Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Halloween 2006 and Susi gets dressed up again

Hello again, mid week.

I could not resist taking this picture of Susi on her way out to a Halloween party tonight (it's already 11.45 so I suppose she will be back in the early hours of the morning - oh to be young again and have the stamina!)

Susi has loved dressing up since she was a tiny kid and here she is at 22 still enjoying it.I must say she looks great.

Tomorrow is a holiday - All Saints' Day, so we shall enjoy a bit of a lie in and a relaxed family day together. José will be off to see Oli tomorrow for a long weekend, so I know they will be having a great time.

Bye till next time.


Sunday, October 29, 2006

Shopping with Susi, the ex-Motorola gathering and a relaxing weekend.


Friday I went speed shopping with Susi in Centro Oeste to buy a present for her boyfriend Gaby who is 21 today. The excuse was to buy him a present, but I managed to get in a red jumper from Cortefiel and a white one from Zara. And we also bought ourselves a lovely handbag each from Accesorize. Oli if you are reading this, we will do the same, I promise, when you come back from Falmouth for Christmas.

Meanwhile, 2 ex-colleagues from my Motorola days are organizing what they call the “First Analogue (Etacs) Generation Convention”. About 28 or 30 of the original staff will be meeting on the 16th November for a night out bowling and dining. We have been asked to send old photos for the occasion plus photos of how we look today. I have dug out quite a few out but the one I am most proud of is with Induráin (the five times winner of the Tour of France) where I am giving him a phone (the Flare) made specially for him. He was a guy who never smiled, but there he was smiling beautifully. The photo was taken at least 12 years ago.

This was the recent photo I chose to send in. It was taken in Arzuaga a couple of years ago.
The weekend has been quiet as usual with not much to report. We have been doing the usual, reading the papers, going for our walks and similar stuff I love and which gives me energy for the week coming.
Cheers till next week. M.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Miguel back from London, family gathering

Hello again

One of the highlights of the week was taking my favourite nephew out for lunch. Miguel works in London for City Bank and was here for a week’s holiday. We went to a place called Fast Good, a brilliant place for eating. It is owned by Spain’s top chef, Ferran Adria and it serves simple good quality, gourmet food in the same way fast food chains do. As don’t know anyone well enough at work to go out with yet, it’s where I eat alone the days when I don’t have a lunch engagement.

This weekend we had a lunch for Miguel and his parents, José Antonio (Eladio’s next brother down) and Dolores. Miguel hadn’t seen our new house, so this was the occasion. Just to be simple I made “cocido madrileño” again, my speciality and perfect for a wet Autumn day.

Today will be quiet: reading the newspapers, writing a post for my blog, making the lunch. Then I have to update Oli’s anti-virus programme and buy a ticket for Susi to visit Oli in November. Susi plans to go out on the 8th Nov to the 12th which is a bank holiday. We will be seeing her on the weekend of the 17th November where we will all meet up at Amanda and Andy’s place near London. CANNOT WAIT!

I have a very busy week coming up. Let you know all about it next time.


Sunday, October 15, 2006

Busy again, The Hispanic Bank Holiday, San came for lunch and Henry/Courtenay and Mao Tse Tung!

Hello again,

This week was busy work wise which was quite expected. Tuesday was my first public appearance with the press and I must say it was lovely to see the familiar faces of those I consider my “friends” – Ana, the 2 Antonios, Balta, … It was on the occasion of our first public phone call on the Xfera network, quite a milestone on the way to the commercial launch in December.

Luckily we got a break this week as Thursday was a bank holiday. It was the Pilar (Saint – and there are many in Spain thank goodness!) as well as the Hispanic day when the Spaniards celebrate Columbus discovering America (In 1492 Columbus sailed the ocean blue …). Eladio and I went to the cinema with Roberto and Mari Carmen to see the new film about the Borgia family. It was pretty violent with some quite incestuous scenes but on the whole a good historical film. Afterwards we went to the Alpargatería, as usual, for dinner.

And this weekend we had the joy and privilege of meeting San again. San is the adored Chinese (Manchurian to be correct) son of Mar and Mariano, our journalist friends and neighbours. They work for La Vanguardia where Mariano is the chief editor for Madrid. We hadn’t seen San since last Christmas which is when he was adopted. He was 3 and a bit then and didn’t know any Spanish, of course. He has come along so well, gained 10cm at least and speaks Spanish perfectly. In fact his parents are worried about his forgetting Chinese and yesterday he was taken to the Chinese school in Madrid for his first lesson there. It turned out to be a traumatic experience. San wanted to leave as soon as he saw the place and it was so obvious it reminded him of his orphanage days in China. So from now on he will be having private lessons at home.

