Sunday, November 15, 2009

A visit from China, a new look, new wine for my collection, Goodbye Miss Fair, and more

Miss Fair at the Centenary gala dinner in May 2008. You made a lasting impression on all of us, may you rest in peace.
Hi again

This time last week we were enjoying Pernille and Thomas’ visit and suddenly it’s Sunday again. The week has been busy but for me marked, sadly and nostalgically, by the unexpected news of the death of Miss Fair from my school, St. Joseph’s College, which I will come to later.

The week was busy indeed. It included all sorts of things. On the home front, the terrace furniture we ordered on internet from a small company in Salamanca, finally arrived. It’s lovely; wicker and white cushions but we won’t be enjoying it till next Summer.
The new terrace furniture which arrived this week.
On the same day the people from the firm we had ordered a swimming pool cover, came to install it. It’s well worth the money as Eladio will no longer have to fish out all the leaves and will keep the water underneath reasonably clean. They told him that it was strong enough to walk on. However I have not yet seen either Norah or the cats daring to do so.
The new swimming pool cover.
You can see the full collection of photos of both the new furniture and the swimming pool cover here.

This week at work I spent a whole morning trapped in a windowless room doing attending the first of a series of what seems to me to be a very mediocre coaching course on the rather old hat concepts of observing and listening. Thankfully Julio and Fátima came to rescue me at lunchtime and we had a great meal together.

This week too we had a visit of a delegation of people from China Mobile. They were here to learn how we do CSR in Yoigo. They are the biggest mobile operator in the world with 500.000 employees and we are obviously one of the smallest with just 84, so it was quite an honour to receive them. Of course they were very Chinese throughout the whole visit except for the end when one of them actually hugged me. I think they liked the way I hosted them. Well I thoroughly enjoyed the visit. Here is the souvenir photo for the records:
The delegation from China Mobile who visited us this week.
The rest of the week was taken up with interviews and more preparations for events I am organising this month and next. I’m quite busy but that’s how I like to be. On Friday afternoon there was time, however, for my girls or rather they had time for me when they came with me to choose a new pair of glasses after last week’s accident. They chose some green and red ones. They should be ready by next weekend when a photo will of course be published on this blog.

The new glasses, together with my recent new hairstyle, should help accentuate the new look, very unusual in me. Perhaps it has something to do with my diet. Yes, it’s slow but working. I have now lost 7.5 kgs. The hairstyle is news as I haven’t changed it for years, just like Nancy Reagan, to quote my “friend” Julio Navío. It’s not a revolution but a small change. The difference is that it is now shorter at the back than at the front which seems to be the latest fashion. Take a look here:
My new hairsytle, short at the back and longer at the front.
The new wine for my collection refers to an order I made for 2 boxes of Real Provisión. It comes from the Ribera del Guadiana in Extremadura from the Dolores Morenas bodega near Badajoz. So why on earth would I want to buy wine from there if the best wine in Spain comes from La Rioja and La Ribera del Duero you might say? We tasted this lovely wine at the Hotel we stayed at in La Parra and loved it. I couldn’t find it in the shops so surfed the web until I finally found the bodega it came from. I now have 22 bottles that have joined my collection which mostly comes from my membership with Vinoselección as well as some purchasing I did whilst in La Rioja in the summer. And by the way, nearly all the wine regions in Spain produce great wine these days, not only the famous ones, like La Rioja.
Real Provisión wine from Ribera del Guadiana, try it, it's superb.
And now I have written about the wine, the moment has come to write goodbye to Miss Fair. It’s terrible, I have googled her and absolutely nothing has come up. So I will have to rely here on my rather shaky memory as I first came into contact with her when I was a young girl at St. Josephs College and only saw her once since I left school which was more than 30 years ago. That was at last year’s centenary anniversary and I’m very glad I had the opportunity to see her there. So who is or was Miss Fair you may ask? I got to hear about her death through an email last week from the school inviting me to a Past Pupils and Staff day and it was in this email I learned that she had passed away. This is what it said:

We will particularly thank God for the life of Miss Marie C Fair who died on October 28th this year. We pray in thanksgiving for her life of dedication to the College and Catholic Education in Bradford and the Diocese of Leeds. Miss Fair was a pupil, member of staff and Headteacher from 1981 to 1992 and was known, loved and revered by countless numbers of pupils and staff whom she served.

Miss Fair was my geography teacher and the teacher that stands out most in my mind in all my memories at St. Joseph’s college Bradford which I attended from 1969 to 1975, my formative years. Indeed I think I am right in saying that this was so for all the girls who were taught by her in all her time at the school. I was not a good pupil I must admit but have gone on to be a supposed “pillar of society” to quote my best friend Amanda who went to school with me and maybe Miss Fair had something to do with this, who knows.

Miss Marie C (wonder what that stands for) Fair, a spinster, academic and blue stocking was unknown to us really. Somehow though she made a great impression on us all and was impossible to forget. I can only guess what was underneath that strict and serious veneer. She had a winey sort of voice and was an excellent teacher, although I do remember her making a terrible mistake with our Geography O’level in that she taught us the wrong syllabus and we nearly all failed. She was not particularly friendly but had a lot of character and we enjoyed sniggering at some of her remarks such as her description of the M62 being a “marvelous feat of engineering”. Andrea Longstaff remembers her for the line: “and remember girls ….. don’t think Bournville is just a bar of chocolate”.
A photo of Miss Fair probably in 1975 at school. She is the dark haired lady who is smoking (oh yes, she smoked, I'd forgotten that!)
Deep down I would have wanted her to like or admire me more but that was not to be. She only had eyes for those of us who went to Oxford or Cambridge, like my friend Amanda and I’m afraid that wasn’t me. I went to Nottingham University, did Spanish and got a 2.1 but that was not enough. And then when she didn’t remember me at first at last year’s centenary, I felt devastated. She did later but didn’t show much interest, when in fact, I had come all the way from Spain for the occasion and the person I most wanted to see was her.
A photo of us with Miss Fair (with the white jacket) at the centenary reunion last year.
The news has left me feeling nostalgic. I heard from “girls” I am in touch with who still live in the Bradford area that she died of bone cancer. I never knew her age, she seemed immortal and was always very fit, but if she retired in 1992 she must have been in her early 80’s.

Miss Fair, may you rest in peace. I wish I had known you better because for some reason I don’t really understand, you were an important part of my formative life. I wish I could have been at your funeral which Catherine Breen thinks you would have approved of as it was a really fitting tribute to you. You will not be forgotten and you will have a place in my memory forever.

And on that sad and nostalgic note, I have come to the end of this week’s post. The weekend has been quiet but today was lovely as both girls were here for lunch. Later on, we will be going for our walk with Roberto and MariCarmen. I will enjoy it as always but Norah will too of course, even more.

Cheers till next week

1 comment:

sumit said...

Lovely post Masha... Miss Fair reminded me of my science teacher. I was her favourite student and felt proud because she was hard to impress. I went on to study Business rather than Science and she was disappointed... I wish to say thank you to her some day when I become something. Cheers!