This is the first year for a long time that we haven't spent at least a fortnight in Mallorca. We have loved the island since we first went there together some 16 years ago and have made friends there that we look forward to seeing every year. We learn something new about the island every single year and I have missed our holiday there very much. We hope to go back as soon as we can.
So, you can imagine that I'm quite shocked to see that a car bomb has exploded yards from a hotel where we have stayed twice and where we usually pop in to visit at least once when we're over. In fact I suspect that some of the footage in the BBC report was shot from its sun terrace. Unfortunately two Guardia Civil officers have been killed in the explosion.
We've noticed each year that the island has not seemed quite so busy as firstly the Germans and then we British have expanded our horizons and headed out of the Eurozone to places like Croatia. It's not insignificant that entertainments director at the main hotel we stay in has been sent to a new aquisition in Croatia for this season. So there was a decliine anyway. Every time we went over we noticed that certain shops, or restaurants or hotels were no longer open.
This has been going on for some time, as I say, but this year, Spain in general is expecting a 10% drop in visitor numbers which includes 16.6% less from Britain.
This is the background in which some murderous and cynical apologies for human beings decide to try to make things even worse for the island's struggling economy. They choose a Thursday lunchtime, just as the weekend rush is starting, knowing that they are going to completely disrupt flights throughout the whole of one of the busiest weekends of the year, just as the English school holidays are getting underway. Thursdays to Sundays are absolutely manically busy at the airport, with the peak number of flights arriving between Friday night to Saturday night. We tend to avoid the airport at all costs on a Saturday.
The authorities have sealed off all the ports and airports to try to ensure that those responsible for this horrible attack can't get off the island. It's the right thing to do in the circumstances, but the inevitable consequences are going to be days of chaos.
None of the stranded holidaymakers will be suffering as much as the families of the Police Officers who were killed, though.
It may be that this is a cruel attempt by Basque Separatists ETA to remind us that they still exist, 50 years on. There have been various, fruitless attempts to find a peaceful solution, but in the last couple of years, after a ceasefire was broken, ETA activity is starting to increase again.
Let's hope that the new European Parliament puts its mind to trying to find a solution that everyone can live with so that we don't have to see any further violence.