Well would ya believe it!

Santiago Stankovic Fotografia

One World Music Festival

What an exciting time I’m having!  Since being withdrawn from the teaching programme, I am enjoying being where I am and the gifts of abundance are dropping in my lap which makes it so much more exciting!  No sooner than I decided that the blessing in losing one job was to give me time, space and energy on keeping my own house in order, ie my own business, the rewards began to show.

Ceremonies, enquiries, bookings started to come my way and being open to my purpose shows me that the path I am on is the right one for me.  The last two formal ceremonies, one a wedding and one a funeral,  have seen me receive tips from the ones who booked me.  Last Sunday’s ceremony to open the second edition of the One World Music Festival, showed me that there is a place for me and my work in the not so usual settings.

I facilitated the most incredible meeting of a Death Café too and 25 interested, curious and open people showed up to share thoughts, reflections and moments in an enriching setting.  I came away humbled and excited that finally we are talking in an open manner, prepared to listen to others and sharing ourselves in such a positive way.  I am preparing meetings in Palma soon to carry on this very important work of talking about death in a natural manner, after all, it comes to us all eventually.

All in all, I am excited to see the day to day unfold as losing one income has opened me up to gaining so much more.  Watch this space!

Photo credit: Santiago Stankovic Photography

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Midsummer birthday

birthday; celebrations; mallorca; binissalem; lions club; baldea mallorca; samira dance; dj hernan

Birthday boy & hostess with the mostess

You can tell I don’t go out much if I’m going to write my blog about it!  But I went out at the weekend to a really fabulous party!  It was to celebrate my friend’s husband’s birthday and they were putting on an evening’s gathering for a few friends.  She had me make three cakes for the party and I spent the day chilling and baking before popping them round and then going back for the party later.

I have to say that my friend managed to put on a most amazing evening!  Everything about it was perfect!  The food was to die for and yes, I had seconds.  There was so much of it that I didn’t get to sample the vegetarian couscous that was served up later but I enjoyed salad, quiche, hummus and the most amazing courgettes topped with sour cream – I have asked for the recipe!

There was a DJ playing in the garden along with didgeridoos, steel drum, pipes and a set that lasted most of the evening.  It was the perfect backdrop to chatting with lovely people as sunset came.  I caught up with a couple, neighbours that I’ve known since first born and their middle child were best friends in primary, what fun we had.  I met another woman who became a bff almost immediately and I was gutted to learn that she doesn’t live in Mallorca but she promised to visit when she’s back in September.  I chatted with one of the mums from school and infact all conversations during the evening were fun, relaxed, meaningful and interesting – what a privilege!

Then the very attractive and exotic Samira arrived, dressed to dance her belly dance and how absolutely intriguing was she!  She danced a couple of numbers for us and I couldn’t take my eyes off her, neither could most of the men and I heard one ask his wife if she wanted to learn how to dance like that!  After this, the floor opened and the birthday boy who loves to dance, got up and off they went.

It was at this point I went to find second-born who had been out and about in the village and I really appreciated having been to such a cool party only a few doors away from my home!  On the way out of my friend’s house, I stopped by the gift table and my happiness was complete at knowing some of the most generous people.  She had put out a collection box to collect for two worthwhile charities here in Mallorca.  The first, Baldea, the animal protection association that Petra is part of and who do a great job on the island with a spaying programme of stray cats amongst other things.  Then there was the collection for the Lions Club Palma who have an admirable programme called “Food for All” – feeding the homeless and those living on the poverty line.  On top of the amazing food she cooked and the drinks she served up, the DJ and an exotic dancer who entertained us, she still had more to give!  No gifts required for hubby, instead a super collection was going to those in need and can you believe that each association received 235€ from this awesome party!

Thank you Petra and Rainer for a truly special evening – it was truly a memorable experience and I can’t wait for next year!

DJ Hernán Livolsi                       www.hernanlivolsi.com

Oriental dancer Samira              www.samiramallorca.com

Animal protection Mallorca       http://www.baldea.org

Lions Club                                     http://www.lionsclubpalma.com

Delicious homemade cakes       ME!!

On the outside looking in

Photo by Marc Masquiel

Looking….

I have long felt like a foreigner in this world.  Born in Jamaica to a Jamaican mother and a Welsh father, not black –  disappointedly not so.  Arriving on a banana boat in 1966 in England yet not English.  Going “home” to Wales in 1972 yet not Welsh and my father constantly reminding me to remember my Jamaican roots.  Spain ignited a sense of identity only because of the curiosity as to where I was from.  You’re English they’d say when I said I was from Britain and immediately I’d explain my roots and claim that I was British.

