A little reality check in the Soller Valley
The sun is out, the sky is blue, people are on the beaches and life is good.  At least it is if you don’t look too closely at the underlying problems that just won’t go away.  Last Friday we had a glorious time in Soller.  Sant Bartholomew Church had approximately 1000 people filling its seats for the Caritas Charity Performance of the year.  Caritas is the Catholic charity that feeds the hungry and looks after their basic needs.  This is a charity that works very hard, year round to help the needy people of Soller and the rest of Majorca .  At the last count, it is said that 300 families per week in Soller are being aided by the charity. 

The concert was given by the children’s choir Chicos de Coron aided by the Soller Music School Choir and the Town Band.  Over 160 people performed that night and the sound they made when they all performed together was ‘raise the roof’ fantastic. This was a concert where the admission price was 22.50€ per person with all takings being donated to the work of Caritas in the Soller Valley .  The whole experience was inspiring from the voices of the children to the turn out of people who had come to support the voices of the valley and Caritas.  The performers sang and played until 11.30 pm and then the throng left the church into the balmy night of temperatures still registering 30 degrees.  The visitors to Soller enjoying dinner at one of the restaurants surrounding the square must have wondered what was happening when 1000 people trooped out of the church and into the square before heading home.
Meanwhile another Soller group held a meeting this week to air their concerns.  The Civil Defence group of Soller have many functions and in an emergency we are so glad that these people give their time and expertise so freely.  As a group they are not happy right now because they are worried that Soller does not have enough up to date equipment to fight a forest fire should this happen.  Soller lies in a valley surrounded on three sides by pine tree covered mountains.  The threat of forest fire lives with us and many other parts of the island constantly.  The Soller branch of the Civil Defence has presented petitions to the Town Council listing what they need to be properly equipped and to replace old equipment.  They say that the Town Council listens to them and makes promises that they can have what they need when the Council have got the money.  This has been going on for so long that the Civil Defence can’t wait any longer.  They are now launching their own fund raising initiative and invite local companies to sponsor important pieces of fire fighting equipment.  In the meantime they have urged all citizens to observe the ‘no bonfire’ rules of the summer and be extra vigilant in wooded areas.
Barts Hospital in London came to Soller this week in the shape of the Nutritionists and Research Team who are looking for 7000 litres of extra virgin olive oil and many kilos of nuts.  This is for the largest research project ever undertaken on the benefits of the Mediterranean Diet on Pre Eclampsia.  A target group of pregnant women in London are going to be given olive oil and nuts and lessons on how to uses them in their diet.  This is a culturally diverse region and Jamie Oliver’s Ministry of Food Charity has worked out recipes for all tastes to ensure a maximum take up of all the advantages.   Soller oil and almonds have been identified as the bench mark for the quality they are looking for and we are all very proud here that Soller Oil could be making an important contribution to this great cause.  I’ll keep you updated as this project gathers momentum – Soller Oil is just about to hit the headlines.
Soller is embracing the summer and the hot nights and enjoying venues that have a summer manifestation.  Can Prunera our Museum of Modern Art have a ‘Music of the Cinema’ concert in its garden on Thursday 31st July.  Always a delight to sit in that walled garden and be transported into another world.   Soller Botanical Gardens come into their own in the summer as the Wedding Venue of choice.  The beautiful house leading on to all those gardens and flowers are a wonderful backdrop for a wedding.  The Gardens also host spectacular evening concerts and events.  The Gin and Tonic demonstrations there this summer have been a real crowd pleaser and we’ve all learnt what to do with our tonic swizzle sticks!  My smallest granddaughter has been attending the morning summer school at the gardens and is having the best time.  I am full of admiration for these venues who work so hard to make a profit and introduce so many different audiences to their delights.
Another busy week finishes in Soller and it’s on to the delights of the next. So much to do in the Hidden Valley , so much to see and so many interesting people to meet. Do come and see us very soon.
Photograph of an old olive tree by Rachel Fox

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