Green gills and a body bag . . .

Mercioles, 7 Septiembre 2016

Early start, at least we didn’t have to be at the coach until 08:55. Stuffing our guts with a full Spanish fry up and gulping down cafe con leche’s followed by a copious amount of zumo de naranja didn’t seem to help, even after four days after flying, our digestive systems still hadn’t completely decompressed.

As we walked out of the breakfast room on the Mezzanine carrying our man bags we bumped into two guys heading upstairs conveying large tins of paint and decorating items and just by a close co-incidence, three guys trying to manoeuvre a very large black canvas bag down the stairs, the way they were bumping down one step at a time one couldn’t have thought the content being of much worth. They all looked rather surprised to see us, had we interrupted something?

 Suddenly, realising now that we had to race to get to the pickup point to be first on the coach, for the “full island tour” we hastened it, me dragging my right leg, as last night it was starting to give me the proverbial jip, bloody flip-flops no doubt!

The No Frills Tourista transporter arrives, “bugger” I said aloud, ‘mucho personas’ already seated, that’s all of our homework completely fucked up. The plan was to ensure we sat on the right hand side of the coach at the front, (facing travel) sadly it was not to be. Disgruntled and pouty like a sulking Brit I board the modern-day twelve wheeled charabanc and there ahead, like a beacon, I was drawn to wards it like a tractor beam, I could see it, a ‘royal box’ , an unclaimed pair of seats with no obstruction in front, although situated at the back of the coach above the rear stair well, we end up with an almost 180degree view . . . bonus!

Getting our boney posteriors comfortable for departure we noticed a black van with the word Funerary drive past us, we commented … “oh, dear, that’s not good, ‘La Muebles de la Muete’” (The Furnitures of Death)!

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The whole Island Trip was obviously fully booked as we picked up other revellers along the way and our tourista guide, Dina,  was wonderful, speaking English with almost perfection, and apologising that all last week was spent with the Germans, so, her attitude may come across as a little “now We do this . . NOW” but engaged with us all, and those like us, wishing to speak Catalan or Spanish attempted to help us along. This was going to be the perfect day for sure.

Wending our way along the mountain route which took us from Pollença town, and up the Serra de Tramuntanas and toward onto Lluc and the Monastery, pronounced YUUK, emphasising this, we all had to have a go at YUUK’ing with great hilarity. Puig Major, the tallest mountain was a bit more difficult, but PUTCH MAGOR was chanted, that would do too.

We were all in a party mood. Steadily we continued to climb and climb until we could climb no more, we passed the fresh water bottling factory at the top of the summit, squeezing past the Blue Gorge, and the Son Nebot rocks, and the ‘Cals des Reis’ the Houses of the kings, (which was hard to see) effigies, so-called by the locals, which with thousands of thousands of years erosion, had carved these limestone monoliths. Of course, if you squinted your eyes hard enough you might just be able to make out a few figments and visions of your own imagination, pfft!

Just below the highest road point at 640 metres is what is named the ‘nudo de la corbata’ translated as the ‘knot of the tie’, a crossover of carriageways atop and under the pass. We disembarked for a nature break, and after queuing up as good Brits do we were rewarded with and thirst’d our quenches with freshly squeezed naranja.

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On top of that, we then had other opportunities, courtesy of our new extendable selfie stick, to take inclusive shots of us and the surrounding vistas. Out of character, (not) Mr Grumpypants got way ahead of his station and left the group, and climbed high up onto a rock face, “look at me” he cried, hilariously he got stuck and whined pathetically as he couldn’t get down, what a wuss!

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“Come on Lady Edmund … the coach is going! With OR without you”.

He didn’t stop moaning until he actually saw just how high up we were.

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It’s literally all down hill now toward Sa Calobra from here, a tiny village at sea level, our vehicle steadily and carefully proceeds down what can only be described as a racing circuit for cyclists, of course, it wasn’t built for that designated purpose. Somehow it has become internationally renown, apparently Sir Wiggybrads (with inhaler?) has completed the route, base to peak in 22minutes 33seconds (show off) … it bears the name of Coll des Reig, 9.5km of hairpins, tunnels and death drops at either sides of the road down into the precarious Torrent De Pareis on a consistent 7%. (enough of the info? please stop!)

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Holding on tight, we scrawl our pointed cross fingers N,S E & W on our chests. Thankfully we made it down to the drop-off point safely, albeit very slowly, the coach driver Juan was sweating like an actual pig going to slaughter as the coach wheels hung on precariously to the steaming tarmac, it was over 40C out there, thank heavens the Air – Con was operating inside the coach.

Everyone alighted and herded off quite quickly like a speeded up toilet break as seen on “Carry on at your Convenience”

Assembling on the edge of the coach park we were each issued an Orange ‘credit styled’ card and given strict instructions* “give, take, show, give”. That is, give* the card to the boatman, take* the card off of her (our guide) on arrival at Port de Sóller, show* the tram conductor and give* to the conductor once on board the Orange Express to Palma. How difficult is that to understand???

Main instruction was to be back at the Blue Barco in 45 minutes time, bearing in mind if we wished to walk to the famous Sa Calobra beach which was featured in Jurassic Park we had to remember that it would take 30 minutes there and back, we decided to take that time instead to empty our own fuel tanks and refill as necessary. It amazed us just how stupid some people can be, many appear not give a toss or listen to important information where their own safety and others’ welfare are concerned. Goodness knows how many times Dina was asked the same question over and over, her repeated reply was .. GIVE, TAKE, SHOW, GIVE! . . . GIVE, TAKE, SHOW, GIVE!

Sa Calobra was also featured in BBC’s The Night Manager with an evening scene at the water’s edge restaurant, hence, we came to the conclusion that the hiked up prices simply reflected that. Just because Tom Hiddleston’s once parked his backside at a table here, doesn’t mean I have to pay for that privilege. So we slummed it, in fact we had a good deal, further up the hill over-looking the small beach area and not even quite so price wise jaw droopingly so either. As soon as we cleared our plates we headed down toward the beach and boardwalk and recognised two of the Lycra clad jack boot wearing cyclists sighted at the plaça yesterday.  Of course, I had to take some close up discreet photographs, as you do . . . see?, see what i mean!

