Month: August 2011

A nice cup of tea

So, it’s come to this. I have finally turned into my Great Auntie Flo who liked nothing more than a nice cup of tea and a sit down.  At least, that’s what I remember about her: we used to go on family visits to Aberdeen and sit in her darkened front room (only ever used for guests) drinking tea which had been mashed to within an inch of her life. And my grandma always drank her tea black, a throw back from the war when there wasn’t milk to spare to put in her cuppa. For me a cup of tea symbolises tradition, family, peace and quiet, safety.

But for a long time tea just wasn’t funky was it? No one who was ‘trendy’ drank tea, it was all about the cafe au lait, the cafetieres, the Starbucks, the double mochachino to go. It was getting a bit too French (who, by the way are terrible at making coffee) or perhaps too American (which was more about the bucket of coffee and the buzz). Well, hurrah, something good came out of the riots in the UK last week: we’re all drinking tea again.

Operation Cup of Tea came about as a direct response to the shocking scenes of destruction last week on the UK streets. Sam Pepper, a creative young fella, hit the nail right on the head last week when he launched his Operation Cup Of Tea on Facebook and Twitter, encouraging people to stay in and have a cuppa every evening instead of charging around the neighbourhood terrorising and burglarising the law-abiding citizens. So far over 300,000 people have joined the campaign. From this idea has come a charity which is aiming to raise money for the people affected by the lootings, and now, tea parties. Jolly D! Bring back the tea!

What’s not to like? Plain old water is plain old boring after a while, and we have to drink plenty of fluids in these current temperatures. I certainly don’t want to go the same way as Antony Andrews who overdosed on water back in 2003 causing himself to develop something called ‘hyponatraemia’, that is, he virtually drowned his body in water and had to be hospitalised. And of course, there is the consolation factor of tea, as Bernard-Paul Heroux said, ‘there is no trouble so great or grave that cannot be much diminished by a nice of cup of tea’.

I think it’s pretty smart to be drinking tea this time of year (and here I have to say that I am going to include hippy tea along with builders’): it’s refreshing, it’s cheap, it’s good for you and it doesn’t leave you with a banging headache the next morning. But it’s still not really a ‘going out’ drink is it, unless you count Long Island Iced Tea in there, but that’s frankly cheating because there isn’t a single tea leaf in the cocktail. So let’s start a tea campaign, and have tea parties, tea tastings, tea dresses, cucumber sandwiches, cream scones….. Good idea for a charity event here on the island…. hmmm…. tea-riffic! Watch this space.  Ching ching!

http://www.familymattersmallorca.com

Smile!

I’m not being funny about it, or anything, but I feel a bit intimidated when I walk into a garage. There’s something about mechanics which makes me feel uneasy, I’m not a dolly bird so it’s not like they’re undressing me with their eyes, I just get this impression that they are laughing at me: ‘silly woman, she doesn’t understand engines, let’s rip her off!’ It’s not cheap to run a car in Spain, but we don’t really have many other choices, the public transport if you don’t live in Palma isn’t all that, so to get from A to B you have to have a vehicle. The Mallorca roads seem to wreck tyres as well, I’ve been a driver for 24 years and I’ve never seen tyres literally shred and fall apart before. Well, now I have.

We hadn’t had the car serviced for a while, we need it daily and it’s not easy to give it up to a garage who may have it for a couple of days (they always seem to take longer than they say they will be), but the faithful Kangoo was beginning to make noises about it being time for a bit of loving. So, I bit the bullet and booked it in with a new garage I’d seen on Facebook, FIX-it Mallorca. Well, actually firstly I went to check them out in Son Castello in Palma, and asked for a quote. Amazingly I was greeted with a smile, in English and given a written quote for my car’s rehabilitation. It took me aback to actually get any of those three things, but all of them? Come on, surely that’s too good to be true? FIX-it it turns out is also the first garage in Mallorca where if you can repair your own car you can rent a space and literally do it yourself, not an option for me, but if you’re handy with a wrench it’s good to know.

Well, the big day dawned for the Kangoo, and incredibly we got there on time to drop it off at 8am. ‘I’ll call you when it is ready,’ said Arnie, a big handsome Dutch guy (handsome is not relevant I know, but he is, and rather charming as well).  I waved ta ra to the car, fully expecting to see it in three or four days (as per the norm), but he was as good as his word, and he called at 1pm the same day to tell me it was ready to pick up (and popped a couple of jokes in there as well about re-spraying my car Dutch orange). There were no scary extra costs on the bill, and it’s running like a dream (as much as a van pretending to be a car can be that is).

Now it’s kind of sad that good service is such a big deal that I am writing my column about it this week, but it’s true, it’s still something to shout about here in Mallorca. There was no fuss, no lies, no crazy ‘we told you to come back tomorrow’ none of it. Many businesses in Mallorca could learn a thing or two from FIX-it’s approach to their patrons: be friendly, tell the truth, be reliable, be a good price, value your customers, and do your best work. Which would you rather have, your current clients raving about you, or your ex-clients complaining? I know which one I’d choose.

