Sunday, May 27, 2012

Oli’s 27th birthday, Suzy “on stage”, Yoigo a trending topic, RIP Jambo, shopping again and this year’s Eurovision Song Contest.

Oli’s 27th birthday, Suzy “on stage”, Yoigo a trending topic, RIP Jambo, shopping again and this year’s Eurovision Song Contest.

My beautiful daugher Olivia was 27 on Tuesday

 Hello again,

As I begin to write, it is Sunday and I am alone in the kitchen and the sun is shining outside as it has been all week.  Eladio is in Madrid invigilating exams at the UNED University, my Father is reading the Sunday papers in the dining room, Oli is asleep after last night’s party, Suzy is at her new flat, the dogs are asleep in the shade and dear Ivanka is cleaning which is music to my ears.

The week has been great in many ways.  I last wrote on Monday, so this week’s blog post begins with Tuesday 22nd May.  The most important event that day, and in fact, the highlight of the week, was Olivia’s 27th birthday.  For the first time ever Suzy was missing and because of that we felt her absence even more strongly.  

That morning, whilst I was making her cake, Eladio was mowing the lawn and I have to insert a picture here of him with his cowboy hat:

My good looking gardener mowing the lawn on Tuesday

I made the usual Victoria sponge cake and used my new M+S heart shaped silicone cake tray.  For the record, I never tried a piece as I am battling with my weight and sticking as much as possible to the Dukan diet.  I was told it was delicious.  There was so much left over, Olivia took it to work the next day for her colleagues to enjoy.

The heart shaped cake I made for Oli for her birthday

We had a family lunch, where, apart from the cake, there were of course presents and birthday cards as there are at all the birthday celebrations in our house.  We were joined by Olivia’s friend, Dave, for lunch who my Father thought was her boyfriend which made us all laugh, as he is not. You can see more photos of her birthday here.

A lovely photo of Oli with her Father on her birthday

In the afternoon Eladio and I made our way to Madrid to visit his brother José Antonio, who had been operated on Monday at the Clínica San Francisco de Asis.  Eladio was with our sister-in-law Dolores, the day before during his operation which took some 3 or 4 hours.  The poor chap reacts badly to the general anesthetic and was in a poor state that night.  The next day, however, when we visited him in the afternoon, he was recovering well.  On Thursday he was discharged and I am sure he is far happier to be at home, away from the white walls of the clinic. Funnily enough it was at the Clínica San Francisco de Asis that both our girls were born. So it felt nostalgic to be visiting it for the first time on Olivia’s birthday as the last time I had been there was precisely when she was born and the visit brought back many memories.

The Clínica San Francisco de Asis in Madrid where our girls were born and where José Antonio was operated this week.  More sadly it was where "Pitina" died on Tuesday.

 On a sadder note, that morning at the same hospital, “Pitina”, the 62 year old wife of Florentino Pérez, the Real Madrid Club President and chairman of ACS, Yoigo’s shareholder in Spain, died suddenly of a heart attack.  Later I was asked to draft a letter of condolence, something I found hard to do, as in a way it was a first for me and of course the occasion was very sad.  They had been a happy couple for some 42 years and everyone says “Pitina” was the driving force behind this very public and famous figure in Spain.  I can hardly begin to imagine his sadness and the void this loss will bring to his personal life. RIP “Pitina”. Her real name was María de los Angeles Sandoval but was always called affectionately “Pitina”. 

Sadly "Pitina" died this week of a heart attack

On Wednesday I would have loved to be in Barcelona at my older daughter Susana’s side but that couldn’t be.  Suzy has been working for the American food giant, Aramark, for a year now as a dietician.  Recently she was asked to form part of a group that would be helping to implement an important HR project for the company’s employees in Spain.  I have to add this was because she is one of the few employees who know English well.  So there she was in Barcelona this week for the event to launch the programme.  But she was also to do one of the presentations and this was a first for her, her first company presentation and her first time “on stage” so to speak. I well remember being with Susana in Barcelona some years ago where she joined me, for the ride, at the Mobile World Congress.  She got her first taste there of the corporate world and commented that she would probably never be part of it.  Well she was proved wrong on Wednesday when her bosses and colleagues congratulated her on her “performance”.  All I can say is “well done Suzy”.  I am delighted at the work ethic instilled in both our girls and how diligent they both are about their jobs.  This is a pretty poor picture of Susana presenting on Wednesday to the management of Aramark Spain, but it’s all I’ve got, so here it is to record that wonderful moment for Suzy.

Suzy "on stage" in Barcelona, making a presentation at a conference organised by her company, Aramark.

Thursday was the busiest day of the week.  It was the day Yoigo was launching two revolutionary tariffs on the Spanish market.  As Yoigo is different and the tariffs are different, so too was the PR and I broke the rules in how I usually communicate.  In the end I’m not sure it was the right way to go, but it did bring some good results in the press, albeit only online but even more so, in the ever increasingly powerful social media.   We were launching the “tarifa infinita” (for 30 euros a month, unlimited nationwide calls plus 1giga of internet) as well as an “ATAN” (any time any network) tariff at 2 cents per minute plus 1giga of internet.  Communication was limited to Twitter and Facebook and our other social media pages and very soon the net was buzzing with the news.  Journalists called me incredulous at the news and impressed for the first time in while.  As I was not going to get much offline news with this strategy, my main objective that day was for Yoigo to be a “trending topic” on Twitter.  Unfortunately only the geeks around me know what that is.  So, if you don’t either, let me explain.  Trending topics, are exactly what the name says, topics that are a trend, or rather subjects or news that are most being talked about or tweeted on Twitter at that moment, either in a specific country, town or worldwide.  I was delighted to see that at about mid morning, I had reached my goal and Yoigo was a trending topic in the whole of Spain. 

