What do cats’ thoughts turn to in the Mallorcan spring?

Spring weather has finally arrived in Mallorca. The dust-generating woodburning stove (which I do love, despite the extra dusting) is now off duty until late autumn and there have been mutterings of safaris to the depths of the wardrobe for short-sleeved shirts. It pays not to be too hasty though. In England, we remember the old saying “Ne’er cast a clout ’til May be out”. Here in Spain they have something similar: “Hasta el cuaranta de mayo no te quites el sayo.”  The 40th of May takes us into June and, for sure, I won’t be wearing an overcoat in Mallorca then; we can safely assume it wasn’t an islander who came up with that pearl of wisdom.

It’s true that Mallorca’s spring didn’t get off to a promising start but, on the plus side, all the rain has resulted in an abundance of wildflowers and fields of emerald-green crops. The two main reservoirs in the Tramuntana mountains – Gorg Blau and Cúber – are also full, which is positive news ahead of the busy tourist season.

Captured on camera

For a good few days now we’ve had plenty of sunshine and some pleasant temperatures. Yesterday we even spent some post-paella time relaxing on the beach at Muro with Mallorcan friends. I brought out my inner child by paddling in the sea with their sweet three-year-old daughter Julia and was surprised to find the water was quite a pleasant temperature.

The Boss and I ended our enjoyable Sunday by sitting on our back terrace with a glass of wine…and almost all our cats. Our furry felines seem to enjoy being with us when we’re outside during warm evenings. As most of them were born feral, we’re always touched that they stick around – even after they have had their dinner! Once darkness falls and we come indoors, we imagined that the cats reverted to their full feral status and went off on their individual ways hunting.

A lovely Polish couple has recently become our neighbours, although their finca is on the other side of a steep valley from us. They installed a security camera at their finca and sent us a still image captured from the first-night’s footage, which they thought we’d be interested to see. Recognizable by their markings, three of our black-and-white cats were visible, chilling out around the finca‘s swimming pool. At least they weren’t sipping cocktails. So much for feral behaviour!

For fellow cat fans, here are a few pictures I took last evening.

 

©Jan Edwards 2018

 

 

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No country for old rubbish

Discarded in the countryside

Dumped white goods make me see red!

Exercise is good and, in the absence of a desire to don Lycra and join a gym, The Boss and I have recently set ourselves the challenge of a daily walk. As a writer, I spend a lot of time perched on my bottom – not good for its shape or my general health; this new regime is designed to make both of us a bit fitter (although it may be too late for my derrière). But, despite the benefits of repeatedly putting one foot in front of the other for upwards of 30 minutes, one of our latest walks has made our blood pressures soar.

The cause of our anger was finding two locations in our picturesque valley where people have dumped rubbish. First, we spotted an old fridge that had been pushed down a slope into a field, where it was almost concealed by the hedgerow. Then, further along that day’s walking route, we saw this lot dumped in the entrance to a field. The nature of the rubbish suggests it came from a restaurant or cafe; we have neither of these anywhere in the vicinity, which probably means that whoever left it went out of their way to get rid of what they didn’t want. Shame on them.

 

Discarded rubbish in Mallorcan countryside

Who dumped this lot in the entrance to a field in our valley?

When I first visited the Spanish peninsula in my late teens, on a touring holiday, I was shocked by the rubbish I saw discarded in the countryside. Stained mattresses, disgusting cookers, saggy sofas, and more were dumped here and there in rural areas.

That was quite a few years ago and I believed that people would be more enlightened by now. There is no excuse for fly-tipping in quiet rural areas or anywhere else: Mallorca (and most likely the peninsula too now) has plenty of official facilities (parcs verds) where people can take unwanted items.

Tourists wouldn’t have dumped this unwanted stuff in Mallorca’s glorious countryside, which means it must have been people who live on the island. People whom you’d imagine would want to preserve and protect the natural beauty of Mallorca.

 

©Jan Edwards 2018

Learn about the legal changes in holiday property rentals Mallorca

Palma cathedral

Palma’s beautiful cathedral – a magnet for tourists staying in Mallorca’s capital

I don’t usually publish posts from outside sources on this blog, but I’ve been contacted by Spain-Holiday.com about a free webinar they are offering on Thursday, March 22nd, at 12 noon CET. It sounds likely to be informative and of interest to holiday rental owners and agents, Airbnb hosts, and property investors – affected by the latest legal changes relating to holiday rental properties in the Balearic Islands.