We enjoyed lunch together (cocido madrileño plus tiramisu) and a great afternoon with San on the swings and best of all on Susi’s boyfriend Gaby’s motorbike. That was San’s maximum pleasure of the day. Just look at that smile!! In the photo on the table he is flanked by his Mother, Mar, on the left and Gaby on the right.

The funniest bit of the day was when Mariano was talking to my Father about Mao Tse Tung and Mariano was calling him Henry (our cat’s name) instead of Courtenay (his real name). I am still laughing at the memory of it. I had to remind Mariano that my Father’s name was Courtenay. What a laugh!

Cheers till next week my friends

Sunday, October 08, 2006

My first week – just like I’d never been away. Plus Pedro, Ludy and Enrique.


How would I sum it up? Exhausted but happy. The worst thing is the traffic. If I leave at 07.30 in the morning I get to the office at 09.20, nearly 2 hours! However if I work at home during the rush hour which I did on Friday it takes 30 mins.

On Wednesday I travelled to Stockholm for meetings with the Communications people on Thursday and it felt a bit like “going home” to my Nokia days. I rang Anne from the taxi who was in Salo (Finland) and I came back on Finnair so I felt quite at home. I must say though that the Swedes were very hospitable and much warmer than I had imagined. As one Spanish friend said to me: “ well they are a bit nearer the sun”.

I feel as though I have been operative from day one but then that is the only option. The new company is preparing to launch its services at the beginning of December so the preparations are very intense and I had no time to indulge in long inductions. No, I just had to start work which is just how I like to do things. My announcement went out on Thursday morning and I was quite amazed at the reaction from the press; just so positive and warm. They made me feel so welcome back to the “sector”, like I’d never been away.

The week was long and intense so I have been appreciating this weekend more than usual. Friday I took the family out to dinner to celebrate. We went to our usual restaurant where we always feel so at home – La Alpargatería. Oli was very much missed as was José Luis. However José was on his way at the time to Bristol to visit Oli so we knew she was going to be fine.

Picture taken after dinner - a bit dark I'm afraid.
Last night we went out with our dear friends, Pedro, Ludy and Enrique. Stubborn as usual, I insisted we went to La Vaca Argentina where, it turned out, we were not that well treated. We were 15 minutes late and they had taken the table away which meant they wanted to turn us away as the place was soooo full. We finally got a table but it was the lousiest they had. But, anyway, the food was good and it was great to see each other again. For those friends of mine who are reading this and don’t live in Spain, Pedro is actually Pedro Delgado, a pretty famous guy in Spain. He was a professional cyclist and won the Tour of France, Tour of Spain and many other races too. But apart from his sport’s fame, Pedro is what I think is charismatic. He is so sweet and normal that everyone is attracted to his personality. Ludy, his beautiful wife, comes from the same area as Eladio so they have a lot in common. Ludy is the wonderful Mother of 3 small children, including boy twins. So she has a lot on her hands. Enrique is their friend who is fast becoming ours too. Enrique is in the legal profession and got to know Pedro and Ludy through his love of cycling. But actually his love of cycling has had him housebound since the beginning of August when he fell off his bike and had to have his leg operated on and a plastic bone put in (prosthesis).

Today will be spent with the family resting in readiness for the hectic week coming up. On Tuesday I will make my first public appearance with the media which I’m actually really looking forward to.

Cheers till next week


Sunday, October 01, 2006

Elena’s celebration – 50 years of religious life


On Saturday, Eladio and I, as well as José Antonio and Dolores were invited by their cousin Elena to her “Bodas de Oro” which roughly translated, is the celebration of her 50 years devoted to Christ. We don’t see her much but when Eladio was younger, she and her family had quite a lot of influence on his life.

The celebration started off with a mass where Elena renewed her vows as a nun. It was funny to see how none of the nuns present were below the age of 60!! After the mass there was a lunch held in the convent which was actually quite raucous for a nun type event. We even heard shouts of “Viva la Novia” (Long live the Bride)!

The group picture is quite interesting. I hardly know any of the other people but Eladio does. In the middle you can see Elena to the right of Eladio.

I couldn’t resist taking this other picture of Eladio opposite the table to me at lunch. I think you will agree, he looks great in a suit and tie.


The Housewarming party that turned into a celebration dinner.


