By Soller Shirley
Watchers of ‘Gavin and Stacey’ will know of ‘Neil the baby’. Neil is no longer a baby, but this is his name, no-one calls him just Neil. Small town life is full of nicknames and instantly recognisable characters. To have a nickname is generally a term of affection and acceptance.
In Soller, the older generation is full of nicknames representing a group who went to school together and continue to live in the town they were born. They may have travelled and lived in other places but when they return the nickname waits for them.
For some this is a horror story, as they would like to come home and not be reminded of a past event, forever associated with them. For others it’s like a warm blanket of acceptance and knowing they are in ‘their’ place.
Small town life is increasingly where people want to be. The urban streets of major cities are either too expensive or soulless. Reviews in the UK on the uptick of suburban and sometimes village life, shows this as an expansion zone. Some of this has developed from infrastructure projects like the Elizabeth line. This train allows those from the outlying areas to work in central London, while still living a village life.
In Soller this has become a feature of our lives since the creation of the Soller Tunnel. The heart of Soller beats with tradition and an annual cycle of events, which are timeless. At the same time commuters can get to Palma easily to work and conduct their business. The trains running through Mallorca has enabled all the central villages to grow in the same way. It is transport and good roads which have changed this island and allows the possibilities of a village life.
Small town life is at the heart of all the Hallmark Christmas movies. Coming home for Christmas after living and working in the city is a tale always told at this time of year. Returning home, meeting up with an ‘old flame’, singing carols in the beautifully decorated town square can be the ignition of life changing moments (according to Hallmark). A return to the roots is not considered a sign of failure but of the inevitable.
Small town life with all its foibles. Nicknames, with all the stories that went into creating them. Some locals who have never left the Valley and others who have returned. We are all here…
Have you a nickname?