Sunday, June 13, 2010

Remembering my Mother on her birthday, Oli continues in Brazil, launch of the iPhone4, Suzy’s last week of studying, the World Cup kicked off in South Africa and other things.

Zakumi, the mascot for the World Cup 2010 hosted by South Africa
  Hi again

Last time I wrote we were in the middle of a heat wave and then suddenly the weather took a turn for the worse and we have gone back to rain and cool temperatures again. It doesn’t look good either for the week coming up as you can see in this shot from Juli’s iPhone. We had just got used to extreme heat, bathing in our pool, late night walks and air conditioning on at night and now we are back to central heating and winter pyjamas! The forecast is for rain until Thursday next week. I hope the good weather will be back by Saturday for the barbecue we have planned for Gerardo and family.
The depressing weather forecast for this week.
The weather affected an event I organised this week. We were to celebrate our Blogger summer party (those young online techies who write about Yoigo and mobile phones) outside on the lawn in the car park but had to go inside and make do with our wonderful new cafeteria. To get people into the spirit of summer, even though it was cold and wet outside, we kitted them all out with Hawaiian party gear. You can see me all dressed up for the occasion here. It certainly broke the ice and the party was a great success.

Me in the Hawaiian gear we kitted everyone out in at the blogger party this week.
The week though began with sun and Monday 7th June would have been my dear Mother’s 90th birthday as my Father reminded me. Of course she is often in my mind but there are two dates when I remember her specially: the day she died on 1st October and her birthday. She was not a great one for organising birthdays but loved to receive a card and chocolates and blow the candles on her cake. She once told me the story of her birthday in the early 50’s in England when she was a refugee and earning a pittance. I think it may well have been the year her beloved Father, Andrei Lieven, died. She had last seen him in the early 40’s when she left Bulgaria for Germany during the war, to escape the Russians, of course. She never saw him again and was alone in London when he died which saddened her enormously. It was her birthday but she was so upset and so alone that she only remembered it in the evening and promptly decided to buy presents for herself to cheer up as there was no one in London who would be giving her any. Luckily she went on to have a happy life with my Father and her children in a country which she admired and loved and which eventually became her own.
My Mother with my Father on New Year's day in 1974.  My Mother is still sadly missed.
Mummy won’t know but on Monday 7th June Apple launched its new iPhone4, with great razmataz at an event for developers in Los Angeles. Steve Jobbs took the stage and the world watched as he unveiled Apple’s latest gadget. From what I can see it’s an improved version of the current iPhone3GS with an amazing display, the ability to multitask which you can’t do now, a better camera and also an inbuilt camera for video calling which actually has never taken off. It’s also much thinner. It will be out in July and there will be huge demand as there is for any product made by this company which I think makes the best mobile phones in the world. At the blogger Party I was able to try out the iPad, the amazing internet tablet Apple launched recently. I would love to have both the iPad and the new iPhone4 but will have to wait.

The new iPhone4, unveiled on 7th June in Los Angeles.  Of course I want one!
Neither Suzy nor Oli will have been much aware about the iPhone launch. Oli is still in Brazil and we are looking forward to seeing her again tomorrow. We haven’t had as much contact as I would have liked but thanks to photos posted by her friend Laura I have been able to follow her adventures. We spoke briefly at the beginning of the week and it was a sorry Oli I spoke to as she had a bad cold and had been bitten alive by nasty mosquitoes in some remote seaside village 2 hours north of Salvador. She had been bitten everywhere but the nastiest bite was on her eye and one morning she woke up to find it all swollen and was hardly able to see out of it. I urged her to go to a doctor but don’t know whether she did. A few days later Suzy heard that she was better and she certainly looks ok in this photo of her with Laura and Cristina.

Oli far right next to Cristina in the middle and Laura on the left in Brazil this week.
Suzy meanwhile has spent literally the whole week studying for the last exam of her degree which is in Food Technology tomorrow morning. If only she had studied as hard during the years instead of always leaving the revising until the very end. It’s like betting; you may win, you may not and often she has not which is why it has taken her so long to finish her degree. Anyway I wish her loads of luck because if she doesn’t pass tomorrow she will have to re-sit in September which means studying all through August once again. So, keep your fingers crossed for tomorrow my friends.

