Monday, July 25, 2011

Back from England, a new member of the family, Oli and Suzy, a visit from León, this year’s Tour de France and a tragedy in Oslo.

Elsa, our new Labrador puppy and new member of the family

Hello again

How fast this week has gone past.  We were back from England last Monday and the memories are still very fresh.  It was a great holiday, jam packed with everything I wanted to do that I had missed, except of course seeing my best friend Amanda.  In England the weather was very dodgy and the temperature never went higher than about 20ºc.  Luckily it hasn’t been too hot in Madrid, so the adaptation to the local climate has been gradual.  Today, Monday, is a holiday, Santiago, and right now I have the air conditioning on as I write from my desk at home, whilst Oli, Eladio and my Father are sleeping the siesta.

The dogs will be sleeping too.  You know about Norah, our beagle of course and you probably knew we were acquiring a Labrador puppy.  We have a new member of the family to welcome. Little Elsa came to live with us last Tuesday.  She is just over 2.5 months old and already weighs 9 kilos (Norah weighs 10 and is fully grown). Thus she is not so little Elsa and we have put her on a diet since she arrived. We were worried how Norah would react but our worries were quite unfound as the meeting went off quite well and now they seem to be quite good playmates. 
Elsa and Norah seem to be getting on ok.

Elsa grows before your very eyes and right now Norah is the boss but who knows for how long.  They are both a constant joy and I have to admit we are a pretty dog mad family and I for one, far prefer puppies and dogs to babies.  Here is the set of photos that Rocío, Suzy’s and Oli’s dog crazy friend, took of the first meeting, something she wouldn’t have missed for the world.

The same day Elsa came and just one day after our return, I was back into the swing of work and went into the office to do this and that and sort of show my face.  My next big project is our participation at the Santander telecoms congress at the beginning of September and I really must get a heads start on that soon.  To quote my Father, I am procrastinating, something which I often do when I don’t have much to do.  The more there is on my plate, the more I do, but when the plate is less than half full I seem to slow down.  

That certainly is not Olivia’s case.  Olivia is very busy and I must say we are very proud of her.  She is working with the TVE 24h evening news programme, La Noche en 24 Horas, as part of her master degree in TV journalism.  She will be working there for 3 months.  Meanwhile she has an internship with the morning programme of TVE1, La Mañana de la 1.   So imagine her life at the moment.  She is up at the crack of dawn at 6 to be at the studio in Prado del Rey where she starts work at 7 for the Mañana de la 1 programme which goes live from 10 to 14h.  She comes home for lunch, watches the news, has a short sleep, swims and then gets ready to go to Torrespaña to be there at 18h.  Her work there finishes at midnight.  She can only rest at the weekends.  Oli is very happy with her two jobs especially the evening news programme and we have seen some of her news pieces or items which she edits herself.  She does pieces on all sorts of subjects, football, Obama, the famine in Africa or whatever she is asked to or suggests.  For the moment we have to suffice with hearing her very professional voice but one day surely we will see her on camera too.  As Suzy says, one day she will be famous and we will be the family of a famous member of our family.  Who knows, the world is her oyster. 

Olivia only has the weekends to relax and recover and as she has quite a heavy social life there is not much time left to spend with her parents. Thus we booked some time with her last night and took her out to dinner. We went to one of our favourite places, La Alpargatería.  Here is a moment of the two of us together. It was what I called quality time together.
With Oli at La Alpargatería last night for dinner

You may wonder why Suzy was not in the picture. Well she had gone to our beach apartment in Santa Pola for the weekend with her boyfriend Gaby, his small cousin Adri and his parents.  I took her to Gaby’s workplace on Friday from where they were leaving and unexpectedly for me, met his parents, Isabel and Pepe, for the first time.  I had been told by both my girls that they were lovely people and that’s exactly the impression I got when I met them on Friday.  It was an awkward moment, as these kinds of meetings can be, but I’m glad that I liked them.
Suzy on the beach at Santa Pola this weekend

As Susana was in Santa Pola she missed the visit of Eladio’s family from León this weekend.  Pili, Eladio’s sister and her husband Andrés were coming to Madrid on Saturday morning to view a flat for their daughter Paula.  Coming with them were Eladio’s brother Isidro and his wife Yoli, as their daughter and our god daughter, Alicia, will be sharing a flat with Paula from September onwards.  Alicia is coming to study nursing and Paula will be doing a master degree in Corporate Communication, my field of work. Funnily enough the flat they came to see belongs to my friend Pedro Delgado, of cycling fame, and his wife Ludi.  Miguel, my nephew had suggested the idea.  They liked it as soon as they saw it.  Thus after lunch they were free of flat hunting and came to see us.  They had rung in the morning to say they would be spending the night.  As soon as they rang, I went out to the local supermarket, to the best one around, Supercor, to stock up on lots of nice summer produce to make a dinner for a lot of people. 

