Sunday, September 14, 2008

“Pigs”, a battle with a castle, a visit from Alberto, goodbye Julian, another TV chat show and other things.

Pigs in muck!
Hi again

You may wonder why I have the word “Pigs” in my headline. It’s all because the Financial Times published an article last week in the prestigious Lex column called “Pigs in Muck”. Pigs is apparently Portugal, Italy Greece and Spain and the article refers to the financial crisis these countries are facing. I call this a chauvinist British attitude to the Mediterranean countries in Europe and this attitude really gets me as a Brit living "on the continent". It was good to see the Spanish Association of Communications Directors (Dircom) send a letter in protest which amongst other things pointed out that the Brits who come to Spain on holiday hardly feel they are stuck in muck! The FT published it but never made an apology, of course. You can read more about the issue here.

The “battle with a castle” refers to a fight I’ve had with a hotel in Salamanca called Castillo de Buen Amor (Castle of good love!). Upon recommendation from a friend, I made a booking in June for the night of our 25th wedding anniversary. Later I decided we’d be going to Amsterdam instead so called the hotel to cancel. Obviously the message didn’t get through as the hotel later charged my visa card. The battle turned out to be their word against mine as there was nothing in writing. On the phone, in phone call number 4 or 5 they accused me of never having rung to cancel but of course I rang as I am not the sort of person to cancel and not warn in advance. After writing a scathing e-mail and conversation number 5 or 6, it seems I will be reimbursed. I for one will not ever be going to stay at the Castle of Good Love! If you do, learn my lesson, do everything in writing!

Perhaps the main activity to note this week was the visit of Alberto, Olga and Alberto’s kids, Clara, Alvaro and Nes (Inés) for lunch last Sunday. Alberto was Eladio’s boss when he worked for the Ministry of Education. He and Olga are expecting a baby in March and you can practically see the happiness on their faces. It was lovely to have them and finally to meet the children.
Alberto, Olga and the kids, L-R, Clara, Alvaro and Inés (Nes)
Alberto, Alvaro and Inés (Nes)taking a bathe which may well be the last bathe of the summer in our pool.
There was also a fiesta (bank holiday) this week as Tuesday was a non working day. It was good to get some quality family time together and I made a typical Spanish “cocido”. In the evening Eladio and I went out to dinner to Mood and Oli accidentally joined us. Time with her is specially important as she is usually so busy.

Eladio and Joe relaxing in the afternon sun on Tuesday which was a "fiesta"
We went to the cinema last night to see a Spanish film called La Conjura de El Escorial, a thriller where power and death meet in the court of Phillip II. It was very well made and worth going to see if you like historical films and can stand some gorey scenes. Afterwards we went for dinner to La Alpargatería. There have been far too many lunches and dinners this summer and my diet will just have to start soon otherwise I will not fit into my winter clothes. Oh how I hate this subject and all it entails!. And oh dear, we have a dinner engagement with Roberto and Mari Carmen at De María in Majadahonda tonight.

This week I also met up with Elena again. She’s doing fine and now that the summer is over we will continue to meet once a month. Morale support it a great curer of all sorts of ails so I hope I am doing some good.

I am still on my crusade to gain more connections on LinkedIn. I now have over 225. I have found some people I had really lost touch with, such as Beth Sharples. I had also hoped to find someone called Julian Long, head of PR for the Motorola Infrastructure division in Europe in the 90’s and whom I had last seen in Cannes 3 or 4 years ago. It was Beth who told me this week that Julian was no longer with us. I don’t know what happened to him as Beth hasn’t told me yet but I was very shocked. Julian was one of these Carpe Diem people like me who enjoyed life and put in as much as he go out of it. I am sure he must be sorely missed by all around him. So I lost a person on LinkedIn too!

Last week I got a call from a journalist I don’t know from the Intereconomía radio and TV channel with whom I already collaborate by taking part in the chat show called Ventana al Exterior. This one, called “El balance” is for people from the media world to discuss the week’s news and issues. They want me to take part twice a month on Thursdays, live at 8 pm. I said “yes” but now I’ve got cold feet. Judging by the names of the possible other candidates the level of participation seems pretty senior and I’m not sure that the subject material is close enough to my heart to really want to go. So I’m debating ringing and chickening out.

Next week will bring with it a party organised by Dircom to celebrate their 15th anniversary. It’s going to be quite a gala event judging by the dress code on the invitation and the attendance of people of the level of Emilio Botin (owner of the Bank of Santander) and Margarita Salas amongst others

It will also bring with it a short trip to Bilbao. I have a small event taking place there on Thursday which I have to oversee. Luckily Eladio will be joining me for both.

Just before I end I must send birthday greetings to Paloma and to Amanda whose birthdays it was on Saturday. I mustn't forget Grainne either whose birthday it was on Thursday or Kike whose birthday it is today. Happy birthday to you all from these pages.

Cheers till next week

No comments: