If you ever wondered what was so special about Mallorca and the Mallorquines, just pop down to the local branch of your High Street bank and ask them about garlic.
Or rather, let me explain this differently: I went to my local bank branch yesterday, here in Felanitx where I live, to get some money out. I had to write a cheque and asked for the date. Jaume, the man at the till, confirmed that it was the 24th. Tomorrow, he said, you must plant your ajos (garlic). Tomorrow is January 25th, the day of Sant Pau. If you plant your garlic on Sant Pau and harvest it on Sant Joan Baptista (June 24th), you will always have garlic for any picaduras, such as bee stings, wasp stings, hornet stings or such like. The garlic has to be planted on that day, not before and not after. I inquired if this has to do with the moon phase or any other planetary constellation but, no. It’s the saint who governs the curative properties of garlic and its proper growth. How do you know all this, I asked. Oh, I’ve known this all my life, Jaume replied. My grandfather told me that when I was young.
I’ve never before had a conversation like that at any bank I’ve ever dealt with, be that in Dusseldorf, London, New York, Los Angeles, or indeed Felanitx, and I reckon you haven’t either whether you hail from Ireland, Holland, Norway, Britain, Canada or Poland. See, that’s the difference. As long as bankers know about garlic and the saints that cure our ailments, there is benevolence and there is hope.