Sunday, December 09, 2012

Olivia reporting for TVE in Valencia, a royal baby, finally the iPhone, the ex Nokia Christmas dinner reunion and other stories.

Sunday 9th December 2012
Some of my wonderful ex Nokia Networks colleagues at the Nokia reunion dinner on Tuesday

Hi everyone,

The week has been busy and good in many ways.  I hope yours was good too.

This week Olivia was working again from Valencia; something she tries to do as much as possible so as to be with her boyfriend Miguel who lives there and works as a cameraman for Spanish TV.  Monday saw her reporting on a lovely story about practically free housing for evicted people in La Alcudia in Valencia.  She appeared twice that morning and you can see her here if you fast forward to 13.49h.

Oli had a lovely story to tell on Monday on TVE1

She seemed happy to be making the report and I’m sure as a journalist she would also loved to have reported on the great British news of the week.  For on Monday Buckingham Palace confirmed that Kate Middleton, also known as the Duchess of Cambridge, was 2 months pregnant, the most anticipated royal birth since Prince William himself.  The news was great, what was not so great was what transpired later. An Australian radio programme rang the King Edward VII hospital where the Duchess had been admitted for acute morning sickness, and pretending to be the Queen of England and the Prince of Wales the programe DJs actually managed to talk to the 46 year old India nurse Jacintha Saldanha looking after her.  The conversation went live and the poor nurse had no idea this was a hoax.  Later this week she committed suicide.  This deeply saddened the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge as it did the whole world.

The royal baby will be third in line to the throne and as Salic Law has been revoked in England, unlike Spain, it won’t matter if the baby is a girl or a boy.  There has been talk that the birth could be twins and as we spoke about the news at lunch the other day, Eladio wondered who would one day become King or Queen of England if the birth was a cesarean.  That is a very good question and I wonder if there if is a law in this case or whether it is the surgeon who decides by taking out one of the twins first rather than the other.  If there is no law, he would have a very big decision to make.  Let’s hope it doesn’t come to that.

On Monday I was very busy with confidential work.  Yoigo was to announce the inclusion of the iPhone in its portfolio, something our customers have been clamouring for a long time.  We knew that but until we had the go ahead from Apple’s HQ in Cupertino in Silicon Valley, we could not let anyone know.  For those of you who have never worked with Apple as a corporation, you cannot begin to imagine just how strict they are and how many conditions and procedures must be fulfilled before you can go to market.  They dictate the exact wording of your press release – where you have to say that their operating system is the best in the world – and it is the company’s top two executives who give you the final go ahead to announce the go to market.  Our problem was we were in a rush to include this iconic product in our Christmas campaign and all that that entails and any delay in the launch would have put the campaign at risk.  We didn’t actually get the go ahead until Wednesday afternoon at a very late hour for Spanish media and bad timing too as the next day was a bank holiday.  I was so relieved when we finally hit the push button and sent the laconic press release out.  It meant we could finally confirm all the rumours.  It also meant that the market was to learn that Yoigo will be selling the iPhone 5 and the other models at the best price in the market.  You can read the press release here (in Spanish).  I am now waiting avidly for my own device and wonder whether I will like it as much as the Samsung Galaxy S3.  

It was great to announce that Yoigo will have the iPhone

Tuesday was a very full day.  I went to the hairdresser early in the morning and of course worked hard from home most of the morning.  Oli was on the television again and this time the story was about toys for deprived children at Christmas which is funded by a biro sold by TVE.  The news was that this year, for the first time, Spanish children would be included – another sign of our times and thanks to the crisis.  Olivia reported from the factory in Valencia where the biros are made and you can see her here if you fast forward to 13.45.

Oli on TVE on Tuesday

The crisis affects us all and not only in Spain.  I was deeply saddened to read later that day that Nokia will actually be selling their flagship HQ, called Nokia House in Espoo just outside Helsinki.  I love that building and used to love going there, feeling proud to work for Nokia.  Things have changed since I worked for that wonderful Finnish company and it is sad.  Here is a photo I took on one of my trips there in the “good old days”. It is of the inside which is spectacular; made of wood and glass and steel and a marvel of Nordic architecture.  Nokia House sits by the sea and is made of glass so all light penetrates this marvelous building where workers sit in open plan offices with views of the sea on one side and of the lake or river on the other.  If I found this news sad, I wonder how the people who still work there feel – devastated I’m sure.

The inside of Nokia house sadly to be sold soon

On Tuesday too I had lunch with Suzy, what we call girly lunches.  I haven’t seen much of her lately, so it was good to get some quality time together.  She is at a crossroads in her life at the moment as she plans to leave Spain and actually has a ticket to London for 8th May.  It is in London, like Dick Turpin, that she plans to find her fortune.  Again this is thanks to the crisis as, although she has always wanted to work in London, what has pushed her to make the decision is the appalling pay she gets with her otherwise very satisfying job as a dietitian with Armark Spain.  I wish her all the luck in the world and look forward to visiting her in London, the city of my dreams and where I never actually got the chance to live or work.

And finally Tuesday evening came and brought with it the ex Nokia Spain first reunion Christmas dinner.  I got together some 60 people from both the network and mobile phones division, mostly through Facebook but also thanks to many whatsapp messages, emails and other means of contact.  It was to be held at Gobolem, a delightful cozy restaurant in Las Rozas where Martin, the owner, put on a splendid buffet dinner with the whole place to our selves.  My thanks go to Beatriz from QE for her help in decorating the restaurant with poinsettias, photos from the past and a wonderful photo call.  

