Soller where the important meet the absurd
Published in the Majorca Daily bulletin
Tuesday 12th August 2014
One of the features that I most love about the City of Soller is they way the big issues and finer points of life are given equal prominence. You can have the visit of the King alongside the calls for the Mayor to resign over the litter in the street. It is as if the collective psyche thinks that anything newsworthy is equal, to be debated (usually at high volume) in the cafes of the City. Maybe they are right and it’s us incomers that have to learn to get excited over apparent minutiae. One case in point this week is all to do with the parking camera. The rhetoric on this one has grown so loud that you would be forgiven for thinking that it might be a hanging offence. The story goes back to 2012 when there was unrest in Soller over the installation of parking meters in areas where parking had been free. People sabotaged the new parking meters and on one evening the car belonging to the Mayor was torched. A decision was made by someone in the Town Hall to install a CCTV camera in the Estiradors parking space. This was in an attempt to identify the vandals and bring them to justice. Something got lost along the way and it appears that proper process wasn’t followed and that this issue had not been debated in the full council. This week Soller Town Council were found guilty of breaking the Data Protection Laws of Spain over this issue. An appeal against this finding was immediately raised and the discussions will roll on for another couple of years before a final resolution.
The next rumble in the hot streets of Soller is to do with the lovely Hotel Rocamar. If you are a regular reader of this page you might be forgiven in thinking that this Hotel would now be rubble. This is not the case because the builders arrived, played with their digger, knocked a few walls down and then went on holiday. There had been endless debate about the advisability of starting this work in August and many heated words exchanged – but ‘rules is rules’ as they say and the working man is entitled to time off in the heat of August. All that fuss and hot air and the building continues to stand there mocking all who wanted to see it knocked down.
Noel Gallagher caused us much debate amongst the Café Society this week. The story goes that he is looking for a house to buy round here having sold his house in Ibiza . Is he looking for his own Oasis in Soller or using ours? That was the level of chatter from the people with nothing better to do in the heat. Stories just came tumbling out of sightings of his family and how wonderfully behaved his children were but the best came from the Bar Owner of Café Paris of last year. He told a tale of the Gallagher brothers sitting in the bar for sometime over a jug of their finest sangria. They were composing a song and writing the lyrics right in the oasis of a Soller cafe. They screwed up the paper and threw it away but it was retrieved by our intrepid Jose Molino. He still has the paper to this day and it is his memento of that day when the brothers Gallagher stopped by.
Is Soller the Wild West was another debating point this week and this story came from a photograph taken at the Agricole of Soller. This is the centre half way between Soller and Fornalutx that is heart of the agriculture of Soller. The olive press is here for the community and a shop selling local produce, oil and wine out of huge vats. This week has seen a change in the hours of this shop and they are now open from 8 am to 9 pm Monday to Friday, 9 am to 1 pm on Saturday and closed on Sunday. This is a huge change for the centre and they are working hard to becoming a shop in the finest sense of the word. The parking is great and the carbon footprint of fresh foods is second to none – straight from the fields to your shopping bag in half an hour. Anyway I digress back to my horse. This week they exhibited a photograph of one of the sixty horses of Soller who came riding up and was tethered outside the shop while the rider went shopping. Then with basket of goods in hand he got on the horse and rode home. We do have cars, bikes and all other forms of transport in Soller but the idea that you jump on your horse to go shopping was great and really appealed to all the senses. So are we an oasis or a wild west town – I think Soller is whatever you want it to be especially in the heat of August when sensible thought seems to have taken leave.
PHOTOGRAPH BY RACHEL FOX