Sunday, May 22, 2011

Montrondo again, the Spanish revolution, Elections in Spain and Oli’s birthday

Eladio and the girls voting today which will always be remembered because of the Spanish Revolution

Hi everyone,
I have just come back from Montrondo and am home again today, Sunday 22nd, important because it is Oli’s birthday but it is also the day of the much awaited Spanish local elections which are coinciding with the ever growing Spanish Revolution.  However let me start from the beginning of my week as always before I get to that.
Monday was the day my pc died and I am now writing on my new HP ProBook which is a huge improvement.  On Monday I was at the dentist again and had hoped to have my new implant and bridge put in but will have to wait another month until the swelling recedes. 
Monday was also my dear friend Julio’s birthday which we celebrated on Tuesday.  Fátima, Julio and I went to El Oso and had a scrumptious lunch together.  We also caught up on each other’s news again and made plans to go for a weekend to Julio’s new apartment near Alicante. It will probably be in September as all our diaries seem to be too full to find a free weekend until then.
Wednesday was important in our lives as we went to see Fátima’s brother, Manolo, who lives near us, to see his Labrador’s new born puppies.  When Manolo, my Father’s Russian pupil, told me his black Labrador Dunia was having puppies I began to wonder whether we could buy one from him.  I have always adored Labradors, especially the golden or yellow ones but my obstacle was Eladio.  The girls immediately agreed and the only way to get Eladio to change his mind was by taking him to see them.  Of course we loved all three on sight.  Poor Dunia had given birth to 7 but 4 didn’t survive the very difficult birth.  Manolo has offered us Elsa, the bigger of the two girl puppies (just can’t use the word “bitch”) and we are all delighted.  We shall have to wait of course until she is at least 2 months old or so before we bring her home.  The good thing though is that we can see her as often as we like in between as Manolo lives very near us.
Dunia the Labrador with her puppies. One of them is Elsa and will be ours.
Whilst we were going to see the puppy, or early this week at least, the news of the detainment of the head of the IMF (International Monetary Fund), DominiqueStrauss Kahn from France, in New York hit the world’s media.  We all began to judge him from a distance for sexual assault of a chambermaid at his hotel in New York.  He seems to me to be what I would have called “a dirty old man” when I was young, as other similar stories have since transpired since his arrest in New York.  Of course he later resigned as head of the IMF and is now free on bail after paying 1 billion dollars!!!!!!!!!!!1
Dominique Strauss Kahn, the ex head of the IMF, very much in the news this week

A few days before this banker’s arrest, a movement in Spain began precisely against corrupt politicians and bankers, quite a coincidence I thought. The so called Spanish revolution started on 15th May and is an apolitical movement which is gathering followers by the minute via social media.  The protesters are demanding jobs, better living standards and a fairer system of democracy.  Some people think they are inspired by the Arab Spring phenomena or by the May 1968 uprising.  Whatever has inspired them, the youth of this country with some 40% of people in their 20’s unemployed,  have finally woken up and taken to the streets in the big cities in Spain and outside Spanish Embassies abroad in a peaceful and festive manner.  Their protests have coincided with today’s local elections and demonstrations on the day before are not allowed on what is called “the day of reflection”.   The Government preferred peace I think and in the end, the protesters were allowed to continue to camp in the main square of Madrid, la Puerta del Sol, and other cities in the country.  The protesters are attacking the country's political establishment with slogans such as "violence is earning 600 euros", "if you don't let us dream we won't let you sleep" and "the guilty ones should pay for the crisis".

The famous Puerta del Sol in Madrid overtaken by the Spanish Revolution
The movement, stemming from popular indignation with how the government has handled the crisis, has caught the political parties unawares and we have yet to see whether the protests will affect the outcome of today’s vote.  The polls predict a landslide victory for the right wing opposition, Partido Popular. Meanwhile the “indignados” will continue to camp for at least another week.  They are very organized and have the support of the local people who provide them with electricity, food, internet and other basic needs.  I for one support them wholeheartedly as I am sure many other people who have children their age do too.
News of the Spanish revolution has of course hit the headlines outside Spain.  To give you an idea of its importance, the Washington Post included it in on the front page of its Thursday’s edition.
News of the Spanish Revolution has hit the news wires all around the world.
Internet is full of the news and there is one particular video which sums up the movement in English quite well so I thought I ought to post it here too if you haven’t already seen it.
On Friday when there was great uncertainty whether to ban the concentration   Eladio and I went off to Montrondo for the annual family gathering in memory of my late Father-in-law, Antonio, who died 6 years ago.  He continues to unite us every year and this year was not to be different. We left quite late as I had to go into the office for a media interview.  Thus we only reached the Palacio de Bornos in Rueda at just before 15h.  Here we enjoyed, as always, a plate of ham, lomo and chorizo washed down by their delicious sauvignon locally made white wine, for me the best in the world.
Eladio in Rueda on our way to Montrondo

