Thursday, 3 August 2017

All before 9

We are having a heatwave. It's hotter than hot and the heat does not go away at night.

The fattie catties play dead on the floor tiles and breathe rapidly dreaming of damp Sussex days and cosy winter nights. I am surprised they have kept their British fluff, I would have thought nature might have replaced it with a Mallorquin coat, short haired and sparse. I suppose you can't change the fur you were born in.

The plants wilt and leaves are scorched. The clothes dry in fifteen minutes and the towels resemble cardboard after lying discarded in the sun. The ground is dangerous to walk on and the inside unbearable without fans and air conditioning - preferably both on at full speed. 

It's hard to do anything in this heat. Entertaining the kids is tough without the risk of sun stroke, so all fun needs to be had as early as we can. We roused sleepily today at day break and hoped for some reprieve outside, with a coffee. But this morning it was already 32C at 06:30. We dragged on jodhpurs, cut up some carrots and checked there was enough cat food in the boot of the car for Calvia's strays. The ponies greet us with their woffly neighs and valiantly trot around in circles before cool showers and breakfast. We leave them with fly spray and the shade of their stables with hay and water for the day.

Beetroot-faced and drenched with sweat we changed into flip-flops and shorts, keen to get the air con on our faces as we drive down the mountain to the sea. It glistens and beckons, empty all but for a few oldies bobbing in the warm waters before the hoards awake - we strip and run into the gloopy waves, hoping for a little cool, disappointed how fast our body adapts. We swim and tread water, squealing at the fronds of seaweed which wrap menacingly around our legs. 

Looking forward to our tostada, litres of chilled water and another little shot of coffee, we find the most Spanish of Spanish bars - all before 09:00. 

After which the temperatures have reached dangerous levels and the only thing to do is shut the shutters and hide.

Friday, 28 July 2017

Water, water

I turned on the tap nonchalantly, thoughts of preparing dinner and watering the plants on my mind. The tap spat, coughed, heaved and stopped. I turned it on and off again but still no water. Maybe it was just the kitchen, but no, it seemed every tap had ran out of water. We had in fact, ran out of water.

You see, our water lives in a tank under our new house. There are no mains anything up the mountain where we live, except electricity and even that's a bit hit and miss. Being new to the system of having a finite amount of water, I guess it was inevitable that we would run one day run out.

Carlos was called, the water would be with me tomorrow he said. Always tomorrow in Spain.

While waiting we pondered on our dilemma. No shower in the 35 degree heat, no washing of clothes or dishes, the plants began to wilt and the toilets began to smell. Faces and armpits were washed at the stables with a hose while the swimming pool dealt with rest of our grime.

We all decided to go out for dinner, feeling lucky we had that option at all. We cleaned our teeth in mineral water and hoped that Carlos would deliver to us first in the morning.

What a lesson to learn.

And as the rain crashed down this week in a rare summer storm, we delighted that our garden was having a soaking and the tank was refilling with liquid gold from the sky.

Monday, 10 July 2017


 She looked at me intently.

"A las diez, si?"

Yes, I was absolutely sure that I would be at the stables for 10am, as the lady in the shop requested. It is not hard to be on time. Punctuality is a particular skill of mine. I had 10 bales of straw arriving for my horses, I sat on the mounting block from 09.59 - waiting.

"They won't come at 10 o'clock Mummy, " said the ever wise P, "This is Spain!"

We all waited patiently for an hour, unloaded the frigging straw and laughed at the tranquilo approach. No apologies for being late of course -  I have just learnt to be grateful that people turn up at all.

Saturday, 1 July 2017

I *live* in Mallorca

We did it, we bought a house and moved again.

To write it in one sentence sounds trite - so easy to do, but actually so flipping hard to accomplish.

But we have done it. All those years of talking about living and working in Spain have finally been achieved and I'm not going to lie, it feels great. I belong here, amongst the olive and the carob trees, the screaming cicadas and infestations of ants. I like accidentally ordering food I didn't ask for in restaurants and recognising one word out of twenty and winging it. I absolutely love Spain and all she has to offer, which is a good thing because we are staying.

