Thursday, 29 September 2016

Paradise crumbles

It's October tomorrow. The blistering days of the summer idyll are a distant memory as September came and went in a tumultuous fashion.

The weather changed, tormentas loud and crashing roared angrily in all corners of the island, sending the tourists running to the city to spend their money instead of crisping their skin. The rivers created after a build up of weeks and weeks, rushed through the land in great torrents. Anoraks and sandbags were needed. Well, maybe not sandbags but it was close.

Hours are spent in the car driving the girls to school. Mummy's language is allowed to be as blue as it likes from 7.45 am -9 am, and the same on the way home. We roar with laughter at the filth that comes out of my mouth and delight in shouting all the Spanish swear words we know as well. The radio helps, no censoring of the summer tunes here, the F-bomb being regularly dropped much to my kids delight. I kinda love it as well. But I drive with all my might and concentration as the amount of accidents is disturbing, pulling out in front of you and nipping in before you is a public sport. Gilipollas.

The car passed its ITV (MOT) after tension and troubles. I have never been so pleased to place that goddamn little yellow sticker on my window and forget about it for another year. You have to be prepared to look stupid in another language. That I did. But I learnt, and next time will know what to do and the words for hazard lights, brakes and reverse lights.

And the horse fell over after hooly-ing around. And the Internet broke. And we had visitors for week which was glorious and hectic. And the cat puked on the freshly laundered duvet. And. And. And.

But today is heavenly. Paradise restored. Normality regained until the next time. A moments peace with only the parrot chirruping away and the cat snoring on my lap. The horses are fed and exercised, the house as clean as I can be bothered with, the children happy and learning. And breathe.

Autumn sun in winter coats

Tuesday, 13 September 2016

10 lessons in 10 weeks

1. Mallorca is a hot place. Really hot. No I mean absolutely stinkingly, searingly hot.

2. There is no use for the inside lane on a roundabout in Mallorca. If you use the inside lane there is a chance you may be on it forever as everyone else is in the outside lane - even if they are turning left. I am now an outside-lane driver too.

3. Google maps and google translate are rarely correct. It does not take 35 minutes to get to Magaluf. At 8 o'clock in the morning it takes 1 hour and 10 minutes. I now have a 1 hour and 45 minute school run - twice a day.

4. They say the beaches in Mallorca are better than the Caribbean - we have yet to test that theory as I have never seen so many tourists in my life. Not one inch of sand or one droplet of sea was spare this summer.

5. It is very hard not to drink alcohol to celebrate the sun going down. Or a good barbeque. Or because it is the weekend, or a week night. Beer tastes better in the sun and we are surrounded by vineyards.

6. Palma is the prettiest, cleanest, smartest and most manageable city I have come across - we are looking forward to getting to know it better.

7. Avocados, limes, lemons, almonds and olives all grow in Mallorca - and in my garden.

8. Administration in Mallorca is one confusing nightmare. I have the Spanish version of the MOT next week, I have no idea what to do and which papers to take.

9. Bread lasts one day. If you cut it up it lasts half an hour before it stales. Best eaten fresh and quick.

10. Life is life wherever you are. It follows you around, it's boring and mundane in parts, stressful and sad at other times. But one thing is certain - it is a nicer experience in the sun, with a little tapas, some friends and a beer. Mallorca is a very nice place indeed, I hope we stay for a very long time.

Monday, 5 September 2016

New school

I am ALONE! For the first time in 9 weeks.

The girls went to school today and I forgot to take a picture, I don't know why. Maybe I was worried we would be late, or that it felt like a normal day at school - except this was their first day at their new school in Mallorca. An International school at that.

The school playground was full of tans, multiple languages, excitement and uncertainty. Their shoes were shiny, the hair short and neat and their uniforms unbelievably new and straight from the packet. The heat was starting to get intense already at 9 am as I waved goodbye, and they filed one-by-one into their new school lives. I felt proud, excited and alone. For these two wonderful little people had been attached to my side all summer, as we discovered the island and its ways - together.

On the drive home I reflected how far we have come since moving here. How settled we all feel. How much we all love it.

And once out of the maze of Palma motorways, I used the time to listen to Radio Mallorca and tried to decipher the chatter. It all feels so normal, so home, so right. Especially as I turned on to the country road to our house, hearing the sound of the sheep bells and waving to the shepherd - I knew I had a little while to wait until I got home.

New school haircut - it didn't look quite like this, this morning