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


From left, Senator Gari Dural, Mayor of Palma Mateu Isern, and President of the EPORE Kate Mentink.

From left, Senator Gari Dural, Mayor of Palma Mateu Isern, and President of the EPORE Kate Mentink.

Nobody can have failed to note that this year 2014 we are remembering the start of the First World War, a war so terrible that it was called “the war to end all wars”. It didn’t, and just 25 years later Europe and the world was immersed in another war of such huge proportions that millions and millions of young lives were once again lost in truly unimaginable circumstances.

Out of such horror, the leaders of the Western world made one wise decision, the creation of what was to become the European Union. The world has changed completely since those times, with the introduction of global communications, international trade and scientific development that can take us to the moon and cure crippling diseases. What has not changed is the human capacity for cruelty and aggression, whatever the cause they fight for.

The European Union, with all its faults, is a basic element in securing peace within the 28 countries it represents. Most of the more than 500 million citizens of Europe today do not have any personal experience of such wars. This is not a reason to forget them.

On the 25th May 2014, all citizens within the 28 countries of the European Union are called to vote for their representatives in the European Parliament. Incredibly there are many politicians who would have us believe that the European Union is no longer necessary in our lives, or is simply inconvenient for their own political motives. How easily and how quickly they forget. These elections in Spain on 25th May are enormously important for all of us living in Europe, and none more so than those of us who have had the possibility to live, work and retire in a country other than our own, thanks to being European citizens. To not participate actively by voting in these elections is, in my opinion, a total lack of respect for all who gave their lives in two World Wars to ensure “peace in our time”.

I ask EVERY NON-SPANISH EUROPEAN CITIZEN living here in the Balearic Islands to use just a few minutes of their time to register at their local Town Hall BEFORE 30th JANUARY to ensure their right to vote in the European elections. USE THIS RIGHT. HAVE A VOICE AND VOTE.

By Kate Mentink.

You’ve got to show up

Teatro Principal, Vicki McLeod, Mallorca, Phoenix Media,

I’ve told you before to join the Europeos Por Espana group. And here’s another example of why you should. Last Monday night, my daughter La Gidg with my husband and I accompanied a group from EPORE to the 59th presentation for the Premis de Ciutat Palma. It’s the yearly prize giving for cultural achievements in the city, and it’s quite fancy pants as it turns out.

Picture the scene in the foyer of the Teatro Principal: in piled local Mayor after Mayor after Mayor, it seemed as if every single area in Mallorca was represented that evening along with the European community (i.e. Kate Mentink and the gang from EPORE). There were plenty of “Grand Dame” looking ladies with furs (and I imagine major hairdressing bills), some blokes in suits of armour and ceremonial swords, and lots and lots of people. The local Spanish press were there in force, with TV cameras and plenty of snappers. And us.

I’d asked before if there were any particular dress code, as we have (shabby lot that we are) been caught out before when we’ve rocked up to an afternoon event in jeans only to be welcomed in by lounge suits and ball gowns. We were slightly smarter than usual in preparation for an evening at the Teatro Principal but you don’t really have to worry when you are in such a lovely building at a special event. If you haven’t had a chance to go inside and enjoy the space then do get yourself along at some point. It has been laid out to benefit the acoustics of the room, rather than the possibly more familiar theatre auditorium layout, which means there is a large open space for the sound to float through and plenty of boxes to sit in on the many levels. La Gidg saw the top of her music teacher’s head (her teacher did not believe her the next day when she told her that she had seen her, and only changed her mind when La G described exactly what she had been wearing and where she had been sitting. THAT’S how special it was to have been there).

Teatro Principal, Mallorca

It’s a privilege to be invited to these sorts of events, just after Christmas we were able to go to the Pregon at the Palma Council which was amazing as well. And it’s because we’re members of this association. It’s also vitally important that we show up. If as foreign residents of Mallorca you want to have a voice or want to be taken seriously, or want in any way to have an effect on the society that we live in then you’ve got to show up, and you’ve got to be seen to be there. Thank you to Kate and the people at EPORE for yet another chance to be there. If you want to join the association then visit www.familymattersmallorca.com for more information. I can highly recommend it.

You can find out more about joining EPORE by clicking this link. 

It’s not all rubbish

EPORE outing to Son Reus You know there is such a thing as a “Bucket List”? It’s a list of things to do before you die. Well, I should try to keep a record of my own personal Bucket List as I fulfilled a great ambition this week: I went to the Son Reus rubbish dump just north of Palma. I know, call me a nerd, or a weirdo, but I’ve always wondered where my rubbish goes. We live in S’Arracó where all of the villagers are compelled to separate and sort their rubbish. We have door to door collections of organic waste, plastics, paper, glass and “mixed” (that’s when we get rid of the cat litter, wine corks, and things that don’t fit in with the easier categories). I have obsessed about this topic before on my blog: click here. 

