A lot of place names in Mallorca begin with Ca’n, which is short for ca en in Catalán, and means ‘house of.’ So, Ca’n fret means ‘house of Mr Fret.’ The official name of the property was Es vignet d’en Jordi, or Mr.George’s vineyard!
It was a very basic cottage in the country with no electricity, so we used to use gas bottles to cook with and paraffin lamps so we could see when it got dark. In the winter we’d have a roaring log fire (it was surprisingly cold in winter at dusk).
Grandad, Daddy and Auntie Debbie on the patio at Ca’n Fret
There was a well in the corner of the living room, and loads and loads of bugs scurrying around everywhere (Katie: you would like it!). Whenever you opened the wooden shutters you would get a small crowd of earwigs escaping.
But, best of all, there were miles and miles of orchards to play in! We had orange trees, one fig tree, pomegranates, prickly pears, locust bean trees and over sixty almond trees. We used to beat the almond trees with sticks to release the nuts; then we would gather them up into sacks and sell them in the nearby village of Santa María del Camí (≡camino≡route!)
Daddy and Auntie Debbie in the fields around Ca’n Fret
We had loads of lovely parties at this cottage. Here you can see me (checked shirt); Pedro (red hat); Maria (stripey top); and Arantxa, Auntie Debbie and Toni (Antonio, Arantxa’s brother) hidden from view.
Sometimes we would go for a nice picnic in the nearby pine forests:
Our gang, left to right: Magdalena, José-Miguel (Josemí), Felipe, Toni, Pedro, Me, Arantxa, Auntie Debbie, María and David. The lady in the black bikini is Nana’s friend Pilar.
Sometimes your Auntie Debbie and I would try to dig a huge hole using only plastic shovels:
Other times we had our Nana there with us and she used to love to just relax:
I used to love my bike, as I’m sure you do; regrettably, however, I didn’t used to like having my photo taken so you wouldn’t know it from my expression. (I was practicing my Friends-Watching Face!)
Here you can see Grandad doing some work on the driveway with a pick. It was hard work in the heat! In the background you can see our family car, a Seat 1430. There were very few other houses for miles around and we only used to go to Ca’n Fret at weekends.
The cottage had bright yellow painted shutters and doors. The shutters kept the fierce sun out and kept the house cool so you could have a siesta in the afternoon!
Nana and Auntie Debbie at Ca’n Fret
Several times Nana’s old friend Doreen came over from England with her husband Ian to stay with us. Ian’s party trick was to lie on the sunbed and let us children blow on his tummy. As we blew he pushed his tummy out further and further as if we were inflating a balloon! Here are Doreen and Ian on the patio at Ca’n Fret.
We had a lovely hotel complex about 2 miles away called El Foro de Mallorca that was really special. We used to go there for the fabulous large swimming pool and bar on Sundays sometimes.
Here you can see Grandad and your Great Grandmother Annie Wainwright (Grandad’s mum) at El Foro. In the lower picture your Great Grandmother is diving in while Nana watches from the poolside. Can you see the bridge over the pool?
Your Mummy and I took you to Mallorca in May 2005. Much to my sadness, we found the pool at El Foro had been concreted over after failing a safety inspection, and much of the beautiful almond-tree countryside had been spoilt by a bypass that had been built through it.
I’ll never forget how magical it used to be though, and what adventures we had playing in the campo at weekends! These times, as well as the time I had with you two children, were the happiest times in my life.