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fat-butt

The gorgeous nicely built one with the delightful pert butt and the lascivious slug with him, Chris and I looked at each other and said, “there is no way ‘he’ will get back up that hill, unless they are coming with us on our boat”.

But seriously, were the two of them out on a scouting trip?  Were they supposed to be as discreet as security are meant to be? Were they watching someone of importance, maybe someone possibly within our own ‘travelling family’?, as Dina kept saying, “family look after family, SI?!

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The “blue boaty boat face” barco starts to embark passengers, again, we had a plan, top deck-top priority, and we piled in, just like desperate customers who had waited out all night for sales entry, it was a free for all, we scrambled up the precipitous steps like mountain goats,  . . . of course, I was quite gentlemanly like and fucked off a few fellow passengers to get where I had intended, no charm here, this was war. Being twenty-foot above the plimsoll line, with open sides to the boat and not a life-jacket in sight, Chris was getting a bit uneasy, water is not his thing, and that includes swimming pools and baths. Perhaps at some point I might even tell you about the day we took a trip down the Thames on a high-speed RIB!

Bow lines were cast, three blasts of the horn and we powered astern and veered starboard, dodgy entrepreneurial type characters were partying aboard floating gin palaces. sueryacht-1

Along with superyachts that you would expect Bobby Axelrod to appear from below deck with a towel wrapped around his midriff were moored close to the tiny harbour causing chaos. Not this time,  oh no, El Capitán manoeuvred around the floating obstacles as if they were toys in a bath tub, he had experienced this mayhem before and set course straight ahead, just as if he was barging through a crowded market he was determined to get his passengers directly to where he intended, and that was ‘the best waypoint on his electronic chart for the view of the famed beach’ . . .

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I was hoping to see a dinosaur materialise between the vertiginous edges of the gorge and bite a few heads off the obscenely clad beach revellers, instead . . . sadly, I just had to imagine it. Climbing backwards down the near sheer steps to the lower deck and toward the onboard bar I realised that our intrepid sailor Thor Heyerdahl would feel more at ease here. I took a guess and spoke to the bar man in Catalan,  “Abierto Señor?” Si … you like? “Agua y pequeña per favor”? muy bueno dias uh? “Oh si Señor, muy bueno”.

With a cheeky grin and placing his hand out he politely said “tres euros gracias”! Managing to get back up to the mizzen mast with both hands full, I passed over his bottle of agua frío, I could see a tinge of the greens around Chris’ gills. Dina our guide did the rounds and obliged all her clients as each, our own personal paparazzi.papraz-barco

The Cala Tuent’s engines powered up as we steamed further out into the deeper open water. Sat almost behind the bridge and presented with all the navigation equipment I was in fact, myself, in Popeye heaven, … imagines ..  “rolling up my sleeve arms, revealing my tattoos and puffing on a pipe, squeezing open a can of spinach and pouring it down my neck and yelling “ack ack ack ack ack” as I set a course to another land”.  

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coastal-waters

The second mate checked and aligned himself with his masters waypoints and in keeping with a close line off the coast afforded us with the most spectacular views, Chris was slightly uneasy but happier at the moment as he was in sight of land and to be honest there was a fantastic atmosphere aboard which took away the stigma of being “all at sea”

Moving out of the intense heat and down to near the boats low centre of gravity, Chris became far more comfortable and much cooler and strangely enough, placed us nearer the bow for getting off first.

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Although if you look close, you can see him holding on tight to the upright pole near the stern for our cruising shot, which of course, in my opinion is probably one of the best photos of the holiday. The bar man looked at us, winked and said “Como es mi amigo”? (is your friend ok) ‘Si señor, nosotros estamos muy bien, gracias’ . . . danada!   (replying that we were . . .)

Passengers were having selfie sword stick fights and pro-photographers with small penises displayed their telephoto apparatus at each other, all competing for infinite compositions at the click of a shutter, as to who’s was the biggest, one will never know. Out of nowhere, the northern man from our hotel could be readily heard complaining to his misses and all those around him, saying he had been ripped off for his water and beer, EIGHT bloody euros he charged me!!  Looking at Chris, we both had to smile, hey ho, . . . again, when in Rome . . .

Mr northern man was, and probably still is telling the tale and wondering why they get treated so differently to others. Can you wonder why!

The coast was breathtaking, millions of pine trees holding on to the cliff edges, desolate paths trod by weary shepherds and foresters, small cabins clinging on tight to large rocky outcrops and an amazing boathouse built into the rocks, so isolated and stunningly hypnotic, but obvious someone lives there, no sign of a road or any other access, only by water. How amazing is that?villa

sister-barco

Passing a sister boat to ours we *both* waved at *each* other, eventually the lighthouse at Port de Sóller came into sight, suddenly out of the sheer isolation and beauty of the deep waters came civilisation, outstanding properties worth obscene amounts of Euro clung to the cliff tops, slowly they had been constructed and stitched together brick by brick as they got nearer and nearer to the water’s edge.

Port de Sóller . . .

After hard mooring alongside a sister ship, we all disembarked and assembled, we each received our Orange cards, remember “Keep, Show, Give”, meet me at the tram point in one hour and thirty minutes . . . THATS ONE HOUR THIRTY MINUTES.

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Having visited here before, we knew the first few front line restaurants on the water’s edge were ridiculously expensive, the service was terrible as was the cuisine. Moving slightly to the right of the designated tram meeting point, we eventually settle at the Hotel Miramar Residencia Terrazzo and picked a table, next to four freelance yachtsmen sharing their lunch and telling tales of the high seas and their individual adventures, there was such a terrible invisible smell, must have been all the bull they were talking. Scouring the menu a large selection of seafood tapas and drink were ordered, in Catalan and with great respect from the cambrer and cambrera. Others waited and grew impatient for attention, but we had quick service and delved in, we ate like the proverbial del Reys. The view of the busy port and beach was astounding.

We were, today, indeed, each a Mallorquin.

