Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Roses from the garden, a killing in León, grounded, remembering George, to Montrondo again, Suzy’s first anniversary in London, KO for a day and other stories

Tuesday 20th May 2014

On one of my unprescribed walks in Montrondo
Hi everyone,

Here I am writing my blog this Tuesday early in the morning.  I couldn’t write it on Sunday as I was in Montrondo and yesterday apart from having to catch up with my work I had a migraine most of the day which left me pretty much KO.

So let me start where I left off on Monday 12th May.  It was the day after our friends from France and Belgium had left and I needed to refresh the roses I had put in vases for their stay.  So, I did the only job I ever do in the garden and that is to head them.  Now they are gracing every room in the house as you can see in this collage I made.  I adore roses, they are my favourite flowers and always will be.  My Father gets a special bunch including a rose of every colour available in the garden!
Roses from our garden that grace our home
On Monday I went for my two walks on my own in brilliant sunshine.  I missed our friends who had been on the same walk with us during their stay. I sent this selfie to Sandra and Adele to remind them.  There was no sight of any sheep that day.  Sandra told me she found their presence almost biblical and that the scenery on our walk reminded her of Israel and I think there is certainly some resemblance.
A selfie on my walk last Monday
That afternoon an assassination took place in León, the city where Eladio’s family live and which is very well known to me.  It is a quiet provincial capital town not known for violence.  Isabel Carrasco, the President of Leon’s local government (La Diputación) (aged 59), was shot dead in broad daylight that afternoon on one of the bridges over the river Bernesga.  The killer was found very soon after and turned out to be a woman with a huge grudge.   The story behind the assassination seems so far-fetched and is a true crime of passion which would probably be any novelist’s dream. Later it transpired that the victim who held 13 official roles in León was possibly the most hated person in the city.  There are many jokes now circulating around her death.  In a nutshell her killer, Montserrat González, aided by her daughter Triana, bore the victim a huge grudge for dismissing her daughter Triana from the Diputación and for impeding her from receiving a large severance pay.  Montserrat later confessed “I killed her because she deserved it”. The revenge is tinged also by the fact that Isabel Carrasco had a sentimental relationship with the killer’s husband, which is when she found a job for their daughter Triana.  Even more bizarre is the supposed sentimental relationship of the daughters of both women who for a period were lovers.  The story has shocked the city of León, not used to violent crimes and this weekend in Montrondo, our family told us lots of succulent bits and pieces of information about the people involved in the killing that for now have not come to light in the national newspapers.  The story continues and no doubt one day will make a great TV series.

Last Tuesday was a quiet day.  I had a very agreeable meeting with the social media editorial team or rather with the customer care team who take care of customers’ issues on our social media pages.

On Wednesday I was off to the office again, this time quite early in the morning.  If you read my last post you will remember I fell and hurt my knee in Toledo.  It had hurt a bit since then but mostly when I bent my knee.  That morning I was sitting in quite heavy traffic and of course my knee was bent to keep my foot on the brake when it began to hurt so much I knew I would have to stop and would not make it to the office.  Thankfully I was driving past our local hospital in Montepríncipe and decided to visit the Emergency services there.  I was quickly seen by a traumatologist.  An x-ray was taken that confirmed nothing was broken, thank goodness.  However I had internal bruising and the doctor’s prescription was to rest my leg, i.e. he grounded me with no walks for 10 days.  I was to wear a special knee support and take anti-inflammatory tablets three times a day.  How awful to be grounded for someone like me who walks between 11 and 15km per day!  At the end of the day on Wednesday my fitbit gave me miserly statistics.  Due to the lack of walking I had only burnt 1700 calories and of course had taken in more than that.

On Wednesday I would have liked to be at a press conference organized by the NGO Protégeles to announce an anti-cyber bullying application for young people. The “app” was supported by the four big mobile operators, including Yoigo.  The initiative got a lot of media attention which was to be expected as the issue is quite big these days.
The logo of the anti cyber bullying app announced last week and supported by Yoigo
Thursday 15th May was a sweet and sour day as it has been since my brother George passed away in 2001.  I think about him nearly every day but on the anniversary of his death I usually shed more tears than usual.  My golden brother George lives on in my heart.  He was an unlucky boy that always makes me feel that when luck was handed out I got too much and he was short changed. 
My beautiful brother George in his 20s.  I always remember him but specially so on 15th May, the date he passed away
On the bright side it was Eladio’s brother Isidro’s birthday, so there was something to celebrate in the family.  It was also a holiday in Madrid to honour the patron saint of the city, San Isidro, after whom my brother-in-law was named.  I think it is a lovely name. As Thursday was a holiday I decided to take a “Puente” (bridge in Spanish which refers to a day off in between a holiday and the weekend) and we were going to Montrondo with Eladio’s brother José Antonio and his wife Dolores to spend the weekend there.  We needed to go to see the builders we had finally chosen to rebuild the old house, to go over the final details of the budget and sign the contract.  Then the building could start and was scheduled to start this week. 