They caught us in the middle of our siesta, half sleeping, half watching the Tour of France in the middle of the afternoon.  Soon we were all relaxing by the pool and having a great time together.  Later with the help of my sisters-in-law I prepared a lovely dinner.  Just as Paula and her boyfriend Pedro were leaving, Oli arrived with her friends Laura and Rocío with whom she had spent the day in Avila. That was the moment we were all together, so I asked Rocío, who is becoming my official photographer, hahaha, to take a photo of us all, including Elsa, the new arrival.
It was lovely to have Eladio's family with us this weekend.

You can see the rest of the photos of their visit here. Their visit was short but sweet.  Next week we will be reunited again in the annual family gathering in Montrondo; something we all look forward to throughout the year.  

Yesterday, Sunday, was spent relaxing by the pool and spending some time with Olivia.  For us it was relaxing but for the sport of cycling it was the culmination of the year’s most important event, the Tour de France.  Those of you who don’t know me well may wonder why I write about cycling.  It is a sport close to my heart after the years spent sponsoring a team when I worked for Motorola.  I got very involved and still today have many friends I made then. Even though I have not kept in contact with them all, many of them live on in my heart.  So I was very glad for 34 year old Cadel Evans when he won yesterday, the first win ever for his country, Australia, quite a feat.  But in my heart I was gladder for Jim Ochowicz, his team Director.  “Och” as he is often called was the Motorola Cycling Team coach and someone I was always very fond of.  In my heart I was also glad for Rupert Guinness, an amiable Australian sports journalist who really comes from the Guinness family and who will have been ecstatic at his countryman’s win yesterday.  It was Paul Sherwen, the Motorola Cycling Team PR director who introduced me to Rupert and also to Graham Watson, the sports best ever photographer.  They were a threesome who, along with many other people in the cycling world, took me under their wing when I landed in this sport, a woman in her thirties, wearing a skirt in the early 90’s and who knew nothing about cycling at the time.  It was thanks to them and many others, such as Chico Pérez, Javier Ares, Manolo Saiz, Rafa Gómez, Hennie Kuiper, Pedro Delgado, Carlos de Andrés, Stephen Roche and many more people, that I too became part of the cycling family.  So, yesterday, of course I would have liked to see Spain’s Contador, win, but in my heart I was happy for Och, Rupert, Paul and Graham. 
Cadel Evans who is the first Australian to have won the Tour de France ever.

The only black cloud on this week’s horizon comes from the usually pacific little country of Norway. On Friday afternoon the newsof the tragedy hit the world like a bomb shell.    A young right wing fanatic called Anders Behring, who apparently acted alone and is on trial as I write, killed 7 people in a car bomb attack by the Labour Government Headquarters in the city of Oslo. Meanwhile he crossed the water to the nearby island of Utoya, dressed as a policeman where he gathered the hundreds of young people attending a Labour youth camp pretending to inform them of what had happened in Oslo.  He then began to massacre them one by one.  All together he has killed over 90 people and Norway is in a state of shock as is the world around it.  To quote my Norwegian colleague Espen: “The atmosphere is Oslo is special, the city is alive but no one smiles.  The Government district is bombed out and the news is full of terrible witness descriptions from camp-island.  Heart breaking to read and hear their dreadful stories”. It’s a terrible story and I’m sorry to end this week’s blog post with the news of the Oslo holocaust, but of course I must, as it cannot be forgotten.  I will not, however, post a photo of the person who perpetrated it all as I think he needs no more publicity.  He will get it, of course, but not from me.  Reflecting on the shooting, my Father commented on something I had been thinking myself.  There have been similar shootings in many parts of the world, especially the USA, but never in Spain.  I wonder why.  

On that reflection, I end this week’s post and wish you all a great week.  

Cheers Masha

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