Sunday, November 24, 2013

The end of Suzy’s surprise visit in London, Oli in the Gili Islands, more Homeland, Downton Abbey Series 4 arrived, an illustrious visitor to Yoigo, 50th anniversary of the assassination of John Fitzgerald Kennedy and other stories.

The Yoigo family with our illustrious visitor on Friday.
Hi everyone

It’s Sunday again, cold and sunny and the last week in November.  Oli will be back from her trip to Indonesia next Wednesday and soon it will be Christmas.

Last Sunday Suzy was enjoying the surprise visit of Rocío and Pulgui (Elena) who had arrived on Saturday and would be staying until Tuesday.  Judging by the photos they posted I can see they had a great time, going out to pubs, having meals, visiting Camden Town and also doing clothes shopping.  Suzy would have been feeling flush after receiving her first pay check.  Suzy can’t complain about visitors as since she went to live in London last May, Oli, Elena and her family, have visited her twice, we have been once and I will be going again at the beginning of December.
The 4 girls in Camden town at the beginning of this week.
Suzy and her friend Chati are still living in their crowded run down flat in Whitechapel (locally called Little Bangladesh) with 10 other Spaniards who have also fled the crisis here.  They are hoping to move out to somewhere nicer but haven’t found anything yet. 
Chati, Rocío and Suzy (right) outside Chati and Suzy's flat in Whitechapel.
Meanwhile Olivia and her boyfriend Miguel continued their holiday in Indonesia.  Last Sunday they left Bali for the more remote Gili Islands 
The Gili Islands
I read that the only transport allowed on these islands is bicycles or horse drawn carriages.  Olivia was ecstatic in her reports of their stay here, saying Gili was the real paradise, not Bali. 
Oli riding a bike in the Gili Islands
The beaches look amazing. 
A photo of one of the beaches in the Gili Meno islands
Her favourite island was Meno which she says is the most authentic with just 300 inhabitants.  Again here Olivia engaged with the local children who she said were very polite and also well educated.
Oli surrounded by kids in Meno Gili Islands.  She is as brown as they are!
The big attraction here for tourists is go to deep sea diving and Olivia loved it. First she went down 12 metres and then 20 metres.  She happily sent us the certificate she got which accredits her as an official “open water diver”.
Olivia enjoyed learning how to do deep water diving in the Gili Islands.

 Whilst Oli was diving, I was enjoying the end of series 2 of Homeland.  I had started series 1 the Thursday before and finished series 2 last Sunday.  The series which I told you about last week, has you on tenterhooks from beginning to the end of each episode and leaves you wanting more. So I felt very frustrated when I had no more episodes to watch.  Luckily my nephew Juan came to the rescue.  He sent me episode 1 of series 3 later during the week and on Thursday evening we met in Madrid when he handed me a pen drive with episodes 2 to 6.  The rest are not available as they have not been broadcast yet.  I only started watching series 3 this last Friday and so far am a bit disappointed.  The pace is a lot slower and the plot is rather confusing.  

On Monday, my fasting day, whilst Oli was in the Gili Islands and Suzy was enjoying her visitors in London, the bell rang and Amazon delivered Series 4 of Downton Abbey which has just finished broadcasting in the U.K.  I started watching some of it during the week and of course enjoyed it but after the tension of Homeland, it felt even more genteel than usual.
On Tuesday I went into the office to get my repaired new pc which thanks to Esther from IT was now free of the deadly “dosearches” malware.  That day I had lunch with two of my favourite colleagues, Dragutin and Javier, where apart from talking shop, we exchanged opinions about Homeland and other US and UK series.   

Wednesday saw me in the office again, this time for a management team meeting. One of the main topics on the agenda was Friday’s visit of our mother company, TeliaSonera’s new CEO, Johan Dennelind, which I was preparing together with Anna, my communications colleague/friend/boss from the head office in Stockholm. 

After the team meeting, I took my boss and his assistant to see the location I had chosen for the Yoigo employee Christmas party.  I needed his approval and was happy that they both loved Macadamia as soon as we walked in.  That day I was supposed to be fasting but had to make an exception that day as everyone decided we should have lunch at Macadamia.  The food was great I must say, as well as the place.

And Thursday came and there I was working hard from home, as I had been for the last few weeks, on last minute preparations of the big boss’ visit.  Eladio took this photo of me at my desk at home which is a bit blurry but captures the spirit I was in at the time.
At my desk at home this week

In the evening I had a dinner engagement with Anna who had come from Stockholm for the visit of Johan D, the new TeliaSonera CEO, the next day to Yoigo.  I took her to Ten con Ten, a lovely fashionable restaurant in Madrid round the corner from where she was staying.  We both enjoyed my favourite dish there; the oxtail hamburger.  We started dinner at 8 rather than 9, the normal Spanish dinner time, which meant we had finished by 10 and I would be home not too late for my early start the next morning (06.15).  As we walked out of the restaurant I tripped over on the pavement and fell flat on my face.  Thankfully I didn’t break anything but I could feel the pain in my ankle and knee most of the night.  

