Thursday, 11 May 2017

La Gordita

Podgey. Porky. Rounded. Full. Well-conditioned. Chunky. Plump. Heavy. Big-boned. Over-weight. Large. Solid.

There is no getting round it, my mare is FAT.

I am not entirely sure when it happened. Some time between this:

and this:

Fat happened.

It always takes someone else to point it out and I felt as bad as taking a child to the dentist with tooth decay. It is my fault she is large and I can no longer feel her ribs.

The diet started today and she was not amused. She probably lives in fear that she will look and feel like this again:

Thursday, 4 May 2017

Multas #2-7, (and very nearly #8)

I seem to be very good at getting multas (fines). In fact I might crown myself the multa queen, or Queen Multa - which sounds a little more formal.

Multa number 1 as you may remember was a little misdemeanour - just a wee bit of parking on a wee bit of grass. Easily done, not easy to pay.

Multas numbers 2 to 7, that's six more fines, were found by looking for them on a website, roughly translated to Some kind soul had told me that you can look up your fines and I had just a sneaky suspicion that I may have driven down some roads in Palma that I perhaps shouldn't have. Turns out I have done it six times.

Once again, near impossible to pay these buggering fines. And if you don't pay, they accrue interest. And when they have accrued the maximum interest they (not sure who they are) whip it out of your bank account without telling you - which kind of figures, as they never tell you about the fines anyway.

It's an insane system. Beautiful Spanish bureaucracy. Thank goodness for bilingual friends who have held my hand throughout this process and dried my tears over the 600 euros lost. I now have one (legal) way into Palma and one way out, without incurring crazy costs.

Spain enjoys a good fine. They fine you for washing your car in the street, for playing music too loud, for not wearing a shirt, for not carrying poo bags for your dog - and if your horse craps on the road. I was told politely about the 120 euro fine for my horse pooping in the street, since then I have diligently kicked it into the hedge and remounted or driven back to pick it up after the ride.

After a beautiful ride on the horse I look after, waving to all the farmers and greeting the cyclists with a grin, we met the Ajuntament of Calvia. Basically the town council were out in force. As I nodded a polite 'Hola' the horse I was riding proceeded to do a big, fat steaming, squishy pile of poo - all the way up the road, I look round and there stood two burly Spanish men with reflecting aviators - I leapt off my surprised horse and kicked the offending caca into a sort-of hedge. Dredging up all the Spanish I knew, I grovelled apologising for the timing of the horses poo, that I was cleaning the roads, although my nice new leather boots were now covered in brown digested grass.

Sorry I said.

Que guapo! They replied, referring to my horse. Guapisimo!

I grinned, they cooed over the horse's beauty and multa number 8 was swiftly avoided.

The great poo-er himself (the horse not me)

Sunday, 23 April 2017

No news is good news

Crikey, a month has passed since I have written a post. That is certainly not due to the lack of stories. Or Mallorcan adventures. Just a moment to write in between the craziness that is settling into a new country, would be lovely.

We don't sit by the pool drinking Pina Coladas all day y'know.

This month has been a whirlwind of guests.
Of school tests, exams and choir concerts.
Of work, dragging litres of water to thirsty ponies in fields and riding through villages so quaint they make your heart weak.
Of red tape and admin so frustrating and confusing.
Of driving over 1000 km a week, up and down a motorway at hair-raising speeds.
Of chatting to my neighbours and bumbling through in Spanish.
Of making friendships so fun and deep.
Of swapping ideas, making connections and trading skills.
Of cleaning, cooking, washing and demanding homework gets done.
Of feeding. Everyone and everything. And clearing up the mess afterwards.
Of weeding and watering.

And lots of appreciating.
Lots of being grateful.
Huge amounts of wonder at the beauty.
Many a tear at the mountains.
A lump in the throat over the wild gladioli and alliums.
I almost burst every morning as the horses whicker hello.
The glimpse of the Mediterranean never fails to make us squeal.

Thank you Mallorca and all we have met thus far.

I promise to write of it more.

Tuesday, 21 March 2017


A nice 12 year old gelding is what I had in mind. One that was perhaps a little weary of life, looking for semi-retirement and fatness, one who neither batted an eyelid at rumbling lorries or a plastic bag. A horse who did not see demons.

But I chose Kira.

