I have never, in all my working life (about 100 years at the last count) had two weeks off in a row. No. Really I haven’t. Now, Dear Reader, you may think that this is stupid foolish. You may think that you detect the whiff of burning martyr (you don’t, honest). Or you may think that I am just a model employee – ok that one was stretching it a bit – but to be really honest I’m not quite sure WHY I have never had more than a week off at a time. Anyway, this year I am. The middle two weeks of August to be precise and even more excitingly than that I am going away for one of those weeks here…
We are going to the north of the island to Porta Pollensa to stay in a lovely hotel and chill out for a week. We’ve got a car as part of the deal so after a couple of days of unwind beside the pool we plan to go and explore.
Now, the funny thing about going to Mallorca or Majorca (however it is you spell it), is that my parents used to take my brothers and I on holiday there every year from when we were little tiddlers up to early teens. We used to stay at the El Arenal hotel, a mecca for British and Irish tourists because they served ‘proper food’ – none of that foreign muck that some of the places served up and in an area where there were ‘proper’ pubs serving Watney’s Red Barrel and who’s staff were English so that any form of speaking Spanish could be avoided and there were pictures of the food outside every restaurant in case you’d forgotten what an omlette looked like. Luckily for us, our parents were slightly more adventurous and I can remember us eating tapas and my mother speaking halting but fairly decent Spanish. I remember Lacao chocolate milk which you could have caliente in the bottle, chips in paper cones on the beach, going to watch the pilota (a sort of handball with a banana shaped thing that the players wore on their hands), going to the ‘trotting’ as my Dad called it – horses pulling tiny chariot affairs round a racetrack (if there was betting involved, Dad was there) and my mother getting horribly drunk with some fellow Irish tourists by the pool one year much to Dad’s disgust. I remember the Spain of the 70s – onyx lamps and heavy cigarette lighters, straw donkeys and statues of bulls, postcards with flamenco dresses in real lace on the front of them and trips on the glass bottomed boat with jugs of Sangria being poured down enthusiastic tourists throats. I remember the day trip that we always took on the little wooden train to Soller where the oranges grew – the hotel would send us with a packed lunch in a brown paper bag and we would have finished it before the train had stopped. I remember the dances and entertainments in the hotel at night that we were allowed to stay up for as a special treat – ‘E Viva Espana’ was number one, I was in a fetching floral long dress and we all sang along to ‘Tie a Yellow Ribbon’.
I have no idea how my parents afforded a holiday for five each year, I don’t know how they had the patience to put up with three small children. But my memories of Majorca are very happy ones. I haven’t been there for about 30 years and I’m sure it has changed beyond recognition. But I’ve told TG that if the train to Soller still runs then we’ll be on it, packed lunches in hand. I can’t wait!