Sunday, July 01, 2012

104º Fahrenheit, Football, Oli live from Galicia, a press conference, this year’s Yoigo Summer Party and 10 years since the girls left St. Michael’s school.

On the octupus with Isabel at this year's Yoigo Summer Party on Thursday
Hi again

Hope you are all well.  Today is 1st July and we are well into summer.  Wow has it been hot this week and you can’t imagine how much.  The thermometer often reached 40ºc, an unbelievable 104º Fahrenheit.  When I lived in England, it never ever reached such a figure.  I remember thinking it was very warm when it got to 70ºF and could never imagine living in a country dominated by so much sunshine.  Nor could I ever imagine having peach trees in my garden.  All we ever got at home in Bradford were apple trees.  So I often go and look to see how the peaches are coming along.  We also have a wonderful greengage tree which this year promises a huge harvest.  Also I am thinking of making jam when they are ripe which will be a first for me.

Peaches growing in our garden

Most nights, when there hasn’t been a Euro Cup match, Eladio and I could only think of venturing out for our walk with the dogs from 21.30h onwards and even then it was too warm for a comfortable walk.  The best moment of the day was often when we would come home and take a swim to cool off.  Here is a photo of our lovely porch and swimming pool where we spend most evenings.  The afternoons have been too hot, until yesterday and today, to even think of a swim in the middle of the heat.

The porch and swimming pool where we spend most evenings these days

The week has been dominated by football.  On Sunday England lost to Italy in a terrible penalty shoot out.  But it was also dominated by other sports. On Sunday too, Spain’s Fernando Alonso won at the Valencia GP, after starting out in 11th place which puts him in the lead of the F1 championship. 

Fernando Alonso, emotional on the podium, at the Valencia GP

Alonso, although a bi champion, is nowhere near as popular as tennis star Rafa Nadal here in Spain.  So we were all very upset to see him leave Wimbledon in only the second round.  And now all hopes are pinned on La Roja, Spain’s football team.  Spain is immersed in a financial crisis and any sporting wins serve to cheer the nation up and boost morale enormously.  Thus it was great to see Spain beat Portugal on Wednesday in the semi finals.   What was not great was that it also came to a nerve racking penalty shoot out.  When we lost the first penalty, I decided to go to bed as I just couldn’t watch until the end, in dread of losing.  So up I went, put on the air conditioning, shut the door and switched the TV on to any channel that wasn’t showing the football.  I then lay down, secretly hoping Eladio would come up and tell me that Spain had actually won, but, of course, was prepared for the worst. He did come up, took one look at me which I interpreted as negative until he burst into a smile which was when I knew we had won.  I then jumped out of bed and hugged him, switched my phone back on and tweeted the good news.  La Roja had got through to the final and if things go well, could well be the first national team ever to win 3 big championships in a row: The 2008 Euro Cup, the 2010 World Cup in South Africa and who knows if the 2012 Euro Cup tonight against Italy.  My Father predicts another win for Spain and again with a penalty shoot out.  I sincerely hope he is right but do not wish it to be with penalties.

Casillas and Fabregas celebrating Spain's win vs Portugal on Wednesday

Olivia would have been watching the match from Santiago de Compostela in Galicia where she was reporting for La Mañana de la 1 (TVE) most mornings last week.  It was to be her last week with the programme until it resumes in September, or that is what we hope. 

My beautiful TV reporter daughter Olivia

Monday saw her in a small village called Villarino de Conso in Orense.  Here she reported on a nursery school that was to be closed down until more children joined.  Thus the town hall came up with an initiative to offer free housing to anyone with children wanting to come and live in the village.  The story was quite big in Spain that day as free housing doesn’t come on the market very often.  You can see the video here at minute12h.16.

Oli reporting from a village in Orense, Galicia, on Monday

Tuesday saw her in Narón, in La Coruña covering the terrible story of a 28 year old young woman, Iria García Bouza,  killed, supposedly, by her ex partner.  Another terrible story of wife battering and one of the subjects Olivia can never be comfortable with.  You can see the video here at minute 12h.16.

Olivia, very seriously reporting on a case of wife battering in La Coruña on Tuesday

On Thursday she reported from the border of Portugal from the Spanish town Tui and its Portuguese neighbour, Valença do Minho.  The story was on how the two towns had watched the Euro Cup semi final between Spain and Portugal together.  It was a lovely story of two border towns united by football.  Olivia interviewed a mixed married couple where the Spanish husband had cheered on La Roja and his Portuguese wife who thought Cristiano Ronaldo’s team should have won because they “played better”.  The report ended with the two mayors toasting the winners, the Spanish mayor drinking Portuguese port wine and the Portuguese mayor drinking Spanish wine.  It was a lovely piece of television reporting, perhaps the best Olivia has done so far.  You can see the full story here in this video which even TVE tweeted on its official Twitter account.

Olivia on the border of Portugal on Thursday.

