Sunday, April 13, 2014

A delicious meeting, illegal to work after 6pm, lunch and a meeting with Julio, it feels like summer, remembering Adrian Mole, Suzy making fruit cocktails in London, Oli off to Ponferrada and other stories.

Sunday 13th April 2014
Happy on one of my sunny walks this week listening to Charlotte Church on my Sony headphones
Good morning, this sunny Sunday in April, Palm Sunday by the way. How has your week been?  Let me tell you about mine.

On Monday I had an early morning conference call with all my communications colleagues from TeliaSonera.  It will be a weekly fixture from now on.  Later I went into the office to meet a Swede from Riga.  Funny eh?  Kjell, a colleague from TeliaSonera, had asked me to set up the meeting with Anders, a public affairs specialist heading up the Stockholm School of Economics in Latvia.  He had heard lots about Yoigo and wanted to meet me and get an update on the company.  That was a nice meeting. 

Monday was a warm day as were all the days of the week.  I managed two walks every day of this week; good on me!  The photo illustrating this week’s post is a selfie of me on the walk yesterday in glorious sunshine early in the morning.  I am wearing the Sony headphones Dani gave the Yoigo employees this Christmas and I am listening to the voice of an angel: Charlotte Church.  If you have never heard her and you like religious popular songs like Ave María, Oh for the Wings of a Dove, Panis Angelicus, etc, then you must look her up.

On Tuesday I had a very productive morning.  I was up early as always and made our lunch straight after breakfast as I would be out for the rest of the morning. That morning our editorial team for content on the Yoigo social media pages was having its kick off meeting.  I had promised to take along “chocolate con churros”; a great Spanish invention for breakfast which consists of thick chocolate that you dip the churros and porras (small and big fritters) in.  The meeting turned out to be delicious and we have now agreed that at each monthly meeting a team member will take it in turns to bring them in too.  I commented that I am not a “meeting person” preferring to resolve things on the phone or by email but I must say a meeting with productive and pleasant people like the ones in this team with “chocolate con churros” is a different story.  Here is a photo of just 3 of the team’s members at our “delicious meeting” on Monday last.
Isabel, Pepe and Carlos at the "delicious meeting" on Monday with chocolate and churros
That night Real Madrid got through to the Champions League semifinals beating Borussia Dortmund on aggregate as it turned out.  The Spaniards had beaten the Germans 3-0 in the first round at the Bernabeu but suffered dreadfully on Tuesday in Germany being beaten 2-0.  It must be said that this was without Cristiano Ronaldo who it seems has a recurring problem with his knee, similar to the one that Rafa Nadal suffers from. 

On Wednesday I had lunch with Julio, my friend from our Nokia days and whom I consider by best male friend.  The purpose of the meeting was to prepare the activities; interview, press release and signing of an agreement with the college of telecoms engineers in Spain.  I was to see him again the next day and it was a pleasure to work together again.

That morning our Ukranian cleaner Zena came to clean the house as Fátima our living in home help is on holiday.  As the weather was so good we decided it was time to prepare the outside terraces, particularly the one by the pool.  When Zena comes to clean she lifts my spirits as she leaves our enormous house spotless.  I just wish Fátima could clean as well.  In the latter’s favour, she looks after my Father so well I can almost forgive her.

Amazingly on Wednesday in the other Spanish second leg of the Champions League quarter final, Atlético de Madrid beat the almighty Barcelona and have got through to the semifinals for the first time in 40 years!  We would have to wait until Friday to see who would play who in the semifinals; would it be Spain against Germany or England or Spain against Spain.  No one here wanted the latter, preferring to see that in the final.

On Wednesday office workers in Europe read with envy that a new law had been passed in France whereby it is illegal to clock off in every aspect of work after 6pm.  This didn’t just refer to leaving the office.  It also included not responding to phone calls from your boss or emails on your phone.
The new law in France
I wonder if that will really work in practice, especially in the big multinationals whose headquarters are in places like the US where that just wouldn’t be practical.  I for one am not envious of the new law, as I am a person who never clocks off, not really distinguishing between work and play.  For me it’s all the same but that is because I enjoy my job so much.

On Thursday afternoon I met Julio again.  This time it was at the interview with my boss for the College’s magazine, Bit.  It was great to welcome Julio to Yoigo.  He came with the magazine journalist and photographer.  It was a very relaxing event as my friend knows my boss too; they studied together. It was great to see you this week Julio my friend; not sure you read my blog though!
My best male friend Julio who I met twice for work purposes this week
That evening I served Eladio his dinner on the terrace by the pool as the weather was so good.  This is the photo I took to mark the occasion.
Eladio having dinner outside this week
It really did feel like summer this week with temperatures reaching 27ºc.  Spaniards are enjoying the weather but more concerned about how it will behave during “Semana Santa” (Easter Week).  In my experience it usually rains but you never know.  In any case we have enjoyed the sunshine and warm weather enormously.  This is a photo of Eladio with a t-shirt and shorts on one of our walks this week.
Eladio with Norah on one of our sunny walks this week
On Friday I was sad to hear that the author of one of my favourite books, “the diary of Adrian Mole”, Sue Townsend, aged 68, who was left blind after suffering from diabetes for many years died at home on Thursday after suffering a stroke.  What a terrible end for her.

