Finca footwear follies

Glamour isn’t a word that springs to mind when I open my wardrobe door. Living in rural Mallorca, in a valley that’s dusty in the long hot summer and often muddy in winter, doesn’t call for the type of clothes or footwear that I had in my former career as a BBC local radio broadcaster.

Most days are spent at home in the countryside, doing housework, gardening, and my freelance writing/editing work. One of the great things about the latter is that working from home means I can wear what I like – what is most comfortable. In winter this usually means jeans and a shirt or sweater. Today it’s a pair of shorts and a loose top, to keep cool.

Going out

When I have to go to the office of the magazine I write for, or to interview someone in connection with an article, I pull out the few clothes I have that pass muster as ‘business attire’. And I do mean few.

If The Boss and I have a party or other ‘do’ requiring something a bit more glamorous, I have a couple of years-old ‘occasion’ dresses lurking at the back of the wardrobe. Since Mallorca is an island where informal dressing is the norm, and we don’t get invited to too many posh events, the chances are that fellow guests won’t notice that I’m wearing the same dress and shoes yet again.

Seduced by sparkle . . . 

So I can’t explain the sudden desire that came over me a week or two ago during a visit to Palma. Sparkly sandals! My footwear is mainly of the practical variety: flatties in winter, flip-flops or Menorcan sandals (oh-so-comfortable) in summer. Our gravel drive does horrible things to high heels and most of my domestic non-writing tasks call for fit-for-purpose shoes, such as my gardening clogs. I resisted the temptation to buy the shiny shoes. For a week. During my next visit to Palma, I spotted that they’d been reduced in price by 10 euros. Ker-ching!

I won’t be wearing them around the finca, having learnt the hard way that ‘the wrong shoes’ can lead to accidents. There was the time I fell off a stepladder while varnishing a door . . . wearing flip-flops. When a flip-flop flopped, I dropped – along with the best part of a pot of honey-coloured varnish.

Then there was the time when I climbed over the low wall to our garden to pick some freesias for our guest room. We’d been about to leave for the airport when I remembered I hadn’t put flowers in my brother and sister-in-law’s room – and I was wearing heels. Going over was fine. Coming back, my heel caught on the wall and I fell flat on my face on the gravel drive, gaining a collar bone  fracture that wasn’t identified for six weeks!

My new sparkly sandals will be worn only on nights out. But, in the meantime, they greet me with a touch of glamour every time I open the wardrobe door.

Glamour meets gardening.

Glamour meets gardening.

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Flowering agave is the bee’s needs

Back in June I wrote about the agave that was beginning to flower in the garden of some friends here in the valley. Initially a huge stalk – looking rather like a giant asparagus spear – grew from the centre of the spiky leaves. As the agave dies once it has flowered, it’s probably as well that the stalk’s growth and subsequent appearance of the flowers takes place over the course of several weeks.

Yesterday morning The Boss and I went to check out the progress of this Mediterranean plant. The Boss took his iPod to capture some images to send to our friends (currently back in the UK) and I used my Nikon’s zoom lens to focus on the detail of the lofty yellow flowers.

The once-sturdy leaves at the base of the plant are now beginning to droop, as all the energy has gone into producing the spectacular flower. What struck us most was the huge number of bees swarming around the blooms. The property has some old hives and the bees often fly over to visit our finca’s bird baths, but we haven’t seen many for a few days.  We know little about bees (except that The Boss doesn’t react too well to being stung) but, from what we’ve observed, they love anything that’s yellow. They’re certainly loving the agave flower, but for how much longer? Only time will tell . . .

 

A daylight  glimpse of the moon as well.

A daylight
glimpse of the moon as well.

 

High in the sky.

High in the sky.

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From the boat to our table – via Porto Cristo fish market

When we started looking at properties for sale in rural Mallorca, we’d already decided that we wanted to be able to reach the coast fairly easily from our future home.  Mallorca isn’t a very large island so this wasn’t much of a restriction.

From our finca in the Mallorcan countryside we can drive to the coast to the north or east of our home within 25 minutes. One of the several seaside places we enjoy going to is Porto Cristo – Manacor’s port.

Porto Cristo is bustling in the summer – and not just with holidaymakers from abroad. Many citizens of Manacor own second homes here in the port and relocate themselves to their seaside homes – only some 11 kilometres away – during July and August. When we first heard about this we were quite amused: people we’ve known in the UK with second homes usually had to travel a long way to reach them – either in the air or on Britain’s clogged-up motorways.  Folks here may travel only around 15 minutes to reach their home-from-home.

Summer at the seaside

We don’t blame the Manacor folks for moving to the coast. During the two hottest summer months many businesses in Manacor itself close at lunchtime and don’t reopen until the following day. People who relocate to Porto Cristo may have further to travel to work in Manacor but, when the day’s (or half day’s) work is done, they can beetle back to the port for the cooling sea breezes.

Porto Cristo is in party mode for the Festes del Carme each July. Events during the week include a seafood fair (this year on Monday, 7th) and a late-night weekend firework display that never fails to delight the crowds lining the port. These are two events we – and apparently the entire population of Porto Cristo and Manacor – attend every year.

This morning we had an appointment in Porto Cristo. Afterwards, we achieved something we’ve meant to do since we moved to Mallorca: we bought a fish at the small harbour fish market.  You only notice the place is there because a few weathered fishermen are usually hanging around outside. The fish market is open six mornings a week and, in summer, for an hour in the early evening. We’d always thought you had to buy fish in bulk here but, no, they are happy to sell individual fish too.

Wind and rough seas had limited the catch today, but we chose a good-looking Cap Roig (also known as a Red Scorpion fish). We’ve eaten this fish in restaurants, but never cooked – or cleaned – one. I was pleased that one of the lingering fishermen volunteered to gut it for me.  Now all I have to do is cook it this evening . . .

Get your fresh fish here!

Get your fresh fish here!

 

Fresh from the Med

Fresh from the Med