While at the farewell lunch for Mallorca’s departing British Consul, Paul Abrey, at Mood Beach on Saturday, I fell into a conversation with another woman about how Mallorcans are much taller now than they were a couple of decades ago. I remembered, as a teenager, coming here on holiday, and feeling quite lofty; as someone who’s a fraction under 5’2” – one day I’ll work that out in metric – that’s not happened to me very often.
We weren’t too surprised then to find that the old finca we had bought had some perilously low doorways. And the first one we needed to address was the entrance to the kitchen. The low doorway wasn’t a problem for me, of course, but The Boss is taller and didn’t fancy cracking his skull every time he walked between the dining room and kitchen. With very little effort from us – and quite a lot of sledgehammer-swinging by a couple of Argentinians who worked for a local construction company – we became the proud owners of a high archway, ensuring that even our tallest visitors would remain concussion-free.
The keystone stops
But the low front door was a different matter, because right above it is the keystone – which couldn’t be moved. We’d just have to learn to duck . . . some of us more than others. And there’s nothing like experience to ram a lesson home.
At the time, the Spanish phone company Telefonica was denying our existence, so we relied on our mobile phones to communicate with the outside world. But there was no signal in the house and only one spot outside where we could get service. Awaiting an important phone call to learn when our kitchen would be fitted, The Boss had left his phone perched on the garden wall, while he was in the kitchen discussing pipework possibilities with Miguel Angel, the plumber.
I was cleaning the bathroom when I heard a loud yell from the direction of the dining room. I ran through to find Miguel Angel – large wrench in hand – crouched over the prone, blood-spattered body of The Boss. It looked like a scene from a TV crime series, with the perpetrator standing over the body, weapon in hand – caught in the act.
But Miguel Angel was completely innocent of any violence. Like me, he’d heard the yell but reached the scene of the accident first. Hearing the mobile phone ring outside, The Boss had rushed out of the house to answer it, forgetting he wasn’t Tom Cruise and smacking his head on the lintel above the door. The gushing head wound and subsequent thumping headache proved to be a very salutary lesson.
For the record, Manacor hospital does a neat line in head staples . . .