I had my eyes peeled as I was expecting to see the writer, Ms Nicholas. I had been conversing with her recently on Twitter. Hoping perhaps that she would be somewhere within this very cosmopolitan urbane. Would she be dining with her publisher or her girlfriends who belonged to the famous Mallorquin Wives Club.

Keeping one eye on as to who was going to have the last piece of sepia, and with one hand holding on tightly to my obscenely measured vodka y limón, I scan the elegant surroundings with my remaining eyeball.vodka-limon

Totally vigilant and hoping to seek sight of the crazy english cat lady, I busily feed my face with the remains of the pan y aioli. I have to admit fact that I was slightly disappointed that I never got to see or meet her, I was expecting far too much. However there was always a chance she might be in Sóller itself a little later. 

Puerto Pollença 14:00 hrs, The smell of paint and cleansing fluid are now permeating throughout the hotel, the manager is worried it will affect evening dinner and concerned the tragedy if known will upset the guests. Fortunately, everything has been kept very low-key, the body had now been removed from the scene and awaits its post-mortem by the coroner at Palma. All items once owned by the deceased have now been removed and Suite 507 and the corridor can now be purged and void of any unpleasantries thoroughly in preparation for future occupation. He was such a nice gentleman, rather quiet, no friends or family, almost three years as a resident. 

The electric tram ride from the harbour to the town centre was and is always beautiful, if not somewhat uncomfortable and cramped. The tracks run parallel to homes and back yards, garages and beautifully tended gardens, all with individual charm, some with hot tubs, others with either plunge or swimming pools no bigger than postage stamps on tiny envelope spaces.

A solitary horse roams around a paddock, endless covered areas of Bougainvillea and grapevine, donkeys, countless terracotta pots with architectural greenery, olive, lemon and orange trees, palms, ferns, yucca’s, dancing fountains, hens and cockerels, sheep, vegetable patches, irrigation systems, cats both tame and feral, numerous washing lines displaying brilliant whites, a dog running the length of its garden barking at, and chasing the tram.  At one particular yard we shouted PIGS and pointed like we had never before seen them. 

This is real Mallorquin life, just as it happens, two gentlemen sat in the shade playing dominoes together silently, an elderly woman is next to them wearing a headscarf, peeling vegetables, obviously muttering the gossip acquired at the market earlier this morning.

It doesn’t get much more native than this, and all under the heat of the intense sun, searing way above 40C. Strangely, those who are not taking the afternoon siesta have other reasons, just a part of their natural daily lifestyle. Nothing seems to have a time constraint, apart from the bell tolling on the hour from the Neo-Gothic tower in the centre of the plaça.

It is as if time has almost stood still, it is neither digital or analogous, yet moves so at its own predetermined pace. Perhaps that’s why it is so beautiful. Today, we each could quite possibly be time travellers due to the hour difference, or even star trekkers in our own little universe or studio. With that extra added chance of bumping into ‘Miles O’Brien’ who also resides here. Often found sipping vi negre outside the ‘Cafe de Paris’ as if he had been here all of his life. Surely that would be an encounter of the first kind, perhaps, we are quite possibly already the next generation. Thinking on, as we pass the said area, I see quite clearly old memories, myself, Chris, his mother and her friend Brenda, all sat here, taking in the atmosphere eating ice cream some fourteen years ago, my first introduction to this beautiful town.image-1

I notice the tall trees, these are the famous ‘London Plane’ although named as, there are thousands of them lining the streets of our metropolis, London, they are not indigenous of the United Kingdom and were brought from the Northern America’s centuries ago, it prefers, and thrives in drought areas and sometimes often such as other busy cities, its bark absorbs pollution and then sheds it as if by magic by returning fresh clean air during its daily cycle. Hence why they line the sides of the original steam train station, towering almost thirty metres high. Even more beauty. Even more familiarity. 

15:00hrs, We are now awaiting departure of the Orange Express, to arrive from Palma, but certainly not before having the famous Sóller speciality, bring on the helados y naranja tambien crema! Mucho Bueno!image-1

By the way Chris, did you see the cyclists on the boat?

…. to be continued …

…. When Doves Cry …

…. Cont’d from invisible Man …

Martes, el 6 September 2016. That certainly was one hell of a disturbed night, what with the unusual heat and all, one could not but hear the constant sound of siren and loud conversation, at one point I stuck my head outside of the room and shouted down the corridor “pel bé folla tancar l’agafada uo” . . . all went silent for a while, but my offensive message was not taken to heed.

This morning brings a strong breeze and dark cloud to the eastern end of the Serra de Tramuntanas. This mountain range shelters our port, but shrouds Cala de San Vincenç, a busy mini Ibizan styled town which has that oh-not-so-bo-ho appeal, sedately she sits behind the mountain range including the beautiful butterfly Boquer valley and the drive to the Cap de Formentor lighthouse.

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Today Pollença bay appears to have an extremely despondent atmosphere with a broken-hearted calm, which is rather unusual considering the direction of todays wind.

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Preguntas. Consists of a small hybrid, fried and continental, neither of us consumed much due to lack of sleep and a noisy bed partner, or perhaps I should in fact state my room-mate. Another quick visit to the Farmacia was in order, on the other side of the street walking in the shade is the man in the linen suit, I nod to him, he doesn’t acknowledge me, he appears to be in his own world.                                                                                                      

We enter the clinical establishment with our usual cheery and confident ‘Bon Dia’  which   sadly quickly turned into a laughing mime game.                                                                                 What is sign for ear plugs? I think to myself. “Ear plugs” in sign I ask, not your actual British Sign Language, but lazy English man pointing his fingers and making snoring noises. It worked though, I was able to also obtain some cotton buds, yes, I bet you can all see me gesticulating that particular request can’t you?                                                                  My ears haven’t been the same since yesterdays dive to the bottom of the pool to check to see that the plug was still firmly in place.

We turn the corner into the Calle de Formentor, I see him, and ensuring he hears me this time I raise my voice to an audible ¡hola! …. he intrigued me yesterday … I turn to Chris and mention “its the man in the linen suit yet again, , why didn’t you say hello? …”

What, where? he replies.

That man, the one in the linen suit, look, over there …

Where?

