March, in all its glory in the Soller Valley

Published in the Majorca Daily Bulletin
on Tuesday 14th March 2017

Written by Shirley Roberts

Photographs by Rachel Fox
March is a great month and the bringer of spring in all its glory.  The weather can be unpredictable as the amazing weekend weather proved as it now gives way to a wetter cooler spell.  The arrivals in the Soller Valley this weekend could not believe that they were going to sit on the beach and that children would swim in the sea. Guests expected everything to be open and functioning including deckchairs on the beach and the music chill outs bars of summer. They were just a little early for that experience.

So many of our March visitors are the seekers who are here to buy properties for their holidays or relocations. Some of them have never been here in March before and will forever have a view that Majorca is as warm as the Caribbean even though its only two hours from London. The questions being asked by the purchasers are the same year on year. How realistic is it for me to leave my comfortable UK life and make a new one here in the Soller Valley that I have grown to love with a passion?  Some people have choices and can afford to keep a foot in both camps but for others it’s a huge decision and involves making a full time commitment. In the end it all comes down to money and the earning power of your ambitions. The young couples who arrive here and earn on average 1000 a month each manage in their way. They pay rent, have enough to buy food and basic bills and live cheaply because they are working many hours a week with little time for anything else.
Once you change the story and become a family or an older couple used to a different quality of life then it all becomes different.  Where are the high end well paid jobs of Mallorca? The consequence of all this is that the work becomes imported and internet based.  Many jobs can be done online from wherever you are in the world now and this is how people survive. The stories of the businesses of the Soller Valley are fascinating, entrepreneurial and largely based on the fact that the location and lifestyle has come first and the job or career to fund it is the lynchpin. The number of multinational company decisions being made from terraced houses in Soller is worthy of a series all of its own.

The reality for many other workers in Majorca was highlighted on the media and in the Bulletin this past weekend.  The declared daily official rate for a labourer on a building site in Majorca is 37.69 euros per day.  This means that for many people their income is less than 200 euros a week. The charitable giving to families and those on low incomes here is huge and it is said that over 30 percent of children in the Balearics are living below the poverty line. The work of the Red Cross, Caritas and all the local churches is never ending with soup kitchens and food banks in all major centres.
This information needs to be essential reading for all those ready to move here in 2017.  Majorca has much to offer to so many but in return it needs those incomers who take their relocation seriously and give back to the community they have decided to join. The great charitable work done by so many on this island cannot be underestimated.  Organisations, communities and individuals do take this responsibility very seriously but frequent reminders have to be given.  It is all too easy when the sun is shining and everyone is here having fun that there are children going to bed hungry.

March is the time when the clocks go forwards and the Soller Valley world extends immediately.  Evening walks down to the beach or a drink or coffee in the square as the sun goes down.  It all changes with the arrival of the lighter evenings. Sollerics are great hibernators in the winter but in the spring they shake the sand out of their shoes and they are out pounding the pavements again. The runners, cyclists and cholesterol walkers are everywhere.  I learnt about the latter group in the doctors’ surgery recently where I was told that there are cholesterol walks all over Majorca.  These are routes that you are prescribed to walk if your Doctors checks reveal you have a problem.  The walks are recommended four times a week and more if you can do them and for Sollerics it is the walk from the City to the sea in the Port of Soller.  As your pace increases you can also do the return walk to please the doctor or in the early days you can always come back by tram.  Exercise for all age groups and all shapes and sizes is what we are all being encouraged to take up for the Spring of 2017…  Now – where are my trainers?

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