We left at 10.30 and by midday were enjoying a platter of ham and glass of delicious white wine at the Palacio de Bornos Bodega in Rueda.  Stopping at Rueda on the way to León or Montrondo is always a great treat.
A stop in Rueda on our way to Montrondo last Thursday
We got to Senra (two villages away from Montrondo, some 4km) at just after 2.30 where we were going to have lunch at the only restaurant in the area: Cumbres de Omaña.  There in the dining room we saw my brother-in-law Andrés having lunch with his cousin and the workers who are building his house (right next door to the one we will be rebuilding).  It was great to see him!  Lunch was rather disappointing; just not as good as it used to be, but good enough to quash any hunger we had left after the marvelous ham and wine in Rueda.

Once in Montrondo we soon settled in the house and then, despite the doctor’s orders, off I went with Dolores on a walk to Murias.  The weather was glorious as it would be throughout our stay and Montrondo was looking at its best, so lush and green.  We were joined as always by Nuba, Dolores and Toño’s delightful mongrel and Rusky the neighbour’s dog. 
The views on our walks near and around Montrondo were breathtaking
I was the cook that night as I was throughout.  There is nothing more relaxing for me than cooking in Montrondo and doing so in Dolores’ wonderfully equipped kitchen is a delight.  She has everything any chef could dream of. 

On Friday morning, Dolores and I went on our early morning walk with Nuba to Murias and back, as we would do every morning. Our prize was breakfast, usually my favourite meal of the day. 
Wearing Adele and Bernard's t-shirt from Brittany on the old path from Montrondo to Murias early one morning
Then the most important item on the agenda took place, the meeting with the builders Benito and Recaredo to go over the final details of the estimate of the rebuilding of our house.  Amazingly some 3 or 4 hours later we signed the contract; something to celebrate.  I took a photo but did not get permission from the builders to publish it unfortunately. 

To celebrate I made authentic British fish and chips with mushy peas for lunch, much appreciated by all.  In the afternoon whilst the men rested, I lay on the sunbed reading my chicklet book which actually had me riveted.  I lay with my head in the shade and my legs and arms in the sun and right now I can tell you I’m quite tanned.  Later Dolores and I set foot again on our longer walk, to Senra, via Murias and back, some 8km.  On our return we bumped into Adela, Eladio’s oldest sister and husband Primo which was quite a surprise as we didn’t know they were coming.  It was lovely to greet them.  We got back to Montrondo just as the sun was disappearing behind the mountains at around 20h and there was darling Pili (Eladio’s youngest sister) waiting for us.  So the numbers slowly increased.  For dinner that night we were 6.

The numbers increased on our early morning walk too as Adela also joined us.  More of the family was coming for lunch (Marta, Adela’s daughter and Isidro and his wife Yolig).  My contribution to lunch that day was chicken curry and rice as well as popadoms and mango chutney.  Here is a photo of all of us about to have lunch.  Only Andrés is missing. He was always late for every meal as he is so busy supervising the building of their house.  He seems like the foreman and is very much involved in the actual building.  It’s great to see him so happy with the project.
Everyone at lunch on Saturday in Montrondo (except Andrés)

In fact he is so involved he broke the nail of his left thumb earlier that morning which was a bit of a damper. Eladio took him to the hospital in nearby Villabino where they patched him up and gave him a tetanus jab.  Thankfully nothing was broken and bandage and all he continued with his “foremanship”. 