… and suddenly he has gone.

We beat a hasty retreat back down toward the tiny supermercado, a six-pack of agua sits on the dusty floor, its plastic carry strap sweating almost as much as ourselves, next stop our hotel and our own private intimate mini bar, as we place a litre bottle inside to cool, I can hear ‘spanglasation’ from the cream de leche purchased from the same establishment the evening before …. ¡hola! Qué casualidad verge aqui?

(Fancy seeing you here!)

Martes, mig matí. The Zona Militar is situated on the opposite side of the bay at the end of the Pine Walk. It has just received an amphibious fire-fighting aircraft. The plane circled high once around the bay area before landing sharply onto the water and taxi’d noisily toward its onshore berth. They are often on exercise, but thinking about it now, they have probably completed a service run to the Spanish mainland where the Costa Blanca is bearing the brunt of the terrible fire-bursts inland.                                                                      

We take a few spare moments of our time in hoping that this devastation has started to disipate.

Observations and conversation from around the pool from both of us consist of bitching about the northern woman who continuously whines on about how its far too hot. The young couple slathering each other in Factor 500 and then he disappearing whilst she sleeps under the noonday sun. Not forgetting to mention that the homosexuals are in residence around the pool, we have labeled them Mabel & Daisy, D sits tapping away at her airbook, sipping at one of the biggest Mo-fu of all Mojito’s through a red straw, I write “A M I N A G D” in my book, I sampled a ‘bigger’ one yesterday, fuck me, it split my head apart like a blow from a tomahawk. His significant other, yes, he with the badly Grecian’d 2000 temples is draped over the bar sucking up to the pool attendant, the only thing he is likely to end up with is a pocket empty of tips, there is no way on gods earth that Mabel will cop a feel. Daisy glances, sadly for him, that shop was shut many years ago. And NO, before we go any further, Mabel & Daisy are NOT a euphemism for the two of us. Although we are often referred to,  as the duke and duchess, mostly behind our backs, fucking nerve, i can tell you.

Martes, lunch. Another routine of book reading, Esther Williams impressions and a perfectly ordered lunch, Luiza converses with me, “bon dia, puedo tener  Sepia y patatas fritas (Squid), para mi amigo, hamburguesa ‘Daina’ con patatas fritas tambien pan y aioli, se bebidas y, gin y limon, vino blanco, ambos con hielo, grcias” … “da na da! …. NO PLASTICO”  

Martes, dinar tardà. There is a large melee of Lycra clad cyclists sat under the canopied shade around a large finca styled dining table outside the restaurant adjacent to our hotel. Such a rumpus, I believe they are possibly German, striding about in their footwear as if they were jack boots, their spikes match their black and green ensemble bearing corporate design ‘gear’ logos, they appear to be split into two teams, one fat the other thin, each of these an uneven number, both showing their allegiance to either the Roundheads or the Cavaliers, whatever, they remain absolute friends.roundheads-cavaliers

Suspiciously they wear Bluetooth ear pieces, but, there appears only to be a few bikes, certainly not enough for all of them, unless they are riding on the cross bars. Their behaviour is of extreme confusion, yet they remain vigilant and totally aware of their surroundings. Perhaps those of them who bear the gorgeous chunks on their hunks are part of the security posse on the fifth floor residencia?

Puerto Pollença could probably be labelled as the epicentre of the cyclists world and most of mallorca is famed for its great winding roads and of course the added attraction of playing the game of Toxic Narcissism with others at the same time.

To the left of me, under the shade of the building is a very mature woman, her hair grey, yet yellowing and slightly bleached from the ray of the sun. Wearing a flowing summer dress with a bold green and black floral print, not dissimilar to that of a maternity robe, probably sold to her as a misrepresented item, it covers her ample bodice.

She appears to be built not for speed, but ballast or quite possibly even as an obstruction. Her green brogues with gentle ladies low heels might possibly give her traction, it would also seem that this verdant colour was definitely her accesorio del día.

I can only state that she displays what might be described as “a big fuck off ring”, an enormous single white diamond that what would appeared could only be on a platinum mount, wedged tightly on the third finger of her left hand.

Through her tortoise-shell rimmed glasses I notice that her eyes are almost hidden by puffs of swollen skin, it tells me a suffering of endless tear letting from a recent bereavement. Obviously the memory is still sour, her guilty tortured mind holds tight many delicate truths. She fans herself with a preformed masterpiece by Duvelloroy, her mourning accentuated by the colour cerise, bright as a coloured marker pen.

Occasionally she lifts and wafts the fan toward her moist face, could this in fact be secret code whilst she constantly scans the plaça, is she guarding the cafe entrance into the hotel or is she on the lookout for someone, a friend maybe, an old companion or possibly even a lover.

Martes, capvespre. When something or somewhere becomes familiar, you tend to take to a favoured seat or if possible same viewing position. If you are anything like myself I prefer to get the best vantage point in any busy environment. I’m also the same in an enclosed area, always looking out for the fire exit or quick route out, part of my training in the past when I was in the security business. So, I sit and observe, scrutinise and scrawl notes in my small gifted pocket pad. A freebie which was attached to an offer I purchased online from Superdrug, it’s not very flattering, infant if anything it’s outrageously feminine.

I acknowledge her presence with a nod, she obliges with a smile and says “did you know that alcohol numbs the brain, no good if you are a writer, and you should consider that young man, especially if you are to be famous”.

Seems strange that Puerto Pollensa has had literary links with the Grand Dame of Mystery, and she lived not 3 miles away from me in her beloved Greenway House perched high above the river Dart, in 1929, she wrote “Problem in Pollença Bay” and a few other short stories whilst staying at the ‘illa D’or’ situated further along the famous Pine walk. It is quite a classy establishment, such as the place is, you dont have to mention the word hotel after it, everyone is aware that the words  ‘illa D’or’ is just that. Once visited by Grace Kelly and often Winston Churchill and the Welsh woman from Darling buds apparently, amongst others, too many far to list or mention.

