Friday, 31 October 2014


Since the fateful day when I did not prepare the young learners’ lesson enough, the principal has been reminding me the incident and reproaching my behaviour once and again. First she gave me a long lecture in the classroom; after that, she sent me a rather negative report of a page and a half; then she commented out in loud voice that never before had she seen so many downsides in a teacher.

Yesterday, shortly before the class, I was reprooved for the fourth time. The children had not arrived yet and I had already opened my laptop and logged in. I heard a voice coming from the hallway. It was the sound of a slow-pronounced English without any genuine accent and a trembling “zzz”.

-          Geeeeeehhhhh – cracked the door - Louiiiiiiiiiizzzzze! Do you also teach German? Zzzzzzz?

For a moment, I thought she wanted to suggest me a new challenge.

-          Yes, you obviously do. Because sometimes YOU MIX both languages. Zzzzz. You are probably too tired... Tiiiiiiired... You are teaching too many lessons, aren’t you? Zzzzz? Yes, this is obvious: one can see it in your face. You look soooo stressed and unhealthy. You look unhealthy and sickly. You should be careful. Otherwise, you will get ill.

Two cold eyes fixed their glance on the victim, while the “zzz sounds were trying to put the consciousness to sleep.

-          You are ugly... uuuuuggggglyyyy. You are too tired... tiiiiired. Sleep, sleeeep. Ha, ha, ha, ha! Haaaaa, ha, ha, ha!

Behind that darned old face, patched by the inexperienced knife of a plastic surgeon and those flabby arms, showing the true age of their owner, I could hear the metallic voice of the immortal money. She approached, making a schrill while she walked. A shrilling walk which would frighten children.

-          Geeeeehhh – Uuuuuuggggglyyy. Uuuuugggglyyy.

At that moment, I saw a tentacle coming out from her right eye. It was not the hook of Doctor Octopus, but the palp of Piedniaze, who is displeased by the presence of old and ugly. In fact, Piedniadze only eats the fresh meat of young and children, the energy of hard-working employees and the beauty of virgin maids. He is the one who causes wars in the middle east to sell the weapons that he manufactures. He causes abortions in Rwanda to gather hyaluronic acid and smooth his wrinkles.

I saw him getting closer and, instinctively, I walked backwards. But I got caught between Piedniadze and the wall. I felt fear, horror and then anger. He continued going forward until I had no way out. I thought of the children that were about to enter the school. They had to be prevented. We had to look for help. My heart beated. I warned him not to step further...

But it was too late. Piedniadze had already taken the last and final step forward, anticipating Halloween's night. I was dead.

-          Help! Tough cyclist! Help us, please!

Copyright Luisa Fernández Baladrón

Sunday, 26 October 2014


You lie on the sand, still wearing your clothes, barefoot, in any old way. You let yourself go, forgetting fashions. No tourists, no perfect lives or smart people seem to be allowed. “El Molinar” does not care how you look like or what your age is.

The great paradox is that this place has almost been bought by the rich and is still been used by the poor. Whoever has bought those tiny, once rickety (now millionaire) houses will not easily recover what they have invested: they are unlikely to be rented for a good price and selling them obtaining a profit is even more difficult. If someone can pay such high prices, they do not accept living in a small house. Thus, as long as our statesmen do not decide to put doors to the sea and build a new harbour, we can still recover from our unhealthy rest of the day in this garden. The garden of a house, where we can still close the front door and open all innen doors; that place where nothing seems to affect us.

Tomorrow the fight begins again. And maybe also the Government intention to devastate the shore and build a large port. But today we are the conquerors. “El Molinar” does still exist for us to enjoy: to skate, to swim, to walk or to make a promenade on bike along the coast.



Copyright Luisa Fernández Baladrón



Friday, 24 October 2014


Today has been a criminal day.

I got up early to get some new students. If you want to acquire a new recruit and you do not count on the financial ressources of Madrid RFC you have no alternative but to hand out do-it-yourself flyers at the gate of Palma schools. I walked down “Socors” street to achieve my goal, despite of knowing that I was breaking a Mallorcan regulation which forbids the distribution of any written information in the streets. No decent MP would had ever dared to violate such regulation the way I did.

I stood near a school gate, in a quite discrete point, trying not to disturb pedestrians.

-          Good morning! – I greeted to parents accompaning their children, smiling and giving them a criminal flyer  with my guilty hand at the same time.

What took the biscuit was the presence of two local policemen at the school entry. In fact, the local government has decided to protect our children, ensuring that they cross properly and that drivers stop when they cross. Such officer’s presence is absolutely welcome. However, it is very stressful for someone who is an outlaw.

My criminal attitute increased during the day: I went to the language school were I work WITHOUT HAVING PREPARED the lessons in advance. I had struggled with serious inconvenients and had scarcely rest in the night. A Little Red Riding Hood.