Wednesday was the day of the match and also the day we had our press conference to announce a wonderful agreement with Spotify, the Swedish music company which is revolutionizing the way we listen to music.  I had chosen The Hard Rock Café in the centre of Madrid, a very fitting place for the occasion.  It was full house with some 32 journalists and we got much coverage, all of it positive, although these days coverage is much more online than offline, a sign of the times I suppose.  You can see the photos of the event here.

The crowded Yoigo Spotify press conference on Wednesday

Thursday was my big day, the day of the Yoigo Summer Party.  I have been organizing them now every year for 5 years.  It is unbelievable to think that in October I will have been with Yoigo 6 years. All I can is that it is the best company I have ever worked for and long may that be so.  The party was to be held in Hoyo de Manzanares in the main square (Plaza Mayor) and we were to host a typical Spanish fiesta with all the trimmings and more.  It started in great heat at 19.30 and went on until past 2 in the morning.  There were some 250 guests made up of our 104 employees and partners and suppliers. We were joined by the villagers that only helped to create possibly the best atmosphere we have ever created.  The party started off with a welcome act from the marketing and sales team where they simulated a part from a famous Spanish film: “Bienvenido Mr. Marshall”.  They came on singing and dancing, dressed in rural attire to the astonishment of the guests.  The “priest” and “mayor” arrived on donkeys to the delight of everyone. 

We had a great first act at the Yoigo Summer Party this year

We had chosen a very special “pregonero” or master of ceremonies for the occasion, in the timeless comedian, Fernando Esteso of the 70’s and 80’s who played a great part in the “fiesta”.

Me with larger than life Fernando Esteso at the Yoigo Summer Party on Thursday evening

We had a village band from León, care of my brother in law Alejandro and all the usual attractions you would see in a typical Spanish fiesta.  The funny thing is that most of the guests seemed to think that we had actually come to the fiesta put on by the village and didn’t realize that it was Yoigo who had organized everything!   

With Susana and Alejandro at the Yoigo Summer Party

There were bumper cars, an octopus, a shooting range, a bingo, a mechanical bull, a tombola, not to mention candy floss, hot dogs, churros, etc.  Dinner was served on colourful tables by the local restaurant, El Vagon de Beni and drinks were served the night through. True to tradition a television (well actually two) was raffled, care of Fernando Esteso who had us in stitches, along with a fabulous ham and various mobile phones. 

A great time was had by all at the Yoigo Summer Party on Thursday

Taken up by the spirit of the party, I dared to go on the octopus (the picture illustrating this week’s blog) and thoroughly regretted it later.  Likewise the bumper cars where I hurt my knee and all the contents of my bag spilled into the car.  I came to the conclusion that I am far too old now for such activities and swore never to go on either again.  However the rest of the guests, most of them who were far younger, seemed to have a grand time.  You can see some of my photos here.  But much better is this first selection of photos taken by the official photographer on Flickr.

At about 1.30, whilst the party was still in full swing, I decided it was time to turn in, exhausted, mostly from preparations.  Suzy, who had been working there with me, drove me home and for a change, slept at home that night.  I had a splitting headache, despite having only drunk water throughout the evening.  The next morning I felt dreadful as I did for the most of the day.  Like always I got a better night’s sleep the following night and now feel totally recovered.

It was great to have Suzy for breakfast on Friday.  In fact she was with us at lunch too.  But it wasn’t until the late afternoon, when Olivia returned from Galicia, that the family was complete.

Yesterday was a quiet day.  Of note I have lost the stubborn three kilos thanks to the Dukan diet and was able to start what is known as the consolidation phase yesterday.  So, glory of glories, I was able to taste bread and fruit for the first time in a month.  Also I was able to go out to dinner with Eladio for the first time in ages.  We chose to go to La Vaca Argentina where I would have a big choice of protein and vegetables.  I went to bed on a reasonable stomach, not having had any carbohydrates, alcohol or dessert.  Eladio commented it was probably the first time I had not had a “pudding”.  I wonder if I will be able to resist next time.  

Whilst we were out to dinner, the girls had gone to a party to celebrate the 10th year since they had left St. Michael’s school.  Ever since they mentioned it was happening, I have been thinking just how much has happened since then and how can it already be 10 years since they left St. Michael’s?  I remember being in the same situation myself, after leaving St. Joseph’s College and of course Nottingham University.  First it is one year since you have left, then ten, then twenty, then thirty, then forty and then suddenly you are middle aged and then one day you are old.  And now it is happening to my daughters. Wow!  Here is a picture of the group of them celebrating yesterday at the party.  It’s nice also to think how well they have done since leaving school.  I couldn’t be a prouder Mother of Susana and Olivia.

The girls at the St. Michael's party yesterday night

And now I have reached Sunday, the last day of the week and the end of this week’s blog post.  There is not much to tell about today.  The only thing on most people’s minds is the match tonight; the final between Spain and Italy to be held in Kiev, the capital of the Ukraine at 20.45.  Keep your fingers crossed for Spain.  Mine are firmly crossed.

And that’s it for this week my friends.  All the best until next week.

Cheers Masha

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