Followers of this blog will have noticed a lack of posts recently, but that’s been down to time pressures. I started producing and presenting a new weekly radio show in Mallorca back in April and am also in the middle of an online novel-writing course. Then there’s other family and finca stuff…
Ten years after I had the idea for my first novel, I am finally making some progress in writing the story. You could have guessed correctly that the Work In Progress is set mostly in Mallorca – this island we love and call home.
My hope is that having made this endeavour public, I’ll be spurred on to keep writing until I can type ‘The End’. Meanwhile, The Boss and I are also trying to stay cool in the heat of the Mallorcan summer, amidst everything going on.
We had a visit from one of the local farmers the Sunday before last. Hairy-handed José (to distinguish him from any other José we know) came to tell us that a friend and neighbour from the valley had passed away on Friday and his funeral would be on Monday – the next day. Funerals happen very soon after someone dies here and I am amazed that the arrangements can be made and people informed in such a short space of time.
We wanted to pay our respects to the late Miquel, who had been a kind neighbour – particularly in our early years of living in the finca. Occasionally he would bring oranges in the back of his old white van from an orchard he owned somewhere. Most went to his sheep in the valley but he occasionally brought us some of the best-looking oranges, hooting his van horn outside our gate to alert us to his arrival.
On one occasion Miquel invited us to his apartment in Porto Cristo (just one of his homes) for a paella lunch with him and his wife. We felt honoured to be invited – particularly as some people had told us that mallorquíns don’t usually invite foreigners into their homes. That hasn’t been our experience, by the way, and we have enjoyed warm hospitality from several of our mallorquín neighbours.
When we arrived at their immaculate apartment for lunch, we were a little surprised not to smell anything cooking. Miquel’s wife was relaxing in an armchair and we all sat having a drink and a pleasant chat for a while. Then, suddenly, Miquel leapt up and said he had to go. We had no idea where to, but he returned shortly afterwards carrying a large paella pan covered with foil. He had ordered and collected a paella from….wait for it….the local Chinese restaurant! And it was delicious. That’s one of our favourite memories of Miquel.
What to wear?
We hadn’t been to a funeral in Mallorca before and had no idea what to expect. Our good friends and neighbours Maureen and Peter had known Miquel a lot longer than we had, so we arranged to go to the church together. But what to wear? Obviously something of a sober hue.
I remember reading guide book advice about visiting churches in a Catholic country: no shorts; shoulders – and perhaps upper arms too – should be covered. We also had to bear the heat in mind. Having discounted everything from my summer wardrobe, I resorted to black trousers and a dark-blue long-sleeved blouse from Jan’s Autumn/Winter-Every-Year collection. (I must buy some more clothes).
The Boss wore dark suit trousers, white shirt, black tie, and shoes – but decided that the suit jacket would be just too hot. It wouldn’t do to collapse, overheated, at such an occasion. Maureen looked suitably respectful in a long black dress and cardigan; Peter – whom we never see in anything but shorts during the summer – wore smart trousers, shirt, and shoes. The Boss loaned him a darker tie from a hoard that rarely sees daylight here. We were all appropriately attired.
When we arrived at the church, it was standing room only at the back – which gave us a good view of the congregation. What a surprise: there were lots of women of all ages in shorts and strappy tops or dresses, men in t-shirts and shorts, and comparatively few wearing dark clothes. Things have obviously changed since my days of travelling with a local guide book!
The short service was in mallorquín, which we didn’t understand, and was unlike any funeral we’d been to in the UK. We left the church rather bemused, but at least we had paid our respects to a man who, during his eighty-plus years, had clearly been well known and respected in a wide community. DEP (Descanso En Paz – Rest In Peace) Miquel.
Never too old…
Happier (and surprising) news reached us yesterday: our farming neighbour Pedro – allegedly 91 years old – has just remarried. He had been a widower since 2015. We have seen him occasionally in recent months on his tractor, but doubt that the new Señora Pedro will be riding ‘pillion’ on the ancient agricultural vehicle, as the late Margarita used to.
©Jan Edwards 2018
8 thoughts on “One Funeral and A Wedding”
I want to support what you say about friendly neighbors on Mallorca. In spite of the fact that I only spend most of the winter months on Mallorca, my neighbors have always been very helpful and friendly. But it took some time to be invited to their home. Now I am often invited to family gatherings which I really enjoy in spite of my still poor Spanish. The advantage of Mallorca is that Spanish is their second language so they do not mind my bad grammar!
It’s good to know you’ve had a positive experience too, Anders. And you’re right about the language thing! I hope the Swedish summer is being kind to you – and not too hot!
Sorry for your neighbour. It is a sad news. At the same time, congrats to the other neighbour for his new marriage!
But the most important thing is that you have decided to write your book 😊
Congrats for your radio show 😀
Thank you, Sid, for your comments. I hope all is good with you and that the summer heat isn’t too intense with you. Expecting 40+C here this weekend. Gulp. Saludos de Mallorca, Jan
Today it will be the hottest day of this summer! But weather will change next week, that is adios verano 😂
It’s certainly hot here today! Impossible to get cold water from the tap to wash the salad leaves! Happy Friday to you too, Sid.
Hi Jan I love reading your posts, and about the local people that you know. Bless Miquel! And good luck to the newly weds! I am very surprised re the funeral attire, as one would imagine a catholic country (?) being very formal re funerals. Do tell more about your radio work!
Hi Denise, thank you for your kind comments. Yes, I was so really surprised about the funeral attire too! I now have a weekly radio show called ‘Table Talk’ on local English-language radio station Mallorca Sunshine Radio. It’s on Saturday mornings from 10 – 12 noon (local time) and is about gastronomy and hospitality on the island – things I write about in my other blog http://www.eatdrinksleepmallorca.com.
I hope you’re enjoying your unusually warm summer over there. Ours is a bit too hot for my liking really, but we are able to get outdoors comfortably in the early mornings and in the evenings.
Best wishes, Jan