Sunday, November 06, 2011

A quiet and wet first week of November dedicated to the family, Suzy on the TV, potatoes from Montrondo, the walking family and other stories.

We are the walking family.  On our walk this Saturday before lunch.
Hello again

Today is Sunday and time to write my blog.  After last week’s bumper edition, there is not much to tell.  I was trying to sum up the week’s activities for the headline and what mostly came to mind was that it has been quiet and wet this first week in November with a lot of time spent with the family.  Autumn has really set in and it has rained on quite a few occasions.  Thanks to the rain, the first in months and months, finally the trees are shedding their leaves. This you can appreciate in a picture Suzy posted on Facebook one morning this week as she was working from her desk at home. 

It was cold and wet this week.  The photo was taken from Suzy's desk whilst she was working one morning this week

It has been a quiet week because of the holiday on 1st November.  As it was a Tuesday a lot of people in Spain also took the Monday off, something called a “Puente” (bridge) in Spain, all of which served to bring about a quieter week than normal.  

Thursday was the family highlight as Suzy was interviewed on television on a football programme (Punto Pelota) in her caliber as a specialist in nutrition.  Why would they want to interview a nutritionist on a football programme you may ask?  The reason is to do with Real Madrid having to change its eating habits as it was playing a match today at 12 o’clock (mid morning in Spain, not midday) rather than at the normal time in the early evening.  We thought she did a great job, but judge for your selves in this clipping. The interview took place in a famous gourmet food market in the centre of Madrid called El Mercado de SanMiguel.  Here you have Suzy pointing out to the interviewer the most appropriate food for Mourinho’s players, the funniest moment being when he asked if pulses were a good idea to which she replied that maybe not as they produced “wind”. 

Suzy was on the television this week, being interviewed about Real Madrid's eating habits. 

Whilst Suzy was being interviewed I was undergoing a ghastly test at the Quirón Hospital in Pozuelo performed on my bladder called urodynamics. I won’t go into the details but suffice it to say it was very painful.  I have suffered all my life, even as a child, from frequent trips to the loo both during the day and at night.  I consulted a urologist some ten years ago, underwent all sorts of tests and nothing was found.  I was just told I had an overactive bladder and given some tablets which didn’t work. However, when I looked on the internet, not all the symptoms coincided, especially the ones about sudden urges and leakages.  I have neither of those but am getting very weary of the frequency which at times is more than every half an hour.  Night time, of course, is even worse.  So I finally decided to see another urologist, thinking that maybe after ten years there could be some kind of cure.  The test told the doctor on Wednesday, a different story, although I have to undergo many more before he comes to a final diagnosis.  I apparently have what is called Interstitial Cystitis which is also called the Painful Bladder Syndrome.  In my case, rather than pain, there is a constant pressure, as if you always wanted to go to the loo.  I thought a lot about including this story here in my blog, but I wouldn’t be true to myself if I didn’t include it as it is something I have to bear and live with always and has an enormous importance in my daily life.  You cannot begin to imagine the inconveniences it causes me.  I read on internet that many people get depression with this syndrome and I understand them completely.  The reason I don’t is because I have decided to enjoy my life and get on with it despite this disability.  I don’t have much faith in any cure, as I don’t think there is one, but shall go through all the tests until a confirmation of the diagnosis is final.  Well now you know what I have to live with.

Later that evening my Father, my mentor in getting on with life despite tragedies or disabilities, went to his hospital in Alcorcón, with Eladio for the appointment he had for a head scan.  The appointment was thanks to Rocio’s father who works there.  The scan is to see what damage may have been done by a small stroke he has obviously had as the mobility in his right hand and leg have been affected.  Meanwhile he continues to attend physiotherapy sessions three times a week when he is accompanied by the ever faithful Olga.  

Friday was probably our busiest day.  After getting up early and digging well into my work to-do list, I went with Eladio to the do the weekly shopping, a task my Father used to perform before his accident and which I know he sorely misses.  I suspect what he most misses is the glass of wine and a tapa he used to have with Eladio in between shopping at Mercadona for the basics and at the little supermarket in El Bosque for the more exquisite produce we prefer.  Weekly shopping for a household of 6 people, 2 dogs and 2 cats, is an enormous task and requires preparing an accurate list, if you want to avoid having to pop out continuously during the week for things you have forgotten.  That is because we live quite far from the shops and need to go by car to do our shopping.

Just as we were returning with our huge load of food, Dolores and Juan arrived from Montrondo.  Dolores is my sister-in-law, the wife of Eladio’s next brother down, José Antonio, and Juan is their son and Eladio’s godson. They were coming to see my Father on their way home, but also to bring us some potatoes from the village.  I should add that they brought us some delicatessen “cecina” (air dried beef) from León where they say the best cecina comes from and which we have yet to try.  Whilst Dolores chatted with  my Father, Eladio, Juan and I put everything away whilst Olga prepared lunch for 8 in a jiffy and it was the lunch we always have on shopping day; fresh fish and chips.  It was a lovely family lunch, all of us together round the table. I just wish we could see them more often

A visit from Dolores and Juan, made for yet another nice family lunch

That evening, skipping the walk because of the rain, Eladio and I went to the cinema.  We had great hopes of the film we were going to see “Habemus Papam” (We have a Pope), given our mutual fascination of things religious.  However, it turned out to be rather a silly comedy, although the storyline sounded promising, about a cardinal who was elected pope and got cold feet. 

"We have a pope" was a rather disappointing film for us

Dinner afterwards was right next door at Foster Hollywoods, where we enjoyed steak and ribs and a naughty brownie for dessert.

Saturday was bonfire night, which as I explained last week, we don’t celebrate here.  However I thought it was the right time of year and the right sort of weather for making a family cocido (typical Spanish winter dish with chickpeas, all sorts of meats and vegetables).  Of course I used some of the potatoes Dolores had brought us from Upiano’s little farm in Montrondo.  The sack of them, some 30 kilos, is in a dark room next to the garage.  So happy was I to have potatoes from Montrondo that I thought they deserved both a mention and a photo in my blog.  Thanks Dolores!

The potatoes Dolorese brought us from Montrondo, Eladio's village.

This was to be yet another family lunch when we were all together, but to make the day even more complete, the four of us went for a walk before lunch with our beloved dogs, Elsa and Norah. This is the photo illustrating this post.  Elsa is now nearly 6 months old and getting bigger and bigger.  You can appreciate her size much better in this picture I took of her with Eladio today.

Elsa getting bigger and bigger.  She will be 7 months old next week.

The afternoon was spent sleeping a siesta and reading together in the candlelit lounge with music in the background before making a light dinner and putting my Father to bed. 

Today Sunday, has been another quiet day, dedicated to the family.  I spent most of the morning cooking: roast chicken, fresh artichokes and salad, all of which were much appreciated later at the family lunch.  Like yesterday we went for our daily walk before lunch with the girls and the dogs and wow did we work up a big appetite.  It’s nicer to go for the walk in the mornings because of the light but much better to do so after a meal rather than before one.  In any case it was wonderful to walk all together as a family.  I call us “the walking family”.

As you can see it really has been a quiet week, dedicated to the family.  The week ahead will be quite different, at least the beginning.  Tomorrow I will be up early to catch an early morning high speed train to Barcelona.  I will be having lunch with two journalists, Carmen and Toñi and on Tuesday I will be attending a full day course on social media organized by HSM and taking place at the IESE Business School in Barcelona. It sounds very promising as the key note speaker is Charlene Li, apparently one of the 50 most influential people from Silicon Valley.  You will be hearing all about it in next week’s blog post.

Meanwhile have a great week

All the best/Masha

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