It's a bit rich

The almost life of a fifty something living in Norfolk

Not what I expected

“There’s a local market this evening. In fact it’s very local as all you have to do is step out of the hotel and turn left at the Spar and there it is, all along the high street.” That’s the thing about resort-based holiday reps, they have all the local knowledge.

“It’s open from 6 until midnight so there’s time to have a relaxing meal and then wander around the market.” It sounded lovely and the perfect way to unwind after a busy day propping up the Cala d’Or economy by consuming vast amounts of beer by the hotel pool.

I had visions of a colourful array of local fruits and fish. Cheeky traders bartering over a couple of Euros for a genuine leather jacket and exuberant street food vendors creating wonderous paellas over roaring burners, filling the air with delicious smells and vibrant hubbub.

To give her her due, she was right about one thing. The market did take place that evening. Sadly it wasn’t on the high street but several streets further away and the description ‘market’ was slightly misleading as it consisted of less than a dozen stalls selling exactly the same souvenirs available in the shops during the day. The wandering took about four minutes – and that was going round twice.

It was the second disappointment of the evening.

Earlier, at the hotel buffet, D was excited to see that they were offering fried milk on the dessert counter. Her enthusiasm led me to believe that this is a treat not to be missed.

Ignoring the raspberry roulade and the fresh fruit cheesecake, and dragging my attention away from the chocolate brownies and mini lemon meringue pies, before me lay a tray of what looked like tiny doughnuts, each exactly the same size and shape. Paul Hollywood would have been impressed, by that at least.

So having been tempted by this ‘treat’, I tried one. It was like biting into a potato croquette but it tasted like sweetened milk thickened up, covered in breadcrumbs and deep fried. Probably because that’s exactly what it was. Imagine eating one of those mini UHT milk portions you get in the hotel room but without the delicious plastic taste.

I tried to liven mine up with the addition of vanilla and strawberry ice cream but all this achieved was scorn from my fried milk loving companion.


The guy in the souvenir shop struggled to find the English words to help us understand the story behind the Siurell whistles that had caught our eye.

The colours are not unlike those of other traditional figures we’ve seen before, namely those representing the Mexican Day of the Dead.

The guy told us that the Siurell can be found in every home on Mallorca. If we had the time, we’d check.

Originally they were a tools used by farmers to call their animals to order. A bit like they do in the UK with sheepdogs. Imagine One Juan and His Dog. “And before we had TV they would play songs on them to entertain”. I presume he’s talking about to family and friends and not the animals.

Just how these working tools went from simple whistles to hand moulded and painted tourist trinkets the guy in the shop couldn’t tell me. “There’s not much information about it,” he said, which translates into ‘If you expect me to translate the entire story into English then it’s going the cost you more than six lousy Euros.”

Actually I’m doing him an injustice. He was most helpful wrapping our booty carefully and telling us how each figurine is unique. “You won’t find two the same anywhere.”

If only we had the time to check.

“I don’t like to complain, but…

It’s early evening in a Spanish restaurant and that means we’re surrounded by fellow holidaymakers. An earlier experience in Madrid taught us that the locals don’t eat until late, which is the foundation to the gag: What do you call someone in a Spanish restaurant at 6.30? A tourist.

The elderly couple at the next table ordered steak with rice and steak with chips. I know this not because I heard them order, but because we can all hear them telling the waitress that what they are looking at on their plates is neither rice nor chips. They bring both and the elderly lady asks them to remove the garnish from her plate because, “that’s where I want the rice to be”.

No sooner had the adjustments been made when the staff were back at the table dealing with another crisis. “I don’t like to complain, but I asked for my steak to be well done”, says the elderly lady pointing at a fountain of blood pumping out of her sirloin.

I sympathise with both parties. Euro chefs have no concept of what well done means. Anything left on the grill more than a few minutes is simply overcooked and inedible. While Brits abroad (and some at home) insist of cremating anything that was originally connected to four legs.

Back in the hotel I can hear some Brits moaning that they weren’t given a print out of the hotel entertainment, while someone else is saying that the jacuzzi isn’t working, “not that I’d use the bloody thing, but that’s not the point”. Someone is also complaining that a local market is on a Friday. “We’ve only just got here so can’t go and we’ll be gone by next week. So we’ve missed that then.” Spoken as if it was the sole purpose of their visit.

In the corner of ‘Heaven’s Waiting Room’ I can hear some raised German voices and wonder if they are complaining about something or other and if rather than it being a British thing to do abroad it is in fact just part of everyone’s holiday experience.

For the record, the hairdryer in my room doesn’t work and the shower is more of a fast drip that alternates between hot and cold, and ants are marching along a well trodden path across the bathroom floor. But do you hear me complaining?


In the hotel restaurant last night just as I was tucking into a bowl of freshly prepared fruit an elderly man stood up and in the broadest Yorkshire accent shouted, “It’s a bloody disgrace. Half an hour I’ve been waiting for my dinner.”

In the dark

This is a true story. It didn’t happen to me but I’ll recount the events exactly as they were told, out of respect for the one who suffered.

“They have some sort of energy saving thing going on in the toilets. When you open the door it’s dark but it detects movement, so the light comes on when you walk in. 

I go into the cubicle and the light comes on in there. I’m inside for less than a minute and the light goes off suddenly, leaving me seated in the dark.

I have to wave my hands about in the air to make it come on again.

I exit the cubicle and the main room is now in darkness, obviously. So I move around extravagantly and on comes the light. 

At the sink, I hover my hand under the soap dispenser which spurts foam on to my palm but I inadvertently make a second pass under the sensor just as I pull away and more foam splats onto the floor. The light goes out.

I jump around on the spot while frantically washing up and then move to the drier. The sensor which keeps the drier working is in completely the wrong position, so instead of drying my hands it just blasts hot air onto my wrists. While I stand there, trying to find the drier’s sweet spot, the light goes out. I give up and do one hand at a time while waving the other around like I’m hailing a cab. 

Finally, comfort restored, hands washed and almost dried, I take a deep breath, smooth my clothing and turn to the mirror to check my hair.

Light goes out.”

The rain in Spain

The brilliant white houses and hotels with their flat roofs and outside staircases give Cala d’Or a look unlike I’ve seen anywhere else.

Against the slate grey sky the buildings are Persil White and when the rain eventually stops and the sun breaks through I regret leaving my sunglasses at home.The trees seem to bear shades of green I’ve never seen before, or if I have they’ve been filtered in the past by my sunglasses.

¬†Within minutes of the rain clearing and the sun shining the hotel becomes frantic as people dash around carrying blue towels. Although in the area we have dubbed ‘Heaven’s Waiting Room’ because of its colour scheme, elderly people continue to snooze, read or look out of the window.

I suspect they are preparing themselves for the afternoon bingo session that was scheduled to take place by the pool but will now be in the ‘Waiting Room’ due to the earlier bad weather. There’s a bottle of wine up for grabs and it’s got my name on it…


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