Hook up with FIX-it here: www.fixit-mallorca.com

My little black book

I’ve been spending a lot of time working recently, and not much time having fun. It’s ‘the season’ so it’s only to be expected, a lot of people are super busy. But it is important to remember to enjoy the island which we live on, and so I turned to my Facebook family and asked them for their top tips for spending some leisure time in Mallorca. Enjoy their ideas (all of the recommendations come from people who live here), you can add your tuppence worth at http://www.familymattersmallorca.com. There’s plenty on the list that I haven’t done yet, and now I can’t wait until the weekend!

Phil ‘da Noise’ Cain Pirates, BCM, Western Waterpark, Palma Aquarium, the views in Porto Cristo, a day trip to Valldemosa, Son Amar, and the sunshine.

Carole Iley-Barrow Train ride up to Soller.

Lisa Davis Come Fly with Me!

Julia Church-Michael Palma old town at night buzzing.

Elaine Smith Pirates a must!

Annette Dunn A good tapas meal in Palma!

Ollie Broadley Doesn’t the Deia Music Festival start soon?

Murry Sanchez La Reserva, Puig de Galatzo – falcon show and BBQ at the bottom.

Martina Mallorca Visit some bodegas and their vineyards, and drink some of the best wines in Spain!

Murry Sanchez  Rent a yacht, and you can visit Cabrera, Sa Calobra, Porto Cristo, Soller, Andratx, Dragonera, Magaluf, and any other cala, hidden or not, and have your accommodation included !!! :)))))

Julia Church-Michael Don’t forget the N.E. coast, it is beautiful there. Try Font De Sa Cala. And Arta market on a Tuesday is super.

Carlos J Bestard Gorman Enjoying a Mojito at any of the sea front bars in Puerto Andratx at 8.30pm in time for the sun set.

Antony Lovelace Dinner in the old town in Palma followed by Abaco cocktails, Hogans for some live music and then followed by Casa Blanca or Globo Rojo for the single men while they can still stand up 😉 or if you want something free Vicki go to the beach, there are a lot to choose from, or Portals Vells for one with the caves

Suzie Jones Was Winkworth A day at Es Trenc, and walk the whole beach a must for people watching. X

Ann Hellemans ‎…drive from Sóller to Pollenca over Cuber and Lluc…

Susanne Hougaard Nielsen Private kayak rentals Puerto Andratx

Karl Grant A cocktail in Abaco!!

Claire Johnston Afternoon tea at La Residencia, Deia.

Gaynor Riopedre The Monastery in Valldemossa. Fascinating and very peaceful.

Eli Whillock Cala Deia and C’as Patro March restaurant or Tapas Bar across the bay 🙂
Nicholas Clayton Sightseeing bus round Palma, and of course dinner in the new Palm Continental, Portals

Caterina Andreae The road from Petra to Marina de Son Severa at 5pm on a sunny day. A meal at Santi Taura in Lloseta, if you are lucky enough to get a booking. The ham stand in the market.

Clive Davies How about skinny dipping at Es Trenc – or anywhere for that matter!

 

You’ve got to agree, there’s some really interesting ideas here, but I think Emma sums it up for us:

Emma Mason Eventually, the simple things in life truly are the best, so for Mallorca it really is the people, the sunshine along with the local hospitality, food, wine and their warm welcome for any nationality. Beach bar in the sunshine is my vote!Bottom of Form

Smart versus stupid

What seems like a very long time ago, my boyfriend (now my husband) and I lived in London. At the weekends we liked to go out and wander around the city, taking advantage of the free museums and galleries, spending hours walking through markets, looking at buildings, eating fine food. Then one day, when we had intended to go to a very high brow exhibition of something or other, we found ourselves caught in a torrential rainstorm in the middle of the South Bank. It was grim, the rain made the pigeon poo on the pavement really slippery and all of a sudden we didn’t really care about going to see some artist we’d never heard of and ran hell for leather for the nearest tube station. One thing led to another and we discovered ourselves stood in front of an advert for a kids’ movie, it was for Shrek. It tickled us that we had set out to see some fancy art and now we were eating popcorn and watching a movie about a green ogre. And so, Smart versus Stupid was born (although we could have called it Pretentious versus Simple Fun, but that doesn’t sound as good).

Wind forward a few years, and we don’t really get much opportunity or time for museums and wandering around cities, but last weekend we thought we’d take in a gallery, it wasn’t beach weather that’s for sure. La Gidg was quite keen to go, but once we got to the gallery in Palma, none of us were really all that impressed with it. We tried to get our money’s worth, but there wasn’t much to look at, and up popped that memory of Smart versus Stupid. One thing led to another (including a torrential rainstorm, fittingly, which meant that option 2 of riding around Palma on an open top bus, something we still haven’t done, will have to be shelved until another weekend) and we collectively agreed that Simple Fun would probably be more in keeping with what we wanted to get out of our Sunday.

Off we went to the lovely Tom Brown’s Restaurant in Magalluf where we all had roast dinners and pop, all for the grand price of 30€ all in (including jelly and ice cream). Then La Gidg and I played mini golf whilst Oliver watched Mark Cavendish win his green jersey and the final stage of the Tour de France.

Happy mum + happy dad + happy kid = happy days.

We’d like more suggestions of simple, cheap and fun family things to do in Mallorca. If you’ve got an idea then please leave a comment at http://www.familymattersmallorca.com