Sunday, August 01, 2010

Out of action, bullfighting, the Montrondo annual family gathering, Once Upon a Time in India, queues for the iPhone 4 and other things.

Me on cruthces, not a good combination.
Hi my friends

Here I am writing this week’s blog post from my bed, my new living headquarters since I fell last Wednesday and injured my ankle.  I have all the things I need around me to continue my new stationery  life; my 2 mobile phones, my pc (the centre of my life), my books, the new 42” screen television, a pile of dvds (mostly the Bollywood ones Sandeep and Sumit had brought me)  and most important of all the air conditioning.

So what happened you will ask, if you haven’t already found out from my Facebook?  The week started out fine.  I was pretty busy work wise and went in on Tuesday for meetings.  Wednesday was the fatal day which started off with a visit to the dentist to replace my broken crown.  Before I went home I wanted to visit the pet shop to get a special collar for Norah.  There I bumped into Eladio and my Father and we had a nice cup of coffee together. I should have gone straight home afterwards but decided to drop in quickly to Caprabo (a local supermarket) to buy some boxes of up market Kleenex tissues that you can only get there.  And that was my downfall so to speak.  The boxes were too high for me to reach so I climbed onto the bottom shelf to get them from there.  I lost my balance, slipped and fell backwards, twisting my ankle and hitting my head.  I had to shout to get someone to come to the rescue.  People were very helpful and they sat me on a chair for a while.  Nothing hurt so I said I was fine and would be on my way.  I hobbled to the cash desk and it was then I realised I just couldn’t walk and that the pressure on my left foot made me see the stars.  Of course I rang Eladio (who else?) and he soon came with Suzy who took my car home whilst he drove me to the local hospital, Clínica Montepríncipe. 

I had to be taken in on a wheel chair but was quickly attended to and x-rays taken of my ankle and my head.  I was certain it was going to be a small sprain but unfortunately it turned out to be a bit more serious.  The internal malleolus bone had come away from the tendon.  It was not fractured or displaced but if I moved it was in danger of becoming so.  The doctor put an enormous pressure bandage round both the ankle and my leg and said he hadn’t put it in plaster because of the heat, thank goodness.  He prescribed 10 days of immobilisation with my foot up and a further 3 or 4 weeks of moving as little as possible.

The pressure bandage on my leg.  The doctor told me to remove the nail varnish but as my friends on FB think it's sexy I have decided not to heed the doctor's words.

As I listened to his words incredulously, I suddenly realised what they all meant: my holiday in Montrondo and Santa Pola would now have to be cancelled, no more daily walks or swimming.  How was I going to wash, have meals, or do the simplest things?  I also had an important meeting at the office on the Friday which I could not cancel and worst of all how was I going to bear the immobilisation being such an active person.

My Facebook friends cheered me up enormously.  Eladio brought me some crutches which I found very difficult to use but at least I could hobble with them to the table for meals and I devised a way of going up and down the stairs.  It was Suzy’s idea to do so on my behind and I must say it works perfectly.  Unfortunately I wasn't so good on the crutches as I fell off them on Thursday morning and had to go back to the hospital because of the huge bump I got on my head because of the fall.  Thank goodness it wasn't serious but since the fall I have been reluctant to use the crutches!

I took the opportunity to rest and watched some films, including a 1954 British war film called Purple Rain with my favourite actor, Gregory Peck.  Watching him I thought he was perhaps the handsomest man to ever walk on this earth.  When I wrote that on Facebook, I got a comment from a friend saying what about Paul Newman to which I replied I like my men dark, like Gregory Peck and of course my husband. 

Sumit and Sandeep had brought us lots of Bollywood films and had highly recommended one called Lagaan, Once Upon a Time in India, a 4 hour epic film to quote them.  And it was great, a spectacle of colour and music with a great plot.  The main story is how some poor villagers have to play English officers at cricket and that if they win they will be released of paying the Lagaan tax for 3 years.  I loved it but if we had known at least the rudiments of cricket we would have understood more.  Of course I know all the terms: batting and bowling, inns, runs, a century, wicket, etc from having being brought up in England but that’s about where my knowledge ends. 

Wonderful 4 hour epic Bollywood film
 I have also been watching a lot of television, mostly the news programmes.  The biggest piece of news in Spain this week has been the abolition of bullfighting in Catalonia on the grounds that it is cruel and outdated.  Critics in Madrid and elsewhere claim the ban has little to do with animal rights and more to do with asserting political independence from Spain's capital.   Be that as it may, I personally think that bullfighting is terribly cruel.  I see it as a similar sort of spectacle to the Roman gladiators which is just not admissible in these times.  This is a big issue in Spain as many people make their living from bullfighting and banning it for example in Andalucía where people live and breathe the sport seems impossible today.  However the Catalans, as the Canary people before them, have paved the way for an eventual end to this stupid cruelty which fewer and fewer Spaniards relate to and which has become more of a tourist attraction. 

Bullfigthing was banned in Catalonia this week.  Hopefully this will be the beginning of the end of this cruel spectacle.

