The Massive Downpour of 1989

In early September 1989, twenty-three years ago last week, the South-East of the island was surprised by a ferocious Gota Fría, bringing torrential rain and utter devastation with it. Entire stretches of road were swept away, trees were uprooted by the thousands and dragged away, three people were killed when a hotel basement in Portocolom was flooded, hundreds of animals drowned and chaos ensued everywhere. The area around Felanitx and Cas Concos des Cavaller was declared a disaster zone and Reina Sofía (the Spanish Queen) flew in from Madrid to visit the affected area and talk to some of the victims. Rain fell at 06h00 in the morning at a rate of 125 litres per square metre within just 30 minutes. That’s about the same amount of rainfall that one could have expected to fall in one whole year. I had never seen or lived through anything like it in all my life, nor had most Mallorcans.

You may know the mountain of San Salvador, the Felanitx monastery. Believe me if I tell you that twelve rivers originated from that one mountain (many of you would call it a mere hill, at 510 m of altitude) after that rain. One of these rivers passed through Cas Concos, demolished an old country stone bridge and took oak trees of a considerable age with its raging force all the way to the beach of Es Trenc, some 29 kilometres away. Ten days later, no rivers were left, only torrentes, dry riverbeds.

Today’s photo shows the external wall of the Felanitx cemetery. This cemetery filled up, then, like a swimming pool until the Marès built walls could not contain the masses of water any longer nor support the water’s weight. The very walls shown in the picture collapsed in the process and an avalanche of mud and debris swept onto the surrounding fields, including the corpses of four recently buried people. The cemetery of s’Horta was similarly wrecked.

I’m telling you all this because now is the time of the year when the Gota Fría might visit this island. Be alert.

The photo was taken in Felanitx, Mallorca, Baleares, Spain. The date: July 23rd, 2012. The time was 13:23:37.

The Massive Downpour of 1989

The Balearic Mountain Championship

The annual car race up the Sant Salvador mountain near Felanitx is the fourth out of six races making up the Campeonato de Baleares de Montaña 2012 (Balearic Mountain Championship). So far, races were held to Valldemossa, to Monte Toro and to the Castell de Son Mas in Andratx. After Felanitx, two more races remain in this year’s competition, up to Puig Major (October 6th-7th) and to Cala de Sant Vicenç (October 20th-21st).

Tomorrow, September 1st, will be a day of training sessions, starting at 16h30. The proper race will be held on Sunday, September 2nd, at 09h30. Thirty cars have registered to compete here in Felanitx. And the winner is …..

The photo was borrowed from the Internet, courtesy of mallorcarallye.com.

Muchas gracias.

The Balearic Mountain Championship

The Day When Felanitx Is Ruled By The Penyas

Today, the town of Felanitx is celebrating its patron saint day, the Festes de Sant Agustí. Every year, August 28th turns into a bit of a bit of a pandemonium here, partly because there is a lot of drinking Pomada and other alcoholic beverages and partly because on this day, Felanitx is really ruled by the Penyas.

There are a number of penyas in Felanitx, perhaps six or eight, but El Cosso is the original Felanitx Penya and by far the biggest. The symbol of El Cosso is Sa Kika, a live domestic cock, carefully carried round the vila in a small cage placed on a velvet cushion. For the last thirty years, there used to be a bullfight on this saint’s day in Felanitx, where the Cosso made a noisy appearance, but not any longer. There are no more bullfights in Felanitx.

Last year, there was an incidence after the church mass, when local dignitaries and politicians from Palma were reputedly harassed by some local Penya youths. A local police officer saw fit to use some teargas much to the surprise of onlookers. The disturbance ended in court and a number of rather draconian sentences were handed out to a dozen youths of 5,000 € each. It is rumoured that the Palma elite will not make an appearance at today’s church service which would really give the local Penyas the upper hand.

Tonight at 21h30, a Correfoc will be run from Plaça Santa Margalida to Plaça Pax. See you there, perhaps?

The photos (top and centre) were taken in Felanitx, Mallorca, Baleares, Spain. The date: August 28th, 2012. The time was 10:37:25 and 09:41:39, respectively. The photo (bottom) was chosen from my archive. It was taken in Felanitx, Mallorca, Baleares, Spain. The date: August 28th, 2011. The time was 09:10:47.

The Day When Felanitx Is Ruled By The Penyas

Cool in the Pool

You may be surprised when I tell you that we do not possess a swimming pool. We had guests staying with us the other day, for a week or so. Friends of theirs, who were here on holiday, were aghast to hear they stayed with us in a house without a piscina. The truth is that I would quite like to have a cooling-off swim basin but my wife is not in favour of my idea. You may also be shocked to hear that we don’t have air-conditioning in our house, either. I am totally against the environmental insanity and the harmful effect of air-conditioning, health-wise. Luckily my wife agrees with me on that one. Okay, it is hot out there right now, I grant you that. But temperatures will drop within a week or two; so, what’s the big deal? We keep our shutters shut all day long, and there is always a slight breeze and sufficient circulation of air in the house.

