Snowing in Soller. | ALBERTO DARDER

As Mallorca found itself under the cosh of uncharacteristically tempestuous weather last week, I had to sally forth from Soller very early morning to Son Llatzer Hospital. Leaving the house at the crack of dawn in the pitch black and pelting rain was bad enough on the Monday but by Tuesday morning there was the added delight of snow and high winds. On the way back to Soller, the roads were flooded, there was torrential rain and worst of all, complete halfwits driving so closely behind that they could probably have read the dials on my dashboard.

In normal weather and in daylight it’s bad enough but having reckless drivers on your tail in hazardous conditions is genuinely frightening. I now put on my hazard lights when I have an irresponsible driver following me. Sometimes it warns them off but on Tuesday drivers took unbelievable risks. At one point the high water on one side of the road meant that passing vehicles sprayed a small lake onto the windscreen so it was impossible to see ahead. Naturally, most of us slowed down completely but I still had an idiot hooting behind when it was obvious that everyone in front of him was trying to avoid a major accident.

Having managed to drive as far as the Soller tunnel in a blur of fast rain, I saw ahead whirling snow and a massive queue of flashing lights. Both the Coll and the tunnel were closed and so I waited in a long queue of cars trying to enter Soller Shangri-La at around 10am. The good news was that we had daylight on our side and after half an hour were able to drive slowly through the tunnel. I had visions of being stuck on the other side and needing to find somewhere to stay overnight.

The last time I remember such crazy conditions was probably about 12 years ago and more recently we have suffered a flooded orchard. Back at the house, I discovered my ducks and hens swimming in their water-logged corrals and much of the orchard brimming with water. The power went off several times but by evening there were thankfully no more cuts. How lucky were we! Some across the island fared much worse. Despite the persistent rain all day on Tuesday I managed to look after the livestock and felt immense relief to see the sunshine on Wednesday morning.

We live in a sunny and natural nirvana but when the gods cook up a storm, it’s best to bunker down until the worst has passed. At least it’s usually a flash in the pan, and normal sunshine service is resumed within a few days. Maybe it serves as a good reminder of just how lucky we are for most of the year!

Glam Grammy Grannies?

Poor old Madonna received a lot of flak for looking mightily peculiar at the recent Grammys and since then, many other female celebrities have cruelly come under scrutiny for their altered appearances following a close shave with the plastic surgeon’s knife or at least, an aesthetic practitioner’s magic toolkit. I’m pretty ambivalent about surgical cosmetic procedures to delay the signs of ageing and know countless women who regularly top up on Botox and fillers. Each to their own is my philosophy and if it makes people happy, good for them. There is huge pressure on female celebrities to keep up their appearances and inevitably many feel obliged to seek anti-ageing enhancements, so I feel sorry for them when the media throws stones.

There are several women in Soller where I live who have cosmetic procedures though they don’t know I’m in the know. I can always tell when they’ve hopped off to have their top ups. Most have quite subtle changes and it’s not always easy to see what’s been done but having worked for a Swiss clinic that specialised in such procedures I’m finely attuned to the changes. The biggest giveaway is to have inflated lips as it’s so obvious that they’re not natural, and the new trend in hamster cheeks means that women are pumping lots of filler into the cheek bone zone which is a bit of a giveaway. Botox smooths out fine and deep lines and so foreheads become wonderfully line-free, another sure sign of a little cosmetic tweaking.

I have friends in London who urge me to have a try but I’m basically a wimp. I’m nervous about where all this filler and Botox ends up in the system and was shocked to learn recently that filler migrates and doesn’t leave the body. That would make me very uncomfortable thinking that filler was with you for life, moving about your body like a silent enemy. A surgeon told me that the lips are the worst area because the mouth moves a lot so filler can migrate more easily. Where does it go? Who knows.

It seems that countless celebrities don’t worry too much about any long-term effects of cosmetic procedures and given that so many have them, it can’t do too much harm apart from make them look distinctly odd if overdone. Madonna is a case in point. If only she hadn’t played so much with the knife, she’d still have that beautiful face today, albeit a little more lined and weathered.

And finally…

What fun for sailors Chris Fox and Nick Ryle to name their own island after pitching up on a small half acre strip of landmass on the south coast. The pair has called the island Lentune, the old name for nearby Lymington, which only appears at low tide. It is thought that the mass was created while experts were trying to buffer nearby Hurst Castle with an artificially maintained spit of land. Lentune is a hazard now for sailors as it has only recently appeared. All the same, I remember favourite books such as Kirrin Island, Treasure Island and Voyage of the Dawn Treader where islands feature large. How wonderful it would surely be to have a little island of one’s own?