Sunday, February 01, 2009

History in the making, the Cow Parade, Mt. Everest, Ruth Lorenzo, a make up session, Valkyrie, snow again and planning new excursions.

One of the shots of Suzy from the make over session. Isn't she beautiful?
Hello again,

Another week has passed and once again I am writing my blog to record what’s happened and how it’s been. I print each month’s posts and now have two full files holding the diary of our lives since I started writing in September 2005. I spent some time this week adding labels to the posts on all the different things I write about. They are on the right but at the very bottom. It’s now an important part of my life and one of my weekly tasks is updating it. I can imagine my grandchildren reading excerpts of it one day in the future and it being, hopefully, an important part of the annals of our family history.

History in the making in this week’s title refers not only to my blog but also to Rafa Nadal’s achievement in winning the Australian tennis championship, a first for Spain. To get to the final, only the 4th time a Spaniard had reached it, he had to play another rival from Spain, Verdasco in the semi-finals. Together they also made history by playing the longest match ever in this tournament.

Today he beat Roger Federer who has been the top seed since Rafa started in the circuit at the age of 17. Federer who had hoped to win his 14th Grand Slam today and equal Pete Sampras, could only cry at the end of the match of emotion, defeat and I suspect exhaustion.

Rafa Nadal has now won 6 Grand Slams (4 French Opens (Roland Garros), Wimbledon and now the Australian Open). The only Grand Slam missing now is Flushing Meadows, the US Open in September. If he wins this championship he will make history again and join the select group of only 6 men in the history of tennis to win all 4.

This week has been full of events. I had lunch with my dear Finnish friend Viivi on Wednesday and we went to the restaurant that is fast becoming one of my favourites, Enriich in La Moraleja.

This week brought with it the birth of a wonderful PR project which was actually killed the next day. I had some doubts but others had more, so I didn’t go ahead with it. I think the whole thing affected me quite a lot and kept me awake for a few nights. I always involve myself heart and soul in my work and this kind of thing still keep me awake.

I was in touch this week with Grainne who lives in Barcelona, well rather Badalona. We went to school together (St. Joseph’s College) and Grainne was the older sister of one of my best friends, Brenda. Grainne has been doing some translating for me and I have to say they are some of the best I have seen in all my time in Spain. Hopefully we will meet up in Barcelona when I go to the Mobile World Congress in a couple of weeks.

Amanda also enters my blog this week. I hadn’t heard from her since Christmas and was a little worried as her husband’s company went into administration very recently. So it was good to hear that, despite this set back, they are faring well and even planning a trip to Prague.

On Thursday I went to the annual Nokia press lunch to welcome the New Year and present the year end results. It was held at Oui, a new events venue which is part of the Madrid sports pavilion in Calle Goya. This was the third one I was going to and I quite looked forward to it, despite some of the bad memories this branch of the company in Spain conjures up for me. But I put on my best smile, put all those thoughts out of my mind and enjoyed greeting journalist friends and acquaintances as well as ex colleagues. I sat next to Solange, my successor who was the perfect hostess.

As I left the Nokia lunch, I made a quick foray into the Corté Inglés (Spanish number one department store) and so saw part of the Cow Parade exhibition that is dotting the Spanish capital this month and next. Seeing the cows reminded me of seeing cows in India, the difference, of course, being like night and day. I had heard about the Cow Parade and so was quite interested in taking a look at these artistic and colourful statues.
One of the cows in the Cow Parade in Madrid
This week I got an email from Mr. Lama, our guide in Nepal. He is actually called Jitendra or Jitu but we always called him Mr. Lama. He wanted to know how we were. I wrote back and thanked him for looking after us so well on our trip to the Kathmandu Valley and told him that we would love to return one day to go trekking. He immediately wrote back and suggested we trek to the Everest Base Camp!!! Actually the idea has stayed with me and I have even been looking for graphic information on Sr. Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay’s ascent in 1953 in You Tube and have listened mesmerised to the former’s description of that historic adventure. So you never know, we may well attempt a trekking holiday there one day.

This week I also heard about a young Spanish girl, Ruth Lorenzo, who seems to be making history for Spain in the UK, except that hardly anyone in Spain has heard of her. Ruth, who has an exceptional voice, has just become a finalist of X Factor and according to the interview I heard, cannot walk 20 yards without being asked for an autograph. She became even more famous when the song she sang, Purple Rain, by Prince, was more popular on You Tube than the original version and Prince made You Tube remove it. The whole of the UK rallied to her side and she even received a letter from Gordon Brown. Funny to think that José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero still doesn’t know who she is. Ruth makes true the biblical reference, a prophet is never a prophet in his own home.
Ruth Lorenzo from Murcia Spain, finalist in X Factor
Suzy had another exam this week, “food engineering” and needed some relaxation afterwards. Copi, her childhood friend and neighbour, needed to do some make over photos for her curriculum and so she came round on Thursday evening and joined us for dinner. After dinner the make over session began. Oli joined it when she returned from RTVE late at night (she works from 15h to 22h from Mondays to Fridays on a regular basis) and Copi did a work of art on both my kids. Unfortunately I only have a photo of Suzy for this post and one of her with Copi but none of Olivia.
Copi and Suzy
On Friday Eladio and I went to see the much acclaimed Valkyrie film with Tom Cruise. I suppose there is no need to explain that it was about the famous attempt to assassinate Hitler by the young Colonel Claus von Stauffenberg. There had been 14 previous attempts and this was the last. It was part of a big operation to topple the Reich and actually Valkyrie was the name of the operation designed by the Reich itself in case Hitler died. I saw the 2004 German version this week too and was quite well documented and did not really expect the American version to be much better. Also I just didn’t see Tom Cruise playing the part but I was wrong. It was superb, he was superb and the film was very well made. It’s not up for next week’s Oscars but if it was I’m sure it would garner a statue or so.

After the film we went to La Alpargatería for dinner and Oli joined us. Then, very naughtily, we went to Haagen-Dazs for our dessert.

The weekend has been cold and wet and it even snowed this morning. Thank God it was a Sunday otherwise it would have caused havoc with the traffic tomorrow. Many roads were blocked and villages cut off. It actually only lasted a few hours but was quite beautiful to witness from inside our warm house. We did, however, take our walk just as it was ending and turning into sleet. We always take our walk, come rain or shine. There is no stopping us.
It snowed today
Suzy will be off to London with Gaby not this week but next. Oli, who has very itchy feet, bought tickets to fly to Amsterdam with her friend Miad at the same time. We are also thinking about travelling again. Will it be New York, all 5 of us, will it be Yorkshire in the summer with my Father? Who knows, but meanwhile we have made use of our Parador points and have booked 4 nights at Easter in Cáceres, Guadalupe and Mérida in the Extramadura region. It’s always lovely to have something to look forward to. My Father’s eyes lit up with joy when we told him, as of course, he will be coming with us. He loves to travel with us and to get to know new parts of Spain. He also loves the Paradors and “room service” too!

And that’s about it for this week, except to send birthday greetings to Laura, my niece and Isidro and Yoli’s daughter. She will have been 26 on Thursday. Her sister, Alicia, who is also our god daughter will be 17 tomorrow. Happy birthday to you both girls.

Cheers till next week

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