Then, we’d only had our solar powered electricity system for a couple of weeks, which mean that the kitchen we’d had installed was finally fit for purpose, and we were looking forward to an enjoyable Christmas dinner – our first in our Mallorcan home. Our last, in England, had been the saddest one of my life, and I was determined to make this one special.
We’d ordered our turkey from one of the butcher’s stalls in Manacor market, and been served by a man who’d found our request for a whole turkey surprising. He told us that Mallorcans don’t generally roast a whole bird, and prefer to buy poultry jointed. We agreed the weight of the – whole – bird we wanted, and a collection date, thanked him, and turned to leave. Our man on the meat counter had one final question for us, delivered in deadpan fashion and in Spanish: “Do you want it dead or alive?”
We had to laugh, because we’d recently heard a story of some expats who’d won a turkey in a raffle and, when it was delivered to their home, it was still very much alive!
Christmas Day duly arrived and the centrepiece of our traditional British festive feast was prepared and put into the oven to cook. While this was happening, we’d be contacting loved ones back in England to wish them a Happy Christmas. The only problem was that we didn’t have a telephone in the house (not, however, for the want of trying), so we had to use a mobile phone. And to compound the difficulty, there was only one place where we could get a mobile signal, and that meant standing on a wall.
We took it in turns to perch aloft, using the phone, while the other provided a useful leaning post in case of any wall-top wobbles. It being our first Christmas away from our families and friends, The Boss and I each spoke for quite some time, and it was probably an hour later when we finally went indoors to check on the turkey.
Fill ‘er up
No delicious aromas greeted us from the kitchen: the oven had gone out and, judging by the cold door, it had probably done so shortly after we went outside to make our phone calls. The butano gas bottle was empty. So Christmas dinner that year was rather late – but we had a good laugh about it.
And every Christmas morning since then, we’ve made sure that we’ve changed the oven’s gas bottle for a full one – just in case.