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Right.  Ethel.  You are probably sitting there wondering who Ethel is.  I could be cheeky and let you guess, but after exhausting all the typical Ethels (Mertz, of I Love Lucy fame; Rosenberg, of the electric chair fame; Merman, of unbelievably loud fame), you still may not have managed to think of Waters.  Yes, Ethel Waters.  And why, are you now thinking, did Ethel have it right?  In the early 1930’s Ethel Waters was the first person to have sung “Stormy Weather,” and oh my, that is what it has been here for the past two days.

Stormy weather, in the form of wind and rain, isn’t a bad thing.  Actually, for an island that pretty much dries out all summer, the rains of autumn are a good thing.  The problem is that those of us who have chosen to live here are pretty spoilt and even though we know intuitively that rain is good, it still does disrupt a nice daily routine. 

I, being dead bored because it was overcast and wet, decided to listen to music this morning, and after looking outside at the same time the Ronettes were singing “Walking in the Rain,” decided to put on my Wellies and grab my brolly and go for a walk myself.  I wasn’t even sure why I needed the umbrella as the rain had let up, but it seemed like a good idea just to have it with me. 

So there I was, walking along looking terribly like someone in Somerset (Wellies, Barbour jacket, James Smith and Sons brolly) when the skies re-opened and began to bucket down once again.  Serves me right for venturing out I guess, but even though I still managed to get a soaking even with all my protective kit, it was great to be out.  But enough talk about weather. 

The way I write these little updates is that I first begin to accumulate photos that I think you may find interesting, then I begin to figure out what to write.  Or sometimes it is the other way around, with the text coming before the photos.  Okay, I guess I don’t have a set process for doing the “Letters,” but after a while, I have accumulated the photos I need and finished the story I want to tell.  Then I send it out to you.  Having said that, after I sent the last letter (which interestingly enough was just yesterday), I realised I had several photos that I hadn’t put into the chapter, so here they are.

The first photo is…well, I am not sure.  We had gone into Palma to take some research photos for this year’s holiday card, and whilst walking near the cathedral, encountered this group of people.  Now it could have been people trying out for the X-Factor or some other music-reality-programme, but from the way the one woman was dressed, it more likely was a wedding celebration.  Not sure, but these people could have just arrived after being thrown out of France by Mr. Sarkozy, but regardless, they did look like they were having a good time.  Best wishes to them.

Then there is the photo of the bug.  Actually, this isn’t any old bug.  This is a bug I had read about quite a bit whilst growing up and have only seen once before.  My father had gotten me interested in insect collecting as a child, and he had given me this book that listed all the species of crawling creatures that I should try to collect specimens of.  After figuring out that I probably would not be able to make a serious living as a lepidopterist, and at the same time figuring out that all we were really doing was killing the little guys, I went on to a new hobby.   If you haven’t figured it out by now, the bug is a Praying Mantis, and it was sitting on the bonnet of Amelia.  It was incredible to finally see one after (way too many) years.  And if that isn’t enough, the following day, there was another one on the bonnet of Miranda.  Obviously, they seem to like the bonnets of cars.  Well, in all fairness, it could I suppose have been the same one.  Never mind.

Remember earlier I mentioned going into Palma to do some research for this year's holiday card?  Well, part of this little expedition was to the cathedral.  Palma's cathedral is a very special place, and sadly, I haven't been there is quite a while.  I think this happens to all of us at one point or another: we live in an area that has some very special places, but for one reason or another, we don't see them ourselves unless we are showing them to guests.  This is really sad because we miss so much of our own local sights. 

To make my description more accurate, I have blatantly copied this from Wikipedia:   The Cathedral of Santa Maria of Palma, more commonly referred to as La Seu, is a Gothic Roman Catholic cathedral located in Palma, Majorca, Spain, built on the site of a pre-existing Arab mosque. It is 121 metres long, 55 metres wide and its nave is 44 metres tall. Designed in the Catalan Gothic style but with Northern European influences, it was begun by King James I of Aragon in 1229 but finished only in 1601. It sits within the old city of Palma atop the former citadel of the Roman city, between the Royal Palace of La Almudaina and the episcopal palace. It also overlooks the Parc de la Mar and the Mediterranean Sea.  I could have copied more from the online description of La Seu, but I thought it would be better to give my own description here:  Being at La Seu, standing in front of it, almost sucks the air from your lungs.  There is something about all these classic Gothic cathedrals, but La Seu us so very special.  I am in awe everytime I have been here. 

Next to the cathedral is the Almudaina Palace. Built on ancient city walls, the palace was the residence of the Kings of Mallorca during the 13th and 14th centuries, and in later years, the Governor's of the Island.  What is really special about the palace is the terrace that overlooks the sea.  I have been in the cathedral but never in the palace, but as the purpose of this trip was to do some research for the card, and due to the fact it was quite late, an exploration of the interior of the Palace was not in the cards.  But with the cathedral and the Palace only a few miles from Sol y Mar, I think another visit is in the cards.

 

the satellite photo of stormy weather over my island

copious amounts of water running through the streets

 

more than just dress-up day I think

 

a mantis on Amelia

 

and on Miranda

 

La Seu

the terrace of the Almudaina Palace

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copyright 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, James B. Rieley

jbrieley@rieley.com