Wednesday, 20 September 2017

El Ratoncita Perez

We wait outside the dentist, a little too early to walk through the doors, mulling over the braces that were about to be put on A's teeth. She's growing fast my lovely A, with puberty up and running, secondary school under way, wandering around shopping centres with her friends - and now some metal train tracks on her sticky-outy teeth.

"Lot's of people in my class say the Tooth Fairy doesn't exist and that the parents give you the money!" says P, the savvy child and over two years A's junior.

"Tell me the truth Mummy, is there such a thing as the Tooth Fairy?" demanded P.

I don't like telling lies to my kids, the whole Father Christmas thing has never lain that comfortable with me, but I want them to work it out for themselves without the magic being destroyed.

"What do you think?" I turned it back on them, to mull over the improbable facts.

"Well she must be real," replied A "she wrote me all those little notes!"

It's true, I wrote little notes thanking the children for their teeth, in fairy handwriting, telling them that their pearly whites would be used to make miniature tea-sets and the like.

We made our way into the surgery where the dentist measured and took gummy moulds of A's teeth. A wobbly tooth needed to come out so the dentist presented A with the option to yank it out now - or she could wiggle and wobble it out herself at home. The latter option was obviously preferable. The dentist presented her with a tiny pink mouse shaped box, for her tooth to be placed in when it fell.



Why the mouse we asked?

And the dentist proceeded to tell us all about El Ratoncita Perez, the little mouse who collects children's teeth and shines them into pearls - and for that privilege he leaves a gift where the tooth once lay. Which kinda blows the Tooth Fairy out the window.

Both children looked perplexed. They remembered teeth falling out in Spain and the Tooth Fairy HAD been.

"I know! It's because we are English, the Tooth Fairy still comes to us but now we have bought a house here and we are residents of Spain, maybe Ratoncita Perez will come instead. I must write him a note in Spanish!" A says excitedly as she starts to encourage the tooth to fall out.

Poppy looked at me incredulously.

"Really Mum, I'm confused - who TAKES our teeth?"

I guess we will just have to wait and see.

Tuesday, 12 September 2017

My family and other animals

I awake, aware of a ginger cat staring at me, willing me to open my eyes. As soon as I do, I am pestered to feed the first hungry mouth of the day. The fattie catties enjoy their routine and branded cat food, still sticking up their pompous noses at the 'foreign muck'. The kids pour cornflakes in a bowl and munch on magdelenas but forget to hydrate themselves and he enjoys a coffee if I'm making one.


Oy, feed me

We roll down the mountain in new school uniforms and holding chopped carrots, ready to feed the horses, who wait patiently for the sound of my car to arrive. Breakfast is wolfed by Spot and lingered over by Kira. The stray cats and kittens skirt my feet gingerly, asking for food but careful never to get too close. Three kittens, one mother and a cat-with-no-tail are fed and watered, relieved that they found such a nice place to be wild in. They lick their paws gratefully, I like to believe, and wonder off for a snooze.



She's wild, tiny and full of worms or kittens again


Spot - the hungriest pony in the world

I drop the kids in their school and shove a pastry in my mouth before heading half way up the mountain to two horses, two ponies and one tiny lamb. All with rumbly tummies. Feeds are fed, haynets stuffed and a bottle of milk made.

And as I watch with wonder as the little lamb gulps down his milk, shoving his pink nose hard at the teat willing more milk to flow - I can't think of a finer way to start my day.


Nurturing 

Friday, 1 September 2017

Summer of '17

I slept without a fan and reached for a sheet to cover my body last night. It must mean that summer is waning and autumn is ready to be welcomed with open and loving arms. Oh boy, what a summer it was too; days and days, weeks and weeks, even months and months of boiling hot, stinking, searing, blistering heat. Goodbye summer, we have had a blast, but autumn cannot come soon enough.

The summer holidays are coming to a close. The uniforms have been bought and shoes purchased from my favourite little shoe shop in Magaluf, next to a pumping techno bar, in front of vomit and behind a beach which has seen some action. A sweet Spanish family sort us out with some sensible back-to-school shoes amongst the wild and chaotic party town. We celebrate with burgers and yellow food, watching the stags, hens and hangovers go by - warning my near-teenage daughter what not to look for in a boyfriend. I fear I may be worse than her father.



And as the temperature drops and the clouds appear we reflect on the best summer of our lives. Days and days of freedom and bare feet. Of swimming, learning to dive and countless back flips. Of insects, geckos and tortoises. Of ponies, donkeys and cantering around with wide grins. Of snorkelling, rock jumping and crusty hair. Of moonlit skies, romantic dinners and watching our favourite lizard nightly. Of late nights, early mornings and stolen siestas. Of friends so dear, giggles and hugs. Of very few tears, arguments and squabbles.

Thank you Mallorca again, you are one special place.


Thursday, 3 August 2017

All before 9

We are having a heatwave. It's hotter than hot and the heat does not go away at night.

