Sunday, October 31, 2010

Good news for Juan, lunch with Laura, Oli back from Marrakech and a wet weekend in Montrondo

In Montrondo this weekend

Hello again,

Another week has passed and here I am writing to you from Montrondo. It has been raining non-stop since we got here on Friday but finally the sun is shining.

But let me start from the beginning, from where I left off last time I wrote. We had good news on Tuesday. Juan my nephew rang to tell me has been taken on as a junior account manager with Lewis PR, an English PR agency headed up by my good friend Jorge. It will be Juan’s first full time job since finishing University some 3 years ago. He has had nothing but temporary and badly paid jobs which seems to be the norm these days for young people like him. In Spain there is 20% unemployment. 15 or 20 years ago it was difficult to get a job too but there were more vacancies and fewer graduates. Today most young people in Spain have University degrees so there is more competition but on top of that there are fewer jobs going. I am very happy for him and know he will make a success from the minute he steps on the first rung of this new career ladder.

On Wednesday we had visitors from Sweden at work and one of them was Ingrid who used to head up PR at TeliaSonera. Now she is head of legal. We were much in contact at the beginnings of Yoigo and it was good to see her again. We had lunch at Illunbe and talked about how we had fared since those challenging days and it seems remarkable how we have come on since then.

The day Ingrid came to see us was also the day Argentina was to mourn the death of their ex President Nestor Kirchner and husband of the current President Cristina Fernández Kirchner. He died aged 60 of a heart attack on the census day in that country when everybody stays at home whilst 500.000 volunteers (mostly teachers) go from house to house counting people. Cristina who openly governed the country together with her husband will sorely miss him. His death, many say, marks the end of an era in Argentina.

Nestor Kirchner and Cristina Fernández - happier days together governing Argentina

Back at home on Thursday Olivia was to return from her short holiday in Marrakech and that same day to start her new master degree in TV journalism. I didn’t actually see her until the next day as I was at work when she came. I haven’t heard much about the trip but have seen photos posted by her fellow traveller Laura on Facebook and particularly liked this one.

Oli having a whale of a time with her friends in Marrakech recently

On Thursday after a whole morning’s rather unnecessary meeting I drove to Las Rozas for my lunch appointment with Laura at La Vaca Argentina. Laura was my marketing trainee in Motorola and we have kept up ever since, albeit a little sporadically. We had a great time talking constantly throughout the lunch to catch up on each other’s news. Laura it was great, we must do this more often.

I had lunch with Laura this week. She hasn't changed since she was my trainee in Motorola more than 10 years ago

I must mention too that on Thursday after lunch with Laura I went to Villaviciosa de Odón, the town near where I live, to pick up 4 pairs of trousers that I had taken in for the second time! Yes the diet continues to work and it makes me so happy. The guy at the shop told me they could not be taken in any more otherwise the trouser pockets would coincide. Haha, thus next time I will have to buy news trousers. I also told him that my diet was good for his business and he laughingly agreed!

That brings me to the weekend as I sort of took Friday off to go to Montrondo in the morning for the bank holiday weekend as Monday 1st November is a national holiday in Spain. We left the girls behind as we did my Father. They have their own agenda but I feel a bit bad about leaving him behind. However I also know that he would not be comfortable here, mostly because the access to the house is impossible for someone his age. Furthermore he can no longer go for walks and would have been stuck in a bedroom all weekend with nothing to do except read his book. So with a heavy heart we left him behind but also comforted to know that at home he can be more independent.

We picked up my sister-in-law  Dolores at the train station and were soon on the road to the north west of Spain. Had we left in the afternoon the roads would have been congested as many Spaniards would be travelling like us for the bank holiday. We stopped just over half way to have lunch at the Parador in Benavente, a place Eladio and I are very fond of.

We stopped for lunch at the Parador in Benavente on our way to Montrondo this Friday

Soon we were in Montrondo where Dolores’ husband José Antonio (Eladio’s brother) and son Miguel were waiting for us together with Nuba their puppy. We were to stay at their house rather than the old family house both to be together but also to enjoy the modern comforts of the house they built just next to it a few years ago. They have central heating of course but also satellite television and most important of all internet.

José Antonio and Dolores' puppy Nuba in Montrondo this weekend

Montrondo was looking beautiful in its autumn colours but unfortunately it was raining the moment we got here and has only stopped this morning. As there was still some light I took a few shots of the surroundings of the house because the colours were just beautiful. Here is my favourite.

Montrondo dressed in autumn colours is spectacular

Yesterday Saturday was so wet we stayed in most of the day. In the morning Miguel and I drove to the nearby village of Senra for a coffee whilst Dolores cooked a village stew and the men went to look at one of the family plots of land in their wellies of course. Later in the evening we went for a walk in the rain to Murias and back but it was quite unpleasant and we were happy to be back in the warm kitchen where we made our evening meal. There is nowhere to go around here so of course we stayed at home and ended up watching television where I promptly fell asleep. Whilst I was sleeping the clocks went back putting an official end to Daylight Saving Time. Thus at 3 am they went back to 2 am. Of course we all woke up an hour earlier and thus have an extra hour to our day today. I am always amazed to see how my electronic equipment knows the date and automatically changes the time. Therefore I only had to change the time on my watch.

This morning the sun came out which was a huge relief. Straight after my oat bran breakfast (a bit ghastly actually) I went out to catch some more beautiful autumn colours on my camera. You can see them and the rest of the photos I took this weekend here. Except that I will be taking more today as all the family will be coming from León to join us for a huge family lunch in the old converted stasble. Right now Eladio and José Antonio are heating it up in preparation.

Finally the sun shined and I took loads of photos of the old family  house and the surroundings this morning.
Meanwhile I have come to the end of my blog in a bit of haste as I have just been told that the caravan of cars bringing everyone here is just some 15km away. Soon this place will be crowded and loud and we will all be hugging and kissing and happy to see each other again. Hopefully the sun will hold out and maybe we can all go up the mountains this afternoon for a big family walk.

Cheers to you all then from Montrondo. Until next week,


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