Sunday, October 20, 2013

Olivia in Santiago reporting for TVE, English visitors, my Father’s 8th anniversary with us, a telecoms dinner at the Palace, Suzy working on a Saturday, dinner with friends and other stories.

At the sector dinner at the Hotel Palace on Thursday

Hello again,

It is Sunday again and the Indian summer continued until yesterday.  Believe it or not I swam again this week, on Wednesday, but now it is cool and rain is threatening.  The week has been quiet but has had its highlights as you will read below.

Monday was my fasting day which always makes me feel good.  I worked from home and my Father, Eladio and I enjoyed watching Olivia on the TV from Santiago reporting on the case of the murdered 12 year old adopted Chinese girl, Asunta.  She was to report all week on the case but was so busy she hardly had time to warn us.  You can see her here on Monday via this link if you go to 10.19h. She was joined in Galicia on Monday by Miguel her boyfriend who actually travelled there on the train famous now for the accident this summer.

Oli reporting on Monday

I was busy on Monday as that was the day we finally sent our press release to announce our new convergent (fixed and mobile) tariff which would be commercially available from 16th October.  There has been much expectation around them and now that they are live, it is an exciting time for Yoigo.

Tuesday saw me in the office for various errands and home again for lunch with Eladio and my Father.  Of note that day Spain dealt swiftly with Georgia in its last qualifying match for the World Cup in Brazil next year and goes through comfortably as one of the 8 top seeds.  England also got through but not as a top seeder I’m afraid.

On Wednesday I fasted again instead of on Thursday as the next day I had a dinner to attend (more about that further on). Meanwhile Olivia was on TV again but never told us.  However I was able to see her later via streaming and was proud to see her interviewing Rosario Porto’s lawyer.  Rosario Porto is the Mother of Asunta and is accused of having killed her.  Olivia was very professional in her questioning of the lawyer and cornered him on occasion. Well done Oli.  You can see it here if you go to 11.55 (ends around 12.31).

Oli interviewing the lawyer in Santiago on Wednesday

That day we received the visit of English visitors.  John (husband of my great friend Jacky – we go back to our childhood days in Bradford) and his son Rafi who were down from Murcia to collect Rafi’s visa for Israel, came to stay the night.  They arrived in the early afternoon and slept a very long siesta after having got up that morning at around 3 to drive to Madrid.  As they slept their siesta I took the plunge again in our pool – soon to be covered – as the temperature rose to about 26ºc that afternoon. It was a pleasure to host John and Rafi later that evening, whilst Eladio was away at his UNED (sort of Open University) tutorials.  We sat by the pool with the dogs, enjoying an English cup of tea – then coke, then wine and whatever was available and enjoyed marvelous conversation in English. Later Eladio joined us for a meal made by Fátima (tortilla, runner beans with garlic, ham and Eton Mess) which unfortunately I could not partake of due to my fasting; but judging by how the men tucked in it must have been great.

It was not until breakfast the next day with John and Rafi, that my Father, animatedly telling us about his trip to Bergen in Norway in 1939 when the war broke out, reminded us that the day before, Wednesday 16th October, was his 8th anniversary with us. It’s amazing to think he has now been with us for 8 years.  He came in 2005 the year I left Nokia when he was 86 and enjoyed many a holiday with us in Spain and in England and on his own too, to his favourite destinations: Copenhagen, Berlin and Helsinki.  He was still travelling abroad on his own until he was nearly 90!  So now you see where my travelling bug comes from.

My Father in a great photo taken by Olivia of him a few years ago

Soon our English visitors had to go.  But just before they left I took this delightful photo of them with a partial view of our house in the background.  I do hope one day that John will come back but with Jacky this time, who told me she has never yet visited Madrid.  We look forward to that Jacky; please don’t take too long.  Ah and all our best wishes to Rafi in his exciting year ahead working for the Anglican Church, Christchurch in Jerusalem where he was born.

John and Rafi, our English visitors

Thursday was very busy for me.  It was results day. TeliaSonera, our mother company was publishing their third quarter results and of course I had to do the same locally for Yoigo.  I was up at 7 for an early conference call with my communications colleagues.  Then I had to listen to the webcast of the press conference and at 11 I had another conference call with the new head of Mobility Services.  Yoigo’s results were good, despite the fierce competition in Spain.  You can read about them here in our media alert which we sent out that morning.

