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After three weeks back in the village – which once again does feel very much like ‘my’ village – I thought it might be good to reacquaint you with Puigpunyent. After all, it has been about four years since I really wrote about what it is like to live here; and as I recall, that was my original intent of writing the Letters from the Village.

I was thinking about how to do this and for some rather bizarre reason, Clint Eastwood came to mind. Not really Clint Eastwood the actor, but to use a format that sort of follows one of his early movies. The movie was, “The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly.” But due to the fact that even when I lived here previously, I don’t think I ever saw anything ugly here, I think I will just settle on the first two categories of Eastwood’s movie to get you up to speed on village life.

The Good
We have our own post office (Correos) here in the village. This means I no longer have to hop into Miranda or Amelia and drive half way to Andratx to post a letter. A very good thing.

The Bad
My village isn’t exactly a metropolis (which in itself is a damn good thing) and it would be unreasonable to think that the local Correos would be open all day. Having said that, it is only open from 0800 – 1030 Monday through Friday, except of course when there is a holiday; and even after living in Spain for a decade, it does still seem like we have a holiday just about every week.

The Good
Puigpunyent has one of the most impressive recycling efforts in all of Europe. Within walking distance from La Antigua (shoot, everything in the village is within walking distance from my house), the recycling centre enables villages to actually feel as if they are making a positive contribution to saving the environment. Definitely a good thing.

The Bad
When I first lived here, you could just walk in (or drive in if you have too much to carry…which often happens, especially if you have just moved back to your house after being away for several years and had to do a lot of cleaning) and plop your recyclables into one of the many big containers that were plainly marked with what goes in it. But during my absence, the village fathers (or as we say here, the old boys) must have decided that too many non-villagers were using our centre so electric gates were constructed and now you need a pass-key to get in. Now the reality is that this isn’t all that bad, but it does mean that if you walk all the way down there without your little plastic magnetic card doo-wah, you can then walk home and get it before you return. Okay, fair enough. But for some reason the old boys also decided that the electric gates should not work between 1400 and 1600. Not sure why that decision was made as the centre is largely unattended anyway…perhaps the random cats that prowl around it need a siesta.

The Good
As you may remember if you have been following my Letters since the beginning, one of my prime movers for moving to the village was to ratchet up my Spanish. When I was living in Bendinat at Sol y Mar, the need to speak Spanish wasn’t all that important. This was largely due to the fact that I rarely saw people on the street when I would go for my walks, and if I did, they were usually tourists who were lost, or some staff member of my excessively rich neighbours. But here in Puigpunyent, when I go for walks into the village centre (a term I use with my tongue firmly in my cheek as this village doesn’t really have a ‘centre’) to go shopping, I typically see a dozen people and everyone says hello. This is a wonderful thing and it always does make me feel as if I am part of the community I have chosen to live in.

The Bad
Puigpunyent is a village on the island of Mallorca, which is part of the Balearic Islands, which are part of Spain. So wouldn’t you think that the language of choice would be Spanish? Think again. The native tongue of Mallorca is Mallorquin, which is just about the same as Catalan. So whilst everyone here does understand Spanish (even my version of Spanish which everyone says is very good but I still think it is rubbish), the locals all seem to speak Mallorquin to each other, and this language is about the most difficult thing on the planet to understand. Not exactly in the category of a ‘romance’ language, Mallorquin is…well…not really pretty, but as they say, ‘when in Rome…’ so I suppose I will have to start paying more attention to learning and speaking what the locals have had since birth. This should be about as much fun as getting polio.

The Good
The village has its own sports centre, complete with a seriously large pool, several tennis courts, and a full-sized football pitch.

The Bad
It is (our version of) winter…and the pitch is dirt, not grass…but I only walk past it so it really isn’t my problem.

The Good
I just found out that some clever entrepreneur has made an arrangement with the Ajuntament (town hall, so to speak) to cover the village with WiFi. This is a brilliant move and should be a successful venture (and be a good back-up system if the satellite internet signal I now use ever goes all wonky).

The Bad
I can’t seem to find out whom to talk to in order to test out the village system.

The Good
I am able to live here (and smile alot because of it)

The Bad
Can’t think of a single thing….

 

sleepy little Puigpunyent

 

nice working hours

 

re-cycling heaven, or as we call it, Parc Verd

 

an adorable village house (that is less than 2 mtrs wide)

 

a new card from the Studio....the terrace vista looking up the valley

 

the moon, through my bedroom window the other morning

 

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copyright 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013   James B. Rieley

jbrieley@rieley.com