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Tuesday November 17, 2009

A Good Ferret

A strange phenomenon in Majorca is the profusion of ferreterias in nearly every town and village. When I first set foot on the island I pondered whether the locals were in fact committed ferret fanciers but I was mistaken because, as I soon discovered, the ferreteria is a common or garden ironmongers.

Now, it’s easy to tut and dismiss the local ferreteria as just a roll up your sleeves emporium for the do-it-yourself nut, but as anyone who lives in Spain will know, these temples of the tool, are addictive. When my husband became enamoured of our local ferreteria, I decided to pop by to see what or whom, had captured his imagination. A surprise was in store. You see, unlike ironmongers in the UK, the Spanish ferreteria has the solution to practically all life’s problems. Whether you want a tool, a bulb, a hunting knife, a shot gun, washing up liquid, a battery, 350 two centimetre screws, paint, a sheep bell, a door stop, piece of lino, lice killer, wasp repellent or a dog collar, it’ll stock it. Soon it became a daily challenge to find something that Bernat, the owner of our local ferreteria, didn’t stock.

On a particularly irksome day when trying to flush out some enormous spiders from behind the radiator, it was Bernat who came up with a spider brush, a special apparatus that could stretch right down to the darkest recesses of the old fashioned radiator. During a flash flood, it was my ferreteria that patiently rustled up an umbrella and when I ran out of printer paper, damn it, they had it.

My son, Ollie, had to complete a school project on volcanic rocks and so, partly as a joke, I breezed by with him to ask Bernat if he sold rock specimens. He toyed with his beard for a few moments before saying, ‘Well, you’re in luck. It just so happens that I’ve got a few bibs and bobs my son brought back from a trip to Vesuvius.’

Recently I’ve noticed another growing phenomenon in Mallorca, that of keeping hurones, ferrets, as pets. In my local ferreteria the other day I unearthed a strangely shaped bag with a little grill. ‘What on earth is this for?’ I asked Bernat. He shook his head impatiently. ‘What do you think? It’s for carrying ferrets, of course.’

source: Majorcan Pearls

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