Suddenly I got a call from the school principal, warning me that I would have a routine control at the young learner’s class in the evening. This was like a kick-in-the-pants. Preparing lessons for children takes a lot of time: they require a lot of games and attractive stories. And, given the fact that I still had to teach other lessons in the afternoon, I could scarcely prepare a draft and download some photographs from the internet. I always use this kind of photos to pre-teach vocabulary, adding the corresponding word (which the photograph introduces) with Picassa software. Of course, the result was predictable: an absolutely awful one. The last straw was that I called a girl by a name which was not hers. I did not even notice. I must have done it unconciously, maybe to fulfill the family tradition: telling the names of all kids, one after the other, until all have been mentioned. The correct name is always the last one to pronounce (Pablosorrycarlossorryrafasorrygalisorryluisa...). The cyclist hero would have hit me once and again with his yellow paper stick.

I rode on the bike and went to another school centre in order to teach the last class of the day. And I was still under the influence of the related negative verdict when I went home on foot, thus leaving my bike on the sidewalk.

Once at home, I decided to be condescending with myself and I made a very different balance of the day. Today I have worked in maintenance (cleaning the house), graphic arts (performance of flyers), direct marketing (flyer distribution at a school, with a permanent smile and helping mums enter baby seats into the school), general administration (calls and reorganization in order to attend tomorrow’s staff meeting), velocipedism (cycling throughout the whole city of Palma and the border area of Son Fuster to get to work), psychology (listening to complaining students). As if that were not bad enough, I have conducted five and a half hours of class. Let me make a toast to myself.  

... And I also make a toast to all my friends. I add a photograph of 2009 for the “throw back Thursday” and go quickly to search for my bike.


Copyright Luisa Fernández Baladrón

Saturday, 18 October 2014


After having installed an ADSL, I had to buy a phone. Yesterday I was calling to national landlines. As soon as I got home, I took my appointment book and started dialing as many numbers as I could, until it was too late to phone a respectable person. It was as in that advertisement, many years ago, in which an impertinent child took possession of the family phone.

 -          Hi! I’m Edu! Merry Christmas!

This is one of the advantages of having a flat rate. One can have a trendy “vintage” experience for nothing and get into a trunk full of souvenirs.

Sometimes, I felt a bit embarrassed: “Do you remember me...? How are you doing... by the time being?” I rediscovered a lot of names that had been forgotten in my appointment book for a long time due to the lack of a mobile number or a Facebook connection. Anyway, I have noticed that only a few people use a landline nowadays... and that many landline numbers y had once written in my book are no longer in use.

I started putting some things in the fridge for future visits. As a grandma of the seventies, thinking what everyone likes and buying some kicknacks to offer to friends.

My current goal is to get ten more new students by the end of the year. Let’s go in for it. The countdown starts.



Copyright Luisa Fernández Baladrón


Friday, 17 October 2014


I am already sat in my apartment, with bags and boxes only half unpacked. My two-wheel vehicle parked in the main entry to the building, attached to the banister with one of those “18 gauge steel” protective locks. I am constantly going in and out. There are pieces of fiber optic cable on oneside: I might have not swept them due to a Celtic superstition of not sweeping at night or just because I am too tired.

For once in my life I am using an ADSL line exclusively. I have inserted the password into the computer, closed the front door and left the internal doors opened, left the window opened despite the absence of courtains. As I like it. Whoever does not like what I do, should look away. I have cut onions on a new wooden table with a sharp knife and am currently listening to Mallorcan Germans talking on “Insel Radio” about what they call news. A hot cup of tea. This is freedom.

Yesterday, before starting the class, one of the young learners hugged me spontaneously. And the others imitated him. In a couple of seconds, I was surrounded by a wall of about one meter height, made of children.

By the time of going back home, the spontaneous did not want to go.

-          I want to stay here.

They have gifted me their first drawings. And I would like to share them with you.

Do you want more? Visit my web-site:







Copyright Luisa Fernández Baladrón


Thursday, 16 October 2014


I had already been warned about it. Many years ago, when I first came to Palma, long before having lived in Frankfurt or Bern, someone advised me: whoever comes to the island, stays in the island forever. It’s true. I can’t explain the reason why, but even a tramp can settle here permanently.

In fact, it is difficult to adapt at first. Mallorcans are different from other Spaniards. They are calm, relaxed, less spontaneous. I have many friends in Mallorca, but almost all of them are outsiders. Only a few Mallorcans would invite you to their homes. Thus, we all grumble when whe come to the island.

But then you get used to sunbathing; to that tomato, onion and pepper salad which is so typical in the island; to going out dressed as a weird and that nobody really minds; to enjoying the tranquility of going out alone at any time of day or night; to going everywhere on bike safely without being bothered (but for some local officer who warns you not to ride on the sidewalk). Suddenly, you have become addicted to Mediterranean culture.

I would like to thank Mallorca and the Mallorcans. They are experts in the art of living.