The fattie catties play dead on the floor tiles and breathe rapidly dreaming of damp Sussex days and cosy winter nights. I am surprised they have kept their British fluff, I would have thought nature might have replaced it with a Mallorquin coat, short haired and sparse. I suppose you can't change the fur you were born in.


The plants wilt and leaves are scorched. The clothes dry in fifteen minutes and the towels resemble cardboard after lying discarded in the sun. The ground is dangerous to walk on and the inside unbearable without fans and air conditioning - preferably both on at full speed. 

It's hard to do anything in this heat. Entertaining the kids is tough without the risk of sun stroke, so all fun needs to be had as early as we can. We roused sleepily today at day break and hoped for some reprieve outside, with a coffee. But this morning it was already 32C at 06:30. We dragged on jodhpurs, cut up some carrots and checked there was enough cat food in the boot of the car for Calvia's strays. The ponies greet us with their woffly neighs and valiantly trot around in circles before cool showers and breakfast. We leave them with fly spray and the shade of their stables with hay and water for the day.

Beetroot-faced and drenched with sweat we changed into flip-flops and shorts, keen to get the air con on our faces as we drive down the mountain to the sea. It glistens and beckons, empty all but for a few oldies bobbing in the warm waters before the hoards awake - we strip and run into the gloopy waves, hoping for a little cool, disappointed how fast our body adapts. We swim and tread water, squealing at the fronds of seaweed which wrap menacingly around our legs. 



Looking forward to our tostada, litres of chilled water and another little shot of coffee, we find the most Spanish of Spanish bars - all before 09:00. 


After which the temperatures have reached dangerous levels and the only thing to do is shut the shutters and hide.

Friday, 28 July 2017

Water, water

I turned on the tap nonchalantly, thoughts of preparing dinner and watering the plants on my mind. The tap spat, coughed, heaved and stopped. I turned it on and off again but still no water. Maybe it was just the kitchen, but no, it seemed every tap had ran out of water. We had in fact, ran out of water.

You see, our water lives in a tank under our new house. There are no mains anything up the mountain where we live, except electricity and even that's a bit hit and miss. Being new to the system of having a finite amount of water, I guess it was inevitable that we would run one day run out.

Carlos was called, the water would be with me tomorrow he said. Always tomorrow in Spain.

While waiting we pondered on our dilemma. No shower in the 35 degree heat, no washing of clothes or dishes, the plants began to wilt and the toilets began to smell. Faces and armpits were washed at the stables with a hose while the swimming pool dealt with rest of our grime.

We all decided to go out for dinner, feeling lucky we had that option at all. We cleaned our teeth in mineral water and hoped that Carlos would deliver to us first in the morning.

What a lesson to learn.

And as the rain crashed down this week in a rare summer storm, we delighted that our garden was having a soaking and the tank was refilling with liquid gold from the sky.




Monday, 10 July 2017

Tranquilo

 She looked at me intently.

"A las diez, si?"

Yes, I was absolutely sure that I would be at the stables for 10am, as the lady in the shop requested. It is not hard to be on time. Punctuality is a particular skill of mine. I had 10 bales of straw arriving for my horses, I sat on the mounting block from 09.59 - waiting.

"They won't come at 10 o'clock Mummy, " said the ever wise P, "This is Spain!"

We all waited patiently for an hour, unloaded the frigging straw and laughed at the tranquilo approach. No apologies for being late of course -  I have just learnt to be grateful that people turn up at all.




Saturday, 1 July 2017

I *live* in Mallorca

We did it, we bought a house and moved again.

To write it in one sentence sounds trite - so easy to do, but actually so flipping hard to accomplish.

But we have done it. All those years of talking about living and working in Spain have finally been achieved and I'm not going to lie, it feels great. I belong here, amongst the olive and the carob trees, the screaming cicadas and infestations of ants. I like accidentally ordering food I didn't ask for in restaurants and recognising one word out of twenty and winging it. I absolutely love Spain and all she has to offer, which is a good thing because we are staying.

The move was sweaty. And stressful as moving house always is. I tried to persuade him him to get rid of some of his belongings, but the 2000 books and 400 LP's followed us to our new and permanent house. The horses got transported down the motorway at 130km/hour and arrived terrified, with their eyes rolling around in the backs of their heads as though they had been on a roller coaster without knowing it was ever going to end. Los pobres. They are now tranquilo as life should be on a Mediterranean island. The cats meow-ed a little on their journey to the south west of the island, taking it all in their little well-travelled cattie paws. They walked around the new house, hid for 30 minutes, sniffed the familiarity and went out for a quick kill - as you do.


Recovered from their transit

We have tortoises in the new garden, wild and wonderful. Our ears pop every time we come home - we live that far up a mountain. We can see the sea from the top of the house and the yucca plant has just flowered. Hibiscus reminds me that I am somewhere foreign and the sun is always there.

The annoyances and difficulties I will write of in the future, but just now I would like to sit back, amongst the unpacked boxes and take all in what has happened.

We live in Spain. Again. And I am so very, very glad indeed.