Now with the recent and resounding no by some British people living in Scotland, I am not so sure!  For 22 years I used the term British to explain an experience of life in a place that was not mine.  I held a British passport, have done for life and lived in many places until I settled here in Mallorca and then found my home here in Binissalem.  But who and what am I?

I am not Welsh nor am I Jamaican, at least I have never thought so.  Half yes but not whole.  Does it matter?  Having always had a sense of looking inside from the outside, I don’t think so.  Moreover I was always envious of my Welsh family for their ties to the community and so I always hankered for that too.  I found that when I moved to Binissalem in September 1999 just in time for their wine festival.  This year the town celebrates 50yrs of this festival and one can feel the pulsating pride as we move into our second week of festivities.

Last weekend saw the start of the party with the famous grape fight!  As I waited in the plaza along with hundreds of Binissalamers excitedly gathering in front of the town hall, I bumped into first born’s second best friend in the village (the first being put aside once this one arrived on the scene!).  This young lad had come from Asturias a year or two after we had moved here from Palma.  He and first born were inseparable!  Ying and Yang, blond and brunette, two peas in a pod!  They did everything together, spent every spare moment together until they entered their teens when they slowly but surely drifted away from that intense relationship.  Bumping into him in the plaza was a joy, he is a fine young man.  Two kisses, a sincere greeting, but nerves gave him away.  Of course I wanted to know what was the matter.  The answer was “I can’t wait for it to begin” referring to the Vermar, the wine festival!  First born was the same.  Looking inside their lives this past weekend, I felt very much an outsider as I’ve never had those feelings of intensity, of emotion, of excitement.  Call me laid back and Jamaican perhaps?

I cannot remember ever being like first born and this friend and all the other Binissalmers who are so proud, so upright in their conviction that they come from the best place in the world!  I agree with them – Binissalem is the best village in the world!  We are family, we are community, we are one, especially now at the 50th celebration of our wine festival.  Me?  I am one step away from all this, looking in, on the outside by choice, by experience, with love.  I was born foreign and I shall die foreign but home is where the heart is and my heart is here in this welcoming town, this town whose name means Sons of Peace – Binissalem.

Festas Sant Antoni – Out of the fire…

Visit of the demons

Visit of the demons

It’s that time of year and just when we thought we couldn’t celebrate any more festivities, St Anthony and St Sebastian were with us again!  As with most villages and towns across Mallorca, Binissalem celebrated Sant Antoni with bonfires and demonis on Saturday night and my street was no exception!  This year the council delivered the earth pile in front of my door the day before, obviously over-time pay for the council workers has been cut!  We then enjoyed the game of “hide the traffic cones and watch people drive into our street only to back out again” all weekend!   Then it was up to us to organise firewood, friends and fun – which my neighbour and I did with gusto!

The significance behind this saint’s day is principally the blessing of domestic animals.  Now this is great if you don’t mind hysterical dogs and cats being dragged against their will to wait for the priest to come out of the church and throw holy water over them.  Personally my animals have always been nervous around bangers and fireworks so we stay home for that part of the fiestas!

My favourite bit is the bonfire and as this symbolises purification and renewal of life, triumph of good over bad I can totally relate to it with all that is going on for me this year!  I am certainly in full swing of life changes and as is par for the course the temptations to do nothing at the same time is very strong in me!  In this sense then, the visit of the demonis to our street was a welcome reminder to resist the temptation to do nothing with my life, so here I go, one step at a time.   It was a trifle disappointing however to see how the crisis and the cuts meant that their visit lasted much less than last year and I do believe only one banger was let off and just one mouthful of petrol taken to show off their dragon skills!

However, the message of this celebration is clear to me – we are still up for partying, crisis or no crisis and Sant Antoni has to be the best one of them!  What could be better – organise a bonfire, invite your friends, get them to bring their own supper (I’m a vegetarian!) and offer dessert – ginger cake and strawberry cake this time!  My only mistake was to leave my front door open and as it rained this weekend too, my house now looks like the demonis stayed for the weekend!  Oh well, off to clean!

Enjoy your year everyone!  Take time to make changes where necessary, find the enjoyment in all that you do including the rain and the mud and try to share of yourself – family and friends are more important than a clean house!  See you all at mine next year!