Published in the Majorca Daily Bulletin -Tuesday 22nd April 2014

What a different Easter it has been this year.  The lateness of the season coming into the end of April guaranteed a weather pattern that its not normal for Easter.  The hooded penitents often slosh about in rain and showers but not this year.  The parades in all their colourful, macabre significance marched, scattering sweets to the sound of the mournful drum without getting their feet wet.  The crowds were out to see the ten Fraternities of Soller, each in a different colour costume walk the streets.  The formula is always the same and local people know what to expect and  they observe the silence that is crucial to the Maundy Thursday parade.  Visitors are shocked into silence by what they see for nothing can prepare them for this sight.  The hooded costumes and the dragging of chained feet make a unique sound against the cobbled streets of Soller.  You could hear English   children asking their parents questions about what was going on – they were met with ‘I have no idea’ as the response.  There are many answers to that question but the easiest one is that the hooded costumes denote the private penitence of the marcher as he hides his face under the hood.  The affinity to each penitent group is historic, familial and bound in the history of that Soller families place in this society.  Sometimes it is to do with the affiliation to a local church or community group. This is a simplistic version of what is happening in front of our eyes but the reality is the packed church.  San Bartholomew Church is Soller’s Cathedral like edifice and it is a huge building.  For the Easter services and parades the Church is full to overflowing.  Easter really means something in this place and it is inspirational to watch so many take part in a collective act that brings the community together at the same time and in the same place as their forefathers.

Easter brings the holidaymakers to the Soller beaches and into the freezing cold sea.  You know when you’ve lived in Majorca too long when you look at the swimmers in disbelief.  You have to stop yourself warning them of how cold the sea is and wouldn’t they be better with a wetsuit on.  Of course you say nothing because for these swimmers they don’t expect the sea to be warm – they come from England or Germany so the Mediterranean sea temperature is positively balmy to them.

Blankets are the new hotel and restaurant ‘must haves’.  The different colours and styles that are left on the seats on the waters edge are this years fashion statement.  To encourage outdoor dining when its still not quite warm enough the gas heaters come out in addition to the thermal thin blankets in a range of colours and patterns.  Many have come from Ikea – we can all tell those but others have got special patterns and designs and some are positively designer .  The idea of eating out under a gas heater wrapped in a thermal blanket is just weird – but  hey – it is Easter and great to see the crowds on the beach all doing the same thing – with their blankets …

The stars are out for Easter and the sightings are being reported all over the place from Robbie Williams in Deia to Billy Connelly in Pollenca.  I am sure there are many stars amongst the crowds but the question has to be asked are they real?  I can ask this because in Soller we have the Agency that provides the most authentic ‘Lookalikes’ for film and fashion productions.  A most successful business who specialise in what you see not necessarily being all it seems.  Did Gary Barlow and Jason Donovan just run down the road in Soller in front of me – I think so but who knows?

Sometimes I think I have the best job in the world talking to people about their lives, their dreams and their stories.  One interview I did this week gave me a real nugget to ponder.  This very powerful lady is the subject of an article coming soon in the Bulletin and she she has lived three lives already in one.  Her mantra -given to her by her Liverpool Dad – was ‘After all you’ve done in the day can you sit next to yourself easily on the sofa at night?’   I thought this was a great Easter thought and one that would serve us all well as we approach another busy season in Soller.  We are all ready to do our best and give great service and opportunities to the visitors to our world.  If we can finish each day knowing that we have done it nicely along the way that’s a great Easter blessing.

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