Martes, nit. Dinner beckons, and after the feeding of the ‘five thousand’ a quick promenade along the beach pathway to walk off our intake of godliness, we decide to call it a day and retire to the cool of our room. Just before we enter the hotel I look up and notice that all the shutters are down on the fifth floor, but all are lights are shining like a beacon in the penthouse on the sixth.

Tucked up in bed, well, laid on top of it actually, we can hear downstairs, which, separated by two floors, featuring in the cafe is a live act, there plays a guitarist with a limited chord repertoire who accompanies a young girl, she shrills and warbles like a strangled dove, after about twenty minutes it would appear that the dove is now in fact dead. At last, everything is quiet apart from the last few revellers having nightcaps, and of course in tomorrows distance the promise of the club banging out those once popular now ridiculous sounds.

In a sleepy stupor . . .  “Chris …. you know the friend you asked about?”, what friend?  … the one with the drink? ….. mmmm ! “… Well, im sure it was, you know. ….

“Oh fuck off you daft twat, you and your imagination, what were you writing in that book at that time anyway? … how many sleeping pills have you had? have you double dosed? too much sun more like, get to sleep, we have a long day ahead of us tomorrow.

I sleep soundly.

Casa los dos elephantos situated out on the peninsula is bearing a single solitary lantern, or could this be the reflection of an electronic iDevise?                                                                                       Whatever is going on, i’l be damned if I don’t find out and I have less than four days remaining to do so.

Invisible Man …

…. Cont’d from Eeny Meeny Miney Moe …

Lunes, el 5 September 2016.

Prepared and armed, and ready for a battle, I have eligibly written on a yellow post note the words “prochlorperazine/buccastem”, we take off, toward the already often trod Calle where the Farmacia is situated. We will probably be recognised from previous years, its been quite a common ritual forgetting things like these on our last few trips. The médico, enfermera o farmacéutico looks at the paper and puckers his lower lip over the his top lip and in doing so attempts to touch the end of his nose, he grunts, he grunts yet again, his olive tanned brow suddenly furrows .. “no es posible sin una prescripción señor”. Giving my sad puppy dog eyes an airing, he shows no leeway and shows his authority, this time with an affirmative “NO ES POSIBLE”!

Ah, mmm, ha! remembering from previous years, a remedy, an old trick. There is a German herbal drink which cures the mother of all fucker headaches in a bottle with a green top lid covered in wrapping paper called Underberg. Which, serving my memory well, was only available at certain selected shops ….. Eventually, after parading around a few establishments including a few tabaca’s the small “super SPAR mercado” bears the fruit I was seeking on the top shelf. img_3527

Outside the premises I hurriedly snap the top off the tiny beige paper wrapped receptacle and slug it back down my neck like an old desperate wino. The job is a good one, goodbye ‘morning’ sickness, hello world. Within minutes I start to feel brighter. Previous talk of a day’s outing was made before we walked past the excursion outlet, scanning the offers we sign up for a no-frills all-day Island Tour … Was Wednesday going to be a busy day? you bet the hell it was!

Better buy a hat I mention, strangely, we start to try these items of contention on, Chris models, adorns, and sashays his selection, a Panama. Me? I end up with a white adidas baseball cap … what a twat I look!

Walking back to our hotel we have to laugh to ourselves, there is a stretch of road, which we call the Calle de bankers, there is at least six ATM’s within a 150 metre span, why laugh you may ask? Nine years ago we bought my Aunt and Uncle out here for a week, a treat in return for them covering me financially whilst my dear Fathers estate was being finalised.

Quite a harrowing experience as there were expenses to be paid, I know that most Funeral Directors, and often Hotels where  a wake would be held are happy to wait for their accounts to be closed when the will and probate have been finalised. Both these, the undertaker and hotel owner were very close personal friends, so, Aunty Chris and Uncle Bryan kept foot of the bill until all cash was released, of course, they were paid, returned in full and as a thank-you we treated them to a great week here in Mallorca.

We all unwound and released some demons. Bryan was however insistent on checking the exchange rate Pound Sterling to Euro every day, in fact it became an obsession, sometimes twice or even thrice during a twenty-four hour period, so sad, as he had no reason to do so, as all expenses were paid for by my dear, now departed Dad.

Unfortunately, recently, after a short illness, Bryan passed away, and due to a family rift, I took the decision not to go to his funeral. It hurt me not to attend tremendously, I hate the occasion anyway and it just all seems so terribly final. So, today, Chris and I joke together that Bryan haunts the Calle de Bankers and his soul will not rest until he is told to do so. We shed a few tears at the same time, some of sadness, some of laughter and with great memory of this lovely person.

Most of the day is spent by the pool, me messing about with my auction bought Polaroid camera. A project I had hoped would bring great context to my weeks adventure. Instead, with a culmination of heat to the film and such awkwardness it takes a back burner, much to the delight of Chris, as he was obviously getting fucked off with it. Cant you tell by his looks?

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Lunes, Media dia. Now considering I already had my fancy Panasonic digital compact with me and the ever faithful iPhone, I guess there was no real need for all that extra extravagance. So with reluctance I revert to plan B, carry on continuing to read “A Cat on a Hot Tiled Roof” the second instalment of a a six book run, or as some would prefer to say and often quote, a sextology. Author Anna Nicholas registers her hilarious adventures, a semi-retired PR consultant having once lived in Mayfair, now having jumped ship so to speak, and enjoying the permanent delight and magic of life in Sóller, Mallorca. Previous, having had some contact with her via the Twatter, I thought it best I to try to keep up to date with her story just incase we bump into her on our mega day out, of course, what would be the chance of that ever happening? Huh! Especially here, on the Island!

I strip down to my faux Burberry Bermuda shorts and head toward the ladder positioned at the deep end of the pool, lowering myself into the warm salt water like a fat German uBoat I eventually part submerge myself like an estuarine crocodile and slowly progress toward a safer depth. At my age, I have a fear of not being able to touch the base of the pool, my mind slowly empties of all clutter as I float about like a piece of old driftwood, rotting and partly immersed. estuarine-crocodile

Somewhere, on a TV screen, in another dimension, I am Esther Williams, albeit somewhat on a bad day, yet totally oblivious to what is beyond the sparkling blue tiles that within contain this pleasurable activity.

