Sunday, May 17, 2009

A peaceful Sunday afternoon, a time to remember George, reunion with the González-Gálvez family, Spotify, Norway wins the ESC and other things

George and I in the mid to late 70's in Norwich. This is one of the best photos I have of us together.
Hi again

Well the Emma Bridgewater pottery arrived and here I am drinking a cup of tea out of the polka dot mug and writing my blog this sunny Sunday afternoon by the pool with Norah lying at my feet. A peaceful scene indeed! My Father is listening to Lale Anderson, of Lili Marleen fame, on his new music centre in his room downstairs and Eladio is planting more hydrangeas. Olivia will be writing news on as she has to work from 17h to midnight this weekend and Suzy is somewhere with her boyfriend Gaby whilst she should be here studying for her June exams otherwise who knows when she will graduate.

The week was short as Friday was a holiday. However it was intense and I was in the office more than usual this week. I hate going there early in the morning as the traffic is horrible. Last Tuesday I got bored and took a photo to prove it.
Traffic on the way to work. Thank God I don't have to go in every morning.
Wednesday brought with it a telecoms conference where everyone who is anyone was there. Apart from my boss’s presentation, the rest were quite sleep inducing. However it was great seeing Julio, Gonzalo, Pepe, another Gonzalo, and other familiar faces. I realised when I left that we had been stuck in a hotel from 11 in the morning to 5 in the afternoon and it came as a shock when I walked outside to see the sun we had missed all day.

Friday 15th May, San Isidro in Madrid, was a holiday. It was also Eladio’s brother, Isidro’s birthday. But for my Father and I, it was a day to mourn my brother George who died on 15th May 2001. How can you ever forget your only brother, the golden and talented boy I grew up with who, through mental illness, threw away all his talent but never lost his charm? George, what can I say that I haven’t said here before, except that we miss you and that you live on in our hearts?

Friday was a family day where we all ate together and Suzy and Oli’s friend Juli joined us. The next day we were having important visitors so Suzy and I gave Norah her bi monthly bath. You can see how it took place here on Facebook thanks to graphic assistance from Juli. Dear Norah is totally resigned to having a bath but that doesn’t mean she enjoys it bless her.
Norah in the bath, not particularly happy.
Norah would far more have enjoyed being on her daily walk where she can have lovely experiences like greeting the boxer at the top of the hill before we cross the road to the fields.
Norah making friends on the walk.
On Friday too, Eladio and I went to the cinema, this time to see Angels and Demons, the new film with Tom Hanks, based on the book by Dan Brown and of the same genre as his famous first book, The Da Vinci Code. We did enjoy it. It was technically very good. The suspense kept you glued to the screen but it is rather long and also rather far fetched but fun which I suppose is what it’s meant to be.
A scene from Angels and Demons with Tom Hanks.
Finally Saturday came, the big day as we were having important visitors and had to prepare a barbecue for 18. And who where the important visitors you will ask? They were the members of the González Gálvez family who I lived with when I was a student in Madrid 30 years ago as you can read here. We hadn’t seen each other since Gerardo, the Father, died in October 2007 and it was time for a reunion. So thanks to a chance call from Gerardo Junior last week, I made this reunion possible by inviting them all to our home for a barbecue party yesterday.
Gerardo, Irene and Lucía
And what a reunion it was. Gerardo in his big Mercedes van with leather seating and television but no sat nav, finally arrived after 30 minutes instructions on the phone from Eladio, with his brood. His brood was his lovely wife Viki, their 14 and 12 year old daughters, Viki and Lucía and three little ones, Ana aged 8 who did not separate herself from Norah from beginning to end, Gerardo Jr. Jr., the only boy, aged 5 and little Irene aged 3 with whom we all fell in love instantly. Out of the big Mercedes van also came dear Pili, the “Mother”, now aged 70, unhampered by her blindness and determined to have a great day and dear Julieta, her daughter, who despite her special needs, is just as much a part of this lovely family as all the other members.
Ana and Norah, inseparable. That child needs a dog, it's obvious.
Soon afterwards Irene, Gerardo’s sister, arrived with her tall, blonde and blue eyed husband Thomás, the childhood sweetheart she married. They brought with them their two youngest, 5 year old Nacho looking like a cherub from heaven, and Celia, 8, the prettiest and best behaved little girl you could ever imagine.

We had made badges so’s to know who was who as there were so many of us. Eladio cooked the meat on the barbecue with great help and assistance from Viki (thanks!) and the children polished off the bowls of crisps before the meat was ready but then that’s typical of kids. Norah also got good helpings of crisps although that’s not allowed. But then, yesterday was a very special day. They all wanted to see the house and as it’s so big, it was like doing mansion house tours and so we didn’t sit down to eat for ages. We all ate heartily, although, as usual we had made far too much. But then who knows how to calculate for 18?
A great moment during the barbecue reunion.
After lunch we sat round the table talking and talking and remembering my time with this wonderful family. The day passed far too quickly and I know we could have talked on into the night. But if you have small children they need their baths and bed times.
Pili enjoying the reunion barbecue
You could safely say a good time was had by all but more importantly ties were strengthened and we are all determined now to see each other more often. Here is the full set of photos of that lovely reunion which I posted on Facebook yesterday.

We have agreed to repeat the experience in September and for the 3 couples, Gerardo and Viki, Irene and Thomas and Eladio and I, to go out to dinner next month. Amazingly we will be going to Quënco, the place where Eladio and I had our wedding party. We have never been back but apparently they have many times. As the González-Gálvez family was an important part of our wedding, dinner there with them will be special. Watch out for that post.

We spent some time cleaning up after our guests left and were far too tired for a walk. Norah was tired too after playing with the children who found in her a sort of toy to be dragged round the garden. She never complained though! As we couldn’t face barbecue left overs we went to have tapas at Vinoteca in Boadilla.

Soon we were home and in bed and when we turned on the television we were in luck. The voting part of the Eurovision Song Contest had started. And that is by far the best part of the event. Norway won and I think it was this country’s first win ever as I always remember it being at the bottom of the final rankings. And at the bottom of the final ranking just ahead of Finland came Spain. How embarrassing to be last but one. The Norwegian chap, Alexander Rybak, actually of Belorussian origin, sang a lovely song called Fairytale but perhaps what captured the votes most was his cheerful fiddle playing to accompany the song. Well done Norway and well done Alexander.
Alexander Rybak playing the fiddle and singing Fairytale, the song that won the ESC for Norway this year.
Just before I finish and while we’re on the topic of music, I must mention that I am now using Spotify. If you don’t know what it is, you like music and you are not a member, visit its website and try and get a friend to invite you. It is a website with almost all the music you could ever wish for there on your pc and for free. It’s amazing.
Spotify screen shot
And that’s it for this week, except to congratulate the Barcelona Football Club on winning the Spanish Cup (Copa del Rey) as well as the Spanish premiere League this week. It may well do the hat trick and win the Champions League but to do that they have to beat Manchester in the final in Rome this month. Will they or won’t they I wonder.

Hope you have a good week,


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