Yoigo was trending topic on Twitter on Thursday!

The story repeated itself in the afternoon when we were again a trending topic as the conversation about our new tariffs grew bigger and bigger with most people reacting really favourably. 

There is the evidence to show that Yoigo was trending topic on Thursday on Twitter!

This was the video on our You Tube channel we texted to one million of our customers to tell them about the new tariff.  I wonder whether you like it.

Whilst Yoigo was being talked about on the net, I was happy to sit down to lunch outside with the family.  We were joined by the girls.  I hadn’t seen Susana for more than a week, so it was great to see her after her event in Barcelona.  She was happy but tired, but also worried about Jambo, her little kitten who was ill.  

Tired of social media and my efforts to get Yoigo to become a trending topic on Twitter, I suggested to Eladio in the late afternoon that we go and visit the brand new shopping centre in nearby Las Rozas, Gran Plaza 2. It had opened last month but we had never found the moment to go. I am not a great fan of shopping centres as I often find them too big and rather overwhelming.  However I was impressed with this one, perhaps the most luxurious I have ever seen in Spain.  It was funny to find it full, despite the crisis but the shopkeepers who I asked confirmed that it was very popular.  We took the time to buy Eladio 5 pairs of shorts from Zara, Pedro del Hierro and a small boutique, as he is forever spoiling the ones he has with bleach marks or stains from the garden.

At Gran Plaza 2, the new shopping centre I visited with Eladio on Thursday

Friday started off as a very quiet day until I received a phone call from Susana.  She called to tell me that little Jambo had died that night.  I was devastated for her and very sad to receive the news.  Jambo had not been well and she had taken him to the vet the day before.  He was very tiny, rather dehydrated and apparently suffering from a virus but he seemed cheerful enough and was apparently eating.  Later a friend told me that small kittens have a very high mortality rate.  As soon as I heard the news I rushed to Suzy’s flat to be at her side, to comfort her and also to clean all the signs of little Jambo’s existence in her flat.  Oli joined us very soon and took the news badly of course.  We all love animals in this household and had taken to Jambo who had given us much joy in his short life.  This is an album dedicated to the memory of the little ginger kitten we were so sorry to lose on Friday.  RIP Jambo, we loved you.

RIP little Jambo

Determined to cheer the girls up, they came home for a quiet family lunch and in the afternoon I took them to Gran Plaza 2 for some much needed retail therapy.  We had a grand time in Zara, H+M and other clothes shops, buying lots of inexpensive summer clothes.  My favourite are these floral printed jeans from Zara which of course on me look nothing like they do on the model in the photo! 

My new floral print Zara jeans, love them.

That evening we went out together for dinner and took the girls’ friend Rocío with us.  We went to the Mercado San Antón where I had to taste the menu for the party we will be holding there.  It was very full of people, many of them tourists and the night was hot and balmy.  The dinner was great but the place a little too loud for my liking.  As we left, I took a photo of Eladio in his new Pedro del Hierro yellow shorts sitting on one of the giant coloured pigs at the entrance.  It was a nice end to a day that started off so sadly.

Eladio at the Mercado San Antón on Friday night.

Yesterday Saturday was a great day.  I had the morning to myself as both girls were at Suzy’s flat, which seems to be the norm these days.  Also Eladio, very unusually, was away too.  He was invigilating for the UNED University exams and wouldn’t be home until the evening.  However, he surprised us by coming home for lunch.  He had thought he would be there the whole day but in the end it was only for the morning.  Meanwhile, I read the papers by the pool with my coffee and then decided to go and visit two of my local boutiques in search of more inexpensive summer clothing.  I found two pairs of baggy summer trousers, a long green skirt and some red espadrilles which I will probably be wearing most of the summer.  

Eladio and I spent the afternoon reading by the pool with the girls sunbathing in the garden. Later we went for our walk and after dinner retired early to watch the Eurovision Song Contest.  It’s not an event I am extremely fond of but something of a tradition to watch since I was a child.  Half awake, half asleep I only watched and heard some of the songs.  As soon as I saw the group of Russian grandmothers in their 70s  appear, I woke up completely and was bowled over by their performance which was quite unique.  They started off in their typical peasant dress with a classical Russian folk song which soon turned into a modern song called “Party for Everyone”.

The Russian babushki (grandmothers) who came second in the Eurovision Song Contest yesterday

Falling asleep early I missed the part I like best, the voting and only found out the results this morning.  Sweden had won and Russia came second.  Loreen representing the Scandinavian country with the song “Euphoria” was the winner and her song was good.  However I would have wanted the Russian group from a village called Buranovo in the Udmart Republic in the Urals to win.  In any case they are now world famous.  What was your favourite entry I wonder?

Loreen from Sweden, the winner of this year's Eurovision Song Contest

For the records here are the results for all the countries participating.  As the event was held in Baku, the capital of that rather corrupt ex Soviet republic, Azerbajan, I was not surprised to hear that their neighbouring country and arch enemy Armenia had decided not to participate.  Next year, of course, it will be held in Sweden where of course there will be no political repercussion as there has been this year because of the nature of the host country.

The results of this year's Eurovision Song Contest.  Judge for yourselves.  My favourite was Russia

And now my friends, I have reached the end of this week’s entry.  This afternoon Olivia will be travelling again to Valencia to cover the news there this week for the TVE programme she works for, La Mañana de la 1.  We will miss her but of course, love watching her on the TV.  To quote my Father in his birthday card to her on Tuesday, “her live appearances make our day”. 

I look forward to a quiet week, no trips, no dinners out but who knows what else?  Well, of course, you will find that out in next week’s blog post.  Meanwhile, all the best to you all.


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