I’ve been diligently putting things in the right containers for more than two years: tearing the cellophane windows out of envelopes, washing out yoghurt pots and, this is when I really feel like a hero, even washing out the cat food tins and (horrors) touching the strange jelly stuff that clings to the inside of the can.

The system works thus: you collect your varied rubbish and then on set days of the week you hang the appropriate bag of separated rubbish outside of your house to be collected by the waste collection gang from the council. It’s certainly brought my local community together more: hanging out the weekly bag for glass recycling is an opportunity to rate each other on alcoholic intake. But once the bag is collected, what happens to it next? Does my attention to detail matter, or was it all going into the same hole in the ground anyhow? It had played on my mind that’s for sure, and I often wondered if I could go to see. Well, thanks to EPORE (Europeos Por Espana www.epore.org) I did. They organised a trip this week and I jumped at the chance to go thinking I was going to some secret place where no one was allowed to visit. Far from it: we met at the beautiful Visitors’ Centre and watched a very well made video in English, and then took in the Education Centre and went on a monorail train around the site to see how rubbish was recycled. I found out about how the recycling centre is one of the best in the world, that surprised me, I also found out about how the incineration of rubbish (which is about  50% of the waste created here on the island, the rest is processed and then recycled) creates energy for 60´000 homes. It was absolutely fascinating, and anyone can do it. The information is on their website www.tirme.com where you can see everything in English including instructions on how to visit the centre.

Better still I had some pressing questions answered by Montse, our guide, who put my mind at rest. No, I am not a nerd for separating the cellophane from the paper envelope; thank you for washing out your tins, but you don’t have to (you cannot believe how happy this made me, no more washing up cat food tins!); it doesn’t really matter if you use glass bottles or plastic bottles, they both have to be recycled; plastics includes all plastic, plus it also includes tins and metals, and the things which are called “briks” i.e. cartons to you and I. There was always the doubt in my mind that although I was doing my bit for the environment that it didn’t really matter, well I learnt this week, that it does.  Thanks to EPORE for a great opportunity. Where are we going next?

Chinese Whispers

_-Industry-Chinese-Whispers-2-4-Xbox-720-_Whilst the Brits are getting their knickers in a twist about this new ‘Bedroom Tax’ we´ve got a few new problems to deal with ourselves over here in Mallorca. Have you heard about it? You have to declare if you have any property worth over 50k, investments, and something else as well, I´ve heard, on the grapevine. Well that´s just it isn´t it? It´s all gone a bit “Chinese whispers”: everyone´s talking about the new tax declarations that we have to make if we are residents in Spain, but no one seems to actually have any solid information. First it had to be done by a certain date, then no, that date was wrong and it had changed, then there we thought it was just property, but now it is assets as well, or so I have heard.

And the dire consequences of not declaring? Fines, large ones, and interest on the fines, plus excommunication, followed by death, or so I have heard, Chinese Whispers again you see. There is some entertainment to be gained from telling someone who knows nothing about the new declaration, watching the levels of panic rising, their breath quickening and their faces reddening as their hearts start pumping? Priceless.

Some people I know have even said, perhaps they just won´t bother to declare at all. After all, how could the hacienda find out if there were assets? But, I get the feeling that perhaps, that this time they mean business. Perhaps, gasp, the British and the Spanish tax offices will actually speak to each other? Given the terrible state that the Spanish economy is in I think they are going to be knuckling down pretty hard on us.

We all like to tell the stories of the black economy and how quaint things were once upon a time. There is a story from my village which goes something like this: “George couldn´t afford to pay his electricity bill so the bank took some money out of his friend John’s account to pay it because they thought he ‘wouldn´t mind’”. Those kinds of sweet little stories have done the rounds for years so I completely understand why we may not really take and new crack downs seriously, but when you have people like Kate Mentink from EPORE (Europeos Por Espana) wading in and organising information sessions, then it´s time to take notice.

Kate says that confusion is rife on the subject, “I see that the misinformation on this tax subject, and the subsequent rising levels of panic, are causing problems for the ex-pat residents here on the island. I do not think the traditional. “head in the sand” attitude is really going to help this time!” So that is why she is organising a free information session this Friday night (March 22nd 6.30pm) at Mood Beach in Costa D’en Blanes. The speaker will be a tax expert Miguel Angel Serra, he is a lawyer and an economist. The whole meeting will be in English; it is free, without any obligation or commitment.  There will be a question and answer session at the end. Best get there on time to get a good a good seat, there will be a lot of people there, or so I’ve heard.

If you can´t make it to the meeting on Friday then get in touch or if you need more information visit http://www.familymattersmallorca.com