I have started to feel like I am a coastal observer, sitting on a hillside, overlooking the sea-lanes as the boats of all sizes approach Palma, being on the lookout for those illusive submarines that might wreak havoc on the city and its inhabitants.  Well, I could have been doing this during some war, but now I am just voyeuristically enjoying the view.  On a good day (and I won’t even get into what I consider a good day other than to say my bad days are something most of you might kill for after several months of winter), six or more boats are anchored out in the sheltered part of Palma Bay in front of Sol y Mar.  By summer, I would imagine I will have to grow several more appendages to count them all.


Things have been progressing rather well lately with the challenge of renting out La Antigua.  My lovely and talented estate agent had brought over a couple who are currently living in the village, but don’t like their current location and they will be renting out my home.  With some luck, this week we will all be signing the rental contract and I will begin to empty the house.  The word ‘begin’ does seem a bit mis-used here, as for the past two months I have been bringing things to Sol y Mar to make my new home more comfortable and practical.  But once the papers are signed (and the money is transferred…sort of an important part of the rental contract), I will put things into high gear.  My plan (or is it ‘my dream’) is to have La Antigua ready for them by the end of this month.

Between working on the rental situation and what has been a plethora of (proper) work lately, I have still managed to find some time to do a bit of creative work.  Sol y Mar has quite a few windows, and from each of them, I have some pretty wonderful vistas.  One of the vistas (that doesn’t look directly at the sea) has been intriguing me ever since I arrived here.  When I came out of hospital several years ago, my painting all seemed to focus on doing plants.  It was almost as if whilst in hospital I took on the pseudo persona of John-James Audubon.  I have no idea what stimulated this direction, but I suppose it had something to do with painting things that were alive, especially after having the less-than-good-fun GBS experience.  So here I was, by all accounts quite healthy, back painting watercolours of plants again.  Maybe it has some correlation to starting over again.  Maybe it was due to some subliminal desire to put more structure to where I was.  Maybe the plants just looked fab and I wanted to do a watercolour of them. 

I have been receiving quite a few messages from some of the readers of these letters, especially after the ‘bucket’ letter.  I have been gobsmacked by how many people have visited some of the places I wrote about, and because of the marvellous descriptions of these places from others, I am even more tempted to venture off the island for something other than work.  This would be a seriously major step for me for several reasons.  Reason 1: One of the reasons that many people go on holiday is to get away from the day-to-day grind of where they live.  In my case, I really enjoy living in Mallorca and for the life of me, can’t imagine too many places that are actually nicer.  But then there is that thing about seeing some of the magical places that I have had in the back of my mind for years.  Reason 2: I have known for years that our time on this planet is limited and we had better do what we need to do whilst still here.  I have learnt this lesson by watching my parents die way too early; by losing a good friend whom I went to school with several years ago; and by seeing some very special people simply disappear from my life.  I am pretty convinced that if I am ever going to empty my bucket of dreams, I had better get my bum in gear before it is too late.   Reason 3: I hate flying.  Okay, maybe it isn’t the actual flying part; maybe I just hate the near debilitating time that must be spent before you are even able to get on the flippin’ plane. 

Not to change the subject or anything, but I just saw a bird land on one of the terraces and I didn’t recognise it, so I quickly grabbed my camera…but he was gone in an instant.  I did what any other person might do in this situation and I dashed off an email to my birding friends with a meagre description of the little guy, and within a few minutes received a reply that it was a Hoopoe.  So, now I have two ‘lifers’ for sure…the Blue Rock Thrush at La Antigua and now a Hoopoe at Sol y Mar.  Just had to tell you.

Back to the letter…

So I am all settled now.  Everything has been moved from La Antigua to Sol y Mar.  Almost all of the paintings that were hanging on the walls of La Antigua are safely locked in a secure storage facility.  All the boxes here are unpacked.  Now if I could only find my supply of Ibuprofen…..


not a submarine in sight








a view from the sitting room



a magical place within walking distance from Sol y Mar



Mr. Hoopoe (or is it Mrs. Hoopoe?)

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