Sunday, October 13, 2013

Our Indian summer, this year’s Nobel prize winners, a great laugh from Tommy Cooper, a 50’s themed birthday party, a family dinner in Madrid and other stories.

My October swim
Hi everyone,

How’s your week been?  Mine has been quiet but pleasant, thanks to the wonderful Indian summer we are having at the moment.  I can’t believe the temperatures which reached 26ºc this week, but more about that later.

Monday started as usual with my semi fasting which always feels great after a weekend of excess and meals out.  Eladio hates my fasting days (Mondays and Thursdays) as it means I don’t have lunch with him and my Father.  But my waistline is very grateful for the sacrifice.
Tuesday saw me in the office for various errands and mini meetings.  I had lunch that day with Javier and Dragutin who took me to a great place called La Bandeja.  I wish I had taken a photo but we were far too engrossed in conversation to remember.

I later heard on the news that this year’s Nobel Physics prize went unsurprisingly to Peter Higgs (and François Englert) for the now famous Higgs Boson.  I can’t begin to explain what it is but what I found more interesting was the fact that the Swedish Academy of Sciences had been unable to locate the Scottish Professor and went ahead with the announcement.  Later the Professor revealed that he had heard he had won the prize when a woman stopped him in the street to congratulate him.  I think he must be one of the few scientists in the world who does not use a mobile phone.
Peter Higgs

On Thursday, my second fasting day of the week, the illiterate world, amongst which I include myself, learned who Alice Munro is when the Nobel Committee announced her as this year’s Laureate in Literature.  I was happy to hear a woman had won, only the 13th and interested to find out that she is the master of short stories and often likened to Chekhov, who I’m afraid I haven’t read either (my Father has of course).  She is the second Canadian ever to win the prize and at 83 confessed that she was really surprised. 
Alice Munro, this year's Nobel Literature prize winner

It was on Thursday that the temperature soared to 26c and I suddenly realised we were in the middle of an Indian summer.  It was so hot I actually took the plunge and went in the pool.  The photo illustrating this week’s post is of that moment.  I think I have never swum in our pool in October.  Funnily enough the water was freezing but when I got out I didn’t feel at all cold.  It was a great experience.  Hopefully the current weather will carry on next week too and Eladio will postpone covering the pool for the winter. I went on to swim again on Friday whilst sunbathing and reading, no not Alice Munro, but the fourth book in the Cazalet Chronicles I am thoroughly enjoying about a quaint rich English family’s life during the second world war in England.  Remember I was prompted by the Duchess of Cornwall who was caught reading the saga.

On Friday the motor car world was devastated to hear that the 33 year old Spaniard María de Villota, a Formula 1 test driver, had been found dead in her bed in a hotel in Seville.  María, a vivacious and beautiful girl lost her right eye in a crash while testing for the Marussia team last year in England.  However she survived and went on to get married this summer and was to present her autobiography: “Life is a gift” this Monday.  It is ironic that she died just a few days before.  The family later informed her death was related to the accident when she lost her eye.  Spain and the motor car world mourn her death.
María de Villota will be sadly missed

It was on Friday too that the Nobel Peace prize 2013 was to be announced.  A favourite contender was Malala Yousafzai, the Pakistani schoolgirl who was shot by the Taliban for advocating education for girls.  She survived the attack and now lives in Birmingham and has become an icon for peace through education and admired the world over.  Inspired by the news she may become the Peace prize winner, I read more about her and learned she had written (or co written) a biography “I am Malala” which I immediately bought on Amazon.  I look forward to reading it after the Cazalet Chronicles – different sort of read right?
The book I ordered from Amazon this week

In the end she didn’t win the Nobel Prize but this week was awarded the European Union Sakharov Prize and she even met President Obama.  It’s incredible to think how her life has changed since living in the remote Swat area of Pakistan.  I was disappointed she didn’t, but thought it was very fair that the prize finally went to the Organizationfor the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) who right now is the organization monitoring Syria.  Most countries in the world, except those you probably expect don’t, belong to the organization.  However two countries that don’t really should.  Shame on Russia and the United States.  I mean, how can President Obama criticize Syria in its use of chemical warfare if the US is one of the major manufacturers of the ammunition!? It doesn’t make sense to me. 