A 5 year old mare who had had a bad start to life.

She did not look at me with 'save-me' eyes when we met, more of 'f@@k you and everyone else around me - I need no one' . A feisty little creature you could say.

She was wonky and skinny with more pent up energy than I wanted. She was pushy and bargey. She looked like she wanted to fight me, most of the time. She was not the sleepy boy-horse I had imagined and many an anxious, sweaty night was had over her - wondering if I had done the right thing.

As the famous Chinese quote reminds me that 'A journey of a thousand miles begins with one step', I finally have time to sit and reflect how far we have come.

Now - a mare with flesh over her bones, a softness to her eye, a playful attitude to life and the beginnings of learning her job without fear.

Who stands to be groomed.

Who can walk past barking dogs.

Who lies down in her stable after tea every night.

Who allows a saddle on her back without trying to bite.

Who trots round on the end of a lunge without galloping.

Who can lift her feet to be picked out without falling over.

Who walks in a straight line down our road.


Success is a journey not a destination. The doing is often more important than the outcome.

Monday, 6 March 2017

Back to school

Well that was fun, a week-and-a-bit of half term.

Of no driving.

Of ponies, play dates and parties.

Of a walk so spectacular a little leak may have sprung from my eyes.

Of tomaring-algo (to tomar algo literally means to take something, usually a beer!) in the main square as the children played around the church and in the fountains.

Of discovering tiny kids and mama goats.

Of coffee and a chocolate cake as big as our heads, in front of the sparkling blue sea. We all felt sick for the rest of the day.

Of days at work where I can take the children, and they help with the chores.

Of breathing in the Spring and taking precious time to feel grateful for all around us.

And of falling asleep in the sun after lunch.

Mud pie cafe

Paella up a mountain

Spot meets the neighbours


Monday, 20 February 2017

Singing it like the Spanish

It's not her favourite subject which is a shame really, seeing as we intend to live in Spain for the foreseeable future. A loves learning Spanish, rolling the new words around her tongue and picking up the language easily. P, like myself, has to rote learn the vocabulary, the verbs make no sense and she looks blankly when our neighbours talk to her. Poor P, I know that feeling.

But we have a found a way to make a difference. Singing, P loves to sing. We spend many, many hours in the car driving to school listening to our favourite radio station Cadena 100. I listen to the adverts and chat, the kids squeal at the uncensored English pop songs and try to sing to the Spanish ones.

We all LOVE Sofia.

We blast the nonsensical words out and make up what we can hear. Until this:

After a Sunday morning practice, over and over again, singing karaoke to this fabulous pop song...we can all sing it like the Spanish.

With P being the loudest and most Spanish of us all.

Thursday, 9 February 2017

The big girl got perforated

There were the rains, and then the snow, a week of ice and two days of winds so destructive it broke our tree in two.

And then, just like that, it was A's birthday. A great big eleven year old who has taken this huge Mallorcan step all in her pre-teen stride. A smiley girl, always kind, obsessed with her pony and friends, awoke to the most hideous of days. Rain battered on the car as we drove the long journey to school - rain in Mallorca makes traffic jams, so we were late.

And then she forgot the cakes to take into her class. And because she had missed registration no one sang Feliz Cumpleanos to her. She cried. Eleven was turning out to be completely rubbish.

Valiantly, she ran out to me and grinned her wide grin after the school day was over. P looked nervous, for it had been decided that seeing eleven was very grown up - she could get her ears pierced. She had been practising with stickers on her ears for weeks, watched all the You Tube videos on how it was done and asked all her friends what it was like - preparing her for the day. Not being a great fan of pain, A had still decided to go ahead.

So off to the pharmacy we went.

The first one was shut.

The second one was open but only did piercings on Friday afternoons. The disappointment and relief was palpable in one.

We tried all of Magaluf.

After parking terribly in Palmanova I ran into the fourth chemist who said yes, she could have her orejas perforadas now. How she grinned, terrified and excited. P closed her ears and eyes. I held A's hand tightly and bang! bang! They were done. Two diamante studs of the crappiest quality where in my daughters ears and her eleventh birthday had been redeemed. Completely redeemed.

"At last I am like a Spanish girl!" she exclaimed, looking at herself in the mirror.

Yes my darling you are.

"I've never seen snow before on my birthday!"
Only in Mallorca