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Family Holiday, Mallorca

It didn’t start well. Two days before I was due to fly, British Airways cancelled the flight. They gave me an alternative via Madrid which would take twice as long, but left a lot earlier. First leg was fine and I managed to keep my business seat. It was a different story on the second leg though. Stuck on the tarmac for three hours due to thunderstorms over Madrid airport. And I was in something called “economy”. When we finally took off the flight only took one hour.

Because my original BA flight wasn’t meant to land until the evening, they wouldn’t let me have the hire car. I had to wait 30 minutes or pay €170. I waited, with the help of a bacon double cheeseburger from Burger King. If the flight had taken off from Madrid on schedule, I would’ve had a 3 1/2 hour wait before being able to pick the car up. Lord knows how many bacon double cheeseburgers I could have eaten in that time.

I finally got to the hotel around 10 pm, grabbed a glass of wine and watched the football… in German. Lots of Germans at the hotel.

Friday was a beach day as soon as I arrived I was offered a massage. I couldn’t say no. All I can say is that Lu from Thailand should take up pottery.

Andy and Louise arrived with their mob. Everyone else was arriving later that day or the following day. Louise hadn’t been on a plane for 22 years and her eldest, Jack, had never flown.

In the afternoon I had another massage, this time from Chinese Anna. Same beanie hat. I felt a little short changed with Anna. Lu had no concept of time whereas Anna did.

16 of us dined as a group at a beach restaurant which was simply splendid.

The Hyde bunch with Jo and Laura
Mum, Jo, me, Laura
On the rocks

Another day at the beach, but very few of our group turned up other than Louise and Andy. I had another massage this time from Ling Ling and it was the best value for money so far.

Sunday was cloudy so I headed to the north of the island where I came as an eight-year-old boy for my first foreign holiday. We returned to the same place a year later where I performed my very first “out of my depth” transit across a body of water unaided by inflatable apparatus. It wouldn’t be fair to actually call it swimming.

The pool where I learnt to swim 50 years ago. Hotel Don Pedro.
The siblings with mum

On the way back, I decided to go via Soller which was a real treat. I took the road through the mountains and at one point I was 1850 feet above sea level. A great scenic drive that I would highly recommend.

The mountain road on the west coast

I reached Soller, which is one of Mallorca’s nicest towns. I was keen to walk around, but there was nowhere to park, so I decided I’d return another time.

All 20 of us

On Monday, not long after arriving on the beach, Ling Ling found me and knew I needed a fourth massage of the week. After about five minutes of careful manipulation Ling Ling stopped. I sat up a little and saw her lying on the sand next to my sunbed. I thought she was trapped. Frankie thought she’d passed out. It became clear that she was hiding from the authorities. A female police woman was surveying the beach for illegal massage workers. We all tried to conceal her as best as we could conceal a Chinese masseuse in a beanie hat. Frankie stood in position and Alex did a towel dance.

Ling Ling hiding

It was ten minutes before the police left and rubbing resumed. I said to Ling Ling, “So you’re legal then”. At the end I gave her a good tip. It can’t be easy going to work everyday having to avoid arrest.

Tuesday was the last day and the weather was stupendous. The massage ladies were looming and I figured I’d been their best customer of the week. I waited until Ling Ling appeared as she was the best (most brutal). Once again she went over the time limit and I showed my appreciation in tippage.

All week there had been a $200 million 300ft super yacht, I Dynasty, anchored in the bay. I looked it up and it was owned by an oligarch from Kazakhstan called Alijan Ibragimov, although he died back in 2021 at the age of 66. There was plenty of activity on the boat with jet-skis and a guy on a motorised surfboard showing off every day. The oligarch had six sons so I can only assume they were on board enjoying dad’s wealth.

I Dynasty super yacht

On Wednesday I left early and gave Bob a lift to the airport as our flights were at a similar time. All very smooth in the Fast Track lane and then to the lounge which was more like a canteen, but adequately stocked with sandwiches and wine.

It was a good six days in Mallorca with family and friends. The Hyde’s were good company and were my constant beach buddies. Andy and Louise are always good value. Their eldest, Jack burnt his feet on day one. His partner, Frankie, was a good chap. And of course there was their youngest, Tom, who acts like he’s 12, and his girlfriend, Chloe, who is mature beyond her years. They average out. Never a dull moment with Tom though.