The English speaking Sollerics are defined by where they drink their coffee in the Soller square in the mornings and the price they are prepared to pay for it.  I knew that I’d become Majorcan when it mattered to me that I knew places where coffee only cost 1.50€.  This is really a talking point in our community and the fact that some places in Soller square have just put their prices up to 2.20€ is enough to cause a revolution.  New Year, new season, new prices seems to be the way that some business owners are playing it.  A new trendy bakery/café has opened  with entrances onto the two main roads of Soller.  The outside seating space watches the tram as it goes by and the other side exits on to one of the main streets of the city.  These premises used to be my local bank and it was really odd drinking champagne with them on their opening day in the spot where I had previously had heated exchanges with the bank manager!  Café Frau has great coffee and a non stop supply of savouries and cakes.  It is one of main bakers in Soller with outlets all over the place.  They seem to have gone for a low key start and everyone was delighted that smart premises didn’t equal high prices.

The story that won’t go away for the local community is the end of the era that was Café Paris.  In a Café Society like Soller’s Café Paris filled the niche.  It was friendly, efficient and the coffee arrived at your elbow as you sat down.  After 5pm the coffee was replaced by the glass of wine and if it was Friday by a gin and tonic.  Always open, always friendly and always there until 31st December 2012 when their lease ran out.  The community feeling ran high and people made comments about ruthless landlords and unrealistic prices being asked for the lease renewal.  The lines got blurred and in the end you could be forgiven for thinking that this was a charitable institution rather than a good business that served the community well.  The truth as usual is an amalgam of all these things and I made some attempt to find out the story from all sides.  The elderly owners of the premises were using what was possibly the last lease renewal of their lifetime to make financial provision for their disabled daughter who would need residential care after their death.  The lawyers advised them what to charge and the current wonderful team at Café Paris would not pay that figure.  All the Café Society had a view which was largely that he should negotiate and give the lease back to our friends.  Alas this was not to be and now a new lease has been signed with new people who will be re opening Café Paris in the next two weeks.  The price of their coffee will be the first defining moment…

Another shock to the system was seeing a ‘to let’ sign in the window of our favourite Soller clothes shop.  La Boheme is a very odd institution of  the City of Soller.  It sells unusual, wonderful clothes shoes and jewellery that have been used once on film and TV sets.  Second hand in theory but in practice a fabulous opportunity to buy unusual one offs that you could never normally afford.  The small shop tucked away in the street leading to the Post Office became our secret that we only talked about to each other.  We loved the days when the stock changed each week and often the same people would be there looking for  their latest fashion pleasure at rock bottom prices.  I went in search of the owner and found her ensconced in a shop in the Lluna.  She was surrounded by beautiful jewellery, scarves and bags and was doing a brisk trade in the run up to the Three Kings.  She told me her very exciting news and the story of the New Boheme experience which will be opening it’s doors from these premises in the Lluna from the beginning of February.  This is going to be a clothes shop in a Soller Palace with each floor representing a different style.  One floor for all the clothes from film sets and technically second hand, another floor for larger sizes and another for the very latest French fashion. The ground floor is to be full of jewellery and small gift items leading out to the garden where you can relax over coffee.  The mezzanine floor is a hairdresser and beautician.  La Boheme is recreating itself from the humblest of beginnings to being Soller’s first mini department store. A ladies emporium – all very exciting for 2014.  I wonder how much they will charge for their coffee?

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