Sunday, October 06, 2013

Coca Cola “loses its fizz”, Olivia in London with Suzy, a visit to the BBC, 1st October bitter sweet memories, the voice of young Spaniards in London, in Dublin’s fair city and other stories of the week.

Suzy enjoying an Irish coffee this weekend in "Dublin's Fair City"

Good morning everyone

It’s another sunny Sunday and here I am writing to you again to tell you about my week.
On Monday morning whilst I was eating my fasting diet breakfast (porridge made with water!) I was interested to read about this year’s top brands published by Interbrands. Apple is now the number one brand in the world displacing Coca Cola for the first time. The Times very aptly put it as “Coke loses its fizz as iPhone and Google named most valuable brands”. I have always followed the rankings closely since I worked with Nokia and remember them being the number 6th brand in the world.  Last year they were still in the top 20 but this year they have plummeted to number 57.  Technology is obviously the fastest growing sector as seven of the top ten brands come from this sector.  Apart from technology the main sectors represented by brands are food, cars, fashion, beauty products and banks.  I was also interested to see there were only two Spanish brands in the ranking but was not surprised to find they were Zara and the Banco Santander.
Apple displaced Coca Cola as the world's number one brand

So yeah Apple is number one.  Coincidentally I had a conference call with some communications and marketing people from their HQ in Cupertino that afternoon.  In my mind whilst talking to these people from this “super company”, I was reminded of how Motorola and Nokia used to behave in similar conference calls when I used to work with them.  I didn’t want to tell them that keeping in the number one spot is never forever. 

Oli had a far more interesting afternoon than I did last Monday afternoon.  She was to meet up with the presenter from the BBC, a household name in the UK, she interviewed during her coverage of the train accident in Santiago this summer.  He had offered to show her around the new Broadcasting House.  I wish I could have been with her.  For a TV journalist like Olivia, visiting the BBC must be the equivalent to a Muslim visiting the Mecca.  And here she is sitting at the news desk so familiar to us all.  I think it is not impossible that one day she may really sit there and tell the news but for the moment it remains her dream.
Oli at the BBC newsdesk in London last Tuesday

After the visit the presenter offered to take Oli on his motorbike to the Oxo Building where she was to meet up with Suzy who was supervising her first event there.  Oli didn’t take up his offer. If I had been in her shoes, I can tell you that I certainly would have.

And here is a photo of Suzy on her first day at The Oxo Building – her official title is “head manager of Create in Oxo” (Create being the company she has started working for). 
Suzy read to go at Oxo this week as taken by Olivia
This week she has supervised quite a few events and so far so good.  I think she is loving the new challenge. The girls spent as much time as possible together but of course Oli’s visit coincided with her first proper week with Create.  I have followed their reunion in London vicariously and would have loved to be with them.

With plenty of time on her hands, the next day Olivia, continuing her journalistic tourism, also visited RTVE in London.  She went to see the Spanish correspondent who covers news from England for Spanish TV.  In the photo below she is flanked by the correspondent and the cameraman from the typical backdrop they use when reporting on news there.
Olivia during her visit to the TVE correspondent's office in London on Wednesday

That was on Tuesday 1st October.  For me 1st October is a bitter sweet anniversary.  It marks the day my amazing mother, Elena Lloyd née Lieven, died.  My Father and I don’t have to say very much to each other that day; just a look suffices to acknowledge the death of his amazing wife and my wonderful Mother.  On the bright side 1st October is also the anniversary of my joining Yoigo.  This year is my 7th anniversary with that incredible company.  Here is a photo of me the day I joined 1st October 2006 which seems like yesterday, except that since then so many things have happened and that unknown operator is now the fourth mobile operator in Spain and has just under 4 million customers and continues to do well.  Long may it last.
Me on 1st October 2006, my first day at work with Yoigo.  This week was my 7th anniversary at Yoigo

1ST October will go down in the world’s history as the day of the beginning of the American Government’s shutdown, something which is affecting the world in many ways.  I am not particularly interested in American politics, but even I know it is because the Republicans and Democrats couldn't agree on a spending plan (printing more money I think) for the fiscal year that started Tuesday and that part of it has to do with the Republicans not backing Obama’s health care plan.  

But the news that interested me more that day was to do with young Spaniard’s plights in London.  Obviously that would interest me as I am British but live in Spain and my daughter Susana is one of the many young Spaniards who has had to emigrate there because of the economic crisis in Spain. That day The Daily Telegraph published an article about Benjamin Serra Bosch, a young Spaniard with two degrees who can only find work as a waiter in London, one of whose tasks is to clean loos.  The newspaper described him as the “voice of a lost generation”. 
The young Spaniard whose complaints on social media made his story go viral.

This week too I read that another young Spaniard, a girl who works, funnily enough, for Apple in London, managed something pretty unique for these times.  Etorne Samanes complained to the same newspaper, The Daily Telegraph, about their choice of image in a recent article they wrote about the proposal in Spain to change the clocks to be on par with GMT, something more natural for this country. The headline is pretty insulting as you can read here and the original image even more so. It shows a semi naked fat man resting on his belly.  The young Spanish girl actually got them to change it to a photo of an Andalusian horse carriage driver also sleeping in the summer heat.  I would have loved to read the full letter Etorne wrote, but could only see snippets from the story ABC, a Spanish newspaper, published about her feat.  She told them she was fed up of the newspaper’s racism directed towards Spain and invited the journalist who had written it to visit a Spanish office to see if people really did turn up in pyjamas and sleep three hours in the afternoon!  She also told him that he forgot to add that after lunch Spaniards go back to work and carry on until far later than their British equivalents.
The photo the young Spanish girl got the Daily Telegraph to change in the insulting article about Spanish inefficiency published in The Daily Telegraph

Wednesday was quiet for me, but not for Olivia. It was her last day in London, part of which she spent with Suzy before going to the airport to catch her plane to Valencia.  She was going to spend time with Miguel her TVE cameraman boyfriend before coming home this weekend.  

Thursday was my busiest day work wise.  It saw me in the office for two consecutive meetings. They were both about social media and I was to meet the Community Manager of Samsung and then the Community Manager of HTC.  I don’t go into the office very often but I love to catch up with some of my favourite colleagues – they know who they are.

Thursday 3rd October was the day this week of the terrible tragedy in the island of Lampedusa. You will all know where it is, as it is a famous landing point for African immigrants trying to get to Italy.  It is also one of the worst sea routes for them and on Thursday a boat with some 500 immigrants had an accident whilst lost near the shore.  There were only 150 or so survivors in an accident the ever popular Pope Francis called “vergonha” (shameful) and he is right.
Body bags with some of the dead immigrants in Lampedusa

That night the news was full of the story but there was another incident which shook the world too.  A woman driving a car with her baby tried to crash through the security gates of the White House on Capitol Hill.  Shooting took place and panic overtook the area with the White House being closed and the world looked on worried another huge American shooting was to take place possibly by terrorists.  It turned out the woman who, I since read was fascinated with Obama, was unarmed but was shot dead by the Federal Police.  That seems to me to be very unfair but then I do not know the ins and outs of the whole incident.

On Friday I had an early morning meeting with my friend Julio.  He wanted me to help him with a ghastly translation of the most technical document I have ever read in my life.  It was a study he had written in Spanish on the profitability or rather lack of profitability in the long run from telecom operator merges.  However it was an excuse to see him and catch up with his life and also to go out and buy a birthday present for Fátima, our home help, who was 44 yesterday Saturday. 

Just as I was coming home Olivia rang me to say she was returning from Valencia that evening instead of on Sunday night, as she had to attend an important meeting called by the programme she works for, La Mañana de la 1, the next day.  I was delighted to know we would be having the pleasure of her company this weekend as I sadly miss our girls and the house seems very empty without them.

That morning Suzy sent me a song to remind me she was going away with the friends from her flat in London to Dublin for the weekend.  Of course it was “Molly Malone” also known as “In Dublin’s Fair City”.  It is a very famous Irish song I used to sing to the girls in my repertoire to get them to fall asleep when they were children and it is a song we all love.  I only ever sang the first verse of the song because that was the only one I knew.  To remind you, the lyrics of that first verse are: “In Dublin's fair city, Where the girls are so pretty, I first set my eyes on sweet Molly Malone, As she wheeled her wheel-barrow, Through streets broad and narrow, Crying, "Cockles and mussels, alive, alive, oh! Alive, alive, oh, Alive, alive, oh,Crying Cockles and mussels, alive, alive, oh".

