Sunday, January 23, 2011

Home again, nearly as cold as in Stockholm, on to the consolidation phase and a week of hard work.

At the Ganges Indian restaurant on Saturday where I chose to have the first celebration meal of the
consolidation phase
Hello again and hi everyone,

This week has been far less exciting than the week in Stockholm and actually there is not much to report. It’s nice being home but really I prefer a bit of excitement to my week. I came home from Stockholm and the weather has been nearly as cold here as there so, on our daily walks I have been able to wear all the lovely cold weather accessories I bought in Sweden. It has been below zero most mornings and the thermometer marked minus 3 both this morning and yesterday morning. I felt rather sorry for the homeless person I saw under blankets yesterday in a square in Madrid. He or she must have had a horrible night fighting the cold.

This homeless person I saw yesterday morning in Madrid must have have a horrible night fighting the cold
This week I started on the consolidation phase of the Dukan diet which is aimed at consolidating my achieved weight. For me this will be a phase of 155 days (5 days per pound lost) of eating the same as before with some wonderful differences. Instead of alternating pure protein days with pure protein and vegetable days, I can now eat protein and vegetables every day except for Thursdays which are protein only. I still have to eat 3 spoonfuls of oat bran which I have as porridge for breakfast but the good news is that I can now eat 2 slices of brown bread everyday “lightly spread with half fat butter”. I can now also eat one piece of fruit a day as well as pasta or other types of carbohydrates once a week (with no oil). The best thing is that I can also enjoy one celebration meal a week where everything is allowed including wine. I was worried that I would put on weight and hardly slept on Thursday night (the night after the pure protein day) but to my absolute delight I found I had even lost half a kilo. I am now convinced the consolidation phase is going to work and that I will never be fat again. You may wonder if these are my famous last words. Me too, however I will do my utmost for that not to happen.

I was able to taste pasta for the first time in months when I had lunch on Monday with Ana, a journalist friend who covers telecommunications for the Spanish news agency, Agencia Efe. We went to an Italian place called Il Gusto opposite the agency.  Needless to say the pasta tasted like heaven.  I had been to Il Gusto once before with my friend the ex cyclist Pedro Delgado and his wife Ludi some time ago.  The food was good on Monday but the place was empty.

The Italian restaurant Il Gusto in Madrid where I had lunch on Monday with Ana from the Spanish news agency, Efe
The week wasn’t exciting but I had a bit of negative excitement on Tuesday when I was going to work. My car keys, and I only have one set, were missing. So I rang Susana who was the last person to use it and she had them but was at work so couldn’t give them to me. I couldn’t use Eladio’s car either, as it was trapped behind mine and my only option was to take the 20 year old Lancia I haven’t driven for ages. I am used to driving an automatic car and hate changing to a gear driven one. So off I went in the fog and traffic in this very old car which made funny jolting movements in low gear and kept stalling. Funnily enough the next time someone used it, it broke down and is now at the garage. Everyone of course is blaming me and we are now waiting to hear the worst; that it is at the end of its life. I think I told you, the other old car the girls used, the Alfa Romeo, died also a few months ago and we had to invest in a new second hand one. I really hope we won’t have to buy yet another one.

On Tuesday I had another lunch appointment, this time with Alexandra, the ex Kodak Spain communications director and Blanca from Ketchum. We went to De María in town and had a great time talking about our profession over some wonderful steak and vegetables.

Wednesday was by far the busiest day of the week. It started early as all my days do as I seem to get up earlier and earlier. I went to the Quirón hospital in Pozuelo to pick up my dental scan report in preparation for the two implants I will be having soon. From there I rushed to my dentist in Majadahonda to hand in the report. Then I rushed to Madrid to start on the filming here for the video of the Yoigo story. You will remember we did interviews in Stockholm last week. Well this week we have done nearly all the interviews in Madrid. We were supposed to be interviewing Jacob Benbunan, the CEO and co founder of Saffron Brand Consultants, who created the Yoigo brand. Unfortunately there were repairs going on in the building so there was too much noise and we will have to do the interview this next week.