I had had a dinner party planned for Friday night for a few friends who didn’t make it to the first one. When I signed with Xfera I decided to turn the housewarming party into a celebration dinner. So I promptly doubled the numbers by inviting more friends. In the end we were 16 for dinner. It was the 1st indoor dinner we have had at the new house. We put 2 tables together and, of course, had to use 2 dinner services. One of them was my Grandmother’s which, according to my Father, had not been used in 60 years!!!!

The guests:

It was lovely to welcome darling Jill and her husband Paco. Jill is the HR Manager of Nokia Spain (I always introduce her as the friend who dismissed me from my job) and has become a good friend since I left. But she has also been a bit of an HR coach to me this year. So thanks Jill for your great support. It was also nice to welcome Zenaida and her dishy partner Tapani. Z works with Jill and has also been a great support to me this year. She is pregnant and expecting a little girl quite soon. Ana and Tommy also came as they are always included in our social events. Ana who I got to know in Nokia is the Legal Counsel for HP Spain. She and her amazingly good looking husband Tommy got married last year. Then came the permanent fixtures, Fátima and Julio who are my very best friends. Fátima and I go back a long way and became friends when we first worked for Motorola in the early 90’s. And, at long last, we had the pleasure of the company of my dear (photographer) friend Rafa. Rafa and I also go back a long time and met in my cycling days in the early 90’s. Unfortunately you cannot see how good looking he is, as he took the photo. You might remember him from one of my posts – as the spaghetti monster. Rafa, has a great appetite for food! And then came dear Alexander and Diane. Alex is a friend of Amanda and Andy’s. He works for the same company as Andy – Bertelsmann, is German and is based here in Madrid. We met at A + A’s wedding last year and have finally met up here in Spain. Diane is his lovely girlfriend, who, believe it or not is training to become a brain surgeon!!!

Alex and Diane relaxing after dinner
And, of course, we had the young contingent: Susana, my older daughter, her boyfriend Gaby (who doubled as a waiter that night) and Oli’s boyfriend José Luis. He is part of the family and although Oli is away in England, it seemed right to have him with us on Friday night.

I hope everybody ate well. We prepared home made gazpacho, boeuf strogonof and then a choice between trifle and tiramisu. We also drank quite a lot – or at least I did. For the occasion I opened the last magnum bottle of Quercus!!

The party began to break up at about 2 but Fati, Rafa, Alex and Diane stayed on for a while and Eladio and I ended up going to bed after 4 in the morning.

Needless to stay the next day I was in no good physical state to go to Eladio’s cousin, Elena’s 50 years celebration of religious life. But more about that in another post.

All the best/Masha

And then I got to choose – 2 jobs in one week, from the French to the Swedish!

Hello again,

I think most of you know that I have been looking for a job this year. You will have followed from my blog that my main activities this year were concentrated on selling our old home and buying a new house, amongst many other things. I devoted the time on my hands to my immediate family: we brought my Father from England to live with us – plus all his books and family furniture. Eladio and I had time to travel and took the opportunity to visit Istanbul and Rome in the autumn and the winter. I cooked endlessly, did many domestic chores but also kept up with friends and all in all spent a pleasurable and relaxed year with the family.

But once my personal objectives were achieved, I was itching to go back to work but finding a new job was not an easy task. My age was against me, plus the fact that there are very few Communications posts; just one per company and most of them are filled. Eladio is witness to the fact that I did all in my power to get my name and CV in the market and a good CV it was too, both in packaging and content.

And in the end I had 2 job offers that actually coincided in time. The worst thing was that they didn’t actually come at the same time, so I accepted the 1st one and started work last Monday with a French telecoms company. I worked 4 days only. On Wednesday I went to Paris to get to know the people and just as I walked out of the meeting I had a call from the other company. For the record I had given up on that company and thought they wouldn’t offer me a job which is why I accepted the job with the French!! The other company is Swedish and they are starting up in Spain as a mobile phone operator and will be the 4th operator. From a professional point of view working for this company was a step up in my career. Unfortunately the French company didn’t see it that way and went ballistic!!! In fact they were very rude and put the phone down on me. Their reaction was a bit of a damper but it was not unexpected. I did not, though, feel comfortable as quitting after 4 days is not my style, especially as they had treated me so well and had welcomed me with their arms open.

I have told just a few people, but word has spread and on Friday my mobile phone was jammed with messages from ex colleagues and journalists welcoming me back to the sector. I got the firm offer on Thursday night and agreed to start this Monday coming. So at least I had Friday to relax and celebrate.

One of the nicest messages came from a journalist who wrote: “justice has been done”.