Monday, September 24, 2012

A family lunch, the death of a communist, interviewing Michael O’Leary, a weekend at the beach, Eladio’s birthday and other things.

Monday 24th September 2012 

A family lunch, the death of a communist, interviewing Michael O’Leary, a weekend at the beach, Eladio’s birthday and other things.

With Eladio today celebrating his birthday

 Hi again my friends.

Sorry for not updating my blog on Sunday but we were away for the weekend, so I am one day late. There is quite a lot to tell. So let me start.

On Monday for the first time in quite a while, we were all home for lunch which actually means that both girls joined my Father, Eladio and I for lunch that day. We three “oldies” nearly always have lunch together.  Olivia sometimes joins us but Susana not so often now that she has left home.  So I have begun to cherish every time we are together.

The four of us after lunch last Monday.

Just as we were having lunch a rather special resignation was taking place.  The very visible and well known President of the Community of Madrid, Esperanza Aguirre, from the right wing PP party, was in a press conference announcing her resignation after more than 30 years in politics.  This was big news in Spain.  There has been a lot of speculation as to why she did this and although she told everyone it was because she wanted to enjoy her family and life in general, after her cancer scare last year, it has since transpired that one of the main reasons was her discrepancy with the head of Government, Mariano Rajoy.  She was a very colourful and popular politician and I think she will be missed.

Esperanza Aguirre announcing her resignation

On Tuesday, as I was finishing the second volume of Ken Follett’s Century trilogy, The Winter of the World, the Spanish population was beginning to get the news that the communist politician Santiago Carrillo aged 97 had just died.  Ken Follett would have been interested, as he included the Spanish Civil War in his latest book.  He did not though mention this last bastion of Spanish communism and his role in that episode in history.  Santiago Carrillo was the leader of the Spanish Communist party and made a major contribution to the peaceful transition to democracy after the death of Franco for which he is much revered.  However there is a big question mark about his possible role in the massacre in 1936 of thousands of Franco supporters in Paracuellos in Madrid when he was in charge of public order, something he has always denied. Whatever the truth may be, one thing is for sure, this man had amazing genes.  He smoked like a chimney right until the last days of his life and had a privileged brain and was lucid  until the end. I remember once listening to him about 8 years ago at a conference and his diction was incredibly clear for a person of his age.  For me, his death signifies the death of one of the last bastions of communism in recent times.

Santiago Carrillo seemed eternal

The low cost airline Irish Ryanair has been much in the news recently because of problems with safety issues and many small incidents but also some emergency landings.  Ryanair is actually the airline with most flights in Spain, more even than the flagship Iberia. The Spanish authorities want more control over the airline, run by the famous CEO, Michael O’Leary, well known for his Irish blarney and marketing stunts.  And on Thursday there was a big press conference organized by Ryanair in Madrid and chaired by the man himself.  Olivia, who had done a piece on the story for her programme on TVE the day before which you can see here, was chosen to represent the programme at the press conference.  One of the main reasons was of course her command of English.  So there she was on Thursday morning surrounded by all the other big TVs and most important Spanish media. She was in contact with me via whatsapp and asked for suggestions of possible questions to ask the CEO.  I got media friends on FB to rally round and they came up with great questions, one being: Mr. O’Leary, with your hand on your heart would you feel happy to see your children board one of the flights with incidents like the the ones that happened in Spain?  I also used the communication to reassure Oli that she should not feel either nervous or intimidated, as she was representing the most important media in the country, was good at her job, very beautiful and that her English was a huge plus.  It turned out that all the journalists asked questions in Spanish which were translated but Olivia asked hers directly in English.  She was surprised when the question and answer session started that when many journalists put their hands up to ask questions, the microphone was passed to her first, obviously because she represents the most important TV channel in Spain, something I think she is not really aware of.  So on Thursday I was very proud of my little girl doing something so important and interesting in her career.

Oli in blue interviewing Michael O'Leary, the CEO of Ryanair for TVE on Thursday

Thursday saw me at a very fancy lunch, a goodbye event for my old boss.  You had to wear a tie and jacket to go in and the funny thing is that none of my colleagues was wearing one that morning at work as ties are frowned upon at Yoigo.  So they had to rally round and get the right attire from other colleagues.  My old boss remarked that I wasn’t wearing a tie to which I replied I wasn’t a man.  I hope he doesn’t think I’m masculine.  In any case here I am with Urban and Juan Manuel ready to go, the three of us looking very smart.

