Sunday, July 08, 2012

Spain makes football history, the cats are back, a scientific discovery, the porch arguably the best place in the world, our holidays are approaching, Wimbledon and can Andy Murray do it?

Our porch by day, arguably one of the best places in the world, albeit for us

Hi again

It’s Sunday.

A week ago Spain made football history by winning the Euro Cup in an incredible win against Italy scoring 4 goals to Italy’s nil.  Spanish fans had been chanting; “no hay dos sin tres” (there is no two without three) referring to this possible win as the third consecutive win of a major football championship.  After all, the Spanish team had won the 2008 Euro Cup and the 2010 World Cup in South Africa.  With the victory on Sunday, the dream came true and the news of Spain’s historic win made the front pages of all the newspapers in the world. The debate then started as to whether this Spanish football team was the best in history. The country was ecstatic with joy for two days, forgetting stories of its bail out, struggling banking system and the ever increasing “prima de riesgo” (risk premium).

La Roja made football history by winning the Euro Cup on Sunday
The next day La Roja was welcomed home by crowds numbering up to a million when an open topped bus drove through the streets of Madrid.  The team then disgraced itself by getting rather drunk and not making the best example on the stage set up for the celebrations.  The welcome was televised live from their landing at the airport at midday until the evening celebrations finished late that same day.  It was indeed a happy day for football fans in Spain. 
The Spanish football team's welcome home was one big fiesta for a million people!

At home on Monday, we welcomed back Joe, our black cat who has been missing for more than two months now. I watched his homecoming as I was about to step into my car to go to the office on Monday morning.  Then miraculously Phoebe also appeared and Eladio and I both witnessed their greeting each other outside the house.  Phoebe had reappeared more recently but judging by their reencounter, I feel they had taken their separate ways and that they had met again on Monday for the first time since their disappearance. 
It was great to have both cats back on Monday (Joe - black - and Phoebe - light coloured)

It’s lovely to have them back, although I wonder for how long it will be until they “go “ again.  The culprits, of course, are our dogs Elsa and Norah.

Our dogs, Elsa the labrador and Norah the beagle are the main culprits of the cats' disappearance

The week has been quiet, with not much activity.  I had a nasty summer cold which had me under the weather for most of the time, although I am feeling a lot better now. After the previous week’s busy times, I felt a little disoriented, as my next big project won’t be until September.  I got a lot of positive feedback from the Yoigo Summer party and was happy to send out the video and photos to all the guests.  A lot of people commented it was the best Yoigo party ever.  That was nice to hear, of course, but I tend to hear the same comment after nearly every party.  I am wondering now whatever will we come up with next year to surprise people again.  That is always my problem.  However I shall cross that bridge when I come to it and hopefully, be creative enough to hear people say the same again next year.  That sounds easy but I can assure you it’s not.

On Wednesday the newspapers were full of stories about something called “Higgs Boson”, which unless you are a physicist, you will probably never have heard of.  I certainly hadn’t and am still trying to understand what the noise is all about. As I don’t understand it at all, the best I can do is to quote the BBC’s introduction to the story: “Scientists at the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) have discovered a new sub-atomic particle consistent with the long-sought Higgs boson. The particle's confirmation would stand out as one of the great scientific achievements of the 21st Century so far”.  That bit I do get and also the fact that the man behind the scenes, Peter Higgs, an English physicist, will most probably be next year’s Nobel Prize Winner for physics, or so says the most famous physicist on earth, one Stephen Hawking.  When I mentioned the scientist was British, my philosopher husband who knows much about the history of science, remarked: “an Englishman again” which I must say made me feel extremely proud.

It has been another warm week but thankfully not a scorcher like the previous week.  We spend most afternoons and evenings by the pool in the shade in our porch and at night after our daily walks.  Susana joined us just once this week.  She is very busy with her job and any free time she has she tends to spend at her new and very cozy flat.  Olivia spends many a night there with her too.  But on Thursday afternoon Suzy was with us, brightening up our lives and it was great to see her.  She is such a charismatic sort of person and I miss her bubbly character.  She went swimming and I captured one of my favourite photos in a long time, when she stopped at the deep end to nuzzle Norah our 4 year old beagle who I am sure, misses Suzy nearly as much as we do.  I posted the photo on Instagram and entitled it “pure love”.  I’m sure you agree.

Pure love, Suzy nuzzling Norah from the pool on Thursday

You are probably wondering why I think our porch is “arguably the best place in the world”, for me at least.  Well it is and I came to that conclusion last night.  We were sitting on the benches by the pool with the dogs at our feet and I looked at it and took in just how wonderful and luxurious it is.  We have never lived in a better house, although I am not attached to this house in any sort of sentimental way as I know one day we will move from here when we retire, probably to the coast. But I do appreciate just how marvelous it is and how lucky we are to live here.  I commented to Eladio that soon we would be going on our holiday but that nowhere would we find anywhere as nice as our porch and that it will be wonderful to come back to.  So why are we going I wonder?  His answer was so that we can appreciate it even more when we come back and he is probably right.   Last week I posted a picture of the porch at night and yesterday I took a photo of it by day.  I felt as if I was maybe showing off too much by posting it on Facebook and maybe I was but then again why hide something which gives us so much pleasure?  So here it is again, just a shot as there is no way one photograph can take in the whole picture:  the pool itself which is just a few metres from the lounge with its huge glass French windows, the covered part of the porch with its whicker sofas and dinner table we use so little, the new parasol and wooden table given to us by Eladio’s brother Isidro many years ago, the patch of grass and trees at the far corner where we usually sit or lie to be out of the sun during the hot afternoons and then the open part with the wooden benches we sit on at night, the wrought iron chairs and table brought from the old porch from our house in Bradford and finally the lovely orange flowers that surround the pool, adding wonderful colour in the summer.  So, yes, it is arguably the best place in the world, at least for us.  I wonder if you agree.