The evening was amazing and everyone was so happy to see everyone that it was difficult to get them to eat.  I really think that if we had just had bread and water in a garage we would have been just as happy.  I got so many compliments and thanks from people for making the night possible that it was quite embarrassing.  But I felt the whole effort was really worthwhile. 

With some of my great Nokia Mobile Phones ex colleagues at the dinner on Tuesday

The only damper on the evening was the presence of someone (IM for this purpose), someone I hadn’t invited and someone who used to make my life a misery in the last period of my time at Nokia.  I was amazed when Martin approached me during the dinner to say that someone had asked for the bill for the whole dinner.  We had all paid 50 euros each mostly by bank transfer so there was to be no overall bill.  It was obvious to me that whoever had asked for it had no good intentions. I asked Martin who the person was and he pointed to I.M.M.  I just told Martin to say no.  I was appalled at this person’s behavior but soon forgot about it, until a few days later when he sent me a private message on FB asking me for the bill.  The reason he said was to use it as an expense to claim for his small consulting firm.  I replied that I knew he had asked for it at the restaurant and that I had said no and that I thought his behavior was not elegant.  Believe it or not he wrote again yesterday to insist adding that it could do no harm to anyone.  I replied curtly that what he was asking me to do was to become involved in a crime called fraud and that such activity would harm the country.  This incident brought back all the bad memories of this person who, even after leaving the company, has come back to haunt me.  So yes, the reunion was great but left me with a bittersweet memory because of this incident.  I still feel shocked at his behavior.  If he writes again, this time I shall not answer.  What would you have done?  I was very tempted to publish the story openly but in the end decided not to.  I suppose it is best to forget and just to carry on. 

On Wednesday I published the photos of that wonderful reunion dinner which you can see here.
Wednesday’s highlight was a little trip to Gran Plaza 2 shopping centre to do some more Christmas shopping.  I indulged a little myself and bought a dark green jumper dress from H+M.  

Thursday 6th December was a holiday in Spain to celebrate the Constitution.  It was also Independence Day in Finland and both my Father and I remembered going to the Parador in Gredos in 2007 with my dearest Finnish friend Anne.  We actually stayed there on the same bank holiday and you might be interested to know that it was here that the new Spanish Constitution we are celebrating today was begun. We must do that again one day.  However, the Spanish Paradors (state run hotels in monumental buildings) are in the news this week and the news is not good thanks to the crisis again.  Some are being shut down completely, like the lovely one in Verín where we have stayed twice and some will be shut down in the winter months and many jobs will be cut.  The Parador workers have been on strike this week.   I do hope that the Parador in Gredos is not one of those being shut down.

Outside the Parador in Gredos with Anne and my Father in December 2007

Thursday was really quiet at home and only livened up when Susana joined us for lunch.  I must add that afterwards she went off to be with her friends at Rocio’s new flat in Majadahonda, another of their friends to fly the nest.

Friday was the in between day; the day after the holiday and the day before another holiday 8th December which celebrates the Immaculate Conception.  Some people have all three days off which is called a “Puente” (bridge).  I didn’t take the day off but worked quietly from home.  

Olivia was working from Valencia on Friday and her report that day was actually from far away Murcia.  The news was sad: a married couple in their 80’s were found dead in their house in San Javier, from suspected robbery.  You can see the story here if you fast forward to 11.28 and 13.45

Oli telling a sad story on Friday on TVE1

She came back from Valencia with Miguel that night but we weren’t to see them until the next day. Friday’s highlight was dinner with Eladio and this week we went to La Alpargatería, not the one we used to go to which shut down in Majadahonda, but to the one in Herón City in Las Rozas.  We liked it but didn’t feel at home as we did at the one that shut down.  

Saturday of course was a holiday again and another day off for Oufa.  I spent the morning cooking for a big family lunch. The menu was perushki (small Russian pies filled with minced meat, onions and rice), homemade ham croquettes, chicken waldorf salad and fruit salad. Suzy said over lunch that it felt like a mini Christmas Eve dinner and it did in a way as we usually include these ingredients on the 24th December.  The rest of the day went past like most Saturday afternoons: our siesta, our walk with the dogs, a bit of reading in the lounge with candle light and music, then a quick dinner in the kitchen, then the news on the TV in bed followed by Informe Semanal during which I always fall asleep.  So much for Saturday night on the tiles; that is how our Saturday nights nearly always ocurr.

And today is Sunday and I am writing from my desk in our study.  Eladio is preparing lessons at his desk next to me.  Oufa is in the kitchen making us our first Moroccan meal: chicken and vegetable couscous and Olivia is revising for an exam next week – an exam for a permanent position with TVE based in Melilla (Spanish occupied Morocco!).  She is very unlikely to pass as there are at least 50 other people taking the exam and many with more initial points than her.  Even so, I think she still has a chance, albeit very slim. And I am in a hurry to finish this week’s blog post as this afternoon we have organized an event at home. I am doing a sort of car boot sale of the girls’ cast off clothes, many of them still in fashion and some still with shop labels.  Olivia is the clothes hoarder, buying new clothes all the time and her wardrobes are bursting with clothes she no longer wears.  Lots of their friends will be coming and we plan to do the “mercadillo” in the lounge.  I will tell you how it went in next week’s blogpost.

Meanwhile I wish you all a great week ahead.

All the best Masha

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