Suddenly it occurs to me that it surely must be near lunch and definitely time for a rewarded libation, the monster from the lagoon ungraciously attempts to haul his carcass up the slippery steps. We order “Pa-amb-oli”. A favoured Mallorquin dish which consists of bread infused with tomato, garlic and olive oil, copious slices of jamon y queso, olives, loose hot green peppers and samphire.

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Ah! mmm, bebidas?, Vino tinto para mí, y cervesa para mi amigo cambrera, por favor.

After a bit of a hissy fit from myself and a brief exchange of words (in catalan) the young waitress stroke pool side attendant returns with a real wine glass and she pours the contents of the plastic vending cup into it. It has now been noted that señor Stamp is “Sin vaso de plástico”.

Tiempo muy siesta …  me thinks!

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Easy to believe, this gorgeous man once stood for hours in front of professional photographers and plied his talents to the sex industry, well, underpants to be precise, and as rightly so, correctly sectioned, in the Freemans & Grattan catalogues. Oh how I remember as a child sneaking a peeky look at those Adonides.

I have never seen him so relaxed, hence, all so rather sloppy, but I do adore him.

I have to hurry up with book number two as Chris is fast approaching the end of “A Lizard in my Luggage” and there is nothing worse than having to wait for someone else to finish the daily paper, that is of course my dears an analogy, if you hadn’t already guessed.

Earlier today I noticed some vehicular and personal movement out on the peninsula at ‘the villa los dos elephantos’. Two private helicopters, each with matching green livery land and take off independently, each after the other which I am sure gives great concern to the locals, is ‘he’ up to his old tricks again?.los-dos-elephantos-casa

Lunes, Nit. There would appear to have been some kind of development here at the hotel this evening. Hushed whispers were being exchanged whilst I talked to the receptionist and the scurrying of attention to room service to the cordoned off lift that is for staff use only seemed to endorse a fact.

A sign on lift door states “Only Level Cinco”, in my mind strongly indicates an entourage on the fifth floor.

Who?  We ask!  Are there Russians in the house?

There has been no sign either, today, of the man in the linen suit.

Eeny Meeny Miney Moe …

…. Cont’d from The man in the linen suit …

I’ve been studying Spanish for two years now and there is nothing more I like, than to converse with the locals, albeit rather clumsily, but I like to have a go. To give it a twist I have also picked up some Castillian, so you can imagine how much fun this is going to be.

Presenting ourselves at the hotel reception, I ask “tenemos una reserva, nombre chinnery, por favor”

. . . I get a dumb look from the concierge, . . ‘no! no name, you say chinnery?’

Stumpy now looks at the C man, ‘eez it anuther nombre?’

Stunned looks . . . bugger, a mix up, i’m about to go into overdrive, ‘let zee passaportes’?

Ah! booking es nombre señor Stamp, confused looks are exchanged, what the fuck goes through my head, ‘I must need zee credit card señor’, I look at C, he passes it over, ‘eetz for any expenses and zee island visitor tax, ok?, Si!

We are passed over the key to our first floor suite, thankfully not too far up the building, as my dear friend, although has his love of flying etc, anything higher than two floors and, yes, ‘Its look out Houston, we have a problem here’.

After the mix-up at check-in, and originally as far as I knew the holiday in which to celebrate my 60th birthday, was infact booked in Chris’s name, we are still slightly confused, a possibility that the last visit was in my name. Anyway life is far to short to try to analyse or worry, the week is paid for, and knowing a credit card with an almost bottomless limit gives us carte blanche . . .

Opening the balcony door the heat hits us . . . perfectly situated, just above the dining balcony and overlooking the restaurants and the melee of street life. Looking through and above the beautiful aged pine trees which Puerto Pollença is famous for is the ever beautiful bay, this late afternoon all is quiet, the heat is searing, swiftly we close the door and crank the air-conditioning up, or is that down? . . I never know!

Choices! , Which bed would you like? Chris asks.

‘You can have the one nearest the bathroom, it will certainly be easier for your thrice plus nightly jaunts’.

I receive a glare, he throws his monkey-bag down on his bed to stake his claim, and the authority of being in charge of the speed for the ceiling fan, such responsibilities couldn’t have gone to a finer person.

Which hand basin? which wardrobe?

Setting the security safe to a familiar pin we store and place E’items inside, jewellery, Passports, Euros etc.

Fancy a drink? .. opening the mini bar I toss over a bottle of San Miguel . . . “Sah-lud”, chinking bottles in the process . . .

Sabado, el 3 Septiembre 2016, Sopar.  

Greeted by Leandros the Maitre’d … and in exchange of pleasantries we shake hands, I stuff a €50 into his palm, he looks down and then busily leads us to our table out on the balcony . . he continually trips over himself to keep us happy, word will get around the establishment, I cannot abide constantly tipping at every service we call for. This way has worked perfectly for our few previous visits. Spoilt for choice I pick a Mallorquin produced wine from the Jose Luis Ferrer selection grown near Binisalem. The Blanc de blancs suits our palate nicely. As is said, “When in Rome . . .”

As per the usual, the cuisine is beautifully presented, in a self select style, each individual dining table is immaculately set for silver service, feeling that we are now at ‘home’ we smile and nod at the other diners as we proudly display our delicacies on our individual plates.

And here it comes, the bonus, two glasses of Cava and a lit candle stuffed into a small portion of cake . . . word has got out, “Feliz Compleaños”!

A small promenade is in order after filling our well-travelled stomachs, it’s another ritual to perambulate down to the edge of the paseo de los pinos and the large bronze bust of the famed Spanish artist Hermenegildo Anglada Camarasa, we call him Bert, its easier. Once a revered man in Majorca, now the poor sod has been demoted to a meeting point and recieves more daily head rubs than the belly of a giant buddha.

Looking across the bay towards La Fortaleza, I am reminded of BBC’s TV series “The Night Manager”img_3506En mi cabeza ….

Strangely, its hard to believe that less than a year ago an arms dealer was ‘living’ in this port, he was definitely a most wanted man, his entourage moved about conspicuously among the town folk but kept silent in conversation, strangely without warning the last thing that his author wrote was his untimely kidnap by a warring faction.

