Sunday, September 04, 2011

Santander here we come again, Oli’s debut live on TV, Grandpa fell, Almodóvar’s latest film and other things.

Oli reporting live on TVE1, so exciting for us.
Hello everyone,

Here I am this Sunday morning at the beginning of September writing from my hotel room in Santander.  It’s a bit like here we come again, because I come every year.  Those of you who are not in the telecoms sector in Spain will wonder why I am here.  A holiday perhaps?  Unfortunately no, although I’d love one here especially as the hotel I am staying at, and where I always come, the Santander Silken Río, is right opposite the wonderful Sardinero beach.  

The view from my room of the Sardinero Beach in Santander, somewhat empty this Sunday morning because of the weather

But no, I am here for the XXV telecoms conference organized by Ametic at the UIMP University which starts tomorrow. Yoigo plays a big role here,  not only participating in the conference, where all the big guns come,  with an ever original and much awaited presentation but also because we host a huge party for all the participants, some 400 people.  This year there is added glamour as the Crown Prince of Spain, Felipe and his wife, the ex TVE presenter, Letizia Ortiz, will be making an appearance at the conference.  I have been working on these activities most of the summer and finally the time has come to execute them.  Normally Eladio accompanies me but this year it wasn’t to be as he will be tied up next week with invigilating the UNED University exams.   I came early today as I had hoped for time on the beach but unfortunately the weather hasn’t behaved and it is cool and rainy.  Hopefully it will stop raining later and I will, at least, be able to go for a long walk on the beach. Thus I have no other option but to write my blog which I’m sure you are happy to hear. As I am writing I have just received a message from Eladio to tell me that he is out for a walk with my four daughters, Olivia, Susana and the dogs Elsa and Norah.  I so wish I was with them.

The week was very exciting in that Olivia made her live debut on TV on Monday and went on to do more live reports throughout the week which had us glued to the TV, as we watched her open mouthed with excitement.  I can’t begin to describe what it feels like.  I got a short whatsapp on Monday morning to tell me she would be on TVE1 (Spain’s most important channel) at 12.15 but she didn’t even mention the topic.  Of course I told everyone I could via Facebook and sms and we all gathered around the TV in the lounge awaiting the moment.  The topic was to be one dear to her heart as she was covering the press conference of Pedro Almodóvar’s new film, The skin I live in live, from the Casa de América in Madrid. She had been told one hour before that she would be doing so.  Later on she explained that she took this to be a test of her abilities and that if she failed it would be very unlikely she would ever have the opportunity again and would have forever worked as an anonymous journalist in the TV newsroom.   I am pleased to say she passed with flying colours. You can judge for yourself by clicking on this link and going to minute 01.53.59. She even managed to have her photo taken not only with Pedro Almodóvar but also with Antonio Banderas, who I am sure need no introduction to any of you.  I was extremely jealous of course as I highly admire the Spanish Director and love the looks and personality of Antonio Banderas.  You might find it funny to know that in Eladio’s family we are known as Antonio and Melanie, because we, apparently, bare some resemblance.

Oli with Pedro Almodóvar, how exciting

And now with the man, Antonio Banderas, my very favourite actor.

Suzy and I were so excited we wanted to make or buy something special for lunch on Monday to welcome Olivia.  Her favourite food is Spanish croquettes so we embarked on making some 40 odd, for the first time ever – they are tricky and sticky to make - from a recipe in my most trusted Spanish cookery book, 1080 recipes by Simone Ortega.  They came out perfectly and Olivia was delighted.  We have since gone on to make another batch for freezing, they have proved so popular.

Oli and I in the kitchen making croquettes for Olivia whilst she is on the TV, so proud and happy for her

On Tuesday Olivia was sent off at the crack of dawn to the town of Cuéllar in Segovia to report on Spain’s oldest bull-run.  As she had no time to document what she was to report and of course, knew nothing about the subject, Eladio and I were asked to do some research which we presented to her at midnight when she returned from the evening news programme she also works for as part of her TV journalism Master which thankfully finishes next week.  Again she did a splendid job, reporting live twice from Cuéllar.  You can see it here at minute 08.33 - 10.39 and from 01.53.36.

On Wednesday she had a respite but on Thursday she was reporting on The Madrid Fashion week (link) and on Friday on a story about missing babies (minute 33.27 – 34.11).  As you can see, her subjects are very varied.  She comes home exhausted from the stress.  Her conclusion is that 90% of what comes out on TV is a lie but I think that is a bit exaggerated.  Her descriptions of the logistics of each live report are hair-raising.  She goes out to a location with a cameraman, a technician who is also the driver of the satellite vehicle and a person from production who, according to her, is as junior as she is but says that responsibility for everything lies exclusively with her.  Thus she has to choose from where they will film, never an easy task and then she has to coordinate with the TV studio to agree on what to say and what they will ask her during the report.  She gets phone calls right left and centre and coordination and timing are crucial. She gets a cue and can listen in to the programme when she’s about to talk but sometimes things fail and she cannot hear and things become tricky. I cannot begin to imagine her level of adrenalin and am amazed at how well she improvises when asked a sticky question. She told me that for the last report at the Courts on the case of the lost babies, she was aware of the cameras from all the other channels, Tele5, Cuatro, TeleMadrid, Antena 3, all with veteran journalists and there she was, little Oli, the youngest of them all, yet representing the most important channel, TVE.  I think for a moment she was even impressed with herself; although she is overall far too critical. But then of course, she sees all the faults that we don’t see.  I am very impressed with how well she has done so far and appreciate, probably much more than her, what a great experience this is for a budding journalist.  I can only wish her luck and say well done Olivia; certain of one thing, she has the talent to be a TV presenter or reporter. 