It was on Saturday afternoon on our walk to Senra and back that I found out at the bar in Murias (La Palloza) that the Atlético de Madrid had won the Spanish Liga.  They were playing Barcelona at the Camp Nou and they only needed a draw to win.  And they got it 1-1.  This is their first Liga win in 18 years and the first time in 10 years that a team other than Real Madrid or Barcelona has won.  Well done “colchoneros” as they are called.  On Saturday 24th of this month the “colchoneros” will be playing Real Madrid in the final of the Champions League in Lisbon and there I have my fingers crossed for Real.  You too I hope.
"Colchoneros" celebrating Atlético de Madrid's win of this year's Spanish La Liga on Saturday

My daughter Susana, commonly known as Suzy, would not have been aware of who won the Liga as she was having her own private celebration.  Saturday 17th May was the first anniversary of her life in London and she and her friend Chati were celebrating it in very English style, by having a pint of bitter each. It’s amazing to think that a year has already passed.  Their beginnings were difficult but now they seem quite settled and happy with their lives.  Congratulations girls.
Suzy and Chati celebrating their first anniversary in London this weekend
On Saturday evening Adela, Primo, Marta, Isidro and Yoli left and once again we were just 6.  We decided to stay until after lunch on Sunday to enjoy the weather and put the finishing touches to clearing out the old house for it to be ready for rebuilding. 

We left at about 16.30 and once data coverage was restored to my phone on the motorway I was able to keep up with emails etc and was delighted to read one from Socialbakers (the people who measure companies’ performance on social media).  Yoigo had been awarded the Socially Devoted certificate for Q1 of this year meaning we respond really well to our customers on the Yoigo Facebook page.  Our performance had gone down a few months ago due to lack of coordination but thanks to heroic efforts between communication and the customer service department we are up there again.  I was so proud and happy to see our efforts rewarded with the certificate.
I was proud to get this certificate
After a long drive we were home by 8.30pm. Fátima was there to greet us but would be leaving soon for her time off.  Olivia was playing Trivial (the Genius edition I should add) with friends from the “manada”: Copi, Carolina and Elena, my Father was reading in bed and the dogs were the most eager of all to greet us.  Both of them have conjunctivitis and thankfully I came to the rescue with antibiotic drops we had at home and which Dolores’ brother-in-law, Patxi, who is an eye specialist had recommended.

So a good time was had by all in Montrondo.  You can see the rest of the photos here.

Yesterday was Monday, a fasting day and I’m afraid it turned out to be pretty KO.  I had a headache during the night and woke up with a migraine which got worse through the morning.  In the end I went to bed and sent Eladio to the chemist to buy a vial of a pain killer called “nolotil” to give me as an injection.  I also took a sleeping tablet and at about 5pm woke up feeling groggy but with just a bit less pain.  I knew a walk would help so off I went.  It happened to rain but I dogged on without an umbrella.  Then the sun came out and I dried me off for the rest of the walk.  It was a very strange walk but thankfully calmed my head.  Later I went for another walk with Eladio and the dogs.  The final cure was a powerful hot shower and this morning, thankfully, I woke up with only a minor headache.  As I write now it has nearly gone.  I have a history of headaches but thankfully the bad ones, like yesterday, are few and far between.

Today is Tuesday and to quote Eladio, like the mythological bird Phoenix I have resurrected from my own ashes.  He always says that happens to me and I suppose it does.  I had to be in the office and this is what I looked like when I left.  I’m sure you prefer that photo than one of me with a migraine the day before hahaha.
Tuesday, this morning, the day after the migraine, resurrected from my ashes hahaha
I commented on FB when I posted the photo that I could be a mature model for Zara but actually I was wearing a combination of clothes from Zara, Marks and Spencer, Lindex and Clarks.  If they are reading this they can make me an offer haha.

So off I went to the office for another very productive meeting and did lots of administrative errands.  I also worked there until midday as I had a lunch appointment with Marta an old Nokia colleague, now the Communications Director of a big international insurance company.  It was great to see her. 

The news of the day came this morning via whatsapp.  Andrés, who is in Montrondo supervising the building of his new house, witnessed the starting of the rebuilding of ours this very morning.  He sent us photos of the beginning of the rebuilding and I have made a photo collage including the house as it looks now plus the three photos of the men working.  Let’s just hope they do a good job and don’t take too long.  I would be happy if it was ready in 6 months but it will probably take quite a bit longer.
Rebuilding on the house at Montrondo started today.
And that’s all for now my friends. This week brings with it my younger daughter Olivia’s 29th birthday so we have a birthday week to look forward to. 

Hope yours is a good week, cheers my friends and readers,


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