It is also the unofficial anthem of Dublin where I personally have never been.  Suzy beat me to it.  She and her friends found a cheap flight at 40 pounds each, I can only imagine, with Ryan Air.  The photo illustrating this week’s blog is of Suzy enjoying an Irish coffee in Dublin.  The one below is of her London Spanish Italian family enjoying their time together in Ireland.
Suzy with her London Spanish - Italian family in Dublin this weekend

In the evening over dinner together at La Txitxarrería in Pozuelo, Eladio and I talked about both girls and how happy we are that they have the jobs they have.  It’s funny, however old your children are, you are always worried about something.  Well right now I have nothing to worry about and will take their next steps in my stride.

I enjoyed breakfast with Olivia and Miguel her boyfriend on Saturday morning as we munched Fátima’s breakfast delicacies – much nicer than watery porridge!  The news that made Olivia and I most pleased was that Rafa Nadal, Spain’s top sportsman, was to become number one again on the ATP (Tennis) world rankings.  The popular 27 year old tennis player had been number one twice before but lost the standing 25 months ago to Djokovic due to injury.  He returned to tennis last February and has won 65 matches out of 68 since then.  Today he plays Djokovic in the Chinese Final but will still be number one on Monday whether he loses or wins. Well done Rafa.

Whilst Oli was at her programme meeting, we had the pleasure of the company of Juan and his girlfriend Cristina for lunch.  Juan, who is our nephew, the youngest son of Dolores and José Antonio and Eladio’s godson, had come to bring me copies of TV series and films he knew I was interested in seeing.  Thanks to Juan I will now know what the world is talking about regarding the latest in TV series as shortly I will be watching both Breaking Bad and Homeland.  I look forward to that. Thanks Juan.

Normally they would have been joined by José Antonio and Dolores but luck has it that this week they are away on holiday.  They have gone to Italy to stay with friends who have a house overlooking Lake Como.  This is a photo of Dolores by the lake; forever photogenic.  Hopefully they will come and have lunch with us next weekend and we will hear all about their trip.
Dolores by Lake Como this week
But Saturday was all about Fátima, or rather it was Fátima’s birthday.  I encouraged her to go home and take Saturday and Sunday off rather than Sunday and Monday which are her usual rest days.  I couldn’t understand why she wouldn’t and it only transpired later that day when we questioned her more closely, that apparently Moroccans, according to her, just don’t celebrate birthdays.  We thought that was very odd but that as she now lives in Spain she should experience a birthday the way we do at home.  Thus of course she had a birthday breakfast, a card signed by us all, a present and of course a cake with candles.  Here she is at the birthday cake moment looking a little shy but rather pleased.
It was Fatima's birthday yesterday
And today is Sunday and I have come to the end of the story of this week.  Today has been quiet but nice because Oli and Miguel joined us both for breakfast and for lunch.  The most interesting piece of news this morning for me, at least, was about a 16 year old American boy, Josh Ruggles, who came to Spain to play the top Spanish Basketball players in a three point shot competition.  No one could believe he beat all of them, some of them ex NBA stars.  But not only that, he even set a world record by marking 135 three-point shots in five minutes.  Watch this space because this, not as tall as normal, future basket ball player (5’11”) will one day become a household name in this American sport.
Josh Ruggles the 16 year old American boy who beat Spain's top basketball players in a three point shot competition yesterday and who also set the world record by marking 135 three-point shots in 5 minutes
Sunday lunch today was a superb Moroccan affair prepared by Fátima before she went.  And now I am sitting at my desk alone whilst the men take a nap – yes the siesta the English newspapers so belittle – and Oli and Miguel have gone to Fnac (the bookshop) to get guide books for their three week holiday in November.  They have finally decided on Bali and the Gilli islands in Indonesia which sounds a great idea to me.

Who knows what next week will bring, but whatever that may be, I wish you all a great one,

Cheers till next week

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