Hidden behind the mountains of the Tramuntana and at the end of the tunnel lies our City. Soller, the gateway to the Hidden Valley in all it’s beauty. Not everyone is a fan, indeed many find the parochial charms very limiting. Phrases like ‘you can’t live on scenery alone’ are to be heard and also the gentle laughing at the importance we place on the minutiae of village life. So what makes an English Solleric? This is the intellectual question of the late summer. World events, the Olympics, the financial collapse of Europe all take their place alongside this burning question. It matters most in August and September because that’s when this year’s new intake arrive. The families that need to be settled before the term starts are moving now and making the voyage of discovery.

Most people arrive with their families concerns at the forefront of their minds. Children to be settled at school, decisions on where to live and the moving process live alongside the doubts about whether they have done the right thing. Some people relocate because Soller has always been part of their family history and they are coming ‘home’. There are really fascinating stories of local people at the turn of the century being offered the opportunity to leave poor rural Spain and start new lives in South Africa, South America and other emerging Catholic countries. This migration was often sponsored by the Church and offered the people of the time a wonderful opportunity. They settled in the new lands but never forgot where they came from and their children knew all about Soller and the Hidden Valley from their childhood. It is the children and grandchildren of these people who are often to be found here as our neighbours. Their learning curve for relocation is quite different from ours coming from London. We are creating our history here they have one already made that is in their psyche and folklore.

When the class of 2012 are settled with all their bits of paper in order they will begin to relax and look around for their niche. Some arrive and want to do nothing but observe and be amused by the goings on around them. They have money or decent pensions and don’t have to get involved in the worries that rot the hearts of many of their neighbours. They are happy with the walks and beach life in the summer and the cultural offerings of Majorca year round. They make friends, socialise in the square and at home and quickly evolve a life. Families get absorbed in the rhythm of school terms, children’s birthday parties and the life that has to go on to support themselves. Jobs and earning money are at the forefront of all this. The computer and internet has changed everything and enables work from home on a huge scale. Decisions are also made by families where Dad often works away and doesn’t have to have a base in the UK. There are more and more families moving here where Dad is a weekend visitor. A new order emerges and the couple of hundred English Sollerics place each other in their expected place. The retired, the workers, the families, the runaways, the reinventers are all here deciding either they want to be a ‘player’ or an ‘observer’.

Who are the Movers and Shakers of Soller? I talk here of the English Sollerics not the local community who are easy to pigeon hole. If you are a Majorcan local you need to be associated with the Railway and Tram company to give you status. Sponsoring art, music and culture comes from this same source so the directors of the ‘Ferrocarril’ are names to be reckoned with. The influential families of the City are easy to identify and we watch their political developments with much interest. The English ‘Movers and Shakers’ who are taken seriously by us are a very interesting,constantly changing group. The public perception of the term Movers and Shakers began after the first performance of Sir Edward Elgar’s popular choral work The Music Makers, at the Birmingham Festival in October 1912. The work is a setting of Arthur O’Shaughnessy’s 1874 poem ‘Ode’, from his Music and Moonlight collection. In that poem, which singles out poets and musicians as the bards that guide lay thinking, O’Shaughnessy coined the phrase ‘movers and shakers’:

We are the music makers,
And we are the dreamers of dreams,
Wandering by lone sea-breakers,
And sitting by desolate streams;
World-losers and world-forsakers,
On whom the pale moon gleams:
Yet we are the movers and shakers
Of the world for ever, it seems.

By ‘shakers’, O’Shaughnessy didn’t mean the Shakers that are an offshoot of the Quaker religion, but simply those who shake the foundations of conventional thinking by the strength of their imagination and vision.

The English Sollerics are all in the running for a Movers and Shakers award. From bar room politics to the writing of novels and poetry there are many candidates. The musicians, singers and artists are plenty and the serious business people oiling the wheels of commerce take their place alongside. If you are joining us this year you are very welcome especially if you bring your own brand of ‘Imagination and Vision’ to join the Soller division of the ‘Movers and Shakers’ clu

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