Saturday, 27 August 2016

Arta


We feel we should be exploring the island more, getting out and discovering the National Parks, beaches and exquisite little villages. But it is still 35 degrees, everyday from 10am until 6pm. 

Today we forced ourselves away from the air conditioning and drove through immaculate countryside dotted with olive, carob and almond trees, to the sleepy town of Arta. I say it is sleepy because by the time we arrived only the tourists were awake, the pretty shutters of the town were firmly shut with only the wafts of garlic and something fishy seeping through the windows.

After wandering around Santuario de Sant Salvador, and spending a little longer than usual in the dark and imposing church - we found some lunch and litres of chilled water. 

Monday, 22 August 2016

Day 3

I had felt this feeling before. A great euphoria followed by a low, mixed with churning anxiety and a sense of not being able to cope.

Being an owner of horses for the first time was like having my first baby. The high when they arrived lasted exactly 2 days, although I did have to constantly walk over to the stables to check they were still alive - just like poking a sleeping baby to check they were breathing.

Then day 3, when typically the new mama experiences a bout of the 'baby blues', a hormonal dive after the birth of a newborn. Anxiety can make an appearance and feelings of not being good-enough may emerge.

I got the pony-blues on day 3. Had I done the right thing? Do I know enough about horses? Can I afford to do this? What if she bucks me off? She's too young! I'm too old! This is nothing like I imagined it would be!

I then called some people who calmed me down and encouraged me that I would make a wonderful pony-mama. Just one day at a time, starting with grooming and washing them, taking them for a walk down the lane and a munch on a rare patch of grass. Beginning by touching them and knowing every inch of their bodies to understand what is normal for them, finding their likes and tickly spots, accepting their flaws and not expecting instant results.

Of course the reality is nothing like I imagined - but then, neither was becoming a mother for the first time. This didn't stop it being the best experience of my life.


Thursday, 18 August 2016

Botanicactus

The kids have been doing a pottery course in the south of the island, finally mixing with other children and listening to the sound of many languages - to Spanish, Catalan, French and German. They were shy and wide-eyed on their first day but now, towards the end of their week, are joining in with mime and Spanish - the common tongue.

During the 2 hours where they mould, carve and paint their clay creations - I have explored the coves, beaches, farmland and cafes of the surrounding area. By far the outstanding attraction was Botanicactus, mainly because no one was there, they would prefer to sit like packed sardines on the beach burning to a frazzle (I wince at those pink bodies and burnt skin).

I thought Botanicactus was a garden centre, but in fact it was a stunning botanical garden with the most extraordinary collection of cacti. I spent an amazing hour there before the sun got too searingly hot.

                         







Tuesday, 16 August 2016

Preparing

"Tienes una cubierta de drenaje?" I asked the guy in the ironmongers. I had been practising my sentence all the way into town.

Que?

Oh shit. I needed a back up plan, he had no idea what I wanted. I wasn't sure either, I have never asked for a drain cover in English, let alone Spanish.

The stables in our rented house in Mallorca, are almost perfect. OK, they are smaller than the British version and they have extremely high doors so the stallions couldn't jump out. They have been unused for 4 years so I have spent a good amount of sweaty time, cleaning, disinfecting and mending the dangerous bits.

The last thing I needed was a cover to the drainage system in one stable - and apparently it isn't known as a 'cubierta de drenaje'. Darn Google translate.

After much explanation in half-remembered Spanish helped by a photo on my phone, we got there. Except it's not the right one so I will have to go back and start all over again.

Or I could stuff it with straw as the local farmer advised. Well, I think that's what he said.


Its a sumidero, not a cubierta de drenaje. We live and learn.



Thursday, 11 August 2016

The menagerie expands

I didn't mean to buy one so soon, let alone two. He was a given really, with his spotty nose, fluffy mane, penchant for carrots and resigned look in his eyes to look after the kids. He is called Spot and I had mentally bought him when I met him.

I imagined myself on a Spanish horse, a pura raza espanol, with a flowing mane and a cresty neck. We would wonder the campo and stop for a drink, me in my cowboy hat and the horse dozing with its hind leg cocked as I drank my beer.

I did not imagine myself buying a cow. A skinny cow. One with a sad face and a ewe neck. A patchy black and white one who needed food, a wormer and some love.

I heard all my horsey mentors screaming at me not to do it. She has terrible confirmation! She is too young! She is malnourished! She is a SHE!

But I bought her and her name is Kira. And she is mine, all mine, and so is Spot. Happy birthday me.

I just hope the gamble pays off, and if it doesn't I will have learned - and they will live charmed lives, as every animal deserves.


Spot


Introducing Kira - who does not need a pelham - but needs some love.


Sunday, 7 August 2016

Lost in translation

One of the best things about Mallorca, and sometimes the most scary and frustrating, is the language. My Spanish is not good, my Catalan non existent and the dialect Mallorquin I have yet to differentiate. A lot of the Spanish is coming back, slowly and painfully from long lost sentences once spoken on the streets of Seville, almost 15 years ago. I understand the gist of a conversation but words fail to flow out of my mouth, it will come with practice I know.

A tries hard to learn words and picks up the accent easily.  We need to find some little people for them to play with. Our next door neighbours have curious boys who occasionally peak in through our fence, 'holas!' have been exchanged - both parties are intensely interested but cripplingly shy to make the first move.

P finds remembering the words difficult. She doesn't like to make mistakes and look silly, therefore refuses to try. Unless the words sound like rude ones or swear words.

So far she has learnt piss-ina (la piscina) - swimming pool, the hilarous town of Bugger (Buger) and Lluc (Yuck) monastery as well as finding fartons hysterical.

By Christmas they will be fluent, they say. I think we may have to work on that.


Lluc monastry


La piscina


Farton frolics

Saturday, 6 August 2016

Pollenca

I started to get cabin fever with this heat. It's crazy to go out anywhere between 10am and 5pm, even the walk from the parked car to the supermarket is dangerous - the skin screams with the vicious sun, prickling with a thousand sore needles only to be relieved by the air conditioning or shade.

A welcome 29C and a breeze happened yesterday. The pool was even a little chilly so I put on my brave pants to drive somewhere new. I even found a front-ward parking space which required no backward driving. Armed with the Lonely Planet guide, with 5000 other tourists, we explored the delightful Pollenca and walked the pilgrims steps to Calvari.

Penance for having too much of a nice time in Mallorca so far.




Oh God, dem wrinkles


Stray cats


365 steps towards icecream



Tuesday, 2 August 2016

A drowned mouse

He gets up earlier than me, swims, puts on the coffee and is ready at his desk for work while I just about rouse myself into another hot day. Yesterday my sleepy state was triggered into action over a drowning mouse. He fished it out of the pool and dumped it on the grass, shivering, while he had a swim. I have never seen such a pathetic creature, it could have been swimming out there for hours. 


Our animal rescue team came into action, we locked the fattie catties away, emptied a cardboard box of its contents and found some woolly baby clothes to wrap the mouse in. Oh poor drowned mouse!

We fed it a breakfast of cheese and biscuits, placed the cardboard box in a safe, dry, warm (but not too warm) place and left him to recover from his ordeal.




After the supermarket we checked on drowned mouse - he had dried out but was now over run with ants eating his breakkie. So we upgraded his home and left him near a hedge so when he felt well enough he could scamper off into the countryside.

And that is what he did. Our mouse rescue service worked. Just hoping we don't find his little body on the grass this morning as the fattie catties refused to come in last night.