Patience is a necessity when living on Mallorca

I’m not the world’s most patient person but, since we moved to Mallorca, we’ve realized that some things just don’t happen quickly here. We waited eight months to have an electricity supply; 18 months for planning permission for an outhouse in which to store our generator, invertor, and solar batteries, and seven months for permission to re-roof our ‘casita’ to stop the leaks every time it rained. It’s a good thing that I’ve never been one to chew my fingernails . . . I’d have been down to my knuckles by now.

This summer we decided to replace our old south-facing wooden front doors. They’d always been painted dark brown and it didn’t take long for the sun to do its work: fading the colour and burning off the sheen from the gloss paint. We decided to invest in new wooden doors that wouldn’t have to be painted, and would be stronger and more secure than the originals. We also considered replacing the inner front doors – also the worse for wear as a result of the sun’s fierce rays.

We found a company that seemed to offer just what we were looking for and a man came out to look at the job, discuss our requirements, and measure up. This was in July. In due course we received the quotation and, after a sharp intake of breath, decided to replace only the external doors. There was a visit to the factory to view and choose door furniture (handles etc, to you and me), and a 50 per cent deposit was paid.

“Gone to the beach”

But August got in the way. Not a lot happens on Mallorca in August that doesn’t involve beaches, swimming pools, and holidays. The factory closed for the month and we were told that our new doors would be delivered in September. In about the middle of September the man came back to the house to ‘check his measurements’. Our hearts sank.

On October 24th two helpful young men arrived with the new doors. They weren’t finished – they still had to have the special protective treatment applied – but this visit was to check the fit. All seemed fine. Until we realized that the holes for the handle and lock were on the wrong door. Oh dear.

Desperately seeking a solution

We visited the company to discuss the problem. The man who’d been out to our property didn’t remember what had been agreed as he’d “been on a month’s holiday” since then! It seemed that all the clipboard notes he’d scribbled during his visit to us had also gone on holiday – and not returned. We left him contemplating a possible solution.

Finally our doors were delivered and fitted last week. They look great and we’re really pleased that the company found a way to resolve the problem, without The Boss having to puff out his chest and get stroppy in Spanish.

But the story isn’t over yet. The new doors have been fitted with a modern brushed chrome handle, rather than the rustic-style door handle and keyhole that the (same) man had suggested at the factory. The very same rustic door furniture that we’d asked him to fit to our new doors. At least the bolts look rustic.

Patience. I just can’t get a handle on it . . .

 

The inner face of one of our smart new front doors.

The inner face of one of our smart new front doors.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Pip’s progress

If you come to live in the Mallorcan countryside, you’re likely to end up sharing your life with a few animals. We arrived on the island with two cats: Minstral, our Birman, and Smokey, our Maine Coon (who died a few years ago from lymphoma). Minstral lives indoors, and has done so happily for just over 17 years – 13 of which have been with us.

For three years we have also had a ‘glaring’ – a highly appropriate (at least at feeding time) collective noun for a group of cats. Five of these were born (in two litters) to a black feral cat we named Jetta who, after being with us for more than a year, went off one day and never returned. Our land has always been the territory of her offspring.

Along came two more . . .

Shorty arrived (dumped?) as a tiny ginger kitten, dragging an injured back leg. His incredible tenacity enabled him to wheedle his way into the existing feline family and, today, he’s a handsome cat with a love of cuddles (and a tendency to dribble all over you). Peanut – another dumped ginger kitten – stayed for several months but went off one day and didn’t return. It had taken some time for her to be accepted and although she was eventually tolerated, she clearly felt the need for her own space.

Shorty

Shorty

And another . . .

On September 18th this year the latest addition to our feline family arrived. We came home late from Nit de l’Art in Palma de Mallorca to find a little scrap of a kitten just inside the gates, cowering near the dustbin. Another dumpee, it seemed. She clearly wasn’t feral, as she readily came over to us and The Boss was able to pick her up. She purred like a train – probably pleased to be out of the reach of the other cats.

We call her Pip and, since her arrival, she’s been living in our annex bedroom overnight and when we’re out and unable to keep an eye on her. We can’t be sure how old she is, but the vet has suggested we have her spayed during the last week of November/first week of December. Until then, we’re keeping her out of the reach of any passing tomcats, and keeping an eye on her interaction with our other cats. Initially it seemed as though she wouldn’t be accepted but, apart from the very occasional paw swipe from one of the big boys, tolerance generally prevails.

The new kitten is growing – in size, character, and confidence. She’s a fanatical tree-climber (The Boss has once had to resurrect his boyhood tree-climbing skills to rescue her when adventure overtook ability). She loves playing with the stones on our drive – grabbing one between her front paws and tossing it into the air. And her dribbling skills (of the football, rather than Shorty variety) with a small ball could teach Real Mallorca a thing or two.

Needless to say, our initial thoughts of finding her a new home have been forgotten. Welcome to the glaring, Pip.

 

Cuddle time

Cuddle time

A walk on the wild side

A walk on the wild side

"Scared? Moi?!"

“Scared? Moi?!”

Summer turns to winter on Mallorca

It feels like ages since I wrote a post on this blog. In the meantime both the weather and clocks have changed – and I’ve added a year to my age.  I’ve been super-busy, and have just completed a major writing job that has seen me up at the crack of dawn at the laptop and sometimes working until bedtime. After filing the last piece of copy for the job, an hour ago, I ran out onto the terrace and shouted an ecstatic “Yippee!”. My apologies to any sheep I might have frightened . . .

 

"What the Dickens was that noise?"

“What the Dickens was that noise?”

Last Saturday was my birthday and the weather for the whole weekend was sunny and warm. On Monday, during a brief coffee break on the terrace, The Boss and I agreed it was almost warm enough to wear shorts. It’s been confirmed by the boffins in the Spanish Met Office that the average temperature in October was the warmest on record for that month. We even managed a swim in the sea, something we’ve not done in that month previously.

Winter comes a-knocking

How things changed on Tuesday this week, when a cold front sliced across Spain and the Balearics. We were lucky in our area and didn’t suffer the hailstorms, thunder, and lightning that affected other parts of the island. But we had heavy rain and it has turned colder. I’ve resorted to wearing a cardigan for the first time in months, and plan to spend the weekend retrieving my winter clothes from their summer storage and laundering them.

The Boss, meanwhile, has been doing that man-thing: preparing the log burner for the next drop in temperature. Cleaning the flue and the stove itself, and renewing the rope-like stuff that prevents the escape of smoke around the door and the junction of the stove and flue, has occupied a few hours of his time – and left him looking a bit sooty. I can tell he’s itching to get the thing blazing again. But I’ve just checked the weather forecast and it looks as though our high could be 21 degrees Celsius again tomorrow . . .

Next time I’ll give you an update on the progress of Pip, the latest kitten to join our feline family.