Soller moves into 2015 

Published in the Majorca Daily Bulletin
Tuesday 6th January 2015

Photographs by Rachel Fox

Local news is often in short supply during the extended holiday period as it is assumed that people are too busy with their own celebrations to want to keep up to date.  So in this context it is fascinating to see the bits of news that gets through and how it is being orchestrated.  How about the Soller story that told of a very generous legacy that the city was the beneficiary of.  This referred to the estate of Adele Oliver Llinas who had bequeathed Soller part of the sale of Vistamar in Valldemossa.  The sum of 833,000 € is so welcome in this place where the calls on the Social Services fund is so heavy at this time of year.  But wait – will the city accept the money?  Believe it or not this was the debate that raged in our council offices.  The argument for not accepting it was made by one of the parties who said that proper notice of the debate had not been given which made the motion null and void.  The noise from the council chamber could be heard in the street.  Suffice it to say that the money was gratefully accepted and earmarked for the Social Services Fund and for work with the elderly in Soller.

Another financial story is just breaking and it’s all to do with building fines.  The Council took the decision to appoint an independent company from out of the City to check all the building licences that have been issued in the past five years.  If people have exceeded the building permissions granted then the punishments range from fines to demolition of the offending extra work.  So far the City is ready to collect over 2 million Euros in fines for companies who either deliberately or inadvertently built more than they should.  The heaviest fines seem to be centred on the owners of the buildings that lease to the prestigious hotels in the Port of Soller with one company set to be fined  over one and a quarter million Euros.  This is eye watering stuff and the chattering classes of Soller are watching this with interest.  Is it worth the city ordering demolitions when they can coin in huge fines is one question being asked.  The opposite argument of course is that maybe these companies knew exactly what they were doing and knew that one day they would have to pay a fine but that chance was worth it to build what they wanted.  It all made very interesting conversations in the twixt Christmas period.

The children of Soller follow time honoured traditions and the queue on Saturday to talk to the Pages of the Three Kings was long.  The Town Hall set out the thrones for the Pages to sit on and receive the lists from the children of what they would really like.  Christmas music played and for a time the square became the playground of the under 10’s.  Some of the older children hung around trying to look too cool to care but they were on the edge of the tradition just the same.  

The Celebrations on Monday started with the arrival of the Kings, their Pages and the sweet distributers by sea into the Port of Soller.  A beautiful day for the celebration and the march from the quayside into the Port’s Church for the welcome of the Kings.  The procession got a bit modern at that time and hopped on the Tram to get into Soller where their horses and donkeys were waiting for them. The floats joined the procession and all the local schools breathed a collective sigh of relief when their float was on the road.  All the PTA’s in the local schools dress the floats and their children in their theme of the year and there is friendly rivalry between them to be the best.  In the middle of their own preparation for the Three Kings celebration they are required at school to decorate and illuminate the floats and make costumes.  No wonder they are glad when six o clock comes and the procession starts.

Just one more Bank Holiday – today and then a sort of normality settles as the children go back to school.  January is such a fiesta month that what with Sant Antoni its bonfires and demons on 16th January followed by the blessing of the animals and horse racing in Soller its just all go.  The San Sebastian fiestas in Palma draw in many from Soller to our capital City.  The live music and the bonfires are a magnet to the whole island and mean that from the 17th to  25th January there is an excuse to party somewhere local.  The early walkers and cyclists can’t believe their luck when they realise they have arrived in the middle of all this.

So another year starts and there will be some money in Soller’s bank account – that should have a benefit to those struggling as 2015 gets underway.  That’s a very positive beginning – long may it last. 

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