This was the week the new and much acclaimed iPhone 4 was launched in the Spanish market.  The launch comes after the “antennagate” issue where there have been complaints about the reception and coverage of the device.  Amazingly enough Steve Jobbs (Apple’s CEO) admitted to the failure and has offered customers free plastic cases which he says should put an end to the issue.  Apple is so popular, consumers still want the device despite the problem and this week when it was launched on the Spanish market there were apparently huge queues of people anxious to buy Apple’s latest little miracle device.  I was a little skeptical about the queues and you will wonder why.  When I worked with Nokia I did the PR in Spain when their famous games phone, the NGage.  We created a lot of hype around its launch and one of the things we did was to hire a queue.  That was when I found out how these things work.  The agency we hired the queue from admitted they also hired out queues to the Spanish department store, El Corte Inglés on their first sales day in January.  So now you understand why I was skeptical about the queues reported for the iPhone 4 launch in Spain this week. 

Don't always believe launch queues as they are often hired as a marketing gimmick.

Apart from watching the TV, I was also blessed with the visit of my dear friend Fátima and lots of phone calls and messages from my many friends and contacts which I much appreciate. My life suddenly turned upside down and plans went out of the window.  However as I am very positive cheerful sort of person I refused to get depressed and decided to just get on with life as best I could.  I also decided to join the Friday meeting which actually will be held tomorrow, Monday, on the phone.  Santa Pola of course was cancelled but Montrondo was another issue.  It was the annual family gathering on Saturday and I just had to be there. Eladio suggested going and returning in the day and that’s what we did. 

So off we went yesterday, Eladio, my Father, Oli and I.  Suzy had gone on Friday.  My accident also affected dear Norah who we had planned to take but now as we were only going for one day we didn’t want to subject her to 8 hours in the car (4 there and 4 back).  Oli and I sat in the back and I helped her get up to date with her new N97 which I had already sussed out.  I was also listening to Spotify on my newly restored iPhone and I mentioned to Oli that a car trip just wouldn’t be the same with our mobile phones which can be used like toys when you are bored. 

My injured ankle did not stop us visiting El Palacio de Bornos in Rueda for a plate of ham and fresh white local wine.  Here is a picture to illustrate the event which is always a pleasure and has become something of a tradition on our trips to León.  We also took the opportunity to stock up with some nice Valbuena magnum bottle wines for the family lunch and which tasted just great.  I learned later that Valbuena is Vega Sicilia’s second wine.

We stopped off at Palacio de Bornos in Rueda for ham and wine on our way to Montrondo, as we always do.
After a stop off at Murias to pay for the rooms we had cancelled at my Father’s hostal, the lovely Holandés Errante, we arrived in Montrondo at around 13h.  The older generation were all at mass to celebrate Santa Marta, the patron saint of the village, but all the young people were in the corral (the central part of the house and grounds) and we got a great welcome, especially me because of my bandaged leg.  Soon the older generation were back and hellos and welcomes and kisses and hugs were in order and which can take some time when 26 people or so get together.  My Father, the oldest person there at 91 was made very welcome too.  Between us all we represented all the ages as the youngest was Noa, Alvaro’s baby daughter, who was born in March.

Olivia with baby Noa this weekend in Montrondo.
Lunch had been lovingly prepared by my sister-in-law, Pili, Dolores, Adela and Yoli in the renovated old stables which we call “la cuadra” and the menu was the same as every year: cold cuts (jamón and cecina mostly), potato salad, and a whole roasted lamb which had been baked in a local bread oven (delicious!) with salad, all accompanied by our Valbuena wine.  Desert was Adela’s typical Montrondo cake made of biscuits, chocolate, butter and crushed almonds and which is a sort of desert bomb we all eat just once a year. 

Before lunch, though, I had a surprise for everyone.  I had brought Hawaiian paper outfits for the occasion, each containing a skirt, some fun sunglasses and the typical coloured garlands.  The corral was mayhem for a while and filled with laughter and colour as you can see from this short video.  As I was unable to move I couldn’t take many photos, but here is a good one of the 4 of us in Hawaiian dress to remember the occasion.

The 4 of us in Hawaiian dress at the annual gathering in Montrondo on Saturday.
After such a copious lunch everyone had a siesta and I lay on a sun bed in the corral with my foot up unable to negotiate the steep steps to our bedroom.  We left at about 8 pm and were home just past midnight.  The drive was long and difficult for all of us after such an intense day.  In the end I was glad we came home because I would not have been comfortable in Montrondo.  It was good at least though that we were there for wonderful annual family event.  You can see some more photos of the day here on Facebook.

And now I’ve come to the end of the week, to the end of this week’s blog post.  Today Sunday, on our own, has been very quiet.  I have hardly moved out of my room although I can definitely hobble around a bit better now.  One nice interruption was when Eladio came up with darling Norah for her fortnightly bathe in our Jacuzzi bath (without the Jacuzzi hahaha).  She is now all soft and clean again.  Hopefully next time we go to Montrondo she will be able to come with us.

Dear Norah just before her bath this morning.
And that’s it for this week my friends.  I hope you enjoy this post and cheers till next week.


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