Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Painter Man

I almost reversed over who I thought was the postman yesterday morning. Just about to exit the driveway, there was a voice from the rear. I looked in the mirror and there was this chap with things in his hand. "Bon día", he was saying. Couldn't have been Postman Pedro though, what with it being Immaculate Conception and everything being closed down (you know it's a biggy of a holiday when not even the supermarkets are open). The chap, it turned out, was not a Postman Pedro but a Painter Pedro, from Can Picafort - painter and decorator, home improvements. The papers in his hand were his advertising. You know the sort of thing - Microsoft Word Art type with drop shadows and shades of pinks and blues plus a couple of photos. 500 euros for painting your apartment, it said. As I don't have an apartment, it didn't necessarily apply, but Pedro seemed a decent sort of cove, smiling and, hats off to him, you have to say, for tramping around on a holiday handing out his literature in search of drumming up business. Unfortunately, the ad also said: "pintor profesiomal". And, no, you don't spell it with an "m", even here. Anyway, at least he hadn't stuffed the letter box, unlike those who want to sell you artificial lawns and a new house around the corner. And though he was smiling, he wasn't one of the perma-smiley religious maniacs who periodically arrive mob-handed, with small children in tow and some booklet that will lead to a life of greater happiness. No, it will not. What will is a large cheque and their buggering off. The only nuisances at the garden gate are otherwise a brace of local policeman who turn up three times in one day (different braces, that is) to try and hand you a summons for someone who has not lived there for years and those other devils behind a smile, the gas con artists who will happily divest you of the contents of your wallet in return for checking your butane connection when it doesn't need doing and they are not the ones to do it anyway. With the God squad, I find a simple "no hablo español" to be an easy way of getting rid of them, as is the case when there is a phone cold call to sell you water filters or broadband that is even more crap than the service you already have, which is saying something. The butane chaps, however, get it with both barrels in English or Spanish. This island's full of bloody thieves, and you are one of them and if you don't piss off I'm phoning the police who would then, no doubt, send out three couples of plod to investigate.

People who sell things or themselves, as in looking for work. There would be more of it right now, you would think. Perhaps the Saturday morning boot sale at The Jolly Roger off The Mile is doing a roaring trade at the moment. Rather than just be a venue for local expat gossip, there are probably expats in desperate need of selling their microwaves or tat they picked up at another market. I suppose I should go and find out. But what do people sell and what services do they offer? I had a trawl through the Sunday edition of "Majorca Daily Bulletin", the most important medium for the expat classified. Other than property, of which there is nothing like as much as the acres of forest that are used for this purpose in the Spanish papers, along with the ads for "relax" and "massage", the most regular ads are for bars and restaurants (Christmas or pre-Christmas do's and Leapy Lee's curry nights), cars (mainly Mercedes, for some reason), building, renovations, painting, decorating, plumbing etc, removals, and Sky television. I sometimes wonder quite what Sky make of all this Sky trade here, given that in order to get a Sky card - or so I understand (not having one myself) - there is meant to be a UK address. Anyway, be that as it may. Most of what's on offer is pretty obvious stuff, but then there is the quirkier - tarot readings, a unicycle and some jetskis. Amongst it all, you can find a mooring for sale in Alcúdia that will only set you back 300,000 euros, South African products (for all the thousands of South Africans who have not been denied a residency), gourmet sausages and a system for getting rid of processionary caterpillars from pine trees (there is already a system - it's known as an air rifle). Then there are translation services, those companies that will help with your papers, like your residency, which is something I find odd as it is a simple enough, if tedious, procedure and you have to go personally anyway, and the business agencies who will help you to buy and sell, except no-one is doing the former and everyone is doing the latter. And mention of things quirkier, there was one display ad for the PQ Academy. Who he, you ask. More, who she, as it's Pauline Quirke for all those of you with a celebrity bent. The one-time star of a series with a sort of eponymous play on her name is starting a drama, musical and TV thing. Actually, I quite like Pauline Quirke, not for "Birds of a Feather", but for the likes of her appearance in "David Copperfield". If Mallorca is to be home to a celeb, then I would go Pauline every time rather than Peter Stringfellow. Somewhere, I have a photo of her at the old Tango restaurant in Puerto Pollensa, or if it isn't her, it was someone who had presumably been to a Pauline academy. But amongst all the ads offering the likes of dog care, nursing and piano lessons, there is not one for the most secure of all recession-proof businesses. And that is? Funerals. www.yourmallorcafuneral.com. I've checked. There is no domain name. Don't all rush at once.

As thought, the "platform" of citizen and business groups is indeed a port-wide coming-together of the nine associations. According to Garry Bonsall, the associations are so angry with the mayor that the platform has been created in order to regenerate the port and to pressurise the mayor, for whom one feels almost rather sorry; this is becoming a quite extraordinary situation.

Yesterday's title - The Mothers of Invention. Today's title - God, how I disliked this German-Caribbean act.


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