Domingo, el 4 Septiembre 2016, 07:20, Sunrise.

Bleary eyed and knackered I wanted to see the first sunrise of the week, giving grumpy pants a nudge we managed to observe the spectacular birth of a new day. Within minutes of its appearance we had to return to the coolness of our room, closing the balcony door, I commented, “its certainly going to be a hot one today, I think we may need a hat!” … I feel a steely glare!sunrise-4-sept

Preguntas. Just a few items consisting of jamon y queso tambien huevos break our fast, followed by naranja y cafe con leche, our sufficiency had been suffonsified, we take our leave and head out into the heat of the morning sun.

Deciding a few weeks earlier, we would call into the Anglican Church in the town to take Communion early this Sunday morning, it made a pleasant change to place ourselves back on an even keel in a different locale after a bugger of a week.

I suggested that we go and see where we can stake our place down by the swimming pool area, and off we trot, but not before diverting to the Casa at “Fish Bridge”.img_3510

This is one of our daily walking limits where the fresh water lagoon meets the Badia de Pollença and shoals of grey mullet abound, in packs they scour the finite line between the salt and fresh waters, team leaders, almost as big as the ba-ba-ra-ra-cu-cu-da-da’s. . . . I shudder!

Our destination was to be two of the executive sofas under the cabana, upon our arrival we find the antisocial act of smoking in public and this desire to eSmoke with pathetic chemicals is rife. It is such a pity that they don’t ban smoking completely by the pool area.

Most of them, well, let’s be kind and not in any form racist or segregative, but honestly, the ‘in group package clients, the jock and scouse’ visitors are all billowing their tabs away like chimneys atop a row of old tar sheds full of smoked kippers and bloaters.

It is a vile habit, and now seeing that this obnoxious act is barred in most UK places, these slugs seem to get off on it by inflicting it to others when abroad.

Suddenly, without warning, the heat intensifies, I feel like I am going to vomit, the as per usual of forgetting something comes to the fore, It would appear that I did pack everything except the actual kitchen sink, the actual kitchen sink being my anti sickness pills, necessary to quell the daily aftershock of my combination therapy . . . . those tiny little buggers are still on the kitchen work surface at home.

Domingo, capvespre.

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On the table opposite where we are consuming our helados y liqores, is a gentleman, being once tall and slender, now sits and positions himself bolt upright, although slightly paunched with straight shoulder, he airs his priority.

His monobrow is of silver colour and rears wildly out of control like a badly pollard pine tree, his silver hair is disheveled and greasy. A once cream when new linen suit hangs off of him, it has seen better days, as has his hat, every possibility it might even have been made by a tailor in Panama, who knows? He is obviously a traditionalist, his Rioja is chilled, some would say, that’s obscene, but I know he has taste, for I too am guilty of that particular pleasure.

Busily he fidgets his left ear with both his thumb and forefinger, he seems extremely distracted, is he signalling morse?, has he been affected by the Parkinsons? either that or he appears to be talking and pointing out something to someone, although he is alone.img_3508-1His eyes are shaded by green tinted Ray-Bans, probably purchased some forty years ago, or given out as what would have been standard issue in the days of the Middle East crisis in 1967 when Harold Wilson played a real life checker-plate battleship game with any of the many Muhammeds that were around at that time.

The theatre of the arrival of the flaming gambas as they sizzle, are placed at his table on a glowing red-hot plancha, without acknowledging the cambrer, and with the flick of a quick wrist his napkin is tucked roughly into the second unbuttoned space on his shirt. The blue tie worn at many a previous lunch awaits another stain. Looking at the eight aioli infused delights he “Gitano, Sastre, Soldado, Espiars” them.img_3513

The immediate ritual of devouring these beautiful seafood delights begin, firstly, sucking out the brains of the rended creature and secondly, running the nail of his thumb right up through the belly and twisting out the soft fluffy succulent tail ….. My god, has this man no end of talents!  How come he is served this dish when it is not even on the menu del dia, could this be a last meal request? …. Could he infact be the perfect spy?

Unashamedly and hard to miss, affixed to almost every post in town at head height is a glowing sign “D J M C” weds nite ! (fortunately, the night club is situated way past FishBridge, so not too noisy, at least not for us)

To be continued …

The man in the linen suit … 

I really must apologise for my absence here on WordPress, there is no reasonable excuse apart from the fact my decision is to enjoy our well deserved holiday without any external or internet intervention.

Do you know just how hard that is?

The yearn for another glass of wine after the bottle has been squeezed dry? The need to light up another coffin nail (if you happen to smoke, fortunately I do not) than noticing the pack is empty and finally, to actually hammer that virtual nail in, after walking down to the off licence in your slippers finding the place is closed or the uncontrollable desire to do something habitual with your hands when they are tied behind your back, metaphorically speaking.

Anyway, I’m moving away from my original point, we have made the unanimous decision that tomorrow, Monday, is to be a free day.

Nothing has been forthcoming from my busy brain, I am having a difficult time lowering myself into a horizontal position from the constant interaction with the media recently.

Taking on something so huge as being a P R Guru for an unlikely duo, as previously mentioned, the Vicar and Undertaker Tour has proved arduous, and now midway through their peregrinations I have had to hand the reins to an understudy.

Saturday, Exeter Airport.  After being manhandled in Security we make our way to the departure lounge, via the viewing balcony, we have a beer and share a baguette, we check-in to MyFace and Twatter and sit a while, a snack was enough as lunch will be served onboard by the Thomas Cook inflight crew, pre-booking food is so much more fun, it has almost become a ritual, better than having to wait to see if there are any unsold snack boxes …

Eventually we decide to give the new selfie stick a test run of just a picture of us and our plane before heading down to the departure lounge. thomas-cook-ext-pmiIt being nothing short of a domestic sized sitting room with a small shopping area selling duty-free items at extortionate prices and a small bar/kitchenette. Nowhere near as exciting and glamorous as the major international gateways spread around the United Kingdom. However, unashamed, we flirt with the lovely sales assistant who obviously required a new prescription for her glasses as she said I looked amazing and nowhere near my disclosed age.