Eladio, meanwhile, was actually invigilating University (UNED) exams all week. On Friday he told me he had caught one of his pupils cheating but decided to look the other way to avoid the huge fuss it would cause. He told me that one young woman had been caught cheating (she was in her final year of law) and the penalty was to repeat a whole year. The poor woman fainted and had to be carried out by two of the invigilators. You may remember last week I said we went out to buy him lots of new clothes. Well here he is one morning in some of the new stuff looking great and ready to leave for his invigilating. It was a tough week for him as the hours were long, from 8.30 am to 8.30 pm.

Eladio in his new clothes, ready to go and invigilate UNED University exams this week.
On Friday we went out to dinner with my celebrity and charismatic cycling friend, Pedro Delgado, and his lovely wife Ludi who reminds me more and more of Sarah Jessica Parker. Ludi loves Sex in the City so I hope she found this a compliment. Pedro Delgado who was 50 this year and won the Tour of France in 1988 and two Tours of Spain is still a legend in Spain and when the waiter and chef came to ask him for an autograph I felt proud to be his friend. We went to Filo where I had hoped we could have dinner on the terrace outside but the bad weather forced me inside again for the second time this week. Filo turned out to be a bad choice as it was so noisy I could hardly hear what my friends were saying.
My dear friend, the charismatic celebrity cyclist, Pedro Delgado who is a legend in Spain.
And this was the week the 2010 Football World Cup kicked off in South Africa. The World Cup is a breath of fresh air for people who are fed up with the crisis and it’s a time to fly the colours of your country as I did here with a fun application on Facebook.

Me flying the colours of England who actually got off to a bad start at the World Cup.
I learned two lovely new words at the start of this year’s edition. One is the word Bafana which is a term of endearment in Afrikaans and means “the boys” but actually refers to the South Africa national football team often called Bafana Bafana. The other word is ‘Zakumi', the Fifa World Cup 2010 mascot. I read it is a composition of ‘ZA' standing for South Africa and ‘kumi', which translates into ‘10' in various languages across Africa. Of course it includes the colours of the country’s flag. I thought if fit for Zakumi to be the photo to illustrate this week’s blog post, the week the World Cup started in South Africa and the first time the event has been hosted on the African continent.

The whole world has been enjoying the start of the World Cup but it has brought only bad news for two men. Nelson Mandela, the former first black president, Nobel peace prize winner and prisoner for his fight against apartheid, is the symbol of the new South Africa. Very sadly for him and his family, his 13 year old great-granddaughter, Zenani, was killed in a car accident while returning from the World Cup kick-off concert. The much beloved frail 91 year old Nelson Mandela has not been seen since at the event and is probably mourning this terrible loss in the privacy of his home. He will be much missed.

Nelson Mandela and his 13 year old great granddaughter Zenani who was sadly killed in a drink and drive accident when returning from the World Cup kick-off concert.
The other sad man is Robert Green, England’s goalkeeper who made a terrible mistake in yesterday’s opening match against the USA which should have been an easy win for England. England was winning 1-0 when just before the end Green fumbled with the ball which entered the goal area and instead of easily stopping it he let it bobble out of his grasp. The missed ball cost his country a winning World Cup start. The poor chap (actually the goalkeeper for Westham) is now being called “Calamity Green” and reminds me of Beckham being given a red card in the famous match against Argentina in a previous world cup; something it took him years to live down. Let’s just hope England does better against the other rivals of its group (Slovenia and Algeria). Meanwhile Spain has yet to play its opening match which will be against Switzerland on June 16th. That should be a write-off for Spain but in the World Cup anything can happen.
Robert Green, England's goalkeeper who couldn't stop the ball entering the goal area in the opening match vs USA
And that brings me to the end of this week’s blog. The week ahead looks interesting. I will be going to Barcelona on Tuesday until Friday to attend a conference called “News in a Digital World – the impact on corporate communications and media evaluation”. I signed up for it months ago and now do not feel as enthusiastic. Well, you’ll know how it went when I write next week. Hope it’s inspiring and interesting.

Till then my friends, goodbye.


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