Monday, April 30, 2012

April showers, more football, interior decorating, a special cake, Suzy’s birthday, Olivia off to Galicia and other stories

Suzy and her birthday cake
Hello again,

It is Monday morning and the last day of April and here I am writing my blog from the kitchen with the dogs asleep at my feet.  Sorry I didn’t write yesterday but we spent the afternoon with Susana helping her get her new flat in order and there didn’t seem to be another free moment in the day.

It’s Monday and it’s raining as it has been raining most of the month.  There are sayings both in English and in Spanish about rain in April; “April showers” and “Abril aguas mil”, which reflect that rain at this time of the year is very normal.  We haven’t had proper rain in Spain since the autumn, therefore it is much appreciated.

But let me start from the beginning.  Last Monday saw me in the centre of Madrid, in the Gran Vía to visit our new media clipping company, JP Media.  There I got to see how media clippings are done and the truth is that the written press clippings are read by people, line by line, as you can see here in the photo I took of their “news room”.

The JP Media clipping room

Tuesday brought with it more football.  That evening Barcelona was receiving Chelsea for the return match of the semi finals of the Champions League.  My Father watched the match with us and thoroughly enjoyed Olivia’s screams when Barcelona scored a goal, although they went on to lose the match.  That meant that Barcelona this year will neither win La Liga or the Champions League, a shame for probably the best team in the world. However, I don’t mind, as, if I am fan of any football team that is Real Madrid.  But then you probably already know that.

My Father watching the football with Olivia and Eladio

For the records that day, I must share with you a photograph collage that a friend of Olivia and Susana made of them and their group of friends.  They all appear here as mermaids from a photo of the marvelous Disney film.  The Little Mermaid was a great favourite with the girls when they were small and they used to act out the parts, reciting huge paragraphs off by heart which they still know today.  Susana has been forever enamoured with mermaids, something all her friends know, so the collage by Dave made a huge hit with us all on Tuesday.

The wonderful Little Mermaid collage.  Can you spot Olivia and Susana?

Wednesday brought with it more football.  Madrid was receiving Bayern Munich in the return match of their semi final of the Champions League.  Madrid played well at the beginning and seemed to dominate the match but things went sour in the second half and the match ended with a penalty shoot out.  The Germans won in the end, a terrible ending for hopes for a place for a Spanish team in the final and both my Father and I refused to watch the shoot out as it was just too much tension.  The result was very depressing for Madrid fans, but on the bright side, Mourinho’s team will be winning La Liga this year.  I always say it is better to laugh than to cry, so here is a photo which should do just that, make you laugh.  Let me translate the Spanish: Ronaldo says to Messi: See you in the final of the Champions League and Messi replies, at your house or mine? 

Neither Barcelona or Madrid got through to the finals. In this photo Ronaldo says to Messi: "see you in the Final of the Champions League"  and Messi replies: "at your house or mine?"

Thursday saw us at Suzy’s new flat in the morning. We went to take all sorts of things she needed.  I couldn’t stay long as I had to go to the office but Eladio spent most of the morning doing lots of needed handy work.

Whilst Suzy was decorating her new flat, we were redoing her now empty bedroom.  As you know we got everything in Ikea.  We then had the room painted in a light cream colour by our handyman, Antonio.  And this is what Suzy’s old room now looks like.  I am very proud of our efforts.

Suzy's "new" old room, as it looks after our interior decoration efforts.

I have never considered myself good at interior decorating.  I know what I like but am really no good at the decorating part, although I try.  Suzy, on the other hand, who has  a very particular taste, seems to be a natural at home decoration.  Like me, she loves colour, and mixes strong colours together, something I don’t really dare to do.  This, for example, is how her bed looks at her new flat, totally different to the style we have used for her “old room”, but lovely too, I think.  Which style do you prefer; the classical style of the room above or the colourful style chosen by Suzy?

Suzy's colourful bed and bedroom in her new flat

On Friday I started preparations for Susana’s birthday the next day.  She was to be 28 and of course at an age when it is time to move on.  I have felt funny all week.  She has just moved out but I am not used to that yet and it gives me an empty feeling. She has only been back home to take more and more things to her new flat and each time she has done so, it felt like another stab in my stomach.  I totally understand she has to move out and support her one hundred percent but it is still sad.

I made her a beautiful birthday cake.  The recipe came from our old Trex cookery book, a book I have been using to make cakes since I was a small girl.  My Father used it too, to make biscuits many years ago and Susana has gone on to use it also.

The Trex cookery book I have been using since I was a child.  It was my parents and was published in 1956.

The recipe for her cake is the recipe which you can see below for the Victoria Sandwich, a classical cake recipe. The page, as you can from the photo, is much stained from use over the years.

