Back in the day – Soller reminiscences
Published in the Majorca Daily Bulletin
The streets of Soller are full and the Port of Soller is jumping. The height of the season for the whole island and holiday memories are being made by the hour. Apart from the extremities of the weather I really love August because it reminds me where we came in – ‘back in the day’. This phrase is so overused now that it has its own Wikipedia entry. The definition is that of ‘talking about a time in the past, usually when remembering nice things about that time.’
It was us, in the early 80’s, who turned up in Fornalutx with lots of children and a complete misunderstanding of size, scale and the need for a car. We learnt quickly, stopped walking the road to the beach in the heat and relaxed into August in Majorca by the sea. Days spent on the Repic Beach and nights playing cards in the Placa. The kids ran free and got up to mischief that we never found out about. Fornalutx was full of erudite people who talked even more nonsense when they had drunk a few more and we just listened. The entertainment value was precious. This was the start of my ‘back in the day memories ‘of this place.
This week I have had the same conversation with a number of people and got completely different reactions. One friend who visits the Soller Valley regularly said that she could not bear to visit Deia or Fornalutx now. It made her too sad to see how smart and expensive they have become. Her memories were made when she was a student and Deia had intermittent electricity and life was very simple. She said that for her, these places have become theme parks and she is not comfortable being there. By contrast she loves all the changes to the City of Soller itself and how the influx of new residents has made it an eclectic mixture of cultures, talents and artistic enterprises. This has reinforced its place as a living, working place for residents, visitors and holiday makers in her mind.
Another contributor to this discussion said that everything about the Soller Valley was artificial because of the restrictions of the location. The mountain journey in the old days gave rise to a Toll that had to be paid when the Soller Tunnel was created. These barriers are on the verge of coming down and for the first time in its history there will be free, easy access to all to the Soller Valley. This, in my friend’s words, will open up the Valley to its real destiny and is hugely significant.
A much newer arrival to Soller said that she had no memories of the past and she was busy making her connections in the here and now in 2018. The past to her is an interesting story but has no impact on her day to day life here. She is not interested in the taxi war stories or why there is such a fuss about the tram and train tickets. She just wants things to work for her now, when she wants them. She spends her days frustrated and not being able to make the progress she wants with her house renovations. Irritated of Soller probably sums her up right now.
Everyone has their ‘back in the day’ memories but everyone is continuing to make them all the time. In a little while our memories will be of what happened today. This is why August plays such an important part in the family holiday memories.
‘Do you remember the day when I trod on a sea urchin? When you all pulled out the needles from my foot?’
‘What about the time we went too far out on the pedalo and Benito got in his boat and came to rescue us?’
‘As for those days when Mum got carried away with the country music on the karaoke – it was so embarrassing.’
‘What about those Fornalutx nights of barbeques on the roof terrace. We just laid on the floor and looked at the stars’.
The ‘back in the day’ stories reminds us all what a privilege it is to live in a world that makes these delicious memories for people. The workers of the Soller Valley and the rest of the Majorca are feeling it his month with the extreme weather. However, this will not stop the majority of them, giving their all to make sure the memories are great ones.