Grapevine #65

The Sunbird team

30 Years in Puerto Portals

Eric Martin, owner of Sunbird was the first to open an office in Puerto Portals in 1986. Having been in the UK yacht sales business for 14 years, the time felt right to expand in to different waters. Sailing in the Mediterranean felt like an exciting progression. Sunshine was, of course, a huge draw to the Mediterranean and having heard about a new and prestigious marina being completed in Mallorca, 7km west of Palma town the expansion felt right. “When we saw the site we knew it was the perfect opportunity to open Sunbird S.A.” Puerto Portals combined an incredible location with clear ambitions to become a luxury destination. Eric had met Simon Crutchley, a fluent Spanish speaker whose local knowledge, great contacts and yachting experience made him the ideal candidate to manage the new operation. The potential was huge and it felt right to get in from the start. And so Sunbird Mallorca opened its doors in August 1986 – one week after the launch of the iconic Wellies, as they’d been storing their tables and chairs for them!

There is no doubt Puerto Portals is firmly established as one of the best and most beautiful marinas in the Mediterranean, with a fantastic future ahead. Thirty years after Sunbird opened its doors, Portals’ original marina resident could not be prouder to have been here since day one.

Mallorca Solutions Opening Party August 5 2016 Photo Credit Vicki McLeod Phoenix Media -0227

Mallorca Solutions Party

I popped in to wish Becky Bellafont Evans and her team good luck at their new office which is between the Post Office (Correos) and the British Surgery at C/Germans Pinzons 5, Local 2 in Palma Nova. Many, many familiar faces were there, along with new ones as Becky and her gang specialise in looking after people who move to the island: organising their paperwork and helping them get settled in to their new lives. A personal highlight was getting to try some of Stephanie Prather’s delicious vegan canapés (I had to be dragged away from them before I truly embarrassed myself by eating them all).

Sophie Butterfield and Comet Air Photo Credit Vicki McLeod Phoenix Media -7715

Congratulations Sophies!

My little girl, Gidg, is now fully horse obsessed. For the last three weeks she has been accompanying her mentor and teacher Sophie Cordoba Mitchell (owner of Club Caballisto Son Malero in Calvia where she rides), and stable mates Sophie Butterfield and Angelina Schlak on very, very late night expeditions. Sophie B has been competing on her horse Comet Air in three high level events culminating last week in a three night marathon. Because of the heat the competition is run at night, with most of the classes being from 8pm to 2am. (A sensible person might suggest they do the competition in winter, but hey). Gidg’s role is gopher, and video maker. Sophie managed to finish fourth (out of forty experienced riders) in the “Infanta” which is a very prestigious event, so well done Sophie and her team, Gidg included!

The Wednesday Group

In September Kay Halley from the Universal Bookshop in Portals will launch a new community group which she is going to call The Wednesday Group. Its aim is to produce knitted, sewn and crocheted items for sale by the various community groups on the island (particularly Age Concern and the Cancer Support Group). The group is being launched also as a remembrance for a lady which Kay was very close to, Cynthia, who was a demon knitter and quilter in her time and produced many blankets, hats, scarves etc for various groups. The group will be open for anyone who can knit, sew, crochet, or wants to learn. The idea is that they will produce the item and they can decide which charity benefits from it. It will also be a brilliant way to make new friends and enrich your social circle.The group will launch on 7th September.  Assocuacio Veinats 3, Carrer de la Lluna in Bendinat. You can get more information by calling 971 676 116


Pet Project: Dog of the week

Snowgun is a beautiful 18 month old German Shepherd mix, possibly mixed with either a white German Shepherd or a Husky. She is a very good, fit, healthy young girl. She is leishmaniosis negative and has no known health problems. Snowgun is very obedient, and comes when her name is called . She walks beautifully on the lead . As like most GSD she is very intelligent. She is looking ideally for a sporty family to adopt her as she is lots of fun with loads of energy,  playful but does know when to stop. Snowgun was found on the street, living as a stray before Dogs For U took her in. She is very good with other dogs and lives with 8 other dogs in the main pack at DFU. She is a perfect fun loving dog. As with all dogs from DFU. She comes spayed, fully vaccinated, wormed, chipped, flea protected, has a passport. And comes with a DFU contract.  She is a perfect girl and will enhance anyone’s life. What more could you ask for. Call Cornelia on 637 242 228.

Emma and Daniel in the wave pool

Emma-Jane Woodham

My husband and I both had the pleasure of photographing this beauty recently at BH Mallorca, Mood Beach and other locations around the island. She’s made herself infamous by doing something rather naughty on the Love Island TV show, but in reality she is a darling. Very sweet, very polite, fun and gorgeous to boot.

The Orchestra 6 August 2016 Port Adriano Photo Credit Vicki McLeod Phoenix Media -0216


I wasn’t going to refer to the absence of Jeff Lynne at the press conference for The Orchestra last week, but Richie Prior (Radio One Mallorca and columnist for the MDB) didn’t get hung up on such niceties. I watched in admiration as he politely referred to the elephant in the room in a way which meant the musicians couldn’t skip around the question “Do you think you will ever perform again with Jeff?”. The answer was quite revealing. “Jeff’s more of a studio guy. We’re more band guys. He collaborates with one guy and we like to tour”.  I only saw the first three songs of the gig itself, but I was told by friends of mine that it was really good. Well done to the team at Port Adriano for putting on some top quality acts this summer.

Simply Red

Speaking of top quality acts…. The gig of the year is almost upon us. One more week to go. Some tickets are still available I understand, mostly standing. See you there?

It’s a dog’s life


I’m trying my best to not look at the news anymore. Donald Trump’s recent insane pronouncement, another shooting, another death, another flood, another person being arrested for fraud, another species about to die out. I need to take a break from the news: it’s too much to take in. That’s ironic, given that this article is for a newspaper (but you can also read it on my blog Instead I have been looking inwards, at myself and at my family and trying to make sure that each and every one of us is happy, or at least happier, than we were. I’ve found inspiring lists like these:

  • Sit in silence for at least ten minutes a day
  • Dream more while you are awake
  • You don’t have to win every argument, agree to disagree
  • Don’t take yourself too seriously, no one else does
  • Life is too short to waste time hating anyone, so get rid of those ill feelings
  • No one is in charge of your happiness, except you
  • Read more books than you did last month
  • Sleep for eight hours a day
  • Smile and laugh more
  • Drink plenty of water, at least two litres a day
  • Forget issues of the past, don’t remind your partner with their mistakes of the past
  • However good or bad a situation is, it will change
  • Call your family often

And yes, some of it I should certainly do more of, and I am trying, but really what can make an instant impact on your life? Get yourself a Cookie. My daughter, La Gidg, and I had been talking (plotting) for a while about how we might be able to get a small dog into our house without my husband minding too much. We knew that we couldn’t have a big dog as they are so much responsibility, but a small dog which doesn’t need too much walking and is about the same size as a biggish cat? Shouldn’t be a problem. Now all we had to do was wait for the right one to come along.  This week it happened. My daughter was on a sleep over and I got word that there was a cat sized male adult dog looking for an immediate home. After a chat with his fosterer (Kim from Dogs For U) and a chat with my husband, I went and met Kim and took Cookie home with me. My daughter didn’t have a clue that her dream was about to come true until she got back and we introduced her to our new family member. Now Cookie is settling in nicely and seems to be fitting in just fine, all he wants to do is be with his new people, get a cuddle and a biscuit and in return we get a very waggy tale,  stinky kisses and unbridled joy.  Happy days.

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)