Summer’s Arrived in Mallorca

Porto Cristo in the sunshine. The biggest boat belongs to tennis supremo Rafa Nadal

It’s officially here: summer 2021. In terms of the tourist season in Mallorca, it’s a late start – although some visitors from Germany began coming at Easter. At the moment we’ve seen few signs of many British tourists, because of the requirement for quarantine on their return home. From various media reports I’ve seen, that requirement could be lifted soon for those who are fully vaccinated. We shall see.

Our part-time neighbour and friend Vicky came to stay for a couple of weeks to check on her property and attend to things that needed doing. She had prepared for the subsequent quarantine by filling her freezer back at home.

The first thing to know about owning a second home in the countryside – a finca – is that there is always something to be done by way of maintenance or repair. A holiday in one’s rural second home usually begins with fixing things or organising a técnico to visit the property to sort out problems.

Beyond Repair

Some things, however, are beyond repair. One of those is the old cart we inherited when we bought our finca. Someone asked me the other day if we still had it. Yes, we do.

A very old bougainvillea keeps this cart more or less standing

During the last winter we looked at its poor state and wondered whether we should remove it. The Boss feared it could collapse and banned me from weeding in the area, just in case. One day I spotted a lot of the creeping weed Galium acarine, sometimes known as sticky bob or sticky willy. We’ve been plagued with it this year and I’ve pulled out metres of the stuff from just about every area of the garden.

The dreaded weed was threading its way through the old bougainvillea which grows from under the cart. Well, that had to go, or I feared we’d have no beautiful bracts this summer to add colour to this patch of our land. When The Boss spotted me at work near the cart he came to join me and we tackled the weeding together.

Up close and personal, we discovered that although the cart has collapsed on one side, rocks (of which we have a lot) and the old bougainvillea are forming the equivalent of a girdle to keep it all in place. The cart lives on … and the tidying of the sticky bob that The Boss and I did has paid off, as you can see.

Busy, Busy …

Our friends Maureen and Peter, other part-time English neighbours, wrote to me a few days ago, pointing out that they hadn’t seen a blog post for a while. We’ve been busy.

There have been various appointments here and there – one of which was to organise new persianas – the slatted window and door shutters that are a common feature of Spanish properties. We had the wooden ones replaced at the front quite a few years ago and now it’s the turn of some of the shutters at the back of the house.

I’ve also been busy working on getting my debut novel Daughter of Deià published. Because I have little patience, I am leaning towards the indie publishing route. Traditional publishing takes a long time and that’s if you can even find a publisher who’ll take you on. It helps to be a celebrity, apparently. I’m not.

My research into self-publishing, or indie publishing, suggests I am at the base of a steep learning curve, but I love learning new things, so I’m girding my loins for the journey and looking forward to holding that published book in my hand.

Wherever you are, I hope your summer has begun well and that you have the pleasure of looking forward to a holiday, somewhere, soon.

Jan Edwards © 2021

Awaiting a cart-astrophe

One of the first things we noticed when we first saw our finca in rural Mallorca – during a four-day property-hunting visit to the island – was an exuberant bougainvillea growing over an old iron and wooden cart. Breathtakingly pretty, it was one of several things we fell in love with about the property we’ve called home for nearly 10 years.

In better days . . .

In better days . . .

On closer inspection we discovered the cart was also home to climbing geraniums. The finca had been a holiday home for the previous owners, who used to buy pots of geraniums when they arrived and, at the end of their holiday, would plant the geraniums in the soil around the bottom of the cart, and leave the rest to Mother Nature. The geraniums are admittedly a bit straggly now, but they still flower each year.

Wheely unsteady

For the past few years we’ve wondered whether the cart is supporting the bougainvillea or vice versa. This relic from a gentler agricultural past is showing its age and looking decidedly unsteady. It’s shored up with rocks – and has been since we bought the place – but I don’t do any weeding anywhere near it now; I even decided not to prune the bougainvillea when it was last due to be done.

One day it will collapse and with it will go the plants that have given us so much pleasure. As much as we’d like to find another old cart to replace it, such items are now eagerly sought by people like us who want some authentic rustic touches for our much-loved rural homes on Mallorca. That means mucho dinero.

There’s still a metal plate on the cart that once bore the maker’s name, but the lettering has worn away. We’ll never know how long ago it was made, or how long it was used for the purpose for which it was intended, but it’s done almost ten years as a delightful garden ornament. You can’t say that about your average garden gnome . . .