I was with Bea, Angel and Ramón, my companions on the trip to Stockholm and when the interview with Jacob didn’t work out we crossed the road to have a coffee and a little meeting at the lovely Santo Mauro boutique hotel. I thought as we walked in, what good taste Victoria Beckham had because when David Beckham played for Real Madrid it was at this hotel that they lived.

The lovely Santo Mauro hotel in Madrid.  A great place to have a coffee if you can't afford a room
I had a lunch appointment next but as Bea lived very nearby she took me up to see her enormous flat overlooking the Castellana, the main street in Madrid. The flat is in the typical Madrid style of the 19th century and actually the entrance is used now in a very popular series in Spain, “Cuéntame” of which I am an avid fan. Cuéntame is a series about Spain in the sixties, seventies and eighties and on the pavement outside Bea’s flat you can see vehicles of those times. Apparently also, nearly the whole building is occupied by Opus Dei residents. The Opus Dei is an extremist faction of the Catholic Church and its members abide by very strict rules. Some of them opt out of normal life and live an almost monastic existence in communities, strictly separated by sexes. So far none of them have complained of any noise coming from Bea’s flat, as obviously her style of life is in extreme opposition to theirs.

My lunch appointment was with Víctor and Pedro from my press tracking agency, Perception and Image. I have worked with Víctor for many years as Perception & Image was my press agency both at Motorola and at Nokia. We are also great friends on Facebook and in many ways soul mates. Lunch was at the old ABC newsroom now converted into a wonderful restaurant called Pedro Larumbe.

From Pedro Larumbe I rushed again this time to the Café de Oriente for a coffee with Bea and Cris before going with Bea to Iralta Films where Angel was working on our video. Here we had a tough afternoon editing all the interviews we had done in Stockholm but we also advanced on the script.

On Thursday work on the the Yoigo story video continued with interviews with people from key areas in the company. In fact we worked all through the day. On Friday we continued with the interviews. On Friday we also interviewed Carlos Holemans, the owner and creative director of our advertising agency, El Laboratorio. By the way it was through Carlos that I heard about the Dukan Diet. At last on Friday I was able to have lunch with my family, something I had missed all week. We worked hard all week but time is against us as the video has to be ready by 3rd February, so we knew we would have to work both through this weekend and next.

Thus on Saturday morning I met again with Bea and Angel at Iralta Films where we did more interview editing and script writing. Iralta Films is housed in a lovely old building in a square called Ramales, right next to the Royal Palace of Madrid called  El Palacio de Oriente. It was at the Ramales square that the famous Spanish painter, Diego de Velázquez died and it was also here that I took the photo of the homeless person illustrated above.

The Plaza de Ramales in Madrid where Iralta Films is located and where I have worked over the weekend.
Saturday though was not going to be all work as there was to be some play too. I had lunch with the family and in the afternoon Eladio, Norah and I went for a very cold walk. In the evening we had a dinner appointment for my first Dukan Diet celebration meal. It was to be at the Ganges Indian restaurant in Madrid and we were to be joined by José Antonio and Dolores, Eladio’s brother and wife. I love Indian food, especially the kind you find outside India (sorry my Indian readers but I prefer my curry not too hot) and the Ganges in Madrid is really rather good. One sign that it is good perhaps is that there was a family of Indians on the next table. The photo illustrating this week’s blog post is of me at the Ganges restaurant next to the rickshaw they have there for decoration. I now have to wait another whole week for my next celebration meal. I wonder where that will be?

Eladio (with the bow tie),  José Antonio and Dolores at the Ganges Indian restaurant last night.
Today Sunday was also spent working on the video, but only in the morning. I was able to be home for lunch but no one had bothered to make anything. They were all waiting for me to come home and organise and arrange it. Thus of course we mostly had leftovers. The afternoon has been spent on our walk, of course, and on writing this week’s blog post.

The week ahead is going to be equally hard as we have to finish the video. Also I have lots of meetings to organise our participation in the upcoming telecoms conference in Barcelona in the second week of February. Hopefully though, next week will be a little more exciting.

I hope you all have a great week, me too! Cheers until next week


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