The move was sweaty. And stressful as moving house always is. I tried to persuade him him to get rid of some of his belongings, but the 2000 books and 400 LP's followed us to our new and permanent house. The horses got transported down the motorway at 130km/hour and arrived terrified, with their eyes rolling around in the backs of their heads as though they had been on a roller coaster without knowing it was ever going to end. Los pobres. They are now tranquilo as life should be on a Mediterranean island. The cats meow-ed a little on their journey to the south west of the island, taking it all in their little well-travelled cattie paws. They walked around the new house, hid for 30 minutes, sniffed the familiarity and went out for a quick kill - as you do.

Recovered from their transit

We have tortoises in the new garden, wild and wonderful. Our ears pop every time we come home - we live that far up a mountain. We can see the sea from the top of the house and the yucca plant has just flowered. Hibiscus reminds me that I am somewhere foreign and the sun is always there.

The annoyances and difficulties I will write of in the future, but just now I would like to sit back, amongst the unpacked boxes and take all in what has happened.

We live in Spain. Again. And I am so very, very glad indeed.

Tuesday, 13 June 2017

On the move .... again

It should be easier this time, having moved my entire belongings, plus 2 cats and 2 kids, only a year ago. Except this time I seem to have acquired 2 horses and all their equipment as well. We are moving from the beautiful 'finca in Inca' to somewhere nearer the children's school. The 4 hour daily journeys, up and down the motorway amongst accidents and hire cars was impossible. Everyone said it would be, but I guess I had to work it out for myself.

So we bought a house. It was a stressful, traumatic, worrying, confusing, expensive and heart-in-the-mouth experience. Brexit had better work out OK, because it looks like we are staying.

We have the keys now and are just waiting to move. The lists, the jobs, the goodbyes to neighbours and the cleaning - although not as intense as the move from the UK - needs to be done and logistically thought out.

The cats skirt their travel cages not wanting to believe they are on the move again. This will be the last time catties, I promise. Because I am not going anywhere for a very long time.

A new house for the foreseeable future

Thursday, 1 June 2017

Sports day

Great whispers and shocked chatter started the school sports day this morning, over coffees and behind Gucci sunglasses.

"Did you hear? About the lady who fell, she had 6 stitches and knocked out her teeth! She sprained both wrists and her child was hysterical at the sight of his mum..."

Sharp intakes of breath ensued, this was obviously a dangerous subject. The mothers race on sports day.

Oh how I giggled and remembered my spectacular crash in front of the whole school a few years ago in Sussex. The adrenaline that coursed my veins as I thought I was going to win, the feeling of flying and impressed my body could still run so fast made a hilarious story. And it seems there were plenty of stories to share, everyone had a calamity to report; of vicious competitiveness, of weeks of training for the event, of boobs flying and torn muscles.

I looked down at my shoes and wandered if I could do it.

Nooooooooo, my kids shouted. Pleeeeeeeeease don't do it, they chorused, not wanting the mother with a smashed up face.

So I settled for cheering on my daughters' efforts in the egg and spoon race - which she won of course.

Competitive? Us?

Sports day in Mallorca - the same all over the world!

Monday, 29 May 2017

Summer happened

Summer happened, just like that, a couple of weeks ago now. Where everything that was once green, has turned brown overnight. The spring flowers have withered leaving grass seed pods and allium skeletons, petrified and roasting.

The horses routine has turned upside down, inside in the day and out all night. The cat has turned into her Magaluf - party style cat, hunting and vomiting by night and comatose in the day.

Ice lollies are mandatory, bikinis live at the front of my drawers, swimming lessons have started in school, the air con is permanently on in the car, I am dirty brown, the duvet has disappeared from the bed, the mosquito repellent is on, BBQ's every weekend, siestas imperative and luke-warm showers save our electricity bills.

Summer has happened. I can hardly believe we have another 9 degrees to go.

Spot cools down in the sprayers and mud

The other one is a bit mental and sunbathes at lunctime

Psycho cat