The book what I wrote….

Ok folks…. Prepare yourselves…. Because today’s the day.

I’ve finally gone and done it. After years of fannying about, self doubting, prevaricating and generally believing that nobody would be interested in reading a book written by me, I’ve taken the plunge.

And this is it.

The Greenyards Legacy

My book. The one I started writing nearly ten years ago, the one I researched and wrote, found an agent for, didn’t find a publisher for, gave up on, picked up again, thought ‘you know what I really like this book,’ self-edited, self-edited some more, found a really cool self-publishing service provided by Amazon, turned it into something that looks like a real book.

And now all you have to do is click on this link for Amazon.co.uk and order your copy. If you’re in the US you can click on the Amazon.com link, and you will be able to get it right now. And by August 21st you will be able to read The Greenyards Legacy on Kindle.

So there you have it. I really hope you read it. And if you do, I really hope you like it. And if you do, I really hope you tell all your friends and write a glowing review.

Big day, huh!

 

 

 

Happy Anniversary

Just a quick post –

Because it’s a year ago today that I started this blog and I couldn’t let it go by without acknowledging the fact.

It’s been quite a year. I’ve learnt how to do loads of stuff I couldn’t do before, been to Everest Base Camp, become an empty nester, and decided to embrace my grey hair. Along the way I’ve managed to write 76 posts. (There were a few more that I wrote for my Everest blog some of which I posted here as well.)

My posts have been viewed 4,954 times by people in 42 countries.

The most popular post (Where Would you be?) has been viewed a total of 571 times, with 306 views on one day.

I’m sure there are loads of blogs out there with more impressive statistics than mine. But this particular old dog is feeling pretty pleased with herself for sticking with it.

So Happy Anniversary to me….

Where would you be…. Part III

Phew….

I’m back….

Back to earth, feet on the ground (I think!) after time away and stuff to sort out when I got home. And the long hot summer of 2013 feels like it’s drawing to a close. Might have drawn to a close already if the rain this week is anything to go by.

And you know what I say…. Bring on the autumn. Because the great thing about contrast is the way it allows you to appreciate the differences. Between the seasons, the moods, the good, the bad and the ugly. And one of the wonderful things about a really good summer is the way it leaves you ready and waiting for a really good autumn.

But I can’t let this wonderful summer go by without a last post dedicated to its fabulousness. And it’s another one of my ‘where would you be’ tributes to the most ‘where would you be’ place of all the ‘where would you be’ places I know.

My family started going to Pollenca in 1984. It was my parents who first went there and they liked it so much they went back. So then we went with them and the whole thing took off. Things out there have changed a bit over the past thirty years – mostly good things: the beach in the port has got bigger, the centre of the old town has been pedestrianised, buildings have been cleaned up and rebuilt, restaurants have opened and closed. And we’ve changed our allegiances as we’ve discovered more places to go and things to do.

But there is one thing that hasn’t changed. There is one place we have always gone to, and still always go to. And that is the bar at the Ila d’Or hotel. Three generations of my family have sat under the umbrellas with a drink in their hands, gazed out across the blue water of Pollenca Bay, and been at peace with the world.

We’ve gone with the children when they were small, and they’ve swum in the sea while we sat under the pines and ate calamari rings and french fries. We’ve drunk our coffee there in the mornings, we’ve eaten toasted sandwiches and drunk beer there at lunchtime, we’ve had a last thing on the way home night cap there. We’ve taken friends there, presenting it to them with an ‘aren’t we clever to have this on our doorstep’ flourish. We’ve laughed there, sometimes we’ve cried there.

And the thing is that it’s not because it’s really cool, or serves the best cocktails, or is where the beautiful people hang out. Because it isn’t any of these things.

It’s because it’s not any of these things that we love it so much. It’s tucked away at the far end of Pine Walk so most people who go to Puerto Pollenca don’t know it’s there. To get to it we leave our house and walk the hundred and fifty yards or so to the edge of the sea.

IMG_1010 Turn left away from the centre of the port, stroll along Pine Walk. And there it is waiting for us.

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The hotel is charming, easy, slightly old fashioned, in the same way that the family hotels we used to go and stay as children were. The waiters stay the same, same faces greeting us, same drinks appearing in front of us as soon as we rock up.

IMG_3694The view is always amazing….

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Whichever way you look.

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You should be there when the sun is going down…..

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And there’s no better place for cloud contemplation….

So we sit down by the edge of the sea, and we pick up our drinks, and we look around us and we say……

Where would you rather be?

So what happened to garden design?

