This time last year I was on a mission: I wanted a water feature for our finca’s dining terrace. And I wanted it to be solar-powered, like our electricity supply. Surely that wouldn’t be hard to find?
The Boss and I scoured Mallorca to find one: we really like to buy local if we can. We were amazed that, on an island where the sun shows its face on some 300 days a year, it appeared that we were as likely to find a solar-powered water feature for sale as we were an igloo. After failing to find a supplier in Spain, via the Internet, we gave up.
A few weeks ago I was searching the Internet for something else for the garden that we couldn’t find locally. Lo and behold, I found a site for a company on the Spanish mainland offering a choice of solar-powered water features. Result!
From the Mainland to Mallorca
We wasted no time choosing and ordering something to add that sound of trickling water that should make us feel cooler during the balmy summer evenings – most of which are spent on the terrace. The fountain arrived pretty quickly and was easily assembled. I say easily, because The Boss did it. Putting together something like a solar-powered water feature comes under the heading of ‘technical’ in my book. And I don’t do technical. At least, not if I have The Boss handy at the time.
We love it. And so do our cats, who consider it yet another source of water for them around the finca . . .
Spring on rural Mallorca this year has rapidly become summer. We’re reminded that it’s actually still only spring by the singing of the nightingales in the valley throughout the night. Spain – including the Balearic Islands – is experiencing temperatures more common in July and, on the Spanish mainland, it’s set to sizzle up to 40 degrees Celsius by Thursday – when temperatures will be around 15 degrees higher than average for the time of year. Phew.
Although holidaymakers may be loving the hotter-than-average May temperatures, the early heat has had a detrimental effect on our house-and-garden maintenance schedule. It’s too hot to paint the shutters, or do some repairs involving cementing.
Fortunately, between our last visitors and the next ones – my dad and his younger brother, arriving on Thursday – The Boss had time to bushwhack the field. The wild flowers this year were superb, so we left them in all their glory until the heat zapped the last bit of life from them. Then it was time for The Boss to don his safety gear, fire up his bushwhacker, and get to work.
While clearing the field of the long wild grasses he’d cut down, The Boss found a nest of partridge eggs. The parents had not chosen a good location – on the ground at the base of an almond tree – and had subsequently abandoned the nest, which contained 15 cold eggs.
No countryside for young partridges: a nest of abandoned eggs
We guessed the partridge parents-to-be were probably last year’s young, with little idea about choosing a great place to raise their kids. Although it was sad to see the eggs left behind, it was probably as well, given that we have seven cats that spend a lot of time in that field!
Perhaps Mr and Mrs Partridge knew what they were doing after all . . .
Last Friday we fell a tiny bit in love with a small village called Costitx, in the centre of Mallorca. Relatively few visitors to the island will have heard of it, let alone visited, but many will have flown over it – the village being under one of the flight paths across Mallorca. An impressive number of visitors – mainly Mallorcans – flooded into the village on May 1st for ‘Costitx en Flor’.
Beautiful views across Mallorca’s Pla to the mountains.
We reached Costitx via a (usually) quiet country lane off the main Manacor to Inca road (between Sineu and Inca) in an area of the island known as the Pla. There’s lovely surrounding countryside and views of the UNESCO World Heritage Serra de Tramuntana. The village itself has some interesting old architecture and several beautifully restored stone townhouses. If we had to live in a village, rather than open countryside, Costitx does have its attractions . . .
The village also has a few claims to fame – and not the sort of fame associated with the likes of Magaluf, or the more genteel mountain village of Deià.
Here are a few facts you could drop into a conversation about this lesser-known part of Mallorca:
Eyes to the Skies
Costitx is home to the Observatori Astronòmic de Mallorca, opened in 1991. Even after we’d bought our finca – but before we moved to Mallorca – we weren’t aware of its existence. I found out about it only during a BBC radio interview I did with an astronomy expert in north Oxfordshire, who told me the observatory was “very important”. The Observatory is also home to the Mallorca Planetarium.
Costitx is home to three prehistoric bronze bulls’ heads found on common land in 1894. Well preserved, and part of the Balearics’ remarkable Talayotic remains, they have their 21st-century home in the Son Corró Sanctuary. One of the streets in the village is named after these Caps de Bou de Costitx.
In 1987, Costitx elected a mayor who became both famous and infamous. Every Mallorcan – and many non-Mallorcan island residents – will know of Maria Antònia Munar …
Saying it with flowers: a welcome to ‘Costitx en Flor’
But it was last Friday’s ‘Costitx en Flor’ that wowed us. This annual flower festival sees the whole village decorated with flowers, with each street having its own themed display.
The creativity of the villagers, and hard work involved in putting this event together, are evidence of a real community spirit. We loved it and, if you’re on Mallorca next May 1st, it’s worth a visit if you appreciate flowers, handicrafts, and creativity.
The street with the recycled jeans
The street with the bicycle and flower displays . . .
Old tyres given a new lease of life
Streets closed to traffic – and open to floral displays
Take a seat … and add flowers
Once a tyre … now a chicken
In the doorway of an old townhouse in Costitx
Old well outside a Costitx house – complete with flowers in a recycled tyre
Embroidery on a big scale!
Archway to ‘cup and saucer alley’ in Costitx
Anyone for a cuppa?
Costitx church goes floral
Plants for sale – for those inspired by their visit to ‘Costitx en Flor’