If you are visiting Es Castell (formerly George Town built by the British during the reign of George III) this summer and are interested in the longstanding history shared between Menorca and the UK, don’t miss the regular ceremonial re-enactments of the handing over of Menorca by the British to the Spanish in 1802, following the Treaty of Amiens. This historic performance will take place at midday on the first Sunday of each month between now and September in the Plaça Esplandada.
Organised by Es Castell Town Hall, the Consorcio Militar (Military Museum) with participation by the Asociación Menorca Britannia, the first event on Sunday 5 May 2013 created a lot of interest and was well attended by holidaymakers and local residents who filled the square to enjoy this historic spectacle. At midday, the symbolic Spanish flag was raised, the same one as used in the 2002 commemorations which took place in Menorca to mark the bicentenary of the 1802 Treaty of Amiens. This was followed by a gun salute which resounded around the square, commanding everyone’s attention. The ceremony involved an officer on horseback, two flutists, two drummers, four flag bearers and six gunmen, all in uniform of the period. In addition, students of the Ateneo municipal school of painting decorated the old barrack buildings in the square with pictures of soldiers looking out of the windows.
On Sunday 21 April 2013, there will be a unique Anglo / Menorcan celebration for St George's Day in typical local style on the Isla del Rey in Mahón harbour, to which anyone interested is invited.
In Catalonia and the Balearic Islands, it is traditional to celebrate San Jorge or Sant Jordi by buying a rose or a book and the day is often referred to as El Día del Libre. Women buy books for their loved one and male members of their family and male friends and men buy a single red rose for the women in their life. Bookshops around the island take their books into the streets each year and the florists sell roses. Another tradition is for a book to be read from start to finish, continuously, changing readers every few pages or every chapter. This year, St George's Day will also be commemorated in this way on the Isla del Rey, albeit abbreviated...!
This Honorary British Consulate has opened a condolence book following the death of former Prime Minister Baroness Thatcher for people to sign and leave messages between 10.00 hours and 12.00 midday every weekday.
A condolence book is also open at the British Embassy in Madrid where British Ambassador to Spain, Giles Paxman said: “Lady Thatcher was the United Kingdom’s first woman prime minister and without doubt one of the greatest peacetime leaders of the 20th century. She had a fearless approach to politics and the courage to do what she believed was necessary to modernise the British economy. Structural reform is never easy or popular, but in Britain today our economy continues to benefit from the many reforms that she put in place. I offer my deepest sympathy to her family and friends at this time of sad loss.”
Contact: Deborah Hellyer, MBE, Honorary British Consul, Sa Casa Nova, Cami de Biniatap, 30, Horizonte, Es Castell, Menorca. Tel: 902 109 356.
After seven years as British Consul for the Balearic Islands, Paul Abrey left his post in Palma, Mallorca at the end 2012, to return to his career in banking. Before leaving, he visited Menorca to thank Deborah Hellyer, the island’s Honorary Consul, and to say farewell to the British community.
At a press conference, Paul Abrey spoke of how much he had enjoyed his time in the Balearic Islands and his diplomatic duties representing the British government, ex-pats and visitors. In particular, he would be taking with him very fond memories of his visits to Menorca where the warmth of the Menorcan authorities and people matched that of its climate. He commented that it was easy to see why it was such as special place for British people to come on holiday as well as choose to live or have a second home. However, in the current crisis, he said it was sad that so many families of working age had had to return to the UK to find work while many retired ex-pats remaining on the island were facing financial difficulties.
Lunchtime on Wednesday 26 September 2012 and the bars and restaurants alongside the harbours of Mahón and Calas Fonts were buzzing with anticipation as residents and holidaymakers enjoyed lunch in the sun while waiting for the return of the incredible Red Arrows or ‘Flechas Rojas’ to Menorca. The roadsides were also packed when, at precisely 15.00 hours, the tiny specks on the horizon zoomed into focus and the squadron of BAE Hawk T1 aircraft began its aerobatic display in perfect formation over Mahón harbour, focusing on the Isla del Rey.
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