Copyright Luisa Fernández Baladrón


Wednesday, 8 October 2014


A fiftyish friend of mine lost his job about two years ago. His company, a Majorcan SEM, was declared in a state of insolvency which was followed by a Dismissal Programm. Many employees lost their position in the company. After the regulated months of unemployment benefit, our friend was left without any financial ressource: Being a person over 35, under 52 and Spanish of origin, he is not entitled to receive any further subsidy.

During the last eight months, Mr. X (let’s call him this way so as not to infringe that Law of Data Protection we have already heard so much about) has spent all his savings while he was looking for any job anywhere. We live in a country where the unemployment rate exceeds 30%. Thus, having lost one’s job when one is over fifty means being an early retired without pension.

Notwithstanding, difficulties sharpened the inventiveness of Mr. X. A couple of days ago, he prepared some flyers with his MS-Word. He offered piano lessons at home. The next step was to hand them out in the streets. Everything seemed to go well until a police officer intercepted him:

-          Excuse me, Sir! It is forbidden to distribute propaganda in the streets of Palma.

-          I did not know it. Is that true?

-          I’m afraid yes – answered the local policeman – it is totally forbidden.

-          And, can you busk in the streets then?

-          NO. – replied the agent – It is prohibited.

-          Could you, please, tell me, what is one supposed to do, if one does not have enough to eat?

The agent shrugged his shoulders.

Of course, my friend’s disbelief urged him to get more detailed information. Indeed, the distribution of any written communication is totally forbidden in the city of Palma, due to a “Public Occupation Ordinance”, published in the bulletin No. 148 of August 23rd 2003. A regulation which was planned and approved by people who, unlike Mr. X, have always had more than enough to eat.

The funniest part of it is that the only transgression of this regulation which goes “unnoticed” is the one made by the authors of the regulation themselves. I am referring to that transgression they do during the elections. (I am sure you have once being given electoral propaganda in the streets of Palma).

The million dollar question is the following: What can be the reason of such regulation, which is, in fact, a real limit to the freedom of expression? May be we should remember the Declaration of Rights of Man and Citizen: “La libre communication des pensées et des opinions est un des droits les plus précieux de l'Homme : tout Citoyen peut donc parler, écrire, imprimer librement, sauf à répondre de l'abus de cette liberté dans les cas déterminés par la Loi.

My friend and I gently ASK FOR the abolition of the Public Occupation Ordinance. And that the authors of that ordinance have to subsidize people like Mr. X with their own financial resources.


Copyright Luisa Fernández Baladrón

Friday, 3 October 2014


Yesterday, I was cycling in a hurry to work. When I was arriving to that section of “San Miguel” street where bikes are allowed to circulate (you know, the one where there is a petrol station) there was a double-parked car on the curve. There was very little room left and this was alternatively used by vehicles moving precisely in the opposite direction: cars and bikes coming alongside other traffic into “Plaza de los Patines”. There was absolutely no room for vehicles moving into the Avenue.

Luckily, there was a friendly local policeman, sat on his motorbike, uniformed and presumably on duty. I then approached the officer to ask him if he could gently talk to the owner of the car, so as he moved away.

- Whaaaat? Don’t you want that car to be parked thereeeeee? Come on! It is just a double-parked caaar! Don’t FFF.... anymore!

If I had driven my bike on the sidewalk at that moment, the same policeman would have fined me fifty euros. However, a double-parked car, blocking the way and causing a jam had was not important.

I got off the bike and walked for a while, with a terrible sense of helplessness. I would have liked that one of those comic heroes had reminded the officer the importance of the law and order the police is supposed to protect.

Suddenly, I pictured a cyclist descending from heaven, wearing a biker suit and a yellow cape, as if he had just won the “Tour de France”, armed with a yellow paper truncheon matching his suit and his cape. Xosé Troitiño, “O Xusticieiro de Lourizán”, also known as “The Tough Cyclist”, beating the policeman with his yellow paper truncheon, his “yellow oncle”, as a German would have said (“der gelbe Onkel”).

Zip! Zap! Here you are! This is a present for your good behaviour! – The tough cyclist said.

And, with these words, Xosé Troitiño punched the officer, catapulting him directly into the “thinking chair”. The one that English teachers use, when they want a kid to stop doing mischief.

- Have you understood the reason why you have been sat here? Do you feel prepared to go back and sit with the others?

I felt an enormous and immediate relief when I thought of such fatherly protection. And I quickly began to expand the framework of possible situations in which the tough cyclist could help: someone has stolen an old lady’s handbag; someone has been run over and the driver fled the scene; there is a pig who has urinated in the entrance hall of your house; a boss who is totally unbearable. Xosé Troitiño can help everyone.

And thus, feeling protected by the new Majorcan hero, I went on my way, with the inner peace of those who trust in justice.


Copyright Luisa Fernández Baladrón