Magaluf

Halloween

It’s the spooky Halloween edition of the Grapevine. It seems like Halloween gets bigger and crazier every year on the island. This year I was asked to photograph the Pirates Adventure show which is always hugely popular. I arrived early to capture Sade and Nikki creating some very creepy makeup looks for the cast. And then roamed around taking photos of as many people as I could. The show was a mixture of the acts from the family friendly Pirates Adventure and the much more risque Reloaded with some extra special additions such as the excellent violinist who performed reworked versions of pop hits. The show was a great way to finish the season, and I hope the cast and crew enjoy their time off before they restart next year.

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After the glitter had settled at Pirates I was off into Palma for the next part of my Halloween evening which was taking photos at SoCial, a new club on the Paseo Maritimo opposite Titos. Fire breathers, contortions, dancing girls, acrobats, creepy doctors and a sword swallower entertained the big crowd of revellers. I had a quick chat with the Great Bendini (the contortionist and sword swallower). I asked him when he had realised that he could swallow swords and he looked at me as if that was the dumbest question he’d ever been asked, “I had to learn how to do it” he replied, err, yeah, Vicki, of course. Doh. He really does swallow swords, they weren’t trick ones! And they go all the way down to his stomach. Yuck!

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Grapevine 6th June 2017

Fighting Fit

Sean Pendry-4707Sean Pendry made his UK professional welterweight boxing debut last weekend at Bowlers in Trafford Park, Manchester. Before he left for his fight I went along to see him….

Sean had been living and working in Majorca for several years before he started to box, but once he had put on his gloves he didn’t want to take them off. “I’ve always been interested in the sport,” he told me, “and my granddad Paddy McGrath boxed so maybe it’s in the blood”. We were sat in the Shambala gym in Santa Ponsa. Around us were personal training and boxing classes going on. It was busy and Sean was quite preoccupied with making sure his medical checks reached the British Boxing Federation, if they didn’t receive them then hw wasn’t boxing. “What do you have to send them?” I asked. He replied, ”Brain scan, eye test…” “Oh, so you actually do get your head examined before fighting?” I asked with a twinkle in my eye. He didn’t get the joke.

Anyway, it’s a serious business. Four rounds of three minutes fighting comes at the end of months of preparation. Training twice a day with boxing practice every night with ex world Muay Thai champion Paul Hamilton as his coach.The last time I’d seen Sean fight was last autumn when he fought at the Pirates’ theatre in Magaluf. How had he developed since then I wondered. “I’m boxing now rather than fighting. Before I would have got in a bit of a scrap but now I’m boxing clean”.

Sean Pendry and Youssef Al Hamidi in the ring last weekend Photo credit Karen Priestley

Sean Pendry and Youssef Al Hamidi in the ring last weekend Photo credit Karen Priestley

It certainly paid off as on the Saturday night he fought Youssouf Al Hamidi and won! He Sean told me afterwards, “I had loads of support from family and friends and loads of messages from Majorca. I was quite taken aback by the amount of support I received”. What are his personal goals? “To keep consistent, to get more professional fights, to continue to be entertaining in the ring.”

Sean Pendry-4716

All of this takes effort, dedication and plenty of support from his sponsors (NautiParts, Heroes, Balearic Sea School, Innovention 3, Sports Bar 90, Radio One Mallorca, Zing Vodka, One Agency and Rob Boynes] who have all helped with paying for flights, medical checks, training, kit and clothing. Does he have any doubts? “No. Paul and Nestor my manager keep me very grounded. They keep me focused”. And the future, after he hangs up his gloves, will he stay in boxing? “Definitely. I’d like to do a lot of things, but I definitely want to coach and bring other people on like I have been. Boxing has already done a lot for.me I have to give back for sure.”

Twelve long years

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My husband Oliver and I celebrated our 12th wedding anniversary last week with a couple of special days. On the actual day (the 25th of May, so many people get married in May, I had no idea!) we more or less took the day off and spent it together. We went to the Hammam in Palma which we have been promising ourselves we would go and try out for a while, it was lovely. Not as big as I imagined but a nice experience anyway. And then we went for lunch at Patron Lunares in Santa Catalina. I’ve always wanted to eat there but not had the opportunity before and we really enjoyed it. The place was reasonably quiet given it was a Thursday lunchtime, and we had great service. The waiter really excelled himself when he brought our starter of “Rocket Squid” to the table without once sniggering or making any sort of joke. Take a peek at the photo and tell me what you think it looked like…. Anyway, after lunch Ollie and I went on a romantic date to Brico Mart to buy tiles, yes romance can be found wherever you look! Then on the weekend we cashed in a hotel voucher I had won in a charity auction and went up to Alcudia for the night. We don’t go north much for anything apart from work so it was nice to spend some time up there just relaxing. We ended up eating at quite a fancy place called La Terraza in Alcanada, and we can recommend the food there, it was gorgeous.

Radiothon

JpegWhilst Ollie and I were being love’s young dream our friends Richie Prior and Ayesha Wood were hard at it raising money for charity with the Radio One Mallorca Radiothon. A 24 hour challenge full of fun and a fair bit of emotion as well. This was their third year doing it and it was a great effort from the whole radio team as well with Bianca and Jo busy in the background keeping bids and donations organised and making sure people were putting their money where their mouths were. Phoenix Media Mallorca (aka Ollie and I) donated a family portrait session and that went for 200€ so we were really pleased with that. At the last count they’d raised just over 20,000€ so well done everyone who donated and helped out raising money for charities here on the island.

Gringos Bingo

Gringo Bingo -6716I went along to quite possibly the maddest event I have ever had the fortune to photograph on Sunday evening. Gringos Bingo is a new experience for the island as it’s a Bingo game with real prizes (such as an iPad and a Nintendo DS) and some quite crazy prizes (a life size cardboard cutout of Bruce Forsyth for example).

 

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The audience were really excited about it, with some of them dressing up as a pack of “Grannies” which was hilarious. Add in lots of dancing, a gang of fun loving bingo callers and entertainers, and possibly a sangria or two and you have a fun and different night out. The shows are every Monday night at the Pirates Theatre in Magaluf and you can get more information on http://www.gringosbingo.com

Meet Ups

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So, I started a Facebook group (https://www.facebook.com/groups/1532815660122689/ Search for Mallorca Matters Meet Up) to help with coordination of information. So far we’ve had one official meet up in Palma. There will be a walk on Sunday June 4th at 10.30 around the back of Cala Fornells (meet behind the Petit Cala Fornell Hotel). It’s an easy, dog friendly walk for everyone to do, should be fun. Then there will be a Meet Up in Inca on June 27th, time to be decided. Join the group to stay informed.

Michael Bolton is coming to town

Michael Bolton Performs At St David's Hall In Cardiff

Michael Bolton is preparing for an unforgettable live concert at Son Fusteret when he will deliver hit after hit in his trademark soulful style in front of a packed audience. Grammy award winning artist Michael Bolton will be performing on the island on Saturday August 12th when he can be seen at Son Fusteret in Palma. The American singer and actor is visiting Mallorca as part of his Greatest Hits World Tour and he promises it will be a night out that his fans will never forget.
Michael’s achievements include selling more than 75 million records, recording eight top 10 albums and two number-one singles on the Billboard charts, as well as winning multiple American Music Awards and Grammy Awards. I am rather proud to say I will be taking the photos that night, swit swoo!

That’s all for now, check out http://www.mallorcamatters.com for previous columns or my Facebook page if you want to send a message.

Grapevine #66

Crazy Days

Vicki McLeod, photographer

It’s been a mad week for me. I’ve met more reality TV show personalities this summer than ever before. This week I had three! All from Big Brother. Between you and me I could have walked past them in the street and not known who they were but I was asked to go along and take their photos and I thought you might enjoy seeing these two of Charlie Doherty. We spent some quality time together on Tuesday and Wednesday at the BH Mallorca pool, at the beach and at the foam party at BCM. I can’t say my life isn’t varied as a photographer, that’s for sure.

Vicki McLeod, photographer, Mallorca

The Nit de Caball

On Sunday night in my lovely village of S’Arraco we were treated to a fantastic display of horses. About a dozen gorgeous black Menorcan horses galloped down our main road (which was covered in a good layer of sand). It was less crazy than and more organised last year as the police took a keen interest in preventing people from crossing the road in front of the horses. Well done to all!

 

Pet Project

At Dogs for U Cornelia rescues mainly German Shepherds: the larger dogs that most people seem to overlook . She tries to find them their forever family. At Dogs for U they would never put a healthy dog down, and those that aren’t so healthy she will do everything in her power to nurse them back to health. Some of the dogs have been at shelter for over four years, so it’s time to spread the word and get them out. Thanks to Angie Cain for her collaboration with Pet Project to get this information out and about.

coyo

Coyo
Coyo is 6 years old. He’s a small German Shepherd and has been in the shelter now for four whole years. Poor boy! As usual he had a very bad start to his life. But he has come through it remarkably well. He was found all alone on a finca with no other animals or people, and had been terribly neglected. Cornelia rescued him from and took him to her shelter.  He is a little shy at first but when he gets to know you he is very affectionate, loves cuddles and is very playful. He is great with other dogs and excellent at walking on the lead. He has shown absolutely no signs of aggression, and so would be okay to be homed in a family with children. He needs to live inside the family home. He is castrated, chipped, all vaccines are up to date, flea protected, wormed, has a passport and comes with a DFU contract.

lobo

Lobo
Lobo is a 2 year old German Shepherd. He’s a very loving boy who loves nothing more than climbing up beside you for big cuddles and is a perfect companion. Lobo was found on the street. He was rescued by Dogs For U. Lobo is finding it stressful at the centre: he really needs to get out. Lobo is quite a large strong dog loves running, playing and hasn’t shown any complications. He is obedient, walks excellently on the lead and shows great intelligence. Because of his size and strength it’s recommended he is homed with slightly older children, as he could accidently knock little ones over. He is a great dog, a fit, healthy young boy, with no known medical problems, he’s been neutered, chipped, all vaccines are up to date, flea protected , wormed, has a passport and comes with a Dogs for U contract.
Please if you can give either of these stunning dogs a loving home contact Cornelia Ks on 637242228 by WhatsApp or go to the Dogs for U facebook page and send a message there.

 

Knitting group, Mallorca

Get Crafty!

The Wednesday Group has now launched! It meets from 10am to noon every Wednesday.  You can learn to knit, crochet, and sew, or work on improving your skills, or help others to learn, be creative and make friends. You can meet up with other people and at the same time support local charities as the projects can be made for local charities to use or sell. Contact Kay on 971 676 116 for more information. The group meets at the Assocuacio Veinats 3, Carrer de la Lluna, Bendinat, Calvia every Wednesday and absolutely everyone is welcome to join.

Rotary

The Rotary Club of Calvia International are busy finalising their plans for the annual walk in aid of local charities – all focussing on young people – on Saturday October 8th. The 10KM walk is from Katmandu in Magaluf to Mood Beach in Portals (and back!). A 2KM will also take place. Marshalled and supervised, the main participants will be youngsters from the International schools who will shortly be receiving the details and sponsorship forms for those taking part. So be prepared to be asked for sponsorship money. The major sponsors are Katmandu, Mood Beach and Minkners as well as the Ajuntament at Calvia. But there are still opportunities for more sponsors. Just get in touch with the Rotary Club International Walk Coordinator,  Geoff Moore, his e-mail geoffmoorecaracol@gmail.com

Fundraiser for Ondine

Next week on Thursday September 15th there will be a fundraising evening for Association Ondine. Organised by Real Estates United. It will be held at the OD Hotel in Portals in the Sky Bar. Their aim is to raise as much as they can for Ondine which promotes awareness about the marine environment around the Balearics. Tickets cost 45€ per person and all profits will go to the Association. The evening will start at 7pm with drinks and canapes, there will be a raffle prize draw, DJs, and live entertainment. Alternatively you can attend the event from 9pm and make a donation on the door, but you should contact them to be put on the guest list. So get in touch with Donna@realestatesunited.com

Any good at darts?

Up in Alcudia at the bar called Legends they are looking for some keen darts players who would like to take on a Ex World Darts Champion. They will be raising money for charity. If you feel like having a go then get in touch with Stuart Leslie via the Legends Facebook Page.

Mallorca’s perfect.

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Don’t you miss London? It’s something I get asked now and again, and I can honestly say No, I don’t miss it. I still love it, but I don’t want to live there anymore. I’ve got plenty of things to keep me happy, occupied and stimulated right here on my doorstep.

Over the years I’ve been fortunate enough to have the chance to photograph many concerts and DJs at BH Mallorca Hotel (formerly Mallorca Rocks Hotel). It was quite a different experience last Sunday evening when I arrived with my cameras. Instead of hordes of young people and pumping loud music I was greeted by neat rows of silver haired music lovers seated on chairs with blankets over their knees. It was a little like stepping into a different dimension, it looked familiar but something very different was going on. It wasn’t long before I was approached by a man sporting a bowler hat with feathers sprouting out of it. “Hi, my name is Robin, are you from the papers?” I guess the big camera gave it away, that and the fact I was definitely NOT the oldest person in the venue, another change from my normal BH experience when I certainly feel a bit on the elderly side. Robin briefly introduced me to Gerry Flynn, the festival organiser who told me that they were delighted to be in Magaluf and that they were thrilled with BH Mallorca and how the festival was going. “We’ll definitely be back with twice as many people next year,” he told me, “it’s perfect for our needs. We’ve basically got a large space which functions as a festival field and then hotel rooms around it.” “Like extreme glamping?” “Yes, exactly that.”

Eddie Reader and Band performing in Magaluf last weekend PHOTO CREDIT VICKI MCLEOD PHOENIX MEDIA -9654

I’d arrived in time to see Eddie Reader and her band. Would her voice be as beautiful and clear as it had been when singing on hits such as “Perfect” back in 1988? Yes it was. She and her band gave a fantastic hour long performance of songs spreading across several genres including folk, pop and jazz finishing off with a beautiful closing rendition of “Moon River”. I really enjoyed the performance of one of the songs of my youth, Patience of Angels, which was sung by its original writer, Boo Hewerdine (who has a long association with Eddie). Then after a short break, where I wished I’d brought my own blanket, The Lindisfarne Story began their set and knocked out some tunes even I recognised before I decided to call it a night and leave the revellers to their party. You can follow the organisers’ plans for next year at http://www.costadelfolk.co.uk.

Morcheeba are headlining this weekend coming in Palma

Next up in Mallorca we’ve got another festival this weekend. This time at Son Fusteret in Palma. You can see that line-up at http://www.mallorcalivefestival.com. Not sure how many silver haired rockers there will be there, but the organisers promise three consecutive stages with indie, rock, world music and electronica all going off over the weekend. Headlining acts include Morcheeba, Nic Fanciulli, Booka Shade, Fuel Fandango and Laura Jones. Or if you don’t fancy that, there’s the Palma Boat Show, or the Beach Rugby back down on Magaluf beach…. Looks like 2016 has finally begun! mallorcamatters.com

The 12 Mallorca Expat Commandments, or “What to think about before making The Great Move”.

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1) Be sure.

You may have visited Mallorca on a family holiday or a weekend bender with your friends. You may have been in Magaluf or Pollensa when the sun was beating down on you and the sand on the beach was too hot to walk on with bare feet. You may have thought you had found paradise but you may not realise that you could be wrong: until you have experienced Mallorca in its dampest of days then you have no idea what you are getting yourself into.

The island of Mallorca is surrounded by water, indeed it is engulfed in water: this gives us overwhelming humidity in the summer and extreme dampness in the winter. However you will not be able to drink the tap water because it tastes like salty chlorine (it IS salty chlorine: recycled and treated seawater). You will feel wet and cold to your bones in the winter, but not the dry, cosy cold that you can bear because there is central heating and carpets when you get into your house. No, this is the damp, stone, draughty cold that only Mallorca can really make you appreciate. You will not believe it until you have lived in it so do a recce in the winter (I recommend January for full effect). You can’t understand this now, but the two most essential and loved items in your house will become your electric fan and your electric blanket. My daughter would not exist without my electric blanket because until my husband and I were given one for Christmas during our first winter in Mallorca neither of us had been warm enough to get into bed with less than three layers of clothing, socks, hats and gloves on.

On the upside the surprising weather conditions in Mallorca always give British expats something to talk about. The Mallorcans and the British share a love of commenting on the weather, so you will have an opening gambit for a conversation. Practise saying: “Qué Frío” or “Qué Calor” depending on the six months of the year that you are in.

2) Be prepared.

These days it is very easy to get to know other British people who are residents in Mallorca. A great proportion of them are on Facebook and it’s a key method of communication on the island. You can get to know a lot of people and find good information in preparation for “The Great Move”. If you are moving to a specific part of the island then seek out local advice and tips from the people already living there. Google, and Facebook, and these days even Twitter, are your friends. Ask for recommendations for “Gestors” (pronounced “hestors” for the Brits). Get yourself a good one; you will need one of these people to help you get your paperwork done which is a long winded and frustrating experience. Have very low expectations about how many pieces of paper you can accrue in one day, and don’t underestimate how many different bits you will eventually have). Ask about schools, local services, mobile phone companies, in fact whatever you want to know just ask. The good expat people of Mallorca: via blogs and social media, love to help. These people will become your life support system, you will rely on them for your business, your social life, your day to day survival and they will become your beautiful and complex extended family, and this takes me on neatly to 3).

3) Don’t be fooled.

Birds of a feather flock together. We all feel more comfortable with people that come from an area we are familiar with: we share common speech patterns, terminology, possibly even mannerisms and senses of humour. We’re one of a kind but that can make us vulnerable to unscrupulous people. As much as it is important to make new friends and develop a social circle make sure that you don’t buy into any Ponzi schemes/ give away your house/ sell your children/ enter a cult, just because you’ve met a conman who comes from the same area as you. Don’t laugh; it’s happened, several times. For example: there is currently a British man staying at Her Majesty’s Pleasure in the UK who stole millions of pounds from unwitting British pensioners and expats in Mallorca.

But you will make lifelong friends. Expats are cut from the same cloth. There is a touch of the pioneer in every one of us. Every person who has moved from one country to another has that shared experience: you just got free life membership.

4) Don’t fool yourself.

Mallorca is tiny. If you act like a prat, rip someone off, turn out to be unreliable or bad at your job then it won’t take long for the island telegraph to get beating. You arrive on the island with your reputation intact: your actions and how you present yourself will determine whether it remains that way. Behave nicely and with integrity at all times. It gets you a long way.

5) Step into the time machine.

Living in Mallorca is like living in Britain in the Seventies, without the flares (although give it time and fashions come round again apparently). You can still pay a deposit on drink bottles and get the money back when you return them; depending on where you live on the island you will receive your cooking gas in bottles which are delivered to your door, and shops even close for half days. Sundays are sacred and nothing happens on them except family and leisure activities, it’s fabulous. There’s also a brilliant community spirit, outdoor events and fiestas and the Mallorcan version of Morris Dancers which are “Dimonis” (locals dressed up as devils who play with fire and fireworks, the proverbial Health and Safety nightmare). You must commit yourself wholeheartedly to the new culture that you are moving into: get Spanish telly, listen to Spanish radio, read Spanish newspapers. Take every opportunity you can to integrate. Get over any shyness you may have about making mistakes with the language. Start talking as soon as possible, and don’t stop. Better still, fall in love with a local who speaks no English at all, pillow talk is the best teacher.

6) Forget who you used to be, no one else cares.

Whoever you were in the UK, you aren’t that person anymore. When you step off the boat you are starting from scratch. Whatever “Grande Queso” position or status you had in the old country means absolutely nada in Mallorca. So, best get over it: right NOW. In the same breath, don’t reimagine yourself as a plumber or a brain surgeon when you haven’t done the training. People will figure it out, see 4).

7) Don’t live in a property with more bedrooms than you need.

Unless you like being visited by people you barely know who fancy a free holiday. Just saying 🙂 Also: reverse cycle air conditioning is a con; it won’t heat up your cold house, see 1).

8) Work for yourself.

It’s a scary moment when you step off the contracted ledge of employment into the gaping chasm of self-employment, but working for yourself can mean you have work all year round. Try to get some skills under your belt before you make your move, and take advantage of any night school classes or cheap education in the UK. Mallorca is a seasonal island which depends on tourism for the majority of its income and employment. The tourists only tend to come from May to October, but unfortunately landlords like to have rent paid all year round, so you will have to figure out what you are going to do for money during the other six months of the year. You will work harder 52 weeks round for less money than you earned back from where you came from, but you will get to live in a place where everyone else saves their money for 50 weeks of the year in order to visit for a fortnight.

9) Learn one of the languages.

Yes. That’s in the plural. You need to get your head around Castellan Spanish or Catalan (if your kids go to state school then they will be taught in Catalan first and Castellan Spanish second, and then English third, but that’s a whole other blog post). In some areas of Mallorca it may be better to speak German and English for employment. If you are living in the middle you may even find yourself having to get your head around Mallorquin. Do your homework and work it out. See 2).

10) Don’t buy a bar.

Unless you want to become a penniless alcoholic. Ask yourself, why would someone be selling a business which was making a profit? Don’t buy a fantasy. Don’t assume you have the knowledge to run a bar on the island even if you were born in a pub back in the UK. You won’t get familiar locals coming in every night, the taxes are insane and the police are always looking to lay a fine on you. They say to make a small fortune in Mallorca you have to arrive with a large one.

Just don’t do it, and don’t make me say I told you so.

11) Don’t burn your bridges.

Always have an exit plan. Even if you don’t ever plan on using it.

12) Prepare to fall in love.

Mallorca is a bit like a hot Wales: same amount of sheep, lots of incredible mountains, and a passionate race of bilingual people. Even after living on the island for years you will still go “WOW” every time you see a sunset / beach / mountain / village view. You will enjoy telling visitors and newbies about your favourite bar/restaurant/walk/fiesta/shop. You will love writing a “Guide to Expats” blog post for a competition. You will wait for your plane at Gatwick and get to proudly correct a fellow traveller: no, you aren’t going on holiday, you’re going home.

This article was originally written for the Expat Blog competition and was posted here:http://www.expatsblog.com/contests/883/the-12-mallorca-expat-commandments

It was by far the most commented on and voted for entry in the competition, and that is a great source of pride for me, thank you to the amazing expat and online communities that I am privileged to be part of.

Family Matters lead Spain to win the Top Country Award and took home first place, the Gold Medal.