Monday, 8 June 2015


“Don’t fancy these roads at night, babe!”

The Snapper is clutching the sheet of very precise directions sent to us by local man Juan, who’s renting us a villa. The car blocking our way is now reversing away from us, expertly finding a tiny recess in this rural Mallorcan side road.

Driving a rental car is always slightly nerve-wracking because of the exorbitant charges they slap on you for damaging the vehicle in any way. This Renault drives beautifully, but looks a heck of a lot like an over-inflated balloon.

Now I’m squeezing between the other car on one side and the concrete ditch that offers a four foot vertical drop on the other. 

These ditches run along all these tiny roads, some sporting little brick lips, which might at least give a warning that your car is about to disappear into a void.

“I know what you mean!” agrees the Snapper, “In the dark you’d have no idea where the ditches were!”

“We can go out for lunches instead.”

“Splendid! Turn sharp left 125 metres after a tall telegraph pole painted with red and white stripes.”

Very precise directions indeed, which is just as well, as our holiday home is beyond the black stump.

I’d spoken to Juan on the phone and he said the villa was close to other villas, only 6km from the old town of Pollença. I’d imagined a semi-suburban estate with purpose-built self-catering “villas” scattered around freshly-landscaped hills. To my delight, when we finally find the place, I discover I couldn’t have been more wrong.

There’s no need for those “quotation marks” around the word “villa”. This is a proper villa, the kind in which local families live. Surrounded by a bowl of mountains we’re in a vale of almond groves, with cypress trees and terracotta tiled roofs poking through the greenery here and there.

For once the picture on the internet proves to be unworthy in a good way. You expect the brochure shot to be slightly misleading, and as we’ve stayed in self-catering places before, we expected a tiny place.

How wonderful it is to find that you’ve far more than you could have hoped for.

“Wow!” cries my beloved, as we wander past the pool and barbeque area, our eyes catching glimpses of dozens of different mountain views, appearing between palm fronds.


“Is this ours? Wow!”

In the past we’ve only ever holidayed in places within walking distance of restaurants and shops, but that past is now so distant, I figured all we needed this time was to collapse. It’s been three years since we had a proper holiday and last Autumn both of us started to become unwell, falling apart from the relentless duty of it all.

Many consider trips away to be something of a trial to a relationship, but the Snapper and I holiday well together. Armed with a book for each day of the stay, a glass of white wine and a sun lounger, she is very happy to avoid people, because she works with the public.

I love people, but that business of being with them is pure exhausting. While she reads I do what I do best: stare into space for hours on end, occasionally concentrating my mind on one of the crosswords carefully stockpiled for my hols, and then off again, staring into space.

Save for the two days in which we failed to leave the compound, each morning we pile into the car and pootle about. Pollença is a lovely old stone town, busy and buzzy with tourists and locals, where we find the perfect restaurant (La Font Del Gall, Calle Monti Sion) and buy our traditional tacky souvenir.


Another day we head east and I snarf bowls of fantastically fresh calamari in a tiny affluent yachting resort. Driving back through the mass tourism ribbon development of Alucudia, we watch lost souls, condemned by cloudy skies to abandon beaches, wandering listless between bar and shop.

On our wedding anniversary we enjoy lunch in the grandeur and gardens of Barçelo Formentor, the oldest hotel on the island. Sipping bubbles under the wisteria shade of the poolside terrace, we are entertained by this rare glimpse into the lives of Europe's rich: young and old, bland and classy.

Barçelo Formentor

Mostly, though, we just sit on our terrace. The view across the almond grove to distant mountains is sublime. 

As the sun sets before us, I spoil her enjoyment of her beloved cypress trees by declaring them gashes: isosceles triangles cut into the universe with Philip Pullman’s subtle knife.

 Distant gashes?

Paradise comes at price, and the neighbour’s dog barks every day, but nothing can spoil our peace. In the evening after sunset the natural wonders continue.

Our resident lizard, perfectly camouflaged the same yellow as the wall, stalks a moth twice the size of his head. We watch open-mouthed as the moth realises he’s there and responds, rather unwisely, by freezing dead still. In one pounce the lizard gobbles him up and disappears from sight.

Golden flashes from glow-worms on the lawn pierce the darkness: brief; intense.

Distant sparrows fade into the dusk as the bat appears, swooping around the garden.

We speak to nobody, until encountering the Irish once more. The tall handsome lad from Lahinch makes conversation on the plane home. In the Gents at Shannon Airport’s baggage hall, a lad turns to me and asks:

“Just back from somewhere, arya?”

By the time I find the Snapper at the baggage carousel, she’s chatting to a woman, and then another takes up the conversation when the first woman goes.

After visiting the airport shop to stock up on bread and milk, I find the Snapper outside, chatting to yet another lass, who works at the airport.

Our ten days of silence may be gone, but if I have to talk, give me the Irish every time. There might be a smidgeon of nosiness in it, but your friendliness always puts a smile on my face.

©Charlie Adley

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