Hs anyone out there noticed that this blog is drifting away from the original subject matter? (Does anyone out there care?) Gardens, gardening, garden design….. That was where this whole thing started. So what’s gone wrong?

Well I’m still right on it with the whole garden design vibe. But there are other things out there that just seem to want me to write about them. So…. I’m going to.

Twenty seven years ago, when I first started going to Majorca it was all sombreros and sangria. Magaluf’s reputation for sun, sea and twenty four hour drinking cast a long shadow, and even now there are people who raise an eyebrow when I tell them where I like to go for my holidays. Which is fine by me. The fewer people who know about the bits of Majorca that aren’t all about nightclubs and bars (which is most of the island) the better.

The northern corner of the island, where we have our house, grows in style and substance year by year. Signs are that other people are catching on to what a special place it is. And I’m getting rather worried that our secret won’t be a secret for much longer.

A big cause for concern is that the best home interiors shop in the whole world ever just happens to be up the road from us in Pollenca. It’s  called Mestre Paco and it’s an Aladdin’s Cave of totally fabulous furniture and fabrics. I go there regularly – regardless of whether I need to buy anything – and wander from room to room, drinking in the gorgeousness, and wishing I had the money to buy everything I see there.

Things are displayed with effortless style. As if they just happened to come together without anybody really noticing how it happened.

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IMG_0454Round every corner there is something to die for, another one of those ‘I want one of those’ items that makes me want to throw out everything I’ve ever bought for my house and start all over again.

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The friends who come to stay look rather bemused when I tell them they’ve got to go to my  ‘favourite shop’ while they’re out there. Especially when they find out I’ve dragged them off to look at furniture. But once they’ve been there they join the fold and become converts.

Mestre Paco rules ok……

Where would you be?

You know those places…. there aren’t many of them…. The places that are top of the list when somebody says to you where would you rather be? Well where I’d rather be is wandering along Pine Walk in Puerto Pollenca.

And when I find myself somewhere I wouldn’t rather be. Like stuck on the M25 in a traffic jam. Or wide awake in the middle of the night. Then I take myself on an imaginary walk.

I open the front door of my house and step out into bright sunlight. Past the red hibiscus by the side of the path, out through the gate, and I turn left and walk between whitewashed apartment buildings. Wave at Tony as I pass the little supermarket, that sells everything from lilos to local wine, cross the road and take the turning that leads down towards the Ila d’Or hotel.

But at the end I don’t turn left towards the hotel. Instead I turn right, taking the path that runs behind the old stone villa with the shady garden of pine and palm trees.

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Only a matter of fifteen metres and I turn left again. And no matter how many times I do this walk, (which is a lot), I always have to stop. Because here, framed by the wall to the left of me and the stone building on my right, is the best view in the world. The blue water of Pollenca Bay, stretching out in front of me like it knew I was coming and has been waiting for me.

First view of the bay
First view of the bay

Pine Walk. Half a mile of pathway that meanders under the ancient pine trees, along the edge of the bay, into the centre of the port of Pollenca. I walk by the edge of water so clear I can see fish darting away from my shadow. Past the graceful old villas owned by the Spanish families who can be seen sitting out on warm nights, gossiping and laughing together, their children playing by the edge of the sea.

In recent years some of the villas have been crumbling, the paintwork on the wooden shutters cracked and fading, their balconies propped up by acros. But the past couple of years have seen a transformation – those villas that have been left to decay have had a facelift. They’ve been restored to utter gorgeousness.

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When the Spanish do style they really do IMG_0448style. Elegant, understated, fabulous.

As I walk I get a stiff neck craning, trying to peer in and see what new wonders have been introduced while I’ve been away. Things might be tough in mainland Spain but you’d never think it on this island.

From where I stand the horseshoe bay seems totally enclosed, more lake than sea. The water stays shallow for metres out, tempting even as unenthusiastic a swimmer as me to paddle, sand reassuringly firm under my feet, until I take a deep breath and plunge forwards. And you know what…. it’s not cold at all. Of course it isn’t. What did I tell you? It’s blissfully wonderfully warm.

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I know I’m coming to the end of Pine Walk when I reach the first of the restaurants and hotels that look out across the bay. But I don’t stop. I keep going until I get to Cappucino. The bar that opened a few years ago in the old Sis Pins hotel. Cafe con leche, (or, if it’s that time of day, Gin and Tonics so big I could swim in them), chill out jazz playing softly, and a view to die for.

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To quote a couple of Irish doctors who shared the walk to Base Camp with me: ‘Where would you be?”