Saturday, August 30, 2008

The Village of Barking Dogs

"Part I - we enter Spain Illegally"

Butter wouldn't melt, eh? Yeah, my daughter is drop dead gorgeous, I know - but she is not a good flier! In fact on our flight to Spain she was very nervous, in fact she was so anxious that she had a mild panic attack when the plane landed. She was in such a state that the stewardesses called an ambulance for her. She had stomach cramps, difficulty breathing and was very distressed. Not the best way to start a holiday! Shall I start at the very beginning? (Don't burst into strains of 'Do Re Me' please! - just agree with me, because it is a 'very good place to start'.)

We were travelling as a foursome - Mel (my daughter), her best friend Rosie, my best friend Cathy - and me. Cathy had come over from Ireland on Saturday so that we could all travel together on Sunday to visit my mother in her house just outside Palma, Mallorca. It was a 'girls only' holiday, planned months ago and long-awaited.

Four days before our flight there was a major air crash in Madrid. Over 150 people died. It was widely covered in the news and no matter how many statistics you can quote about how safe flying is, you can probably imagine how my nervous flying companions felt. Cathy, Mel and Rosie are all inexperienced fliers. Cathy had to fly over from Ireland on her own (a first) and then fly on to Spain with people she didn't know that well (apart from me).

Back to the flight and Mel's panic attack. She tried very hard to keep it together, she was so good, but when the pain in her belly started she was very distressed. (Mind you, even so she still managed to acquire the email address of a handsome young Spanish lad sitting next to her.) The air crew called us a paramedic and this lovely looking Spanish doctor (yes, I know, I was paying attention to my daughter but I coulnd't help noticing that he was rather handsome). Mel and I left the airplane by a side door on the disembarcation ramp and went straight onto the tarmac and to the waiting ambulance. We'll meet you by passport control I said to Cathy - and then went off with Mel and the medics.

We were driven to the emergency room where the doc and his nurse gave Mel a thorough examination. She would be fine, no problems realy, but he helped calm her down and reassure her. But ... I realised ... our passports were still in Cathy's bag! No worries, he said. After taking her blood pressure, pulse and checking her over, she was given a clean bill of health and we were taken through to the departure lounge - the Spanish side of passport control!

Palma airport is huge and to travel from one end to the other can take 20 minutes walking. Mel and I had cheated - we'd taken the ambulance! In the time it took us Even though we had got Mel examined, discharged and delivered, we managed to beat Cathy and Rosie to passport control. In fact we arrived at around the same time and, amazingly, we begun our holiday at last in good spirits.

Part II - we finally see some summer sun

My mother, Sally, lives in an old, old house in the village of Genova, just to the west of Palma. It was described to her once by a disentfranchised ex-resident as 'The Village of Barking Dogs' (which indeed it is!). Opposite is a small dog, next door are three dogs, and every morning dogs are walked which set the others off in a cascading cacophony of barking that echoes round the whole village.

But it is a beautiful place - peaceful and bathed in history. The casa (house) is several hundred years old and filled with books and miscellaneous items collected by my late stepfather, Orlando. It is somewhat primitive in its facilities and not a huge house - Cathy, Sally and I all slept in one room and the two girls in Sally's double bed. Though tired from the journey, a day at the beach was planned and the weather did not disappoint!

This is still in progress ... lots more to come.
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