Sunday, June 06, 2010

News from Brazil, Corpus Christi, goodbye Nesca, sewing, a snake on our walk and other things.

The snake we encountered on our walk this week.
Hi again this very hot Sunday in June. I am writing once again by the pool which we have now put to use for the first time this year. Eladio is having a siesta on a deck chair in the shade and I suspect both my Father and Suzy are doing the same.  Oli is in Brazil and we have just had an aborted phone call because of the dreadful line. She left on Monday and is loving it, apart from the experience on her first day at Copacabana beach when they were engulfed by a wave after only putting their toes in the water. The wave engulfed her handbag too which was carrying one of her new cameras, thankfully the cheaper compact one. Now they are in Salvador Bahía which is 1.600km from Río and took them a 24h bus ride to get to.  Thankfully they are returning by plane.

As I am writing, Rafa Nadal and Robin Soderling of Sweden are competing for this year’s Roland Garros championship in Paris. They are not the best of friends, apparently, and Soderling was the player who ousted Rafa Nadal of the championship last year well before the finals. Rafa who has won this grand slam 4 times in a row is also playing to regain the number one title which he lost last year. I have just checked the score and am happy to see Rafa has the first set under his belt.

Rafa Nadal and Robin Soderling competing for this year's title at Roland Garros.
Last Sunday when I wrote we went out to dinner with our friends Roberto and Mari Carmen who also joined us on our walk. The choice this time was Las Tres Nueces in Boadilla nearby, a cheap and nice little place offering typical Spanish dishes, including one of our favourites, salmorejo, except that they had run out of it. We made do, instead, with gazpacho.

On Monday I discovered a new talent. I had to update our corporate video and as Oli who had done it last year was away, I decided to do the voice-over in English my-self. That was possibly a bit daring as I have never done a voice over before and don’t particularly like my own voice. I have to admit however that it is very clear and my pronunciation is what my Father used to call “BBC English”. Also I am passionate about the subject so knew I would put some life into the text. And lo and behold I read the whole text through without a mistake and only repeated a few paragraphs to perfect the diction. The studio people were amazed and I laughingly offered my services to do any voice-overs they may need in English in the future. I was rather pleased with myself as I had no idea I could be good at it and happy to have discovered a new talent.

Tuesday brought with it lunch with my ex Nokia women colleagues, Ana, Zenaida and Jill. We met at Heron City near HP where Ana is a legal counsel and had lunch at a Basque place called Imanol. Everyone was looking good and once we had caught up on each others’ lives, our conversation turned naturally to our other ex Nokia colleagues and what they were up to. I was later to be reminded by Juana that we should have invited her too which made me feel dreadful. Of course she will be joining us next time.  Sorry Juana.

This week was a shorter working week as Thursday was a bank holiday in many parts of Spain to celebrate Corpus Christi. We didn’t actually celebrate it; the honouring of the Eucharist, but certainly partook of a lovely family lunch together. In the evening, Eladio and I had dinner at La Vaca Argentina in Las Rozas and enjoyed what we consider to be the best beef in town.

During the week we had some bad news I’m afraid. Eladio got a call from his sister Pili to tell us that Miguel’s vivacious, enthusiastic and adorable little puppy, Nesca, had died on the mountains in Montrondo whilst out walking with Miguel. She became very ill suddenly with foam frothing from her mouth and died half an hour later. The only conclusion is that she must have eaten poison in the traps for foxes and moles placed by some of the villagers. It is certainly a lesson to learn that if we ever take Norah with us she will have to go on a lead. All I can say is goodbye little Nesca. You will be missed but mostly by your companion puppy Nuba who will not know why you are no longer there. R.I.P.

Dear little Nesca who lost her life this week in Montrondo after eating fox and mole poison.  R.I.P.
Of note this week, I was proud to take a load of summer clothes to be taken in, yes, made smaller, to a seamstress in Villaviciosa. On the other hand, yesterday Eladio and I went clothes shopping for him; something highly unusual. This week coming up he will be invigilating University exams again and I was looking at the content of his wardrobe to dig out some decent summer trousers. Most of them turned out to have stains caused by bleach, something that happens far too often. So off we went yesterday to our local shopping centre, Centro Oeste in Majadahonda. We were going to go to various places but ended up buying everything at Massimo Dutti which is actually Zara’s upmarket brand. They had some lovely stuff and we came home with 4 pairs of trousers, various linen shirts as well as a pair of fashionable blue shoes and a new belt. And this morning Eladio turned his hand to sewing as he took up all the hems. As I watched him I wondered just what he cannot turn his hand to; this man of many wonders who never ceases to amaze me after all these years together.

Perhaps the most interesting thing that happened this week was our encounter with a snake on our walk yesterday. Norah was very cautious as she went near enough just to smell it. Every now and again, always in the summer, we come across them. Eladio, who knows, of course, being a “village boy”, assured me it was not poisonous and that it was just a grass snake. In our ensuing conversation about snakes on our walk, I once again pointed out that in Spanish there are two words for snakes (culebra meaning a non poisonous snake and serpiente meaning a poisonous one) whereas in English they are all called snakes. Be that as it may, I was very glad to have someone with me who knew the difference when looking at either.

On the news front lots of things have happened. This was the week an English taxi driver from Cumbria called Derrick Bird went berserk and killed 12 people, including his own twin brother.

This was the week a Free Gaza flotilla was attacked by Israeli forces in international waters. The flotilla was coming from Turkey to bring aid to attempt to break the blockade on the Hamas-controlled enclave, the Gaza Strip as it is called. 19 people were killed in the attack. This caused outrage from around the world.

The Free Gaza Flotilla
This was also the week Hungary's government warned that its economy is in crisis and that its debts, higher than had been thought, are spiraling out of control. Hungary is not one of the euro countries but belongs to the EU and so will undoubtedly have an effect on its fellow members, specially the so called PIGS (Portugal, Ireland (or Italy), Greece and Spain. Meanwhile Spain’s Premiere Zapatero hastened to tell the members of the semi secret organization, Club Bilderberg, who met in Sitges in Spain this week that Spain was on the road to financial recovery thanks to recent and programmed cuts. There were rumours that the Club was advocating for the PIGS to leave the European Union until their economies were in a better shape so I hope Zapatero’s words have not fallen on deaf ears.

And that, my friends, is the end of this week’s blog post. Next week will be a bit lonely for me as Eladio will be invigilating all week. Suzy will be studying for her last ever exam on 14th June and Oli will still be in Brazil. Daddy, my Father, or Grandpa as he is known at home, will have a respite from the extreme heat which has reached over 30ºc or 90ºF this week as the forecast for next week predicts much lower temperatures.

Until next week, cheers to you all

PS.  Just after publishing this post, Rafa Nadal won the Roland Garros Tournament, his 5th win here, beating Robin Soderling 6-4, 6-2,6-4 and has now regained the number position in the world ranking.  Well done Rafa!

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