Month: August 2016

Grapevine #65

The Sunbird team

30 Years in Puerto Portals

Eric Martin, owner of Sunbird was the first to open an office in Puerto Portals in 1986. Having been in the UK yacht sales business for 14 years, the time felt right to expand in to different waters. Sailing in the Mediterranean felt like an exciting progression. Sunshine was, of course, a huge draw to the Mediterranean and having heard about a new and prestigious marina being completed in Mallorca, 7km west of Palma town the expansion felt right. “When we saw the site we knew it was the perfect opportunity to open Sunbird S.A.” Puerto Portals combined an incredible location with clear ambitions to become a luxury destination. Eric had met Simon Crutchley, a fluent Spanish speaker whose local knowledge, great contacts and yachting experience made him the ideal candidate to manage the new operation. The potential was huge and it felt right to get in from the start. And so Sunbird Mallorca opened its doors in August 1986 – one week after the launch of the iconic Wellies, as they’d been storing their tables and chairs for them!

There is no doubt Puerto Portals is firmly established as one of the best and most beautiful marinas in the Mediterranean, with a fantastic future ahead. Thirty years after Sunbird opened its doors, Portals’ original marina resident could not be prouder to have been here since day one. www.sunbirdyachts.eu.

Mallorca Solutions Opening Party August 5 2016 Photo Credit Vicki McLeod Phoenix Media -0227

Mallorca Solutions Party

I popped in to wish Becky Bellafont Evans and her team good luck at their new office which is between the Post Office (Correos) and the British Surgery at C/Germans Pinzons 5, Local 2 in Palma Nova. Many, many familiar faces were there, along with new ones as Becky and her gang specialise in looking after people who move to the island: organising their paperwork and helping them get settled in to their new lives. A personal highlight was getting to try some of Stephanie Prather’s delicious vegan canapés (I had to be dragged away from them before I truly embarrassed myself by eating them all).

Sophie Butterfield and Comet Air Photo Credit Vicki McLeod Phoenix Media -7715

Congratulations Sophies!

My little girl, Gidg, is now fully horse obsessed. For the last three weeks she has been accompanying her mentor and teacher Sophie Cordoba Mitchell (owner of Club Caballisto Son Malero in Calvia where she rides), and stable mates Sophie Butterfield and Angelina Schlak on very, very late night expeditions. Sophie B has been competing on her horse Comet Air in three high level events culminating last week in a three night marathon. Because of the heat the competition is run at night, with most of the classes being from 8pm to 2am. (A sensible person might suggest they do the competition in winter, but hey). Gidg’s role is gopher, and video maker. Sophie managed to finish fourth (out of forty experienced riders) in the “Infanta” which is a very prestigious event, so well done Sophie and her team, Gidg included!

The Wednesday Group

In September Kay Halley from the Universal Bookshop in Portals will launch a new community group which she is going to call The Wednesday Group. Its aim is to produce knitted, sewn and crocheted items for sale by the various community groups on the island (particularly Age Concern and the Cancer Support Group). The group is being launched also as a remembrance for a lady which Kay was very close to, Cynthia, who was a demon knitter and quilter in her time and produced many blankets, hats, scarves etc for various groups. The group will be open for anyone who can knit, sew, crochet, or wants to learn. The idea is that they will produce the item and they can decide which charity benefits from it. It will also be a brilliant way to make new friends and enrich your social circle.The group will launch on 7th September.  Assocuacio Veinats 3, Carrer de la Lluna in Bendinat. You can get more information by calling 971 676 116

Snowgun

Pet Project: Dog of the week

Snowgun is a beautiful 18 month old German Shepherd mix, possibly mixed with either a white German Shepherd or a Husky. She is a very good, fit, healthy young girl. She is leishmaniosis negative and has no known health problems. Snowgun is very obedient, and comes when her name is called . She walks beautifully on the lead . As like most GSD she is very intelligent. She is looking ideally for a sporty family to adopt her as she is lots of fun with loads of energy,  playful but does know when to stop. Snowgun was found on the street, living as a stray before Dogs For U took her in. She is very good with other dogs and lives with 8 other dogs in the main pack at DFU. She is a perfect fun loving dog. As with all dogs from DFU. She comes spayed, fully vaccinated, wormed, chipped, flea protected, has a passport. And comes with a DFU contract.  She is a perfect girl and will enhance anyone’s life. What more could you ask for. Call Cornelia on 637 242 228.

