EL CAPITANO 18th February 2007
We have now been in Andraitx since October and have been enjoying our first Mediterranean winter. The weather has been terrific and, apart from a few rainy days and the occasional strong wind, it has been delightful, clear and sunny with temperatures between 15 and 18C.
Staying for a few months in the one place allows us to get to know the local scene and it’s all strange and interesting.
The mayor, who was arrested in November on corruption charges for awarding preferential contracts to his own development company, is back in jail for tampering with evidence and intimidating witnesses. The juicy part of the story is that the mayor allegedly had a mole in the local police to tip him off that a raid was on its way but the police had their own mole in his office to tell them that prior to the raid, he had put key documents in a nearby skip. So the police did their own refuse collection. The plot thickens as builders begin to talk to the police about the brown envelopes that changed hands with most contracts. This sort of thing is widespread in Spain but is being stamped out to ensure the continuing flow of EU money into the coffers. Strange!
The other thing that is curious is what are these large fishing boats up to that go to sea for a couple of days and return with “nothing” and the crew drive off in their smart Mercedes. Strange!
The other rather Spanish thing is that in January it came to our ears that our marina charges were going to increase by 70%. On 20th January this was confirmed and bigger boats have had their charges increased by 100%. We went to negotiate our position with the Capitano and he sadly explained that, although he sympathised with our position, he could not give discount. He then went on to say that he could however shrink our boat to 12metres and that would bring us into the same charge band as before. So as I write this, the boat, at least as far as the computer is concerned, is one metre shorter than in December. Strange!
My pal Alex Strachan came out on 29th January and at our request not only brought out boating necessities like copper tubing etc but he also brought out a large (“will feed ten”) McSween,s haggis for a belated Burn’s supper. Thus it came to pass that we had a blinder of a supper with Bill Stirling (Still Birling),Greta, Lynn and the Christians (Christian and Christiana). The pipe music went on and Bill gave the Address to the Haggis in fine style but was a bit overenthusiastic with the knife. Alex and I treated the Company to a rendition of classic Burn’s songs in our own unique style. Greta brought a bottle of Glenfiddich and it was only next day that I noticed that it was Cask Strength (51% alcohol). I had only one tot but Christian had “several” and had a very serious hangover next day when he was moving his boat to Santa Ponsa. See photographic section for the evidence.
We also went “up the mountain” to have lunch at 800m above Alaro and another lunch at Fornalutx and generally had a pretty nice time. Alex was researching potential marina berths for his own boat Rualda but I think the conclusion was that it was all too expensive. Anyway that’s our conclusion too and I don’t think that we can afford to be in Majorca next winter, pleasant though it is.
My latest interaction is for some dental work with a Swedish dentist in Palma. Dr Goram Karlstrom is as interested in philosophy and science as in dentistry and as I left he gave me a book “The Divine Matrix” to read. He is a very interesting man and was formerly the dentist to the Swedish Royal family. I just hope he doesn’t charge for our ‘talking time’.
Next week is high drama… the boat comes out the water for the first time since April 2005. What will we find? Horrible blisters from osmosis, cracks, scars and other damage, worn propeller bearings, loose fittings……no wonder I’m losing sleep!!! If there are serious problems then we will head back to the UK this year but if it is reasonable we may head East to mainland Spain or West to Greek waters. We shall see.
I have booked flights to come back to the UK for ten days on 16th March, which is when we may have a change of tenants in the house. Anyway I hope to catch up with our family and friends then, so in the meantime…. .