Friday finally came and I was in the office early to start executing the tight agenda we had set for the visit of our illustrious guest.  First we had a management team meeting where we made a presentation of the company.  Afterwards Anna and I took Johan to another floor for his pre-arranged roundtable discussion with 6 non director employees.  I think they were much in awe at having been chosen and I warned Johan to speak to them slowly in English as I knew their main worry would be speaking English. All Spaniards try to learn English, some manage but most don’t and their biggest obstacle in advancing in the language of Shakespeare is embarrassment.  If they could only overcome it they would have far fewer problems learning the language.

The next item on the busy agenda was an all employee meeting, what we call “Yoigo Mornings” at the office.  Here Johan D. told us just how amazing it was for him to meet the whole company in one room – only 109 people, who had made Yoigo what it is today, an operator with nearly 4 million customers.  I think we must be the smallest operator in the world with so many customers.

After a long question and answer session which I hosted, there was food and drink and time to mingle.  But not for long as we all had to go outside for a group photo.  Group photos of a lot of people take some organizing and I was uncomfortable, hoping it would finish shortly so as to keep to the timing of my own strict agenda.  The photo illustrating this week’s post is of the Yoigo family together with Johan (he is the tall guy in the middle - I am dressed in stripes on his left).  Thankfully it took no longer than 15 minutes and we were able to start on the office tour where Johan would get to meet and greet and talk to the people heading up the departments closest to the business: customer care, product management, network rollout, IT, sales, marketing and terminal procurement.  We finished on time and all that was left was to say goodbye and thank our illustrious visitor for taking the time in his busy agenda to come and meet the Yoigo family.  I stayed in the office until Anna left at around 15h when we took the time for her to copy series 2 and 3 of Homeland from my external disc for her to watch at home with her husband.

I didn’t get home on Friday till after 16h and my wonderful husband was still waiting for me at the dining room table with a dish of Fátima’s Moroccan chicken and potatoes. Wow was I hungry.  That whole afternoon I felt exhausted.  As I commented to Anna when we parted, this always happens after a big event with lots of preparation.  It goes fine, comes to an end and the only thing you feel is a mixture of contentment together with exhaustion.  I was so tired on Friday that I didn’t even want to go out to dinner with Eladio as we usually do on Friday nights.  I went to bed with my irritating cough which I have now had for over 10 days.  It comes at night only and I try to combat it with codeine, cough mixture and spoonfulls of honey.

I only realized whilst watching the 9 0’clock news in bed that night with Eladio, that Friday 22nd November was the 50th anniversary of the assassinationof John Fitzgerald Kennedy, the 35th and most popular US president ever. He was killed in Dealey Plaza, Dallas, in a motorcade where he was riding with his equally famous wife, Jacqueline Kennedy and the Governor of Texas and his wife, before huge crowds in the capital of Texas.  It took very little time to find his killer, Lee Harvey Oswald, who later was killed himself by Jack Ruby before he could stand trial.
Friday was the 50th anniversary of the assasination of JFK.

I remember vividly watching the news on television at home in Ruskington, the small town in Lincolnshire, where we lived when I was a child.  I was only 6 at the time but will never forget my Mother crying whilst we watched the news on our very newly installed first tv (black and white of course) which must have installed just a few days before.  The death of Kennedy is probably my first memory of any political or international sort of news as a child. So yeah, on Friday, the news of the 50th anniversary of his assassination took me right back to the sitting room of our bungalow in Ruskington 50 years ago. 

On Saturday, duly rested, I resumed my domestic duties and did the weekly shopping.  I went on my own leaving Fátima at home to prepare lunch as we were having guests.  José Antonio and Dolores were returning from their spa holiday in Murcia and would be coming to pick up Nuba, their mongrel dog which had been staying with us whilst they were away.  Our guests arrived carrying heavy bags of local oranges, mandarins, tomatoes and artichokes Dolores had bought for us at a local market in Fortuna, Murcia, that morning.  They never come empty handed and are very generous people.

We enjoyed Fátima’s home made pizza after which the men had a siesta whilst Dolores and I surfed internet on our iPads in the lounge.  I actually fell asleep then on the sofa, something I don’t normally do.  I think I was still recovering from the important visit on Friday.  Afterwards, at about 17h, before the sun went down, we all went out for our walk with the dogs which was wonderfully refreshing.  The obvious thing to do when we came home was to have English tea and biscuits – the latter were from Marks and Spencers, brought to us by Zuka and her Mother in their recent visit.  

Last night after they left we had a very frugal dinner and once again went to bed early.  I am happy to say that last night was a coughless event, the first in 10 days.  Oh I do hope my cough has finally gone.

And today is Sunday, again it is sunny yet cold.  Our day is unfolding as most Sundays do.  I have just taken Fátima to the bus stop with another suitcase full of food for her family.  We will be having Moroccan food for lunch again which she has lovingly prepared for us.  Then in the afternoon we shall go on our walk, after which I shall watch the last two episodes of Homeland.  

Next week promises to be less stressful than this week.  The highlight will be the return of Olivia on Wednesday.  I can’t wait to see her.

And so my friends, this is the end of the tale of this week.  I wish you all the best, as usual.  Cheers till next time,


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