I know I’m on my way to Deia when the road starts to curl up from the plain of Palma between the first rocky outcrops of the Tramuntana mountains and my ears gently pop. This time, the familiar sensation coincided with me spotting a man cutting green branches from an almond tree and dropping them onto the red earth.
Beyond Valldemossa, as the road began to twist and turn, it was hard to tell where the sky ended and the sea began. Above and below me, olive trees lined the terraces, sunlight silvering their leaves.
After spending a few months in the Hungarian city of Szeged, on the banks of the broad River Tisza – beautiful in its own misty, muted way – it felt good to be breathing in bright Mediterranean colour again.
I was only a little disappointed it wasn’t already late January, when the almond trees are frosted with pinky-white blossom.
Pilar Montaner. Almendros floridos (c. 1935)
Drifting through Deia
I’d arranged to meet a couple of people in Deia but had assumed the village would be deserted. The main street was certainly empty, apart from apples rolling down the road outside Forn Panaderia Deia.
I was early to meet my friend Monika Evans in Sa Font Fresca, the café my Deia friends like to frequent in the winter months. I’d expected to spend half an hour sipping my coffee and staring into space, all thought drowned out by satisfyingly loud Spanish and the hiss of the coffee machine. But, to my delight, an old friend who’s as fascinated by Deia’s literary history as I am was sitting at a table by the window overlooking the terrace.
We spent half an hour talking about the Canadian writer Mordecai Richler who lived in Deia in the 1950s. I’ve never read him but my friend highly recommends Richler’s Solomon Gursky Was Here. Another to add to the ever-growing list of books by Deia-connected writers I’ve yet to read.
Monika appeared, my bookish friend left, and we discussed the dream interpretation workshop Monika’s offering at Matthew Clark’s wonderful Tower of Love creativity, compassion and community centre in Palma on Sunday 17 January. Another mutual friend arrived with her daughter and we compared notes on the fantastic occult and antiquarian bookshops in Cecil Court, London, which she’s soon to visit.
Llewellyn Graves, AKA DJ Nin Petit, originator of the fantastic Wake Up Dance Saturday sessions, strolled in with a flock of willowy young girls and disappeared downstairs for lunch.
Sunna Wathen, the Deia artist whose art classes we’ve championed on this blog, wandered in with her husband. Sunna’s excited about the Group Show of work by the artists who’ve attended her art classes, starting at 7PM on Friday 15 January at Sa Cova and well worth checking out.
New Year scrambled
David Templeton, Deia artist and singer with Pa Amb Oli Band blew in. He can always be relied on for a great story and the one he told was no exception.
On New Year’s Eve, David was in his kitchen making himself scrambled egg on toast. Around midnight, he heard a series of explosions and jumped out of his skin before he realised it was New Year’s. As he tucked in to his scrambled eggs, David felt something still wasn’t quite right. Then he remembered he was meant to be singing onstage with Pa Amb Oli at that very moment.
(Picture the scrambled egg on toast still hanging in mid-air in David’s kitchen cartoon-style as he shoots out the door. And don’t worry, dear concerned reader, he leapt onto the stage just as the band was steaming into the opening number.)
Later that afternoon, as I made my way back down the mountain to Palma, the light fading, I tried to think of another place where I could have spent such a wonderful January afternoon and gave up. I only wished my Darling had been with me.
Lovers of the Pa Amb Oli band will know that they’ve played many a Beatles song over the years. Can any reader name the Beatles song that began life as ‘Scrambled Eggs’? The prize is…