Sunday, June 07, 2009

Not just any Sunday, Federer, remembering my Mother, European elections, exam time, leaving home, Coco Chanel, Magritte and other stuff.

My Mother in the mid 70's during one of the Norwich Russian Courses where she used to come into her element.
Hi again,

It’s Sunday and this time I’m not going to be late with my weekly post. Here I am in the kitchen on my own listening to Charlotte Church (what an angel of a voice and why haven’t I heard of her earlier) singing “Ave María” who I have just discovered on Spotify. Suzy is upstairs studying, Eladio and my Father are probably having a siesta and Oli too. The cats are lying on the best sofas in the lounge whilst Norah is flat out on the mat outside the kitchen as you can see below.

The French championship has just finished as I write and Roger Federer beat Soderling (6-1, 7-6, 6-4), the unseeded Swede who knocked out Nadal, the world’s number one, in the first rounds. This is his 14th grand slam and first Roland Garros, the one championship that had eluded him. This win also makes him theoretically the best tennis player ever. Only Sampras had won 14 grand slams before but they never included the French Open. Roger also joins the elite club of 6 to have won all the grand slams. His obstacle had always been Nadal who has won it now for the last 4 years but with his opponent out, this was Roger’s one chance to win and he did. Well done Roger, you are the greatest now!
Roger Federer happy to have finally garnered the French Open.
Today’s also the Turkish Formula 1 Grand Prix. Incredibly the British driver Jenson Button won again today for the 6th time in a row. Well done Jenson.

Jenson Button celebrating on the podium today in the Turkish GP
It’s not just any Sunday, it is Sunday 7th June which would have been my late Mother’s 89th birthday and it’s a date I can never forget as I can never forget her. She will be more in our minds more than ever today, my fun loving, aristocratic, academic bohemian rebel Mother who was deeply religious yet never went to church and who always voted for the conservatives yet behaved like a liberal.
Mummy unusually well dressed in the lounge at Heaton Grove in 1974.
Talking about voting, today is also the day of the European Elections and we went to vote. I went out of duty more than anything but also voting is something quite social. I had hoped for the 5 of us to together but in the end things didn’t work out. Suzy had to stay behind to study (I think she was too lazy to go!) and Oli was in a rush. So I ended up going with my two men and this was the second time my Father had voted in Spain. I think he quite enjoyed it. From what we heard at lunchtime the percentage of people who had voted, however, was very low, only 24%. Here is a picture of Eladio voting where you can see the queues were very small.

As this was a social outing there was time for a quick “aperitif” with my friend Fátima, her mother and daughter also called Fátima. We had missed her First Communion when we went to Montrondo recently so this was a chance to hear about that. Little Fátima proudly showed us the mobile phone she got from her cousins for the occasion. Fancy being 9 and owning a mobile phone!! She is what is called now a “digital native” and I am only a “digital immigrant”.

Yes it’s exam time and Suzy is supposedly “up to her eyes” in it. In Spain there are three exam periods, February, June and September. Officially a degree is normally done in 5 years but students in Spain are never in a hurry and most take over 6 years. Suzy is into her 7th year and at the age of 25 is in no hurry to leave home either. She hopes to finish in September. Here is a photo I took of her and which hopefully could be the last photo ever of her studying. Could that be true? I have my doubts.

Coincidentally Oli has just done a video news report on the exam period in Spain for the RTVE website and the difficulty in finding a space in the public libraries. Here it is.

All this made me remember my own exam times and I dug out this photo of myself on my Graduation day, July 10th 1980 at Nottingham University. There are more here on Facebook.

Photo of me the day I graduated. That time was the end of my “single days” as just a few weeks later I met Eladio. I look awful as I had just literally spoiled my hair by having a perm which was so in fashion at the time!

I left home when I was 18 and went back after finals for one year and then came to Spain aged 24 and have never gone back except on holiday. Things are different in Spain. “Children” tend to stay on until they marry, except that people marry much later these days. It seems though that Olivia may be leaving home, basically to be nearer work. That came as a bit of a shock this morning and I am still taking it in.

On another note it was good to be home after 3 days in La Rioja on the site inspection trip. I am extremely busy working on the programme for the Yoigo summer party but the weekend is the weekend and so, of course, true to tradition we went to the cinema and out to dinner on Friday. You know what we saw from the headline, Coco before Chanel. And you can imagine where we went to dinner, yes, La Alpargatería and table number 7 of course. Suffice it to say the film was ok with lots of buts.
A scene from Coca avant Chanel.
We are preparing for our trip to England in July and on Friday I spoke to our old neighbour, Susan Wright, and we have fixed dinner with her and her 100 year old mother Marguerite during our stay. We lived at number 6 Heaton Grove and they live at number 5 and have done for more than 50 years!!! I also spoke to my cousin Zuka, my only relative in England and we hope to meet up too.

The artist, Magritte, of similar name, has been in the news this week as a new museum of his work has been opened in Belgium. That caught my attention as I have always liked his work. You must have seen the picture of the man with the apple in his mouth, well that’s by the incredible Magritte but I don’t actually think it’s at the museum.
Probably Magritte's most famous painting. What is it about apples?
A great painting by Magritte, "attempting the impossible".
And that’s it for this week, except to record that yesterday was the 65th anniversary of the D day landing in Normandy. I can hardly imagine that it is 65 years since the end of the Second World War. Both my parents were heavily involved in it and it’s a subject that is part of my life. I hate to think that soon there will be no living survivors.

Cheers till next week. Hope it’s a good one.

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