With my colleagues Urban and Juan Manuel, all dressed up to go to a fancy lunch

Friday was a very busy day.  I was up at 06.30 to be in the office by 9 as two distributors were coming from Córdoba to say goodbye to my old boss and meet my new boss.  Moises (Moses in English, lovely name) and Miguel turned up late and actually brought breakfast, a lovely cake typical of the region and of Arab origin.  Later they visited the offices and had lunch with some of my colleagues.

The distributors Moises and Miguel who came to visit on Friday

I then made my way home and just as I was nearly there I had to turn round and go back to the office.  There had been big management changes at the HQ of our mother company TeliaSonera and I had to prepare the internal communication which had to go out at 13h.  It actually didn’t go out until 13.30 as I didn’t get the text until quarter past and then had to have it translated.  I was in a rush as Eladio and I were going away for the weekend to the beach with our friends Julio and Fátima and had arranged to leave at 2.30.  I got back at 2, swallowed something which looked like fish and then packed our case and worried later if I had forgotten essential things like knickers as I did it in such a rush.  At 3 we picked up Fátima and at 3.30 we were at Julio’s flat in Madrid.  The journey took about 4 hours and we arrived in Campello at around 8 in the evening.  The four of us had been together in Campello, just outside Alicante, the year before at around the same date and we were looking forward to a relaxing weekend on the beach.  And that’s exactly what it was.  

On Friday evening we walked from Julio’s flat to the seafront and decided to have dinner at a lovely looking place called Tres Perlas.  It was a great choice and we went back the following night too.  We laughed a lot that night as both Eladio and Julio were wearing a blue and white striped top and so was I, the only long sleeved one I had brought and which I wore as it was quite cool on Friday night.  You can see what we looked like here.

The three of us in blue and white stripes, me, Julio and Eladio

If Fátima had been wearing a blue and white striped top too, then this picture of the four of us would be even better.

The four of us had a great weekend at the beach in Campello

On Saturday I was up early and went in search of food for breakfast whilst Eladio and Fátima slept on and Julio went for a morning swim in the pool.  By 11 we were on the wonderful beach called “Carrer de la Mar”.

The beach is great in Campello

We spent the whole day there, only leaving it for lunch.   We bought the papers, El Mundo, El País and ABC for my companions whilst I enjoyed reading Ken Follett’s “The third twin”, an excellent thriller. Lunch was at Arrocería Cavia, probably the best place in town and also on the seafront.

Lunch at Cavia on Saturday in Campello with Julio, Eladio and Fátima

We were all looking forward to a great rice dish.  Eladio chose a paella with chicken and vegetables and Fátima, Julio and I opted for an “arroz a banda”.

One of my favourite Spanish dishes, Arroz a banda at Cavia in Campello

Sunday too was spent on the beach and the weather was great again, reaching at least 30ºc, so we were surprised later to hear it was raining in Madrid, something which hasn’t happened for months.  Being creatures of habit, we ate again at Cavia and were treated to lunch by Eladio as it was his birthday yesterday.  We left the beach at just after four with a bit of a heavy heart, knowing that on Sunday we had taken the last bathe of the season.  After showering and some quick cleaning of the flat, we were ready to leave at just before 6pm.  We were home quite late, at about 10 as there was heavy traffic entering Madrid.

As we said our goodbyes, we all agreed that a good time had been had by all and that we should make this a yearly event.  For me it was the perfect relaxing weekend at the beach with good friends, good weather and good food.  You can see the rest of the photos of our weekend here.

And today is Monday and as we weren’t at home yesterday to celebrate Eladio’s birthday we had agreed to do so today.  Thus, after a meeting at the office, I went in search of a cake for Eladio for today’s birthday lunch.  Olivia joined us, thankfully and it was sort of touch and go if Suzy could make but she finally did, just as the lunch was ending, but on time to eat the cake together.  The photo illustrating this week’s blogpost is of Eladio and me and the cake, taken by Olivia and I love it.  My photo of her and her Father is not as good I’m afraid.

Olivia with her father celebrating his birthday today at lunch.

For the record, the girls gave Eladio some trousers and a sweatshirt and my Father and I gave him a new watch, a nice classic one with a brown leather strap.  Tonight the four of us are going out to dinner to round off the day and we have chosen La Vaca Argentina.  So many happy returns of the day my dear husband Eladio, albeit belatedly.  Birthdays are great but maybe I should say birthdays “rock”, the modern adjective so much in use today.

And that my friends, is all this week’s news.  Meanwhile I wish you all a pleasant week.

All the best


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