One of the joys of living the ex-patriot (aka immigrant!) life here in Mallorca is that you get to meet people from across the United Kingdom practically all the time. Think about it, if you were living in London, Leeds or Liverpool, more than likely you would usually only mix with folk that were generally from the same area.
When you decided to migrate south to the Mediterranean, it may not have occurred to you that even your fellow Brits weren’t exactly the same as you were used to at home. I have to say that I find it touching that most of our Spanish hosts think that because we are British, we are all of the same mind, or of the exact same purpose under the benevolent gaze of Her Majesty the Queen. In fact, for that very same reason we are bound to be friends, or at least friendly with each other to the exclusion of all others. Sorry, wrong!
Most Brits living abroad are a little suspicious of each other. Think about it; we have here on this island a British community that approximates the numbers of a small British town. Yet in living here for the past two decades, I witnessed more petty jealousies, and illogical tribal posturing, than I would have ever expected before I arrived here. Maybe that’s because we are domiciled away from home and living in an ex-pat bubble, indeed do we become afflicted with what can only be described as an embarrassing level of small town syndrome?
I’m not in with the ‘in’ crowd!
Here in Mallorca I have noticed that all those of us ex-pats who live outside the south-west corner of our island are certainly annoyed by the perceived, and let’s face it, real Palma centric nature of pretty much all that happens on the island. For the rest of us however, there is comfort in imagining that north of Santa Maria – you all race pigeons and never wear tights on a freezing Saturday night out on the town. Nevertheless, I do find it quite bracing that no-one will ever have a good word to say about anyone lest they get above themselves, in that time honored, small town fashion.
And it really is quite good fun when listening to disconnected conversations about people who are accused of being in the ‘Portals set’ or ‘Puerto Andratx crowd’ as if these indolent, yet glamorous individuals, did little more than do lunch, wear expensive frocks , and constantly re-apply their make-up for the benefit of the rest of us. The activities of these social butterflies are often regarded with a sense of awe. Fancy meeting up with the same group of people to dine and ‘party’ together at least five times a week for the rest of your natural lives?
I know that being condemned to this life of brittle social chit-chat, botox and breast augmentation is of constant fascination to the rest of us, the poor people; but quite frankly, we all wish that we could be like them, say – for just one day a month I bet. If you think about it, those of us who live ‘the life’ here in Mallorca are a very strange breed indeed. In most ways living the ex-patriate lifestyle here or anywhere else is extremely different from just staying-put close to you roots in the UK. Indeed, as I have mentioned in other articles on occasions, some of our brethren find the temptation to reinvent themselves too great – and affix to themselves a past CV that alas, bears little proximity to the truth; but that’s another story for another day isn’t it?
Get the weather right, will you please?
I am writing this article sat on a terrace outside, the sky is blue and the temperature is hovering around the mid twenties centigrade and all is well with the world. However, like most my friends I spent most of last month with pursed lips unhappy at the spring weather. As reported in Sunday’s Bulletin it seems that we had 47% more rain in May than normal – which, when you think about it is a hell of a lot of rain.
However, in a months time people will be blowing-out their cheeks at the heat and so we will have come full circle in our unhappiness with the weather. Can I make as plea to the almighty in this regard? Dear Lord, I wonder if you could organize the weather here in Majorca as follows? During the summer, please don’t let the temperature rise above 28ºC and every third night please allow it to rain for approximately 23 minutes so as to keep my small garden refreshed. Amen!
In my Friday ‘Frank Talking’ column I wrote recently of how many tourists didn’t seem to have received the memo regarding face-mask etiquette. In some resort towns apparently, it is immediately apparent who is a ‘local’ and who is a tourist, because the former wear face-masks and the latter mostly don’t.
A reader first tipped me off regarding this situation and following her lead I started to notice it for myself. Funnily enough, after my piece was published I received quite a few emails from those islanders who felt strongly that the wearing of these masks was a nonsense and the protocol that demands they are worn should be rescinded immediately. Could it be – you pay your money – you make your choice, or something like that?
“I’m smoking a fag!”
While I’m on the subject of the rules and regulations regarding Covid-19 is there a more pathetic sight than a smoker stood in splendid isolation pulling hard on a cigarette about 10 meters away from their friends and family. As a former smoker of many years standing, I know how they feel as I spent most of my later years as a smoker stood alone in friends terraces and gardens across the island puffing sulkily on a fag until I finally got the message and packed it up. Trust me, it was quite a relief in the end.