It doesn’t take too much to temporarily unseat me from my comfort bubble: a window pane plagued by drizzle, being made to listen to tinny Beethoven for 40 minutes by an electricity company, a string of emails from ‘personal development’ projects in Thailand when I only want to hear from one person but most of the time I snap back unharmed from the experience. It’s London life, and it only takes a smile from a stranger, or spotting someone cycling with their dog in the front basket for the equilibrium to return.
So I’m surprised to still feel unsettled by a recent trip to Mallorca. A fleeting visit of barely more than 48 hours — for work, not pleasure — has left me wanting more. I think I know why. Having finally moved into my first flat, I’ve developed some somewhat ambitious plans for my next rung of the ladder: a 7.5m euro (or thereabouts) house on the most northerly peninsula of the island.
Naturally, for all that money you get something special in return: a house of modest proportions which manages at the same time to have 11 bedrooms. Think of the parties. (Looking at the photos strewn around the house both Bono and Bill Clinton have clearly enjoyed a few). Tall, shuttered windows line the bookish main room. Walls throughout are whitewashed for freshness. Outside there are two terraces, a steep garden shaded with pine trees and a tiny pool but then there is the view across the bay of Formentor, where the protagonist is the sea and nothing else. A short winding path leads the way to the swimming deck on the rocks, complete with the prerequisite bar, and a diving board from which to launch oneself into the azure waters of the Mediterranean. It is barely two steps from paradise.
My idea of paradise: the jetty belonging to a house for sale through Engel & Volkers
Formentor, I learn, is on the up. Having been the peninsula of choice for the glitterati of the 60s and 70s, the area had lost some of its zeal in the past few decades. Indeed the hotel, where Princess Grace spent her honeymoon, was beginning to rival buildings akin to the Southbank Centre in London for shabbyness, exuding more old fashioned blue rinse-style than old school charm. But now the Catalan hotel chain Barcelo bought the place and a substantial restoration project is underway. The move has begun to attract more money to the peninsula’s shores: Lorenzo Fluxa, the MD of the iconic shoemakers Camper, has obtained rare permission to build a new house. More people are bound to follow in his wake. Hopefully one day it will be me.
The view: see Engel & Volkers website