 24 hours before when we were all out celebrating the Night of Art and having a wonderful time at our home grown cultural fiesta. Tonight should have been a night to rest after our big party; we were all feeling a bit bleary already.

My opposite neighbours, Carlos and his family, are all on his first floor balcony window gazing at the flames. He is shirtless and wearing only his underpants: the air temperature is still tropical even though it is now 10.30pm. I hear him talking about his land, which is what he is looking at, it is on fire. He keeps animals up there and he hasn’t been allowed by the police to go up to release them.

As soon as we go into our house the cats appear. I decide not to feed them as I want them to stay close in case we need to evacuate. They lie on the cool tiles in the kitchen, chilling their bellies.

My daughter and I pack her things: a change of clothes, toothbrush, Toffee, and two more things special to her. We put them all in her pink suitcase and leave it by the door. Then she watches some TV and ignores the fire. I don’t. I can’t. Every time I look out of my home office window the flames are getting closer to us and filling the view. It’s compelling.

My friends and neighbours in the village keep in touch with each other through Facebook. We are taking photos and updating each other. The roads behind our village which travel off into the hills towards St Elm are closed and the properties there are evacuated by the Guardia. I hear of one family who are told to get out of their house and not expect it to be there in the morning. I don’t feel fear or panic, I feel numb. I can’t comprehend it.

I pack more things. What would we take if we had to evacuate? Passports, papers, work things, computers, cameras, clean pants, cats. Where would we go? We get offers from a lot of friends; we know we will be okay for somewhere to stay. I look at the contents of my house. We have a piano. What if it was burnt? Would the keys be left behind like the instrument’s teeth?

I speak to my father who lives in the Sa Coma valley and has decided to stay in his house with his wife. He thinks the wind has changed and they aren’t in any danger. I decide to believe him as he understands a lot more about wind directions than I do, given that he is a sailor .

11.30pm. The wind is picking up. I stand in our back garden and watch the hills glowing red with patches of embers. It’s beautiful to look at, but deadly to be in. I wonder about the animals that are in harm’s way. The wind is blowing from behind the fire directly towards our house and the rest of the village. The possibility that we will have to evacuate seems very real.

We watch and we decide that if we can see flames on the hills closest to us we will go.  One of my friends on Facebook tells me that if the smoke stings our eyes that it is time to hit the road. Our community vigil begins.

The flames creep over the hills and continue to travel towards St Elm. My friend who lives there reports that Sa Trapa is on fire as well. She is watching and waiting for her time to move as well.

We are in limbo. It’s as if we are all expecting a birth. We are waiting for nature to take its course. I keep busy and tidy the house; I put out the rubbish to be collected, which seems ironic as who knows what is going to happen? Perhaps by the morning there won’t be a house. I pack and prepare as if we are going on a holiday. It feels the same: putting plants in the bath, and doing a load of washing.

12.30pm We sit, we wait, we drink tea. There are a lot of people on the streets, a lot of cars moving around and doors being slammed. Our neighbours are loading their cars as well. Another of our neighbour’s sons is trying to find a safe place to park their car, it’s a classic Mini Moke and he is under strict instructions to get it away.

1.30am Water trucks drive down our street, one after another after another. The hydraulic brakes all hissing at the same point on the curve of the road.  Standing in our garden I can see the tongues of flames licking the palm trees in the distance.

2.30am I lose count of the number of water trucks, twenty, thirty, forty, fifty trips? The police are on the street again. It is the height of summer but the smoky air in s’Arracó makes it smell like winter and Christmas. The hours pass and the flames rage.

4.30am The wind calms and the fire begins to redirect itself.

5.30am The bin men pass by and I smile to myself as they stop to collect our trash. Hope prevails.

6.30am Daylight comes and with it the wind begins again. We can’t see the extent of the damage to our beautiful valley as everything is wrapped in a thick veil of smoke, but I can still see flames. The helicopters start to fly again.  I hear that our friends’ evacuated houses are okay, and it’s then that the tears come.

7.30am The suitcases are still by the door, but we decide to feed the cats. We pray for the wind to be still. The local cockerels start to crow.

First published on Sunday July 28th in the Majorca Daily Bulletin

The day it snowed

Please see below for a gallery of photos of a snowy Mallorca courtesy of some of my Facebook friends. 

It’s Saturday morning, it’s not a school day, so it’s not the alarm that wakes us up. There’s a weird feeling in our house, as if it is being cuddled. We pad around the house sleepily, rubbing our eyes and wondering about making a cup of tea or getting a glass of juice. It’s nice, this no-rush early morning, it might turn into a good day.  It feels like a firework has exploded in the living room when La Gidg opens a shutter, gazes out of the window and shrieks ‘IT’S SNOWING!’

