The Soller Valley welcomes autumn
Today is the first day of the autumn season which will last for 88 days before giving way to winter on 21st December 2014. Autumn has started with welcome rain and a reshuffle of the hot humid weather of late. The walkers and cyclists arrived as usual in early September to find unsuitable conditions for their choice of holiday. They are not the people to sit and relax by the pool or read a book by the sea. We heard tales of walkers climbing mountains and attempting Sa Colobra walks in 90 degrees. Some of them, it is said needed to visit the Doctor on their return. The cyclists were the same and tales of survival were told each night in the bars of cycling to the top of Soller Coll in the blistering heat. Weather tales can be boring but when they provide our wonderful photo opportunities they are anything but.
Last year we had the most monumental storm and raging sea ever. The waves crashed above the lighthouse at the Santa Catalina end of the Port of Soller and some wonderful photography was gathered. The storm surges give us apocalyptic skies and the sunsets after them defy photography. The photographers are accused of being heavy handed with ‘photo shop’ but they really do have the most amazing unenhanced shots.
Autumn takes the children back to school and contemplation begins for seasonal workers. They worry that they may only have another few weeks left before they are unemployed till next year. This is a bittersweet time as everyone loves the weather and cool down of beautiful Majorcan Autumns but reality can be a worry. The communal events have a solidarity platform at this time of year. We have just had a Red Cross Community Paella to raise funds for people without. A concert next month which brings in the Xremiers Bands of three areas to Soller will be collecting money for those in need rather than having an entrance charge. The focus quickly changes to the reality of families surviving on very little. There are said to be over 200 families in the Soller Valley with no income at all. The Red Cross, Caritas and our Soller Social Services do a great job in supporting people. They can only do what they do with the generous support of Sollerics who do so very much. Hotels do their part and the Es Moli Hotel in Deia is an example of the good work being done by them. They are a huge donator of milk to the ‘milk for the children of Majorca ’ programme. This is one of the many charities working with families here that we grateful to.
Autumn always brings in the Evening Class Syllabus and we have much to choose from here. The new English speaking Sollerics are usually very reticent about getting involved in local classes because they are worried about their lack of language skills. Nothing could be further from the truth – anyone who lives here is welcome to join in. Free Catalan classes are offered almost every evening of the week in a school room which is throwback to a different era. The classes end for some with an amble down to nearest bar with new found friends or for others straight home to bed ready for an early shift the next day. All ages and stages of life are represented in these classes and the only common factor is a desire to learn the language that most Sollerics speak.
The aptly named Can Dulce (life is sweet) is a community centre on the Gran Via in central Soller. They are open every evening for a mixture of classes including dressmaking upholstering, piano and guitar tuition, ballroom and Mallorquin dancing, ballet, gymnastics, yoga, digital photography plus much more. The Ladies of Minerva is another community centre situated minutes away from Can Dulce and their claim to fame is Line Dancing, Art and Tai Kwando. These are the people that use their skills to decorate the City of Soller for Christmas, carnival and all other fiestas. Their skills with crepe paper and needles are legendary!
Whatever you sign up to in Soller the classes are usually twice a week. The fees are worked out on that basis and you pay your money for the commitment – not whether you turn up or not. In addition to this list of activities you can also sing! Pro Musica Chorus of Soller practices twice a week in the Sacred Heart Convent. Information about The Choir of the Third Age can be obtained from Can Dulce. Music and all these wonderful activities are all possible with just a little sprinkling of language. The more you expose yourself to groups speaking nothing but Catalan or Spanish the more chance you have of learning it.
So as the new season starts we have plenty to occupy our time and our minds. That together with the best weather of all to get out and walk to experience our clear mountain air. Soller certainly has it all in the autumn…