As for swimming: there is a large municipal piscina less than a mile down the road from our house with two large pools, a jacuzzi, a steam room and a sauna. And even better, there is the sea less than twenty minutes from here, by car, with two dozen bays and coves and beaches within half an hour’s drive, and some 250 beaches in Mallorca, all told. Would you rather swim in the pool or would you rather float in the Mediterranean Sea? That’s an easy answer, I would have thought.

The photo was taken near s’Alquería Blanca, Mallorca, Baleares, Spain. The date: August 22nd, 2012. The time was 22:40:14.

Cool in the Pool

A Screech, a Bang And a Spin

Last night, having just finished a latish supper, our son was waiting for a friend to arrive. They were ready to go to some verbenas in Montuïri, a pueblo half an hour’s down the road from Felanitx. Suddenly we heard a screeching noise and a bang. Our daughter wondered if it was a fire cracker. Then the phone rang. It was our son’s friend, saying that he had just been involved in a car accident. We went out immediately, because the accident scene appeared to have been just down the road from our house judging by the bang that we had heard.

As accidents go, this luckily seems to have been a minor one. Even though there was considerable damage to both cars – one of them spun out of control and came to a halt only inches from a shop front – there was no serious personal injury as there might have easily been. Yes, our son’s friend was shocked and appeared bewildered by the force of the impact; he had also suffered bruises to his shoulder from the seat belt. The municipal police arrived at the scene within minutes, and a few moments later, the Tráfico (Traffic Police). Measurements were taken of skid marks and distances to stop signs, and alcohol tests were administered with breathalyzers; both drivers’ samples proved negative. Our son’s friend was then taken to the medical centre for further tests of a possible whiplash injury. No verbenas for him tonight. We hope he’ll be alright.

The photo was taken in Felanitx, Mallorca, Baleares, Spain. The date: August 18th, 2012. The time was 22:51:53.

A Screech, a Bang And a Spin

Coca de Albaricoques

I know, I have left this a bit late as we now are at the tail end of the apricot season but, still. You must try one of the delights of Mallorcan pastry marvels, the Coca de Albaricoques before the Summer is over. This pastry is one of the most common traditional Mallorcan sweets and is usually made with fresh apricots. As the apricot season is no longer than ten weeks, fresh apricots can also be frozen to be used for the Coca de Albaricoques later in the year. Don’t use the dried variety.

Here is what you need to make and bake a Coca de Albaricoques: 1/2 cup of milk, 1/2 cup of olive oil, 1 cup of sugar, 4 eggs, 250 gr white flower, 1/2 package of baking powder, 10 or 12 apricots. If you want to do the Coca de Albaricoques the authentic way, you would also include small pieces of Sobrassada but, you would be forgiven if you didn’t.

The photo (top) was taken in Felanitx, Mallorca, Baleares, Spain. The date: June 24th, 2012. The time was 11:26:51. The photo (bottom) was borrowed from the Internet, courtesy of riquisimas-recetas.blogspot.com.es.

Muchas gracias.

Coca de Albaricoques

A Friend in Need is a Friend Indeed

Yesterday, I was reporting on the pneumatic collection of household refuse in the island capital, Palma. In country properties up and down Mallorca there is a different problem, that of wastewater and its reclamation. In the countryside, you would normally not have a communal or municipal conveying system of ducts or channels to collect fecal waste. It is rather a matter of each one to his (or her) own. Country properties would have a private septic tank or pozo negro on their property, usually a construction of three inter-connected chambers with the last one allowing the waste liquid to flow or leak slowly through porous material or small holes. The non-liquid stuff hardens with time and fills up over the years. Friends of ours had the need to have their septic tank emptied yesterday and, luckily, the friendly set-up of Limpiezas Toni & Jaime S.L. was available and willing to come and do an emergency suck-away job. It took them less than 30 minutes to empty the full septic waste tank. I don’t know where they take the fecal waste matter but I suppose it will be to a municipal treatment facility. The charge was 120 € in case you should be interested.

There may well be an economic crisis here in Spain but, believe it or not, there is enough waste matter around to make a living for the likes of Toni and Jaime. Their job may get a bit smelly but perhaps one can get used to the odors.

The photos were taken near Felanitx, Mallorca. The date: August 9th, 2012. The time was 13:40:54 and 13:41:34, respectively.

A Friend in Need is a Friend Indeed