Emma and Daniel in the wave pool

Emma-Jane Woodham

My husband and I both had the pleasure of photographing this beauty recently at BH Mallorca, Mood Beach and other locations around the island. She’s made herself infamous by doing something rather naughty on the Love Island TV show, but in reality she is a darling. Very sweet, very polite, fun and gorgeous to boot.

The Orchestra 6 August 2016 Port Adriano Photo Credit Vicki McLeod Phoenix Media -0216

NOT ELO

I wasn’t going to refer to the absence of Jeff Lynne at the press conference for The Orchestra last week, but Richie Prior (Radio One Mallorca and columnist for the MDB) didn’t get hung up on such niceties. I watched in admiration as he politely referred to the elephant in the room in a way which meant the musicians couldn’t skip around the question “Do you think you will ever perform again with Jeff?”. The answer was quite revealing. “Jeff’s more of a studio guy. We’re more band guys. He collaborates with one guy and we like to tour”.  I only saw the first three songs of the gig itself, but I was told by friends of mine that it was really good. Well done to the team at Port Adriano for putting on some top quality acts this summer.

Simply Red

Speaking of top quality acts…. The gig of the year is almost upon us. One more week to go. Some tickets are still available I understand, mostly standing. See you there?

A brush with class

It’s Thursday evening. I’m at the Varadero Restaurant beside the STP Boatyard. I’m surrounded by paparazzi and we’re all waiting for the celebs to arrive on the red carpet. I say “we”,  I mean “they” because most of the celebrities attending I won’t recognise because they are German. This is German Real Estate sensation Marcel Remus’s summer party, and if your name isn’t on the list then there is no way you’re getting in. I’ve been invited because there is one celebrity attending who he thinks I will like to meet, the American actress Marcia Cross. She’s famous for her roles in Desperate Houswives and Desperate Houswives. Because she’s the best known face on the guest list she will also be the last to arrive, she’s the finale to a reasonably long line of German TV stars, fashion designers, performers and business people. Why are they all here? Because Marcel is a celeb in his own right. He’s not yet thirty but Marcel Remus has been building his own real estate empire since 2008.  He has an office here in Majorca, and another one in Germany, but that’s not how he’s become so successful. His clever use of networking at high level parties in Hollywood and his involvement in the German version of “A Place In The Sun” where he takes prospective German home buyers around spectacular Majorcan villas, fincas and apartments have meant he’s become “Mister Majorca” as far as the German public are concerned. And he’s doing very well, thank you very much for asking.

Marcel and Marcia PHOTO CREDIT OLIVER NEILSON PHOENIX MEDIA  (8)