If you visited Mallorca last summer, you were probably aware that – like the rest of Spain – the island had record-breaking numbers of visitors. Whilst that sounds positive for a country that relies on tourism, the huge number of tourists and growth in demand for self-catering accommodation caused problems for local residents – particularly those looking for long-term property rentals in Mallorca’s capital, Palma.

The word from Spain-Holiday.com

As a result, the local government has introduced and implemented several new laws to limit tourism and resolve the problem of “over tourism” on the Balearic Islands, with further proposed measures. These changes impact both the hotel industry as well as self-catering accommodation, which represent 84.2% and 15.4% of tourism to the islands, respectively.

Spain-Holiday.com is hosting a FREE webinar on the Legal Changes Affecting Holiday Rentals in the Balearic Islands.

The 30-minute presentation, followed by a 15-minute Q&A session, is aimed at holiday rental property owners, holiday rental agents, Airbnb hosts and property investors in the Balearic Islands of Mallorca, Ibiza, Menorca and Formentera.

Topics to be covered include:

• Current legal requirements for holiday rental properties
• Tourist rezoning areas
• Tax and insurance obligations
• Looking ahead: Proposed measures for a sustainable future in tourism

How to take part in the webinar

Taking part in the series of webinars hosted by Spain-Holiday.com is simple.

Follow the link below to register for the webinar on Legal Changes Affecting Holiday Rentals in the Balearic Islands

https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/53198060207512579

Once you have filled out the form, you will receive an email confirming your webinar attendance with a link to access the webinar.

On the day of the webinar, at the arranged time, click on the link in the email which will open the webinar website and automatically log you in where the moderator will be waiting online.

The only equipment required is your computer, internet connection, and speakers or headphones. A microphone or webcam is not required. Furthermore, all the webinars are completely free of charge to attend.

If you are unable to attend the webinar, or wish to watch it again after the event, you will find all the videos of the webinars on Spain-Holiday.com’s industry blog, Rental Buzz, where you will also find information about future webinars and the latest holiday rental industry news.

 

I have not accepted payment to publish this information and share it in the hope that it may be helpful to those readers of this blog who may be affected by the changes.  

©Jan Edwards 2018

Freshly born lambs for our Mallorcan valley

Meadow in Mallorca with sheep

Two new arrivals for our rural valley

Almost hidden in this pastoral Mallorcan scene you may be able to see a ewe and, with her, two tiny Persil-white lambs that have just about managed to scramble up onto their feet. We stood silently for some time watching the second one’s efforts to stand up for the first time but, with only a phone camera to capture the image, I couldn’t zoom in any closer than this.

Given the state of mum’s nether regions (probably best you can’t see too clearly, especially if you’re about to eat), these little lambs were born whilst we were taking a long walk; we didn’t see them as we passed the field the first time, but did on our return journey home.

It’s easy to spot lambs in rural Mallorca at the moment; they’re everywhere. But seeing them so newly arrived was a magical moment. And one that put spring firmly in our sights.

©Jan Edwards 2018

Good reasons to own a trailer in rural Mallorca

On Monday, The Boss went to Porreres to buy our latest trailer-load of logs and we’re hoping that this will be the the last we’ll have to buy until late 2018. This winter on Mallorca has felt colder and wetter than previous winters we’ve had here. We certainly haven’t had as many coffees or lunches on the terrace – and it doesn’t take a lot of sunshine for us to eat and drink outside.

Some people are surprised that we buy our logs in, given that we do have a lot of trees on our land. But the issue is one of safety: most of our trees and shrubs grow on the steep sides of the valley on our land. The combination of loose stones and earth underfoot and a powerful chainsaw is one that, with one small slip, could end in a messy visit to our local hospital’s Urgencias department.

Logs in a trailer

Of course, there’s the work of unloading the trailer…here, nearly finished

Before we moved to Mallorca, we bought a trailer. At the time I was a bit sceptical about the need for such a thing: was it just another boy’s toy?  But when we arrived here and compared the cost of buying small sacks of logs from a garage or DIY store, or collecting logs in bulk direct from a woodyard, the benefit was obvious.

The trailer has proved its usefulness in other ways too – such as enabling us to bring bulky purchases home (rather than incurring the cost of delivery). And we’re not the only ones to appreciate it: some of our cats like to sit on the trailer’s heavy waterproof cover, enjoying prime views over their territory.

Cats on a trailer

Also makes a popular hangout for the cats!