We will miss it, especially in the evenings, in our up and coming holidays.  Yes, whoopee, we are going on holiday next Saturday.  This time next week we will probably be on the beach at the seaside town in Galicia, called Sanxenxo.  On Saturday we will drive to Verín, to stay one night at the Parador there near Orense, in order to break the long journey to the Rias Baixas area of Galicia where will be staying for a week.

Hotel Rotilio where we will be staying in Sanxenxo

After seven nights at the Hotel Rotilio right by the Silgar Beach in Sanxenxo, we will drive to Asturias, to the small fishing village of Cudillero where we will be returning to the wonderful Indiana hotel called La Casona de la Paca. 
The beautiful Casona de la Paca where we will be staying in Cudillero in Asturias

I wrote a review of this beautiful little establishment on Trip Advisor and since then have been a huge hit with the owner Montse.  We look forward to returning to the magical Beach of Silence (Playa del Silencio), swimming at the Playa de Aguilar, not to mention enjoying the local gastronomy, especially at El Pescador. 

The beach of silence (la playa de silencio) near Cudillero, a magical place especially at sunset

This will be our second trip to Asturias which I wrote about extensively in this blogpost.  It will be also be our third trip to the Rias Baixas of Galicia.  We were there first in August 2007 and again in August 2008.  My Father came with us on both trips to Galicia and I’m sure he will be remembering the happy times we had there when he reads today’s blog post.  Unfortunately he cannot travel with us any longer as he is not mobile enough but I know that he will be enjoying our travels vicariously and of course we will be sending him lots of post cards.

We have been thinking about our trip for most of the week but the days seem to pass rather slowly.  However I remind myself that I should focus on the journey rather than on the destination and that looking forward to the holiday is probably just as pleasurable as the holiday itself.  Soon it will be just a memory.

If the week was quiet, Friday was definitely the highlight for many reasons. On Friday the girls left for Santa Pola, leaving the house even emptier and quieter than on the previous days.  There will be seven of them there and I hate to think of how they will leave the place, although these days they are much more responsible than in the past.  Since writing this blog, Suzy posted some of the photos which you can see here.  Ah and I later found out that they had actually been 8 people - oh poor apartment.

Suzy and Oli at the beach in Santa Pola this weekend with two of their friends

But Friday wasn’t a highlight because of that.  The first piece of good news was the story my scales told in the morning.  I had been on the consolidation phase of the Dukan diet for just one week and had actually lost more weight which was an unexpected piece of good news.  So that night I thought I deserved my celebration meal of the week which is allowed during the consolidation phase.  We went to La Txitxarrería in nearby Pozuelo where I enjoyed my first glass of red wine for at least two months! 

The other good news on Friday was Andy Murray’s win over Frenchman Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in the semi finals at Wimbledon, the most prestigious tournament in tennis.  He made history too in that he will be first man to play a final at Wimbledon for many years.  In fact it was 76 years ago that the last English man won the tournament and it was the famous Fred Perry.  We must not forget though that it was a lot less time ago when an English woman won the women’s singles.  I well remember Viriginia Wade doing so in 1977.  Today the Scotsman will meet Roger Federer who has already won Wimbledon 6 times.  If he wins again, which he probably will, he will equal Pat Sampras’ 7 wins.  He would also return to the number one position in the tennis world standings. So obviously, there is lot at stake in this match for the popular Swiss too. I couldn’t help mentioning to my Father this morning that Andy Murray had got as far in the tournament, most probably because Spain’s Rafa Nada was knocked out in the second round.  Be that as it may, Andy Murray has reached the furthest ever in his career.  Today some 20 million Brits will be watching him on the television and the country will come to sort of standstill, similar to Spain when La Roja were playing the Euro Cup final last Sunday.  Wimbledon is a like a religion in England, even though British players have not performed well for many years.  When I lived in England, we used to watch nearly every match.  Funnily enough though, the tennis fever is over once the championship has finished as if only Wimbledon counted.  All I can say is, I hope Andy Murray makes tennis history for England today.  But can he do it I wonder?  He probably can as right now he is playing the best he ever has and especially since he has Ivan Lendl as a new mentor, his play seems to have improved dramatically.  Well we will know in a few hours time. We won’t be watching it as you can only see the matches on pay TV, but, like Andy Murray’s grandmother, I don’t think I could bear the tension even if I could watch it. 
Andy Murray could make tennis history for Great Britain today ...

But the best news of all on Friday was José Antonio’s all clear after his prostate gland removal operation just over a month ago.  He did tests last week and on Friday was pronounced all clear.  We are so happy for him and can now stop worrying.  We look forward to celebrating with him and the rest of the family in Montrondo after our trip to Galicia and Asturias at the end of July.

Saturday was quiet.  We spent a lot of time by our lovely porch, the big sporting news of the day being Fernando Alonso making pole position for today’s drenched F1 Grand Prix in Silverstone in the UK.  However all eyes will be on Murray not on F1 today Sunday. 

And today is Sunday, the sun is shining again as it has all week and we look forward to another quiet day, as we count the days until our holiday begins.  The girls will be back tonight and I wish them a safe journey back from Santa Pola later on today.

Meanwhile, I wish you all a great week.  Cheers till next time


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