Sunday, February 23, 2014

Off to Barcelona, Blue shoes, Goodbye Javier, The 16 billion dollar question, 12 years a slave, an engagement ring, I’m a Ukranian, and other stories.

Sunday 23rd February 2014
Goodbye Javier, we will miss you.
Hi everyone

Here I am this sunny Sunday morning writing from the high speed train on my way to Barcelona for the Mobile World Congress, like every year.  I had hoped to write the whole of this post during the journey but have bumped into so many people on the train that may not happen now.  It was great to have coffee with Jesús S and Renata, to greet Miguel Angel, Pilar or even my ex-boss FGQ.  It seems half the telecoms sector of the Spanish market is on this train.  It’s going to be a busy week, as it always is at the largest mobile fair in the world.  I have my part in it with organizing a trip of bloggers, a big party on Monday night and then our press conference on Wednesday morning. 

But meanwhile, let me tell you about this week.  It has been quiet with lots of preparations on my part for our activities at the congress, but there has been time for other things too.  On Tuesday I had lunch with Mari Carmen at Ginos in Majadahonda.  Funnily enough Eladio had lunch with her ex-husband Roberto the next day.  We very much miss socializing with them as a couple since their amicable divorce a few years ago.

It was on Tuesday that I got an email reply from Brandon J, the vicar who married us over 30 years ago.  It was great to get his news and I must reply soon.  The contents of his mail had me remembering my teenage years on the double walks I did every day of last week whilst listening to music thanks to Spotify.  I felt quite nostalgic at times. I must write back soon.

Our wedding in 1983 - Brandon J married us - in the pic
That night whilst Eladio watched Barcelona beat Manchester City in the Champions League match, I cooked Chinese rice, my Mother’s way, for Oli’s dinner.  Later I joined her in her room and we had a long chat about work and work colleagues and bosses.  She is learning the lessons I have already learned so I hope some of my comments were useful.  In any case it was lovely having a tete a tete with her.

On Wednesday of note I bought some new shoes online. They are beautiful high heeled electric blue suede shoes made by Clarks, the company which used to be known for fuddy duddy footwear.  That’s not true today.  Their shoes are perhaps some of the most comfortable in the world. 
My new shoes from Clarks soon to arrive
I would have liked to wear them on Wednesday night for Javier’s goodbye party but they won’t arrive until this Monday. Javier is a colleague from Yoigo who is leaving the company and joining our previous management who now head up an operator in Switzerland.  There is so much I could say about Javier; one of my favourite colleagues who will be sorely missed.  I just wish him lots of luck and please keep in touch.  Goodbye Javier, farewell, hasta la vista.  It was a pleasure.  The photo illustrating this week’s post is with him at his goodbye part at Silk in Alcobendas.

On Thursday, my second fasting day of the week, we woke up to the news that the social media giant Facebook had bought the biggest instant messaging service or app  Whatsapp for a cool 16 billion dollars.  It is a staggering figure, more than for example Google paid for Motorola or Microsoft paid for Nokia!  And there goes the “sixteen billion dollar question”.  The maths don’t add up as whatsapp, which has no advertising and the maximum it could generate if each and every user paid for the subscription would be 450 million dollars.  The strategy here I think is more about taking over a competitor who could one day be a threat.  I’m not sure I want to be in the hands of the same company for so many things (FB, Instagram and now whatsapp) and so, like other people, am exploring the alternatives.  The newest alternative seems to be a rival company called Telegram which is Russian owned!  I have been in contact with them all week as we had a technical glitch at Yoigo and our users were having problems accessing Telegram.  Finally we solved it.  Funnily enough whatsapp had a huge outage yesterday, Saturday, which provoked enormous migration to Telegram which in turn collapsed their servers.  Thankfully they are both up and working again. It is amazing how much we depend on them.

But back to Thursday.  That morning I had my annual medical check-up. I was so happy to pass once again with flying colours.  I think a lot has to do with my weekly “fasting” and of course my daily walks.

We had good news that day from Suzy.  She and Gabor have been flat searching in the East End of London for a while now.  Finally they found a suitable studio flat for rent in Aldgate and after lots of hiccups and worries, it is all settled and they hope to move in in about a month’s time.  It must be so exciting for them.  They cannot stand living in the crowded accommodation they have been living in in Whitechapel now for a year; for me substandard.  But the experience will surely make them stronger people.  We look forward to staying with them at their new flat next time we go.  I hope that will be soon.  I can relate to their excitement and it must be pretty similar to our experience in the early 80’s in Spain when Eladio and I lived in a modest little rented flat in Saconia on the outskirts of Madrid.  We still refer to those days as the some of the happiest in our lives even though we were as poor as church mice.
Suzy and Gabor in London this week - so happy to be moving into a new flat
Friday was a crazy day work wise with so many last minute corrections to all my press materials for Barcelona but we got there. On Friday evening Oli was off to Valencia to spend the weekend with Miguel her TVE cameraman boyfriend.  This morning they were going on a 5 kilometre running race.  I was hoping for news and pics to post here but nothing so far.

 On Friday evening I was finally able to relax and Eladio and I went to the cinema to see “12 years a slave”.  It won best film award at the Bafta awardsthis week.  Also Chiwetel Ejiofor who plays the main character, Solomon Northup, was voted best actor.  It is a harrowing and strong film, slightly long but as it was based on a true story, I found it extremely moving.  My criticism is the same as most critics of this film; too much gory violence which probably did happen in real life but I found very disturbing.  If you haven’t seen it yet, do go.
12 Years a slave is a harrowing film
Later we had dinner at La Terraza La Escondida where we exchanged opinions on the film over a dish of their spectacular salad and steak.  We were surprised when Suzy’s great friend, Elena, appeared at our table to greet us. She and Antonio were having dinner there, recommended by Olivia.  The place is getting more and more popular.  I hope to take Kathy and Phil there when they come next week.  I can’t wait for our visitors from Yorkshire.

Yesterday, Saturday, was a quiet day without Olivia.  I had to work writing a final press release for the Congress but after that Eladio and I went to Centro Oeste – the shopping centre nearest our home.  I was going to pick up the ring I had taken to be mended.  It is not just any ring, it was my Mother’s engagement ring which my parents bought second hand.  It is a very unusual but at the same time quite classical, made of turquoises which are now decaying. I can still see it on her hand today in my mind.  Before she died she thought she had lost it or it had been stolen but when I went through her things I was delighted to find it.  I wear it with love and it reminds me of her.
My Mother's engagement ring which I had mended this week
And today is Sunday and I have reached the end of my tales for this week.  I don’t want to end without making reference to the most important news of the week or of the last few months.  I refer to the disturbances in the Ukraine where the opposition has rallied people to protest against the corrupt government since early January.  This week, tens of people have been killed from both sides in this street revolution.  I was moved when I saw a viral video made by a young Ukranian girl who tries to explain the reason for their protests and asks for support.  It has been seen by millions and is called I am a Ukranian, so for some days I felt a Ukranian too.  Thankfully yesterday the head of the Government has fled and Yulia Timoshenko, the former head of state, has been released from prison. The world looks on and I for one am happy to see how ordinary people are able to make a difference and have stood their ground in this bloody battle for human rights. This week will see the outcome; hopefully a positive one.
The girl who did the I am a Ukranian viral video - she is also called Yulia.
Just before I sign off, birthday greetings to Paula, my niece who is 26 today.  Happy birthday Paula. Love you.

On that happy note, I leave you until next week wishing you all the best. 

Till next time my friends,



No comments: