Sunday, May 21, 2006



Still no internet at home, so here you have me writing from Yoli’s house in León where we have spent the night. So, got to be quick as we are off to have tapas and drinks before lunch and we woke up at 12. What a lovely life here in León (at the weekends!).

Well, yesterday was the 20th May and the 1st anniversary of the passing away of Eladio’s father, Antonio. We all want to remember him always so a memorial mass was arranged in Montrondo – the family village about an hour north of León – yesterday at one o’clock, time enough for the Madrid families to get there.

It was wonderful meeting all again as we hadn’t been together since New Year. There were very few people missing; Alejandro’s sons, Juan and Sara (Salita guapa) who is in China. The surprise of the day was Miguel who came from London specially for the event. Some of us were in the know (me of course) but his parents were amazed.

Apart from the family and we were 25 people, other people came from the village, as well as cousins from nearby villages and León. The mass was made even more emotional when Olivia read out some beautiful words she had written for the beloved “abuelo”. She got such a lump in her throat Susana had to go out to the altar to read out the end. It made quite a few of us cry.

After the mass, we all walked slowly back to the house for an impromptu lunch. Each family had brought food which we put on the big table in the kitchen and we all sat round eating, talking and catching up with our news. It was great to talk to everyone but I was specially happy to talk to darling Marta (one of my favourite neices: actually they are all favourite) who is living in Ponferrada with her dishy football player husband Fernando, commonly known as Ministro. Poor Marta is plagued by dreadful headaches. She is also working hard at conceving which is proving difficult. My heart goes out to her.

We drove to León in the late afternoon to take Susi and Oli to the bus station as they had to go home to study (I wonder). A lovely picture of them buying sweets for the journey just like old times.

And last night we went out to dinner, all the brothers and sisters plus my fathers and had a very tasty Italian meal at a restaurant called Casablanca.

Today we shall be staying for lunch at Yoli and Isidro’s. I can smell the cocido from the kitchen . I think it is safe to say that Yoli is the best cook in the family.

Tomorrow will be Oli’s 21st birthday – AMAZING! And the next day we will gallavant off to Santa Pola. So next week will be a good relaxing week before preparing for the move.

Don't know when I'll next write, what with not having Internet and going off to Santa Pola for a week. So meantime, cheers to you all.

Love Masha
PS pics are of us all in the kitchen in Montrondo, the younger generation and the older generation. Also one of the "younger generation" outside, plus the one of the girls buying sweets (chuchis).

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Still no Internet + moving house soon

Hello again.

Long time no write, that’s because we are still without Internet at home. I don’t want to go into the why, suffice it to say the whole story is like a Kafkian nightmare. We just asked our service provider to increase the broadband speed to 4 megas and the result has been no ADSL for 3 weeks and no land line for 2 weeks. It’s a battle between Wanadoo and Telefonica which I think no one will win. So here I am writing from Fátima’s house. It now looks like we will no have no internet until we move to the new house in 3 weeks time (Yes, 3 weeks time, more about that a bit later).

There have been a few ups and downs lately. The University project is now over. Despite the success of the Mario Vargas Llosa project, there isn’t really any more work for me. On the other hand, another project – selection process for a big US multinational, fell through in the end after more than 7 interviews. There were 4 of us left at the end but I didn’t make it. That has been ongoing for over 2 months now, so I’m sure you can understand my disappointment. But you have to get up and fight again which I will, of course.

However, the fact that I’m not working will be a blessing in disguise for moving house. We will be moving in on the 5th and 6th June. It seems a Herculian task, sorting out and deciding what to take from this house after 18 years here – you cannot imagine the junk, plus the moving itself but also the unpacking and deciding what to put where in the new house. Today Eladio and Olivia went downstairs to the old toy room to decide what to throw away what not. I went down in the middle of it and was just on time to save Celeste (Barbar’s wife) who Eladio referred to as “esa elefanta”.

Not much to report otherwise. Oh yes, Eladio and I went out to a freebie dinner invited by Iberia Plus last Thursday. Funny thing I have just lost my gold card as I hardly fly anymore but they obviously haven’t updated their data base yet! The whole thing was very corporate and a bit stiff – a fancy restaurant with tables only for couples and a huge menu to get through but nothing else. But, in any case, a freebie is always appreciated.

So that’s about it for this post. Oh, yes, Fernando Alonso won the Spanish Formula 1 Grand Prix today, just ahead of Michael Schumacher to the delight of crowds of over 130.000 people Yes, yes, I am now getting into Formula 1 like most of Spain is.

Next time I write, it may well be from the new house.

All the best

PS Photos are of the new house, the front and the back (with the pool).

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

No Internet connection at home - What I've been up to since I last wrote, including the Dr. Honoris Causa ceremony for Maria Vargas Llosa at the UEM

Hello again.

You were probably wondering why I haven’t been updating my blog more often. The reason is that we have had no internet connection at home (or a landline) since the beginning of last week. They are supposed to be updating the broadband, so they say.

It’s amazing how frustrating it is not to have Internet. I have had to resort to my dear old Communicator which is ok for emergencies but is incredibly slow. After all it is only GPRS and not 3G.

So here I am writing from the University.

I have been quite busy with the Doctor Honoris Causa event to Mario Vargas Llosa last Wednesday. It went very well and seems was a lot better than last year. Great picture of me with the man himself. I was impressed with him. He has so much stature and most of all, charisma.

Then I had lunch with my HR friends from Nokia – Jill and Zenaida – and we had a good old gossip about Nokia. We ate at Mood’s in Majadahonda and it was a lovely girlie lunch.

Friday was my daughter Susana’s birthday which we celebrated in a family fashion: birthday cards, pressies, cake and candles plus a lovely lunch. Then she had a party for her friends in the evening at home.

This weekend was a long bank holiday, thanks to Labour day on 1st May and 2nd May is Madrid’s main holiday.

Monday 1st was my father’s 87th birthday which again we celebrated in a family way. We had a guest in Alberto, Eladio’s old boss. He joined us for the day which was very relaxing and ended with a great walk in the countryside around us.

So, all in all, pretty quiet but speckled with family celebrations.

Photos are of my Father just before his birthday (beautiful blue eyes!), Susi receiving her present and me with Mario Vargas Llosa (and the Rector and the Dean)

That’s all for the moment folks