Olivia’s live reporting was very exciting but the week was not to be without unfortunate events.  Grandpa was slowly on the mend after being in hospital and even ventured out of the house with Eladio on Monday to do the weekly shopping.  On Wednesday Suzy asked how he was as it was a week since he was discharged from the hospital.  He said he was better but then showed us his ankles which had swollen slightly again.  So Eladio made another appointment with the doctor who prescribed slightly stronger medication as well as sleeping tablets.  This I think was his downfall as on Thursday night he got up to go to the loo at four in the morning feeling very drousy and shaky on his legs.  The dear man fell and then lay on the floor for half an hour before being able to reach for his alarm. I was the first one to reach his room and it was a sorry sight for my eyes to see him lying motionless on the floor.  He had hurt his ankle and was unable to move.  Between Eladio and Olga they managed to put him into bed.  The next day we took him with great difficulty by car to the clinic where he had an x-ray.  The damage is a sprained ankle, not very much for what it could have been, but enough to make him bed ridden for the next week or so. We are taking great care of him and Olga has come into her own with her previous experience of looking after an elderly gentleman.  She is wonderful with him, washing and shaving him; something which would have been difficult for me.  I wish him a quick recovery of course as I know that he must hate to be bed ridden.  

That night I was unable to sleep after the fall, worried but also afflicted with a terrible migraine.  I was up at 6, because the only way of helping my poor head is with a hot shower and some breakfast in my stomach.  In any case I had to be up early to be at the office for a management team meeting and a subsequent meeting with our PR and events agencies on the last minute details of our activities in Santander.  Quite a few changes were made which meant I had to work over the weekend and even go into the production agency’s office on Saturday until the original and rather ambitious presentation was finalized satisfactorily.

Even though I was exhausted on Friday I was determined to go and see Almodóvar’s new film, The skin I live in, the one Olivia reported on during the week.  As Olga was at home to look after my Father, Eladio and I were able to go to the cinema and then out to dinner, activities our bodies and souls seemed in great need of that day.  So what did I think of the film?  Many things really, it’s difficult to describe.  I didn’t used to be a fan of Almodóvar, finding his films all a bit weird but now they fascinate me and I was interested to see how the new film would compare to the others, especially because the genre was different, The Skin I live in being rather more a horror story.  This is what I put on my Facebook status yesterday after having seen it: Impossible to describe Almodóvar’s new film The Skin I live In. Somewhere in between brilliantly kinky and osbscenely entertaining. It is brutal, haunting, bizarre, perverted, sometimes funny, where Banderas rises to his very best in this wierd and mad role. Felt guilty watching it but could not take my eyes off the screen. It is a masterpiece and I am fast joining the club of fans of this unique director"  If you haven’t seen it I cannot give away any of the story.  You will just have to go and see it for yourselves.  Eladio on the other hand did not like it at all, just wasn’t his type of film unfortunately.  What he did like was dinner afterwards at La Alpargatería on table number 7 of course, our table.

The poster of Almodóvar's new film with Antonio Banderas and Elena Amaya, The skin I live in.

Saturday was a good day with no incidents to report thank goodness.  I went to have a cup of coffee with Fátima, my best friend and neighbour, whom I hardly ever see.  It was great to catch up, but mostly great to have some girly time, something I was much in need of. In the afternoon I had to go the production agency but was back on time for our daily walk. We decided that Elsa, who had hurt her front left paw after the accident some 10 days ago, was fit enough again to join us.  And wow, did she enjoy it, chasing after Norah the whole time, who stoically put up with her.  Norah seems to consider herself Elsa’s mother and has become much calmer and more mature since Elsa’s arrival and it is a joy to see them together.

And today is Sunday and now you know the end of this week’s blog about being in Santander.  As I write, the weather has improved and there is a faint possibility the sun will come out.  I am waiting for my friend Julio who will be arriving later so we can go for a long walk on the beach together.

That’s it then folks for this week.  I hope you have a good week coming up; cross your fingers all my activities go ok here and that my Father recovers quickly.

All the best till next week/Masha

1 comment:

Andrew Dale said...

This week's blog is quite something. Good for Oli. Hope my Oli achieves as much... Reading it has made me very hungry, but then it always does! Will try the croquettes. Hope your Dad is recovering well from his fall. Give him my best. Andrew