On Friday I am sure none of these issues were important to my daughter Susana who lives in London.  It was on Friday that she was to supervise an event at Oxo on her own for the first time.  I later spoke to her on the phone and she is enjoying her job more and more every day.  It’s funny to think that both my daughters have, in their own way, followed in my footsteps.  I do PR and events as a Communications Manager and Olivia is a journalist and now Suzy works in events.  She posted a photo of a wonderful bottle of wine she was given at a Spanish wine tasting event in the presence of the Spanish Ambassador in London.  Olivia remarked; “just like Mummy”, in that if you work in events, you always end up getting given the odd “give away” or promotional gift. I asked for a photo but Suzy was too busy to send me one.

Eladio and I talked about this at dinner on Friday night.  Well I mean, we always talk about our daughters at our Friday evening dinners out.  This week, for the record, we tried somewhere new and very nearby: La Tagliatella, a great Italian place where we found out that the portions are gigantic.

Saturday was this week’s highlight and it started off well.  I always read The Times and The Telegraph online in the mornings over breakfast in the kitchen with Olivia.  So when I started reading this article, I just burst out laughing which had Olivia and then Eladio most surprised.  You see I was reading about Tommy Cooper, the English comedian I never really liked but whose jokes I found hilarious on Saturday.  I particularly found funny that he was also a joker off stage and used to give taxi drivers an envelope after paying, saying “have a drink on me”.  They would then open the envelope to find a tea bag!  If you find that funny you will find some of his best one or two liners even more so.  I particularly liked: “I was on a whisky diet last week.  I lost three days” and “two cannibals were eating a clown and one said to the other, “does he taste funny?”. Eladio’s favourite was: “I told the waiter, bring me a chicken. So he brought me a chicken. 'Just a minute,' I said, 'It's only got one leg. 'It's been in a fight.' I said, 'Well, bring me the winner.”
Tommy Cooper - some of whose jokes I found so funny on Saturday morning
Thus my mood was at an all high when Olivia and I set off for a shopping expedition. She wanted to buy presents for a 50s themed birthday party she was going to at lunch time.  Dave turned 29 on Friday, Ana turned 30 this week and it was also to celebrate Pulgi’s 27th birthday; all members of their group which they call “la manada” (the herd!).  We went to Gran Plaza 2.  Funnily enough I didn’t buy any clothes that morning but indulged in 5 books in English from Fnac.

Olivia went off beautifully dressed in a supposed 50s style red and white dress with a bow we bought from a cheapo Chinese shop in Boadilla.  This is what she looked like at the party with the rest of her friends.
Oli (in red) with her friends at the 50s themed birthday party yesterday

Ana, or Anita, is a prize cake maker and had mustered this amazing hamburger shaped and decorated cake as the birthday boy and girls are great hamburger fans – in fact lunch that day was from McDonalds!
Anita's amazing hamburger shaped birthday cake

I am sure the “manada” sorely missed Suzy and Chati who now live in London. They would have loved to be there too. But that day they visited a farm, the Stepney City Farm, as I found out from photos posted on Facebook by Chati.  Here is a great photo of the two girls together stroking a donkey.
Suzy and Chati at Stepney City Farm on Saturday

Meanwhile at home we had my home made lasagne and then had the usual siesta after which I read from the swimming pool terrace.  I didn’t sunbathe or swim though as the temperature didn’t rise above 20c.  Later we went for our daily power walk with the dogs after which we came home to get ready to go to Madrid for a family dinner.

We had originally planned to go out to dinner to La Vaca Argentina near Plaza Castilla with José Antonio and Dolores.  So I was very pleasantly surprised in the morning whilst shopping with Olivia to receive a call from Pili, my sister in law.  She was in town with her husband Andrés to visit their daughter Paula and her boyfriend Pedro.  It was a reunion weekend with Pedro’s parents from Málaga, Isa and Esteban and their other son also called Esteban and Pili suggested they all join us for dinner.  Thus we had a true big family dinner last night where there were 11 of us around the table.  This is the best photo I could get of the occasion. Pili and Andrés very generously invited us all to dinner and it was a superb evening; one to remember.
The family dinner last night

So today, Sunday, is a bit flat after yesterday.  On the bright side Oli will be joining us for our lunch of leftover lasagna.  Later today she will be travelling to Santiago where all of next week she will be covering the mysterious case of the 12 year old adopted Chinese girl Ausunta who was found dead 3 weeks ago and whose parents are suspected of her murder. We look forward to watching her on TV as we always do, however the house will be much emptier without her.

And that my friends, is the end of this week’s tale.  I hope the Indian summer continues next week so that I can bathe again.  I wish you all the best too; so till next Sunday, cheers all.


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