First Person with Phil Weir
Come the afternoon, and after a fair amount of boozing, the battle of long memory is played out once again, always down the length of one narrow street just behind the main square. The pirates are led along the street, made even narrower by crowds of eager, watchful bystanders, by a snarling ‘Dragut’. A shout goes up from ‘Joan Mas’ as he spies the unfamiliar faces. Christians pore from every passage, doorway, culvert and planter, launch themselves at the Moors and an almighty scrum takes place, which is not without its casualties. Two years ago my wife fainted in the crush, was conveyed in through the door of a clerical mansion, and revived with smelling salts. Anyway, after the storm of battle moves on and eventually subsides, participants and spectators disperse for much eating and drinking which goes on late into the night. Which brings me to a strange encounter. Long after the battle, my smelling-salty wife and I were making our way up to our favourite bar, U Gallet, when we caught up with a few straggling pirates. One approached and, in broken English, asked the time. I responded and on hearing my accent, he asked, “You are from Scotland? My friend is from Scotland’’ and turning to one of the other pirates, shouted “Les! Come over here.”
It turned out Les, 100 per cent Scottish, had been working in Pollensa for years and got himself so much into the fabric of the place he’d been permitted to go the whole Moorish hog. And where, more specifically, did Les come from in Scotland? Kirkcaldy of course. But the southern end of the Lang Toun, obviously – the end nearer Africa.