The dog eared page in the Trex cookery book of the Victoria Sponge recipe

The cake came out marvelously as you can see in the photo below, rising to perfection; something that doesn’t always happen.

The cake, just out of the oven

And, after some careful slicing in two to fill the sandwich with whipped cream and bilberry jam, I made pink icing and decorated it with fresh raspberries.  This was what it looked like when I had finished.

The finished "special cake" for Suzy's birthday

As I was making Suzy’s birthday cake, news was breaking that Pep Guardiola, Barcelona’s coach, said to be the best ever of the dream team, was leaving.  If anyone has any doubts that this is because of Barça not winning this year’s league or Champions League, they can be dispelled.  Guardiola, who has been with the team since he was a player, is going to take a sabbatical as he totally burned out.  It was a very sad story for Spanish football and he will be much missed.

It's goodbye from Pep Guardiola and a sad day in the history of Spanish football

That evening, Friday, we had a dinner date with José Antonio and Dolores, in Madrid.  We went to Quënco, a place that means so much to Eladio and I as it was where we held our wedding party nearly 30 years ago.  We have been back on a couple of occasions but José Antonio and Dolores hadn’t.  When I rang to make the reservation, Nimes, the owner and daughter of the lady from the Andalusian family that has always run the place, remembered me and referred to me as the “English bride”!  She gave us a warm welcome when we arrived and we felt very much at home.  Quënco, a family run place, is quite a humble looking restaurant but the food is fantastic and we realised just how popular it is when we saw the tables filling up after we arrived.  We will be back in the summer and look forward to eating outside in the lovely terrace where we held our wedding party on 21st August 1983.

Quënco, the restaurant where we held our wedding party in 1983 and where we went to dinner on Friday evening

Finally Saturday came and with it the celebration of Susana’s birthday.  She arrived for a family breakfast and all 5 of us sat down just before 10 am to a feast of croissants, ensaimadas, pain au chocolat and other delicacies.  This is when we gave her our presents, a laundry basket and towels, very needed for her new home.  She will be getting many more presents next Saturday when she will be having a huge party to celebrate her birthday with her friends.  That will be held at home, this home, rather than her new flat as I think more than 30 guests will be coming.  But, more about that next week.

Suzy at the family breakfast on her birthday on Saturday

Later, whilst Oli went back to bed, having come home after 5 in the morning, Eladio and I went with Susana in the pouring rain to Ikea to get more things she needed for her new flat.

At Ikea on Saturday, Suzy and Eladio

With the car full to the brim with kitchen utensils, bedding and lots of what I call Ikea “bits and bobs” we returned home to make Suzy’s birthday lunch.  I prepared what we also call “bits and bobs” for that too, always a favourite with all of us, consisting of mini gourmet hamburgers, Olga’s croquettes, homemade potato salad, salmon and prawns with avocado pears and of course the piece de resistance, my cake.  The photo illustrating this week’s blog post is of Susana blowing out the candles.

Here is a photo collage I made myself of some of the photos taken on Susana's birthday, not as good as Dave's but nice anyway.

A collage of some of the photos of Suzy's birthday
Sunday was quiet with Suzy at her new flat.  Oli was missing too as she had slept with Suzy.  Their cousins came from León to see them for a short while.  They had originally been invited by Susana to spend the birthday weekend with her but in the end preferred to spend their time in Madrid as they hadn’t been to the capital for some time. We never got to see them unfortunately.

Lunch was just the “three oldies”, my Father, Eladio and I.  In the afternoon we went to see Susana, for Eladio to do more handy work.  He spent the time putting up shelves and mirrors and carrying out other minor tasks around her pretty little flat.  It is looking nice and cozy.  This is a photo Suzy posted in Facebook last night of one of her favourite corners.  Again, as you can see, there is a lot of colour, her typical style.  

Suzy's new flat is looking lovely.

Of note yesterday, Sunday, it was the first anniversary of the English royal couple, Kate and William.  A very happy anniversary comes from these pages to the popular royals.  

It was the first anniversary of the popular royal couple's wedding yesterday

This week will be quiet, with just “the oldies” at home.  Olivia will be gone too as she went yesterday to Santiago de Compostela in Galicia, as a correspondent again for the TV programme she works for.  We will miss her but hope to see a lot of her on the television this week, which I myself will be reporting on in next week’s blog post. So watch this space.

The week will be even quieter as there are two holidays, tomorrow 1st May and on Wednesday, 2nd May, a holiday in Madrid to celebrate the uprising against the French in 1808.  The highlight of the week will be my Father’s 93rd birthday tomorrow, 1st May where will be joined by Susana, at least, to brighten up the birthday.  

I hope you all have a good week.  Cheers till next time,

1 comment:

sports live said...

nice cakes