That evening I had a professional appointment at a prize giving dinner for the telecoms sector in Spain organized by one of the sector’s news portals.  The prizes usually depend on the amount of advertising the portal gets so, as my company hasn’t advertised on it, I was not surprised to see we didn’t get a prize.  The other toll you have to pay for not advertising is the odd negative article about your company.  But I refuse to give in. That sort of practice goes against my grain, however the good thing about the event on Thursday is that anyone who is anyone from the sector usually goes and the dinner held this year at the magnificent Hotel Palace, was no exception.  It was great to see my colleagues from Motorola and Nokia now spread all over the sector, as well as the telecom journalists and my counterparts from the telco companies.  It was a good night; one to remember.  The food was delicious, although funnily enough what we were served was different to what was written on the printed menu. The photo illustrating this week’s post is of me with some of the journalists and communications directors that night.

On Friday I was up early as I am every day.  I love to get up early and get the most out of the day.  I had to go into the office again, this time for an interview with my boss by a journalist to be published in the prestigious Catalan newspaper, La Vanguardia.  I think it went well but won’t know the outcome, of course, until it is published.

That morning whilst I was at work, Olivia was on the television most of the morning.  However I was only able to watch her later.  You can too if you click here and go to 11.40 (ends 12.19) and 13.49 (ends 13.58).  That morning she got a scoop in an exclusive interview with the same lawyer as before; an interview that was broadcast not only on her own programme, La Mañana de la 1, but on others too.  She came back very happy that night from Galicia having even been congratulated at work for her efforts. 

That night at dinner with Eladio at Ginos, again we talked about our lovely girls and how well they are doing professionally. Earlier that afternoon I had a long conversation with Susana who was very tired after lots of events this week.  She keeps sending me photos of the food that they serve at the events, when I would far prefer to see photos of her. She did send me this photo which she said was taken at some fantastic building, but I can’t remember which.

Beautiful Suzy in London this week

She was a little disgruntled on the phone telling me she had to work the next day Saturday and would miss precious time to be with Chati and her Mother and sister Elena who went to London at the end of this week to see them.  I reminded her that not so long ago she was disgruntled about not having a job and that she should “thank her lucky stars”.  Yesterday Saturday, was her first day working on a weekend; something that doesn’t happen often but may well become the norm as Christmas approaches and the events intensify.  She is, however, thoroughly enjoying the job but of course still learning the ropes. 

Saturday was once again the highlight of the week.  Again it started early and saw me making our lunch straight after breakfast and Eladio and I going food shopping at about 10.  Normally I do the food shopping with Fátima but she took Thursday and Friday off this week to finish off her paper work which will give her legal status in Spain and for which she is so grateful.  After our most efficient shopping (I do this in record time!), off we went again, this time to Gran Plaza 1 (shopping mall) to pick up some trousers for Eladio at Massimo Dutti (Zara’s up market brand).  Here I insisted on buying him some elegant green suede brogue shoes.  He never wants to buy anything new and I always have to insist.  However, later that night when he wore them to dinner, he admitted he loved them.

Eladio's new footwear from Massimo Dutti

When you are shopping you can get peckish so off we went for a cup of coffee to Vait.  Here I tried my first ever “cronut” (of New York origin it is half donut half croissant) and I must say it was delicious.  Thus I was not very hungry at lunch.  Miguel and Olivia joined us and we had a feast, as you can see from the photo of my plate of “cocido madrlieño” a staple winter dish I make occasionally and which we all love.

My cocido madrileño

Unfortunately it rained yesterday afternoon and we had to sacrifice our walk.  That evening we had another dinner date.  It was late, at 10.30 pm, in Madrid with our friends Juana and Oscar, Julio and Fátima.  It was to celebrate Juana’s promotion at Microsoft.  She is now head of Enterprise sales in Western Europe and some of the companies she is responsible for are very close to us all: Nokia, TeliaSonera and Ericsson.  We all originally met at Nokia, so last night of course, we commented a lot on the recent purchase of Nokia Mobile Phones by Microsoft.  I also said that so much had happened in the sector since we first met in 2000 and wondered what our conversation would be like if we were to have dinner together in 10 years time.  Here is a photo of all of us around the table at Conlaya, a restaurant which specializes in food from Cantabria and which we all enjoyed.

Dinner with our friends last night.

And today is Sunday.  I am writing my blog in the morning, so as to feel free after lunch and to be able to finish the DVD of The Cazalets, based on the 4 books I read recently by Elizabeth Jane Howard.  In a way it reminds me of Downton Abbey and is highly recommendable.

I have just made apple crumble for lunch – or rather it is now in the oven.  Again we will have the pleasure of Olivia and Miguel and look forward to tasting Fátima’s stuffed cabbage leaves.

Hopefully this afternoon we shall not be cheated of our walk. The rest of Sunday will be like nearly every Sunday at home; relaxed and being with the family.

So I shall stop here; wishing you all the best for next week.

Cheers till then,


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