Our neighbour, Carlos, is on the street, smoking a roll up because he doesn’t smoke in the house anymore since the baby came. He says that his wife’s mother says there hasn’t been snow like this since 1956. The snow is falling steadily from a dark sky. It’s fascinating to watch it appear in the beam of a street light as if it has come from nowhere. Magic. The snow is about 20 centimetres deep. I want to hug it. Carlos says the Spanish television says it is going to snow all day. How can Mallorca possibly be prepared for this sort of thing? Does the council even own a gritter or a snow plough? Why would they need one? The snow is so deep that it looks like we aren’t going anywhere today anyway, unless it’s by foot or by sledge. The snow has made everything feel so peaceful and cosy, it’s like being wrapped in a muffler. We’ve got a lot to do today, and none of it is going to happen. How liberating to say ‘we can’t come today, we have to reschedule’. And how easy.

La Gidg has never seen snow like this before, she’s six, she’s lived in Mallorca all of her short life. She is glittering with joy. What a treat for all of us. We pull on wellington boots and put coats on over our pyjamas and walk down the hill to our local cafe. There is a particular sound that snow makes when you walk on it; it’s a combination of a crunch and a squeak. A creak? A squnch? Other people are on the street too, they are smiling and saying hello to us. Everyone seems to be smiling, normally reticent and shy Mallorcans are actually saying hello to us without being prompted. Gidg is confused by snowflakes, ‘I thought they were like little stars’.

The snow has given our village a makeover. Even the street signs and power cables look graceful with their new icing sugar overcoats. There are more people stood outside of the cafe, they are all facing the road staring at the snowflakes falling as if they are watching a parade, some of them are trying to look nonchalant but you can tell they are all just as excited as Gidg. I see flashes of cheeky anticipatory grins from the man who runs the garage, and another one who is the local vet. Snowballs are soon flying from one side of the road to the other.

Gidg wants to eat the snow, we tell her to watch out for the yellow variety.  We fling snowballs at the trees to make the snow fall down in clumps. She makes a snowman and snow angels. It’s the perfect snow day, although it’s only really going to be a few hours. But she’s going to remember the day it snowed forever. When I was about her age I remember being inspired to draw a picture of my family home with snow on the roof and on the trees. I put the picture beside my bed and went to sleep. Overnight snow wrapped itself around our garden and our house, and when I woke I thought I had conjured up this miraculous weather with my drawing. For one amazing day I believed I had magical powers. My brothers and I played all day in the snow. That night I drew another picture to bring more snow. But by the morning, it had started to thaw. My career as a child sorceress was disappointingly short lived.

Inside the cafe there is water on the floor from snowy boots; every table is busy, even this early on a Saturday morning. We are here in time for the freshly baked croissants which are still crisply warm and buttery. Gidg has hot chocolate, we have strong and bitter coffee with warm milk.More people come in behind us, one man is carrying a little dog in his arms it’s a dachshund: it needs a carry today.

On the way back up the hill to our house, the snow is already turning from crispy white to slushy grey. Not everyone has boots on: one lady navigates her way across the road in a pair of fluffy mules. She doesn’t seem to mind her feet getting wet.

When we get back home Gidg puts her last snowball in the freezer to save it. The big melt has already started, there is water running down the hill where a few hours before there had been squnch. At the end of the day, after she’s gone to bed, snuggled down under two duvets and wearing extra socks, I make Gluwein and gaze out of the living room window, hoping for more snow, and wonder about drawing a picture.

©Vicki McLeod 2012

It snowed today at sea level in Mallorca… for the first time in over fifty years…. we all got a bit excited… thank you to my Facebook friends for sending me their photos! You can hook up with me here www.facebook.com/vicki.mcleod

Crossing the line

We have a new puppy. I’ve been keeping this under my hat for a couple of weeks because I wanted to see how she would settle in. Our big Ibicenco, (an Ibizan greyhound) who we rescued back in February (and named Peter Crouch because he is lanky and kind of beautiful in a really strange way), needed a friend.

We didn’t exactly go out and look for another dog, around here you don’t have to look very far for one, we just waited until the right time and the right dog came along. At least we thought we did.

Abbie Clancey (well what else should we call Peter Crouch’s girlfriend? At the time Monica Mint wasn’t an issue) came into our lives about a month ago. She is small, totally black haired, a little wiry around the jowls and completely mad. She is chewing everything: so far she has worked her way through two buckets and spades, the saddle on Gidg’s bike, three pairs of shoes (including a brand new pair of Birkenstocks which had been posted to us by Mr Birkenstock himself – another day, another column), the new storage box and bench that we bought for our reorganisation of the house, a Chinese decorative umbrella and stand, a sofa and a laptop cable.