©Jan Edwards 2018

 

Snow on Mallorca? It happens…

Snow on Majorcan mountains

Snow caps on the Tramuntana mountains, seen from our valley

For many who know Mallorca only as a hot summer-holiday destination, it may come as a shock to know that our beautiful island experiences some rather wintry weather at times. Back in February 2012, The Boss’s cousin and his wife came to the island for a walking holiday. Except that when they opened the door of their holiday accommodation one morning, a drift of snow awaited them. It’s not been that bad since (yet).

February is usually the coldest and dampest month and, for the past week, it’s been pretty miserable, with constant grey skies and rain in our part of Mallorca. We do need the rain, of course, to replenish the embalses – water reservoirs – for the long dry summers.

The annual Carnival celebrations were due to happen in Manacor last evening, but the powers-that-be decided to postpone the event because of the weather: yesterday was damp, dreary, and 4 degrees Celsius (although it felt colder in the wind). We think it’s the first time the event has been postponed since we’ve lived here. Carnival celebrations in Manacor will now take place this evening. What a difference a day makes. Today, the sky has been blue and the sun has shone. But, as the afternoon has progressed, there’s been a renewed sharpness to the breeze.

What to wear for Carnival

We usually dress up in ordinary warm clothes for this event but, last year, we took the plunge and went in costume – dressed in cowboy (and cowgirl) gear, along with our Dutch friends Sandra and Adriaan. We had a really fun night and I don’t recall it being particularly cold (although a glass or two of wine during the evening may have served as central heating).

Carnival in Manacor is always fun but, in costume terms, it’s not Rio. Far too cold for skimpy outfits in February! For anyone planning to dress up this evening, the ideal outfit would be a furry gorilla costume. Now, where can The Boss and I source a couple of those on a Sunday afternoon, I wonder?

©Jan Edwards 2018

 

Mallorca’s market life

Church in Sant Llorenc

The parish church in Sant Llorenc

Exploring local markets is one of the pleasures of living – or holidaying – on the Mediterranean island of Mallorca.  Every town and village has its market and some of the larger ones – such as the huge Wednesday market in Sineu, Artà’s on a Tuesday, and the Sunday one in Santa Maria – have become magnets for tourists.

Some markets are much larger than others. Once, not long after moving to rural Mallorca, we went to a village market which comprised a total of two stalls selling fruit and vegetables. Yes, only two. Having allocated a whole morning to exploring the potential treasures of this particular outdoor emporium, we were soon searching for a café.

Gastro Market beckons…

Last week we visited a market on Mallorca that we’d never been to before, even though we’ve lived here since 2004 and it’s not too far from home. The weekly Thursday market in Sant Llorenç has, in recent months, been given a new identity: the Sant Llorenç Gastro Market. There’s nothing like a name with foodie appeal to attract new visitors…

It’s not a large market but the stalls lining the traffic-free Carrer Major certainly fitted into the category of  ‘gastronomy’. We spotted organic local produce (including a contender for Mallorca’s largest cauliflower), gourmet salts, olive oils, home-made cheeses, and more. Some stalls were offering home-made Mallorcan dishes to take home, reheat and serve, and others had snacks to sustain market visitors whilst browsing.

In the square in front of the church, we found the more-usual fruit and veg stalls, and a van selling fresh fish (which had almost sold out by the time of our mid-morning visit).

We also bought some bread from the traditional bakery Forn de sa Plaça, where we had a sad little chat with the owner about the impact that supermarket in-store bakeries are having on traditional businesses like his own.

Recommended coffee stop in Sant Llorenç

A coffee stop is essential during a market visit and the delightful four-bedroom luxury B&B Can Solaies Hotelet (right at the heart of the Gastro Market action on Carrer Major) is our recommendation for a hot or cold drink in Sant Llorenç. We had delicious americanos there, after which we had a look at three of the rooms. They’re superbly decorated in Mediterranean style and we may go and stay a night so that I can write about the experience on http://www.eatdrinksleepmallorca.com.

Like traditional bakeries, street markets are also losing business to supermarkets – which is why initiatives like Sant Llorenç’s Gastro Market are important. If  I hadn’t spotted the magic words ‘gastro market’ on a social-media post, would we have visited this weekly market? Probably not. But with its new name and concept, and free live music to entertain visitors, this market has reignited its appeal and is offering foodies a good reason to visit the small town.

During our visit last Thursday, we didn’t see many obvious tourists – but plenty of locals were supporting Mallorca’s market life in Sant Llorenç. We’ll be joining them again in the future.

©Jan Edwards 2018