Sunday, March 08, 2009

An uneventful week, news from a distant relative in New Zealand, discovering Boadilla and a weekend without my laptop.

The Palace of Boadilla.
Hi again

Well we are now at the end of the first week of March and luckily the good weather made an entry this weekend. The week was freezing with blustery winds and we thought the winter would never end. However things brightened and this weekend has been lovely.

As I said in the title, the week has been uneventful in that nothing special happened. I had lunch one day with my best friends Julio and Fátima to belatedly celebrate my birthday. Thanks guys for the lovely necklace and ear rings, as well as the good gossip together. I do miss working with you!!

I’m not quite sure which day it was but early in the week I got an email out of the blue from an unknown distant cousin in New Zealand! Julio thought that was quite fascinating and once again encouraged me to write a book (I will my dear but probably when I retire). I must write back to Tanya. She found me on the Lieven page of Wikipedia where I had left a comment asking for the authors to get in touch with me as I wanted to find out more about my Mother’s Russian aristocratic family, the Lievens. Apparently Tanya’s grandfather, a Lieven Prince, left Russia in 1917 and escaped to Australia. I must find out which Lieven he is and how he was related to my Mother’s Father. I have yet to write back so more on that in a later post. I supposed it is quite fascinating to discover you have a cousin in the antipodes whose descendents also went into exile thanks to the Bolshevik revolution. So actually my week was not quite as uneventful as my title promises.

The highlight of this week for me was my visit to the Spanish Ministry of the Interior. I went there on Wednesday morning for the presentation of the new campaign for prepaid card users to be identified. The presentation was made by the Minister himself, Alfredo Pérez Rubalcaba , a politician who has been in and out of government posts since Felipe Gonzalez’s days in the mid 80’s. He’s a true survivor and whether you like him or not, a very clever man. It was interesting to see him live and the best part, at least for the journalist in me, was when the media asked him questions on issues other than the new campaign, such as his views on the election results in the Basque Country or the problems of immigrants coming illegally into Spain on make shift boats via the Canary Islands. His answers were very “political” in that he didn’t seem to answer any but just played with words which sounded clever. He would not take the bait on the Basque question for example.
Alfredo Pérez Rubalcaba, the Minister of the Interior.
And, yes this week we have local elections in Galicia and in the Basque Country. The latter had a very surprising result as the socialists won enough votes to govern there, although they will be needing the support of their arch enemies, the right wing Partido Popular. They have ousted the pro independent party, “PNV” who have been in power for decades and who are suspected of supporting the Basque terrorist movement, ETA. So change has come to the Basque Country and has brought much hope with it for many people.

The weekend too has been uneventful but full of activity. We have been living in or around Boadilla del Monte, a small country town on the outskirts of Madrid, for 20 years now. We knew of its famous forest or wood but had hardly ever walked there. Suzy and I decided to go for a walk there during the week and so I returned with Eladio on Friday and Saturday, so lovely did I find the walks. I say walks, rather than walk, as there are many paths and we have now got lost twice.
The Boadilla forest - El Bosque de Boadilla, what a magical place.
To get there we parked near the Palace which is Boadilla’s main landmark. It is a beautiful building built in the 18th century by the Spanish architect Ventura Rodríguez for Philip V’s son, the Infante Don Luis. Unfortunately today it has gone to seed and needs serious renovation. What has been renovated though is the esplanade in front of it which we discovered too was nearly finished. We also discovered a new restaurant right in front of the Palace to which Eladio and I went on Friday night and I must say it was good and a nice change from La Vaca Argentina or La Alpargateria. It hasn't got a website yet as it only opened a week or so ago and is called El Palacio Restaurante Asador. So, yes, we have sort of rediscovered Boadilla this weekend.

I have had more time to do so perhaps because I have been without my laptop this weekend. Unfortunately it developed a nasty virus on Thursday and is in the “sick bay” at work. Leaving it behind on Friday was like leaving my baby behind. I somehow don’t know how to live without it or without internet. Right now I am writing from Eladio’s computer, so I’m not quite without Internet.

My other baby, of course, is Nora. Nora got her third vaccination on Saturday and since then is no longer living in the kitchen. I think we are all thankful for that, including her as she now has the whole garden to play in. Of course, as the weather was better she is thoroughly enjoying her new adventure. Spring is definitely on its way to judge too by the blossom on the trees.

Talking about blossom, we went to see the new German film by Dorris Dorrie, Cherry Blossoms. It’s a story of a long married couple whose children have grown up and moved away. They seem to have no time for their parents in their busy lives. When Trudi dies, her husband Rudi visits their son in Japan, the country she always wanted to go to. Here he witnesses the cherry blossom festival and the film ends with a pilgrimage to the snow topped Mount Fuji. The film is about love, time and death but somehow doesn’t convince me although parts of it are very moving.
A scene from the film Cherry Blossoms
And that’s about it for this week really, except to mention that I have now fully booked our Summer holiday to Yorkshire in July including the flights, the hotels and the car. We will be staying in Haworth and Robin Hood’s Bay and hopefully will be joined by Amanda and Andy. No doubt we will be visiting our favourite haunts such as Ilkley, Harrogate, Bolton Abbey, the Yorkshire Dales and of course the Yorkshire coast around Whitby. We will of course be visiting our old house and our neighbours as well as my Mother’s grave which I know will be hard for my Father specially. On the bright side I am really looking forward to the cliff walk between Robin Hood’s Bay and Whitby amongst other things. So now we have something lovely to look forward to.

Cheers till next week.

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