The destruction of the laptop cable was by far the most devastating for me. We had been watching a movie on the pc in the garden and had left the cable out there over night where the dogs sleep. Bad move. Oliver woke me on Sunday morning with the solemn words “I think you have a bit of a problem” before handing me three separate parts of cable. Panic stations: I partly make my living using a computer, and not having one was a bit like having a limb amputated.

So it was straight onto trusty Facebook to ask around for help. It wasn’t slow in arriving: soon I had many suggestions and offers of help to either source a new cable or fix the existing one.  There was also an observation from one of my Facebook mates (who know all about Abie Clancey’s arrival in our house, and consumption of our furniture) that perhaps our new puppy had a bit of Labrador in her and therefore this might go on for a couple of years, lord help us and her.

The amazing thing about Facebook is that you are ‘friends’ with people that you may never have met, but that doesn’t make you any less kind towards each other. Some people like to maintain their online distance and just observe other people interacting on Facebook, whilst others get stuck in and strike up a conversation. And so, we crossed the line from online friends to real ones as Carole and William helpfully offered a solution to my power problems and gave me their phone number and we had a real conversation on a real phone!

If nothing else, puppies have always been good icebreakers.

(first published 10 August 2010)

¿dónde están los perros?

The dogs have gone awol. It’s past 23.00 and O is out looking for the little buggers. They’ve disappeared, off piste goat hunting, in the mountains.

He walks them every evening whilst I’m putting G to bed and reading (for the nnth time) The Tiger Who Came To Tea. Whilst I am convincing G it really IS time to go to sleep, O is yomping across the mountains which lie in a horseshoe around us whilst the dogs harass wild goats and make themselves unpopular with the locals. Animal ownership in Mallorca is a strange paradox. The Spanish don’t have the greatest image of animal care, but they are big fans of the dog. Oddly there is a tendency to own a dog which is kept at a finca in the countryside, frequently tied up which is a sad practice. It’s peculiar because there is even an annual fiesta (St Antoni) where they celebrate animals, the dogs are taken off their chains for the day and brought into the towns where they are blessed with holy water, sprinkled over them by a priest.

We have two dogs, a Breton Spaniel, and a Dachshund. The Breton is viewed appreciatively by the hunting, shooting, fishing elements of our village – he’s a big boy for his breed, and the breed is popular locally for its usefulness in those outdoor pursuits. The Dachshund is tolerated, but only just. She’s a bit feisty and a bit naughty, and just a little too keen on escaping out of our garden and running up and down the road barking at people walking, or indeed cars driving, past the house.

We found the Breton in a finca when he was about 6 weeks old. We were there for a party and as guests of the owners of the finca were required to do a tour of their outhouses which were home to a variety of farm animals, including goats, sheep and pigs. When we reached the pigsty where two enormous Black Pigs were snorting and snuffling around we were initially delighted to see a piglet, but on closer inspection realised that it wasn’t a piglet, but a puppy. The puppy had mistakenly found itself on the wrong side of the pigsty and we wondered aloud what would happen to it if we left it inside the pighouse…. didn’t pigs pretty much eat anything that got in their way? The puppy was swiftly removed from the sty and took up residence on the inside of my coat where he stayed. We didn’t mean to get a dog, but ended up taking him home with us….

A couple of years on and we (or I should say I) found ourselves in the position of having a garden and only the one dog to make a complete mess of it. So speed up the process we (or rather, I) decided that a second, smaller dog would be a great idea, to keep the Breton company. Wrong wrong wrong. She’s a complete nightmare. You can’t leave anything out in the kitchen as she leaps onto worktops to devour the leftovers, or even the beginnings, of a meal, she is Houdini returned in the shape of a dog and she loves loves loves to chase goats. So that is why O is out right now looking for them….. we haven’t seen them since 20.30. That’s three hours ago, and no sign of them, or O….. I’m idlly wondering what’s happenned to them as I chug through a copa de vino.

A glass of wine later and he is back, swearing. The dogs aren’t with him. And he’s adamant he’s not going back out to look for them again. So off I am going with my special dog whistle, my fingers crossed, and my jungle strength mosquito repellant on.

Post update: 12.48am Home, with two dogs who look rather pleased with themselves. I am covered in mozzie bites and there’s no wine left in the bottle, and no chocolate anywhere in the house. Oh the joys of dog ownership.