We reached Montrondo in the early evening and were greeted by José Antonio, Dolores, Miguel, my Mother-in-law Ernestina, Pili and Andrés and the dogs Nuba and Trébol.  A little later Adela, Primo, Roberto, Ana, Diana and Marta arrived. 
Saturday was the big day, the day of the funeral mass and annual lunch.  I got up early and decided on a walk on my own  to Murias via the old path which I love. 
The old path to Murias from Montrondo, the path I love so much

When I got back Isidro, Yoli, Laura and Alejandro had arrived and now we were all together.  The mass was at 13h but before entering the church we went to put flowers on Antonio’s grave. Each time we do so I am reminded of the scene in the Pedro Almodóvar film “Volver”, when Penelope Cruz and other actresses are in the local cemetery cleaning the tombs and replacing the flowers.  It is just so Spanish!

At the cemetery in Montrondo
The mass was different from any mass ever held in Montrondo and they are always the same and quite boring.  The men sit at the back, the women at the front and the priest recites the words of the mass monotonously.  Saturday was different.  There was a new young priest who accompanied Paulino, the parish priest.  He wore ear rings, a ring and half of his hair was shaved.  When he spoke in Spanish it took me just a minute or two to realize he was most probably from the US but had learned Spanish in Latin America.  I could only conclude he was gay from his mannerisms and of course I have no problems with that just that it was very unusual.  His enthusiastic manner of saying the mass and his difficulty with the pronunciation of the Castillian Spanish form of “vosotros” certainly added to the exotic situation of Saturday’s funeral service compared to other years. The women in our family were delighted with his performance and waited outside to clap when he came out which took him totally by surprise.  He told me he was from Massachusetts and had met Paulino whilst studying in Salamanca.  I do wish I had remembered to take a photo. 
The afternoon was spent together, some sleeping, some talking, some working.  I felt in need of another walk after the copious lunch and enthused Eladio, Yoli, Dolores, Marta, Laura, Pili and Andrés to join me. So for the second time I walked to Murias and back via the old path surrounded by nature at its very best at the end of the spring.  The walk there and back takes just under an hour and the half way mark is a big rock called “la peña de dios” or “God’s rock”.  This time I stopped for a photo with my husband Eladio who actually doesn’t have very good memories of the path to Murias as he always associates it with hard work in his childhood.
 You can see the full set of the photos I took this weekend in Montrondo here.
Eladio and I by the Peña de Dios on the old path to Murias

This morning we were up bright and early as we wanted to get home in time for a birthday lunch with Olivia.  Miguel came with us but stopped to vote first in Murias as he now lives semi permanently in Montrondo.  He was the first voter of the day and here is a photo to record the moment.  On the far left is Salo, the Mayoress of Montrondo and a reader of my blog. Hello Salo!

Miguel voting in Murias this morning
As soon as we were home, we were greeted by the girls who were going to vote so we joined them and took my Father too. The picture illustrating this week’s blog is of Eladio and the girls queuing to vote and you can see more photos of them voting here.
I’m afraid the only photo I have of Olivia’s birthday is of her voting.  We had a rushed birthday lunch and she had to go off before we could even eat the cake, so the photo below will have to suffice for this year’s birthday photo.  She is 26 today and this week will be graduating from her master in TV journalism and we all look forward to being there.  Afterwards she will have a respite of a week or so before joining Spanish TV (TV 24 horas) for a 3 month internship. I wish her all the luck in the world.
Olivia the birthday girl voting this morning
I have now reached the end of this week’s blog on this important day, 22nd May 2011.  Once I have uploaded the photos and published it, I will be going with Eladio to join the Spanish Revolution in the Puerta del Sol.  I think it is going to be a very uplifting experience.  But let me tell you all about it next week.
Till then, cheers

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