It’s the first time I’ve been on a red carpet, it’s quite fun as I’m not taking the photos, I’m just watching. A tribe of GoGo dancers arrive, the girls are dressed as “sexy robots” and the boys are shirtless with complicated leather jewellery covering their chests. They are there to pose if need be so I get a photo with them for the hell of it. I wander around the party snaffling some special “Skin Gin” which is minty and tasty. Between the prawns on sticks, croquettes, mini calamaris in paper wraps, ice cream, and veggie wraps the flying buffet keeps me busy as well. I bump into some other English people I know and have a chat. Eventually it’s time to keep an eye on the entrance. When Marcia arrives the paps go crazy, a very determined female photographer (go girl!) leads the charge, in fact she’s at the front every time giving directions to the celebs “Everyone look at me, hey! HEY! LOOK AT ME!” She gets what she wants, it’s an interesting lesson as having the best photos is the way to get hired again.  Marcia is surrounded with TV cameras, there’s a lot of posing for photos, interviews, then posing for photos with the interviewers. She’s smiling all the way, composed, calm. Getting up close to her I can see her skin is polished smooth, wrinkle free, taut. I wonder naively if that means she’s had “work” done. I guess at some point every single actress in Hollywood has had a facial surgery, it seems inevitable to stay in the game. But then Marcia’s not bothered about the game right now, she’s got nine year old twin girls who she gave birth to when she was 45 via IVF. I eavesdrop on the various German TV crews interviewing her in English.  She repeatedly talks about her daughters and how much she is missing them despite having only arrived in Majorca less than 24 hours earlier.

The scrum PHOTO CREDIT OLIVER NEILSON PHOENIX MEDIA  (10)

I bob around the scrum, wondering how I might get my chance to ask her some questions. Then I realise I have no idea what to ask her, all the good questions have already been asked. I’ve heard all the Germans do them, and I don’t want to bore her. Maybe I think I should just not bother and use the answers I’ve heard already and give up get some more gin and relax. No Vicki, be determined, how many times do you get the chance to interview someone like this. I stick to Marcia and her minder like glue, finally I get my opportunity to request a chat. Come back in ten minutes I’m told, she needs a break.  Okay. Ten minutes to think of what to ask. I’m suddenly a bit nervous.

PHOTO CREDIT OLIVER NEILSON PHOENIX MEDIA  (7)

When I find her in the VIP area ten minutes later I have typed some questions on my phone. I am prepped and ready. I’m invited to sit down next to her, and I turn to smile at her. She smiles back. This is going to go okay I think. “Hi! How are you?” she asks me, great, I reply, you? “I’m the only English person here”, I joke. She laughs and asks me where I’m from, and why I’m in Majorca. “We’re talking about me?” I ask. “Why not?” she looks at me smiling, her eyes bright. We chat about my life on the island, I point out my husband who’s at the party shooting photos for Marcel, I tell her about our daughter. “We live in s’Arraco, it’s just down the road from a place most of these people will be very familiar with, Port Andratx. This time of year it’s wall to wall rich Germans in Porsches!” I joke. “If you don’t have a flash car then you won’t fit in”. “Oh then that’s not for me,” she says and we grin at each other conspiratorially. What a classy lady, she’s managed to make me feel relaxed, and we’re ready for some actual questions.

She’s here for the party she tells me, and to have a break. It’s her first time in Spain, but actually Majorca feels very international. It’s a magnet for Northern Europeans I tell her, we come here for the weather and the lifestyle. What are her plans for the rest of her trip? She’s going on a boat tomorrow she thinks, but she doesn’t  know where they’re going. Do go to Port Andratx I tell her, it’s a beautiful place. What is she working on at the moment? Mainly being a good parent although there are a couple of things in the pipeline she’s been involved in. I wonder what roles she would like to play which she hasn’t done yet, on the stage perhaps? She replies instantly, maybe in ten years or so she’d like to be play the character Madame Lyubov Andreievna Ranevskaya in Chekov’s The Cherry Orchard. That was the first play I ever did I exclaim, back when I was a stage manager. It’s getting really noisy in the party and we bring our heads together to hear each other. We studied it at drama school she tells me. Where did you go? Juliard. Wow, that’s a tough school to get into I reply. She nods and looks at me. I realise I’m asking more interesting questions than the Germans, I’m doing okay.

