Daddy Page 2 – Ca’n Fret

When I was your age, Thomas, and Auntie Debbie was Katie’s age (7 and 4), we had a country cottage in Mallorca called Ca’n Fret.

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.

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3 Responses to Daddy Page 2 – Ca’n Fret

  1. Nana says:

    Grandad and I have such happy memories of Ca’n Fret. It was lovely to get away from the hustle and bustle of Palma (our language school “Centro Estudios Inglés” was on one of the main Avenidas , with lots of traffic), and to enjoy the peace and calm and clean country air. We went everywhere on our bicycles; on Sunday mornings I would cycle to Consell village to the local baker’s with Auntie Debbie clinging on behind and your Daddy riding beside me. The pot-holes on the paths had sometimes been “mended” with large cactus leaves! Then it was back to our cottage to breakfast on delicious “ensaimadas” – a Mallorquín pastry, and “pan payés” – country bread still warm from the oven!

  2. Daddy says:

    Pan payés is the reason why to this day I will happily eat a nice crusty loaf all on its own- no butter, oil or anything- just for the aroma, texture and flavour. When Pilar saw me doing this she thought I was bonkers. It’s hard to find bread in Britain like it used to be in Consell though; the closest is Sainsbury’s Taste the Difference sourdough stonebaked and even that’s not quite the same.

    Thomas and Katie: these are the ensaimadas that Nana was on about, shown here with apricots but also made plain … or sometimes with chopped-up sausages on top! I bet you’d love them, as long as I didn’t tell you what they’re made with! (it’s lard)


    And this is Pan payés (my favourite!)


    There’s some lovely food in Mallorca … I’ll have to do an article!

  3. Nana says:

    The sausage your Daddy mentions is “sobrasada”, made with pork and paprika. Our friends, Pilar and Sebastian, had a large family estate where each year there would be the “matanzas” – a pig would be killed in order to make hams and sobrasadas. We were once invited to this, but after seeing a video of the previous year’s event where Sebastian’s Mum was up to her elbows in gruesome bits and pieces, we politely declined!

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