I read the first two diaries of Adrian Mole in the early 80’s and remember reading passages out loud to Eladio and the two of us bending over double with laughter.  I particularly remember his New Year resolutions in the first book which I reproduce here for you to enjoy.
“1. I will help the blind across the road.
2. I will hang my trousers up.
3. I will put the sleeves back on my records.
4. I will not start smoking.
5. I will stop squeezing my spots.
6. I will be kind to the dog.
7. I will help the poor and ignorant.
8. After hearing the disgusting noises from downstairs last night, I have also vowed never to drink alcohol.
Remembering Adrian Mole
I loved Adrian Mole but as I commented to my Father, I probably found “The Queen and I” even funnier.  With the death of the very talented Sue Townsend, it’s goodbye to Adrian Mole.  But not for me as the news prompted me to order the books on Amazon as well as the DVD of the TV series I never saw.  I look forward to laughing at the teenager’s antics again when they arrive.

That morning Suzy was busy at the Oxo building where she works for Concerto in London.  She was involved in a photo shoot of the agency’s new menus and it was a first experience for her.  She couldn’t believe how long the photographer took to do his work. She sent us a great photo of some of the fruit cocktails she had prepared herself which look delicious.
Suzy with the cocktails she made for the photo shoot
We had a chat on the phone later; the only one of this week.  Suzy updated me on her activities and told me how hard she had worked that week, working two stints of 12 hours and only sleeping 5 in between.  Ah and you will be happy to hear that she is now biking into work and back on her new bicycle. I can’t wait for her to come for her 30th birthday at the end of this month.  Neither can she!

Suzy wouldn’t have been interested but I was, to see the outcome of the Champions League semifinal draw on midday on Friday.  I was pleased to hear the two Spanish teams would not be meeting.  In the end Chelsea was drawn against Atlético Madrid whilst Real Madrid face Bayern Munich, the most feared team of the four. 

Olivia, on the other hand, would have been just as interested as me, being as interested in sport as I am.  That day, she would be leaving work early to drive to Ponferrada in the north west of Spain in the province of León.  She would be joined by her cousin Paula and boyfriend Pedro.  They went to stay with their oldest girl cousin, Marta, to celebrate her birthday and would be joined by many more of the close knit cousins: Alicia, Laura, Roberto and Ana.
As we were having dinner together that night, we got a whatsapp message from Paula and Olivia to hear they had arrived fine.  I was happy as I was a bit worried about 3 such valuable people driving so far together.  I’m not usually a worrying sort of Mother but on Friday I had my fears.  So I was happy to see the photo of the 3 of them enjoying dinner at Marta’s house that night and playing the fool as you can see below.
Olivia arrived safely in Ponferrada on Friday night with Paula and Pedro 
Ah I forgot to say that earlier that afternoon Eladio took advantage of the good weather to mow the lawn for the first time this year.  I rather wish he wouldn’t mow it as it takes 2 or 3 hours and is quite a tiring task.  He insists though, preferring not to call a gardener.  I must say the lawn looks lovely now.
Eladio mowing the lawn on Friday
Yesterday Saturday was another lovely summery day.  Zena came again to clean and Fátima to help my Father with his bath.  Eladio brought up the table and chairs for the kitchen terrace and we had our first lunch of the season outside.  Here is a photo of my Father and Eladio enjoying our first meal outside this year.
Eladio and my Father at the table yesterday, the first lunch of the season outside
And today is Sunday and I am nearly at the end of the tale of this week.  At breakfast I was happy to see a photo of Olivia and some of her girl cousins enjoying their time together in Ponferrada yesterday.
Olivia (right with the white cardigan) with some of her beautiful girl cousins yesterday in Ponferrada
She also posted one of the whole group which she baptized “The Freijo Bunch”, in allusion to the Brady Bunch.  I look forward to hearing all about her time with the family when she returns today.
The "Freijo bunch" in Ponferrada this weekend
Olivia will be back in time for lunch which we will be having outside again like yesterday.  We will be having a barbecue, the first of the year and I have just been to the local supermarket to get some good quality lamb chops, steak and Spanish sausages.  The first course will be the “salmorejo” (sort of thick gazpacho from the Córdoba region) which I made yesterday afternoon.

So, I will leave off now to publish this, then go on my second walk with Eladio before coming home to make the barbecue in time for Oli’s return from Ponferrada.

Meanwhile I wish you all a great week ahead, Easter Week.  On Maundy Thursday we will be joining the family in Montrondo which I will tell you all about in my next post.

Cheers till then


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