BRAVE NEW WORLD – The omnibus edition

From Friday 13th March to Wednesday 25th March 2020

The diary of living with a virus in the Soller Valley 2020

Friday 13th March 2020

Children will go to school this morning and learn how remote learning is going to work for them. Two weeks of school closures will be joined by two weeks of cancellations of all health centre non urgent appointments.

The cancelled notice will appear on many planned functions and events. Some of these will be because the Government have told them not to go ahead and others will be organisations themselves taking this decision.

We are not yet in a curfew situation or one where restaurants and bars are closed. It is important that social connection happens – social isolation brings its own damage. Let’s keep a distance between us and continue talking to one another. No kissing for the moment is the hard one – distant air kisses only.

The sun is shining, the sky is blue and we are all in the same boat on the same island.

Saturday 14th March 2020

In this fast moving situation, the emergence of the rules which will guide our lives over the next two weeks are still developing.

The majority of us do not know people who are sick. The statistics regarding CV cases in Mallorca come from the official announcements.

Many local people have anecdotal stories of incomers from Italy, supposedly on self isolation, hanging about Soller.

The temptation is for currently well people, to regard the two-week shutdown and their self isolation period as a holiday.

It is difficult to abide by rules which change every hour.

With this as the backdrop visitors still arrive and are welcome. They are told that Mallorca is open for business.
Sunday lunch bookings are still planned and some restaurants fully booked.

Most restaurants and bars are open although a few have notices up saying they are closed until further notice.

St Bartholomew Church Services in Soller will take place tonight with a Mass at 7pm and A Celebration of the Word service at 10.30 am on Sunday.

Anglican Church Services in Mallorca have been cancelled for the next two weeks at least

Have a great Saturday everyone…

Sunday 15th March 2020

Today dawns bright and beautiful. The lockdown has begun…

Most shops, restaurants and social places have closed except for food shops, chemists and hotels. Some Sunday lunch gatherings were still happening from my info yesterday but it might be all different now.

The temptation for a beach or mountain day is evident. What will stop many is the criticism of their neighbours. What will stop them tomorrow is the police and the army with new powers.

Have a beautiful Sunday thinking outside the box for new ways to fill the day. Let us know later what you did…

Monday 16th March 2020

Today gives us weather to match our mood. A bit of rain and cloud for the morning with the hope of brightness to come.

Today people will go to work, do food shopping, visit the hospital, chemist and come home. Outside these type of events freedom of movement is restricted. Children will face the reality of what staying at home really means with lessons on line, not seeing their friends and no outings outside the house.

The ‘8pm Balcony Clap’ is a daily feature of our lives now in the whole of Spain. Last night it was the first in the Soller Valley and tonight we want it to be louder and more prolonged. Cheering is also permitted as we salute our health professionals and all those working for us every day. Anyone joining in with music or a collective song would be great – how about the chorus of ‘La Balanguera’?

As the day goes on I will update with news as I get it. The moving escalator of pandemic life brings info which an hour later is outdated.

As a sharer of the message I will always do my best

Tuesday 17th March 2020

Gloomy weather today with a dollop of cloud to accompany our new order.

Today is the day of financial announcements. France and New Zealand have made large, supportive statements to their businesses. Our local world is waiting for the Spanish and Balearic declarations.

In an island location, once the drawbridge is up we are just looking after each other. So much good will and intentions to help are here. Everyone has the causes close to their heart and regular readers will know that mine is feeding children.

Free school meals are often the most important meal which 35% of the resident children of Mallorca receive. We have very high ratios of child poverty in Mallorca. Personally I would like to know in the announcements today how they are currently being fed in this crisis.

The Balanguera from Radio One Mallorca at 8pm last night was the backdrop to the 8 pm Balcony Claps. We showed again how grateful we are to all the people working for us all in this crisis. Doing it all again tonight…

Have a happy St Patricks Day…

Wednesday 18th March 2020.

Late posting this morning because I woke up to NO INTERNET. This surely was the end of the world as we know it. I can only assume the overload of use is providing local issues because by 9.30 am we were up and running again.

Looks a little brighter out there this morning. I think I will wait till the sun is really shining to make the little walk to buy some bread.

Life has suddenly become all about small important things. Having a long chat on the phone to someone. Waving at the balcony to the dog walkers who occasionally pass my apartment. Thinking about what recipe I would like to try and listening to the radio. I just love the company of Radio 4 and 2 on the BBC and Radio One Mallorca. My day is spent with them and I am grateful.

How ever you are spending your time today – enjoy…

Thursday 19th March 2020

There was a day when ‘Orange became the new black’ and then we didn’t think about it anymore.

There was a day when life was just normal and now we don’t think about it anymore.

The new normal is staying home and following the rules.

The new normal is the lack of road noise outside our houses.

The new normal is saying hello to anyone you ever see in your lonely isolated trek to get the bread.

The new normal is sitting for hours at the computer.

The new normal is relaxing, sleeping longer and allowing your body and mind to come to terms with how its going to be for the foreseeable future

Friday 20th March 2020 – The first day of Spring

A week since the schools closed and normal life changed for the foreseeable future. We are slowly getting used to the new reality and just waiting. The wait is for the appearance and experience of the virus. It has to arrive before it peaks and dies.

We would love to know if we are already immune and a testing kit could revolutionise our lives. If we were found to be immune, we could help others and get on with our lives. I think we know that is just not going to happen for the population so its back to the ‘new’ normal today.

My excitement is a visit to the chemist.

Hope you have a lovely spring day

Saturday 21st March 2020

In most houses all is well.

Yesterday we had rumours and counter rumours of the virus being active in Soller and the Port. The Police issued a statement to say that nothing is confirmed on this.

The decisions by the UK have been very unsettling for families here who have been cooped up with active children all week. The UK advice is that families in the UK can go out for walks for exercise with their children as long as they keep a safe distance from the others they meet doing the same thing. Rumblings will continue on this one.

My Saturday contains the Debra Reynolds advice of cleaning door handles and leaving your shoes at the door. Fingers and feet are the focus of the day…

Have a great ‘lock down’ Saturday.

Sunday 22nd March 2020 – UK Mothers Day

A little rain this morning and a forecast of more to come. The major clean of streets and lanes began today with a military style operation beginning on the beach front.

People are preoccupied with statistics and bad news. So much so that some have declared an ‘internet free Sunday’.

Choice is a wonderful concept and one we took for granted. My normal Sunday would have been a drive into Palma to the Anglican Church. Coffee with friends in a local hotel. Drive home and join family or friends for Sunday lunch.

Just two Sundays ago Carmen, performed at Teatro Principal was our Sunday treat. Can Eduardo for lunch and then the opulence of the Opera house.

Today I would trade all that for the ability to go for a walk by the sea. Preferably I would just like the choice to do it all…

Happy Sunday everyone

Monday 23rd March 2020

The children are back at their virtual schools and connected via technology to their school communities and teachers. What a wonderful world of connectivity we have and the first time it has been used in a pandemic situation.

We are moving into the acceptance stage here in Mallorca.

The cynicism and conspiracy theories of the past few weeks are rarely heard now. Today it is much more about creating a new normal.

Today is the day when the financial cost will be the talking point. Self employed and the unemployed are trying to make sense of the new rules designed to help them. The banks and Gestors will be mighty busy trying to help all who come their way.

At present we can still go out to shop and go to the pharmacy. The rumbles of future lock downs are ever present especially for older people. The UK are using the criteria of ‘being invited for a flu jab’ as the reason people need to stay home for the next 12 weeks. Anyone old enough, or with underlying health conditions to be invited to have the jab is considered vulnerable. Watch this space to see if this is the next local advice here.

The sun is shining and it is a glorious morning. Have a great Monday everyone…

Tuesday 24th March 2020

Reality checks are underway and the Gestors of the Valley were busy yesterday. A lot of talk going on about the exceptions to the rules. To travel the island to get to work requires a document to produce at one of the police road blocks. For many Sollerics this means their normal journey
to Palma will meet at least 2 of these checks and sometimes more.

The ’bit of paper’ is crucial but it brings its own problems. Self isolation is beginning to be the only place we feel safe so even if permission is given to leave many don’t want to.

The UK decision yesterday has caused great division on the local chattering. Many here would love the one walk a day that is allowed by Boris. Many others think that this is just ‘lockdown light’ and that the UK should get real.

As for me in L’horta, life in our little block goes on. A little conversation here and there from the balconies and then
new normal goes on behind closed doors.

Tuesday 24th March 2020  (2)

Just a thought or two…

Such a backlash this morning on the pictures of traffic jams and underground journeys in London. Who are the essential workers and why are there so many who consider themselves ‘essential’?

I do not believe it is arrogance or the ‘entitled’ brigade. My personal view is that the self employed and zero hours contract workers make up the larger numbers. They have to get out there and earn what they can because no provision has been made for them in the UK bail out announced last week.

My other gripe today is of the lack of understanding people have for the families here in Mallorca. Not all children have happy homes where the parents put their needs first. Abuse, violence and awfulness happens every day. For some of these children, school, and getting out of the house, is their absolute refuge.

I subscribe to the belief is that it takes a village to raise a child. If you witness or hear abuse you must report it to Social Services and the Police. These are exceptional times and children deserve our protection and care.

The lockdown and restrictions on fresh air and exercise for children is a huge problem and cannot be underestimated. Many families are saved by the grandparents’ intervention in their children’s lives. This is also curtailed by the lockdown so a double reason to look out for the children in your immediate vicinity.

Remember the majority of children in Mallorca do not have gardens or outside space apart from balconies of different sizes. Everyone is climbing the walls in spite of the solidarity of the 8 pm claps.

The longer all this goes on the more aware of the problems we must become. Let’s look out for each other and all the children in our world.

Wednesday 25th March 2020

I was woken to the sound of the Disinfectant brigade this morning.  Cleaning the lane behind Camp Llarg which is a no through road.  Watching the tractor and trailer reverse back down the track was the amusement of the early morning.

The weather is having a bit of a downturn with a colder day our treat.  It is easier to look out at blue sky and sunshine because it reminds us of how life usually is here.  Grey days, even in isolation are depressing.

We are in the middle of our working and school week and things are being achieved.  Tracey and I, at sollerweb have talked for months about the time when we might revamp our sollerweb blog.  We have actually done it and now over 600 articles stretching back to 2012 are ready for you to read. We hope you enjoy the efforts and the connection we all have together.

You can read it on

Meanwhile Maeve, Maribel, Claudia, Rachel and the needle army have enlisted over 50 local people to sew face masks. Everyone is busy – I have pre ordered mine and I hope the jewels will stay in place!

Sense of humour almost intact and using the time constructively is what most of us are doing.

The grapevine is telling us to stay home this weekend and not even pop out for the bread. This is said to be peak time for the virus in Mallorca and the only thing in our armour is self isolation.  We can’t fight it on the beaches but we can, behind closed doors…

Happy Wednesday friends

Photograph by Gary Lloyd Rees

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