What does she think about gender equality in the arts? When I was working in theatre you could either be a stage manager, a wardrobe mistress or an ingenue, if you wanted to do something like direct or be in charge of something exciting like the explosives then you’d better be a guy. Did she think that things had changed? No, not really. She tells me about fellow actress Geena Davis who launched an institute into Gender in Media to work on increasing the presence of female characters in media and to reduce the stereotyping of female characters in the industry. But things are changing quicker now: we agree that we consume TV in a different way now. We’re both fans of Netflix. What am I watching at the moment she asks me. I’ve just devoured “Stranger Things” I tell her. “Winona Ryder plays the mum! It’s like she’s come out the other side, she was brilliant, it’s as if Winona’s finally got herself back together. You have to watch it!”. She nods and tells me that she’s just started watching The Night Manager. I tell her then that she has to get the boat to Cala Deia or go up to Pollensa to see the locations.  You can get to both of them by water.

We’re getting on so well now, Marcia is my new bff. I was going to ask you really sappy questions I tell her, like what’s your fitness routine, but I’m guessing it’s basically drink water and don’t eat anything right? I joke. She laughs at me and shakes her head, I just do what I can, she replies. We stand for a photo together, a kiss, a final “So nice to meet you” and with that I’m done. My first brush with Hollywood class, but hopefully not my last.

My new BFF PHOTO CREDIT OLIVER NEILSON PHOENIX MEDIA  (1)

Around us the music is pumping, the place is packed with happy people having a nice time. We stick around for a final gin and then hit the road. As we leave we’re handed not one, two, three but FOUR different goody bags stuffed with complimentary cosmetics, creams, oils and what not. My husband’s not had a party bag since he was six he tells me. Thanks Marcel for the invitation, I could get used to this.

Ticket to Ride

 

road-car-tire-medium

I’m stood by the side of the road. Waiting for a Guardia Civil man to issue me with a fine for having a British driving license because he says Britain is no longer in the European Union and I should have got a Spanish driving license……what?! I look at him incredulously and say “Britain is still part of the European Union”, and show him the EU flag on my driving license. He shrugs, and changes tack. “You are a resident here, you have to have a Spanish driving license.” But we’re in the European Union mate, I argue. (In hindsight, probably saying “Mate” to the Guardia wasn’t the smartest thing to do). He looks at me, I can’t tell what his eyes are doing as he’s got those scary mirrored shades on, tells me he’s going to fine me and stalks off to his jeep.

EUropean Driving Licence

He returns. By this time I’ve already posted on Facebook and started to receive messages telling me that I should have changed my license back in January of this year. But wait! Hang on I think, didn’t we already check if we needed to do it. We have EU/UK driving licenses issued in 2013 which don’t need to be renewed for another seven years. I want to be within the law. I start to feel indignant, and try my best to argue with the mirrored one who clearly isn’t interested in hearing my bleats. No, NO says my Facebook collective, you are a resident, if you have been a resident for more than two years in Spain you have to have a Spanish driving license. But we’re in the EU I argue, again, pathetically beating my metaphorical head against the wall. Okay I surrender, I will get the Spanish driving license organised asap. But still I’m issued with a fine for 100€. Then my friend Andy posted his story about going to Trafico.

pexels-photo-45708-medium

“I was told I had to replace my licence with a Spanish one. This meant getting a medical. Forty five minutes, and 60€ later, armed with a piece of paper that basically said I was able to fog a mirror, I returned to trafico. A further twenty minutes a different guy finally agreed to look at my licence again. His exact words when he did were, in English, “This is a European licence, it has an end date, you don’t have to do anything. Go home, drive your car, be happy, Bye bye.

“Even by Spanish bureaucracy standards this was shocking. A few rounds of, “I have just paid 60€ for a medical that you now say I don’t need, “*Shrug*” If I don’t need this, why was I told I did?” “Shrug*” Eventually the woman who had told me I needed it came over; they walked away and started arguing. Then a third person joined in the arguing. After five minutes of heated conversation and pointing at my original licence, he came back and started filling in forms. He was obviously angry; no-one needs to use rubber stamps that forcefully! 🙂 10 minutes and another €23.00 later it was done.”

I can’t wait. My driving license appointment is in two weeks. Another column awaits.

pexels-photo-113885-large