Our designated gate is called, number three of four, as are also gates one and two at the same time, an absolute total free for all enthuse, six hundred and eighty passengers in a room no bigger than a triple garage.

Eventually we are allowed to cross the tarmac, no coaches or jet-bridges here to board our flight, just two scabby aluminium ladder tracks on wheels, one at each end of this giant double hairdryer. We hold back and wait until almost the last-minute to board, a dramatic entry is made, especially as we are seated right at the front, any closer and we would have been cabin crew or actual flight members. A wonderfully usual pearly white smiled greeting from the crew and we are welcomed aboard. We have first row seat across the aisle from each other, Danny and his team give the usual safety instructions whilst we taxi out to the runway … Chris orders Champagne, explaining its my 60th, and yes, yet more gushing and flirting! …. Yay … We are now zooming down the runway whilst the bottle is on ice chilling, seat belt signs are now turned off and table trays that magically appear from an arm rest are now in a ‘feed me’ position. bye-bye EXT, PMI here we come.


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Cheers!

The whole of the day was spent travelling by car, plane and coach. Goodness knows how they used to manage to traverse back and forward across the island when there was no major route or highway and only using the donkey trodden paths and rocky trails. It would surely have taken a week just to get to this destination sited here at the opposite end of the island from Palma, the capital.

The hotel offers free wi-fi as do most other establishments in the small port here on the north point in Mallorca. There appears to be a very subdued atmosphere as most guests are head in iPhone or just being plain androidinous. There is no longer a hum-drum of conversation that once wore a battle with the sound of chinking glasses, cutlery, pots, plates and noisy waiters shouting and gesticulating to one another across a crowded plaça in their native language mix of Mallorquín and Catalan.

To be continued …. 

A letter, a twist, a tale.

1000509261001_2013980530001_William-Shakespeare-The-Life-of-the-Bard.jpgSaturday 10 September 2016.

Last evening after returning home from our holidays, we attended a parish get together to celebrate William Shakespeare’ 400th. It was all a bit rush as we had forgotten our promise to do a “turn” upon the village hall makeshift stage, the floor to be precise, and after consuming the usual sausage rolls, dodgy eggy delights and a can of the trusty speckled hen, I was called to perform.

As the previous ‘star turns’ had kept in keeping with the Bard theme, I had thought I would perform a take on his works, considering I never studied Shakespeare at school, ever, tonight’s foray, with a little tuition from YouTube and with dust in my throat and a severe case of the nervous dispositions, I stationed myself on the marker on the floor next to a musical lectern, (to be honest, I think it was a coffee stain) and held on tight to my written parchments, adjusting the position of my soles …. and trying not to make eye contact with any of the critics …….

The first piece was of course, a Sonnet, number XVIII, fourteen lines of goobledy gook and to be precise, and it went a little not like Richard Burton would have …

(cough, cough, excuse me) … adjusts spectacles!

“Shall. I. compare thee. to. a. summer’s-day?

Thou art more lovely, and. more. temperate:

Rough winds. do shake. the darling buds ….. of May,

And summer’s lease, hath all, too short. a date:

Sometime. too hot. the eye of heaven. shines,

And often. is his. gold, complexion, dimmed,

And every fair from fair sometime declines,

By chance, or nature’s changing, course. untrimmed:

But thy eternal, summer. shall. not. fade,

Nor. lose possession. of that fair. thou owe’st, 

Nor. shall death. brag thou. wander’st, in his, shade,

When. in eternal. lines to time. thou growe’st,

So long. as men. can breathe, or eyes. can see,

So. long. lives. this, and this, gives life. to thee”.

I finish, and am met with great applause from the lovely audience,  a small intimate group, lesser wouldn’t fill half the front row of a West end Musical theatre. I continue, so, as a modern-day tribute to the Bard himself, I select a composition I wrote last year, a letter, of which “Paul writes to the ninth month of the Gregorian Calender” …. shaking like the last leaf on a tree, and holding on tightly to my invisible friend, I start my first public oration.

(coughs, again)

My dearest September,

I can see just how well you are ….

Your beauty tells me, so,

let me take this opportunity to thank you, yet again, for a perfect month.

As always,

you bring me birthday greetings, … with cake!

Beautiful sunsets, the warmth from friends conversation and the great calmness of getting older.

And watching the progression of Mother Nature,

as she starts her transition to a different season.

Your waves come to greet me from the East,

and show me how they can do tricks with extremes of strength, and high jumps into the air.

They spray their might, up into the sky,

grasping the remains of the sun-lit rays,

before pulling them down, deep, deep into the briny depth.

It shows no fear, has no agenda or script,

and beats anything in its path that isn’t bolted down.

The low morning sun peeks into my courtyard,

and bounces her infinite rays off the shining glitter ball on the tree.

Showing no shame, she sneaks through the horizontal blinds and send blasts of inert energy which disperse silent imps of light, all through the house.

Fresh breezes start to dampen down early to late afternoon,

and your shadows lengthen,

beyond any reasoning.

Occasional smokey whiffs,

the scent of a chimney lit,

an aged person,

like myself,

rub our hands, in front of a drawing hearth.

We try hard to remember, how many times this ancient ritual of making fire has been completed, and in doing so we laugh to ourselves.

The sun sets much faster every evening now,

and by tonight,

the extended arm of heat retracts even more.

Local folk talk of Indian summers and sit late into the day,

they watch the sunset fall behind the moorland hills, whilst the intense rays of the sun heats their face with closed eyes.

Quiet conversation and small talk are answered with contented humms and laughter, memories of years past are screened, with perfect clarity inside ones head.

It’s time to say goodnight dear September and dear friends,

for tomorrow is nearly October,

and you WILL greet me, AND others,

with shrouds of sea mist, cold air, and many beautiful things.

For now good people,

it’s time to sleep,

awaken refreshed,

and let’s celebrate another day,

and if i don’t awaken,

I WILL remember,

that my beautiful September would have been my chosen month.

The End.

Apparently, it was well received, (knocks back a stiff one)

Paul Stamp Sept 2016  (amended)