Sunday, June 14, 2009


Chapter 28

seahorse(Click to enlarge photos)

Imagine the story of a musical California socialite who falls in love with her voice professor, who marries him, gives birth to a son and eventually settles with her family in 1932 on a beautiful Mediterranean island, where they build a house on a rocky promontory overlooking a small bay, naming it Spindrift.

 view towards fincaFoto credit to Trip Advisor Dizzyo6
The Spindrift promontory in background

This is the true story of a very special lady, Dina Moore Bowden, who became a legend both in her native California and on the island of Mallorca.
But for the moment, I will only outline the setting for this family tale, with which I was privileged to have a fleeting encounter during my years in Mallorca.

Dina Moore Bowden was the mother of George Moore Bowden, the Mr. G. mentioned in my memoir. I will tell more of her history later, but for now I want to describe my brief but memorable visits to Spindrift.

The finca or estate was built beside what was then a sleepy little beach cove called Portals Nous, at only a few kilometers from Palma, the capital city.

beach portals Foto credit to Mallorca Fact
Small cove beach at Portals Nous

Dina had chosen the image of a seahorse to represent Spindrift, to be repeated in ironwork, in decor and on the letterhead of her stationery.

Antoni Mir's photoPhoto above from Antoni Mir's book 'Els Tres Bowden'

The land was surrounded by rock walls and at one end was the high cliff which overlooked the sea. There was a manhole built into the ground which, when raised, uncovered a secret iron ladder leading down to a small cave-like hole in the cliff wall from where one could swim. Another small ladder went into the water so one could climb down into the sea.

Following are my original black & white photos taken in 1968.

the point
At the top of the promontory was a stone covered patio with an old millstone mounted as a table, with folding green-painted wooden chairs as well as concrete benches around the edges.

the point
Small pine trees gave shade overhead while dry desert yuccas and succulents edged the pathways. The scent of warm pine needles was everywhere.

stone bench
On one side of the patio was a wrought iron gate leading to the rough ground outside the edge of the estate. The seahorse image was at the centre.

zoom of gate My photo of gate from 1968

Once Mr. G., his daughter Helen and I were having a small picnic, consisting of sandwiches we had brought from the apartment while seated around the round table.
thatched pole
When Dina walked up to see how we were doing, she looked with some disapproval at our meager meal, saying that it wasn't really sufficient and that we should have something better than that.

stairs in garden
I imagine that since I had recently arrived from Canada, where a picnic consisted of sandwiches, that I couldn't think of anything else to bring. However some time later, a basket arrived filled with hot and cold goodies prepared by Dina's Mallorquin cook, Catalina. I learned then that the midday meal, no matter where it was taken, should be a substantial one!

Antoni Mir's book
I was recently given a copy of a book written in Mallorquin by Antoni Mir I Marquès entitled 'Els Tres Bowden' (The Three Bowdens) in which he tells the story of Mr. George Charles Bowden (the father), his wife Dina Moore and their son George Moore Bowden. Although I have not a full domination of the Mallorquin language, (similar to Catalàn), I have managed to read and understand nearly all and have found background material which fills out my knowledge of the family. It is a most interesting book and I hope one day that Antoni will also publish it in English and Castellano.

Here is Antoni Mir's website. "La Guitarra Balear", written in Spanish.

I will be continuing in following entries with this story of my contacts with the Bowden family in Mallorca.

Continue on to Chapter 29 The House at Spindrift

Go back to Chapter 27 Spanish Omelette


2sweetnsaxy said...

What a wonderful post. I really enjoyed the photos and the history, especially since it was delivered from a personal view. Thank you so much for sharing this part of your world.

Paul said...

thank you for sharing that very cool story!

Indrani said...

Great post, the history, the shots, all amazing. Thanks for sharing.

Dr Sannjay Parva said...

This is a very candid post; full of poise! I will be delighted if you could follow some from my country India at Thank you.

Real Tenerife said...

She sounds like a fascinating person. Love the photos...that must have been a magical time.

Anonymous said...

what a wonderful post. i simply love your mallorca stories from the late sixties. thank you so much for sharing these anecdotes with us. i think one day you might want to publish some of your mallorcan memories in a printed format. i would certainly buy a copy.
i shall be looking forward to the continuation of the bowden story.
moltes gràcies.

Canarybird said...

Thanks everyone for your kind comments.
Klaus I would love to do that one day!
We'll see. And now I will continue with the Bowden story.

Thanks, Sharon.

Glennis said...

Cool story, nice to read. I really like the seahorse motif on the gate and other places.

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