Sunday, June 01, 2014

"Podemos" (we can), goodbye TVE, hello “TM Aquí en Madrid”, a parcel arrived in London, another weekend in Montrondo and other stories

Olivia (far right) with the new team 
Hi everyone,

Well last Sunday some of us voted for the European Parliamentary Elections.  The results the next day astounded us around Europe.  In the UK the party that got most votes was the far right UKIP.  France’s Le Pen won too.  However in Spain it went the other way. The victors were the left wing parties.  People say here it is the beginning of the end of the two party rule.  The socialists (PSOE) had their worst result ever and the opposition leader, Rubalcaba, a vestige of Felipe González’ era, resigned.  The fight now begins to see who will be the new leader of the party.  I only hope it is a woman.

The new left wing party “Podemos” (we can) led by a young man called Pablo Iglesias who wears a pony tail and is a teacher of political science at the Madrid Complutense University, were the protagonists of the week winning 5 seats in Brussels thanks to 1.2 million voters. This party stems from the movement of 15M of mostly young and well educated people who want a greater chance in life and are disgruntled with unemployment and the cuts.  The movement started in 2011. It remains to be seen just how far this party can go.  Will the establishment here let Pablo Iglesias have a say in how the country develops?
Pablo Iglesias the leader of "Podemos"
On the home front on Monday, it was an emotional day for Olivia, her last day with TVE. She has worked with the Spanish national broadcasting channel for some 6 years since she left University.  First she worked with Informe Semanal (a sort of Panorama), then with the website, after which she did a master with TVE and then worked for the 24 hours news programme after which she got a job with the morning magazine programme La Mañana de la 1.  This is where her career as a live reporter was forged.  However her contract was running out and so she looked around for jobs in other TV channels.  She entered the job process recently to be a reporter or presenter with a new programme for Telemadrid (the Madrid public TV) for a new afternoon programme to be called “Aquí en Madrid” (here in Madrid), starting this Monday 2nd June and which will be broadcast from Mondays to Fridays from 18.30 to 20.30.  Amazingly last Friday the producer, Boomerang TV (they make all sorts of programmes and series for television broadcasters such as Top Chef or The Voice) rang her to say they had chosen her to be one of the 4 main reporters, but not only that she would also be the substitute presenter when the occasion required it.  She was to start Wednesday of this week which gave her little time to say goodbye to TVE.
On Monday afternoon she took me to Prado del Rey (the programme and radio studios in Pozuelo which belong to TVE) which I had never seen before.  Here she took me round the studios where programmes were being broadcast and we had to tip toe around in silence.  This is a photo of Olivia signing a piece of paper, one of her last tasks before leaving the broadcaster.
Olivia performing her last task with TVE 
Before we left we took a selfie by the logo of TVE.  It was a very significant moment. 
A selfie with Olivia at TVE in Prado del Rey on Monday
Meanwhile in London, Suzy was getting on with life. She sent us this great photo of her coming back on her bike with her shopping.  I could see from the brands on the bags that she was doing so at the local Tesco in Canada Water.
Suzy carrying her Tesco shopping bags on her bike in London
On Tuesday morning Olivia went back to Prado del Rey to say goodbye to all her colleagues, the team from La Mañana de la 1.  I just love the photo she sent us of her with the famous presenter, Marilo Montero, who I know had a soft spot for Olivia. 
A special goodbye photo with Marilo Montero, the presenter of the programme La Mañana de la 1 where Olivia worked for 3 years until this week.
It was on Tuesday that Suzy finally received our huge parcel in London.  She had asked us to send her a 20kg box of food from the low cost Spanish supermarket Mercadona, as well as sheets, towels, etc.  I can’t remember the name of the courier but they charge only 1 euro per kilo plus some taxes which meant the whole parcel only cost about 35 euros to send.  Suzy was delighted to receive it at her new home in London.
The huge parcel Suzy received in London this week
Wednesday was Olivia’s big day, the day she would start working with Boomerang TV.  She would be spending the day with the main offices in Alcobendas on the outskirts of Madrid.  However from Thursday onwards the team would be working from a new studio and news room especially set up for the programme bang in the centre of Madrid in the famous Torres Kío in Plaza Castilla. 

Thus that afternoon Eladio went into Madrid to view three parking spaces near the Torres Kio. He found a great one which meant that the next day Olivia would be able to park comfortably right next door to her new work place.

On Wednesday none of us could have showers that morning as the hot water had stopped working.  The plumber came later in the afternoon.  It was bad news as he had to replace the “burner” which ended up costing nearly a thousand euros!

Because the new parking space was tricky to find, Eladio accompanied Olivia on her first day at the Torres Kío.  It turned out it took them more than 2 hours to get there because of the traffic.  Now Olivia may well have to commute via car and metro but as she still doesn’t know her timetable, she will have to decide later whether she drives or commutes on the train to work. 
 Meanwhile I was on my way to far less pleasant destination, the Quirón Hospital for my yearly mamograph.  If you are a woman reading this you will fully understand how unpleasant that is.
It was my fasting day on Thursday and I was really busy preparing a press release on Yoigo’s new tariff which was supposed to be going out next Monday.  However the news was leaked and we decided to send it out the next morning.  This meant I was frantically getting the wording changed from about 20h to 23h until the document was approved.  We were to announce the reduction of our tariffs by 25% and the cheapest "giga" on the market.  
Thus I was hardly able to think about Olivia on her first official day with the new programme.  That afternoon I would have loved to be at the press conference when it was presented.  The photo illustrating this week’s post is of the team of reporters and presenter.  I think Oli looks gorgeous.  She also sent me this more informal photo of part of the team.  I can’t wait to see the programme on Monday.
Olivia in a selfie with some of the members of the teams of the new Telemadrid programmes
On Friday I was up at 06.10.  I had to get everything ready for the issue of the press release but also pack for Montrondo and prepare all the food to be taken as there is nowhere to shop anywhere near the village.  I would be going with Eladio and his brother José Antonio and our main mission was to see how the rebuilding of the house which started some 10 days ago was going.  Thus I was able to have breakfast with Olivia; something I always treasure.  From now on her life will be hectic.  She has been told she will have no life other than the programme to start with and she has even had to work all of this weekend.  It reminds me of my beginnings with Motorola when I was the 4th person to join and I would be there from dawn to dusk and gave my soul to the company for it to grow and be consolidated in the Spanish market.  However it was fun and I made friends for life who are still in this industry in many of the different companies in the telecoms world.  I think it will be similar for Olivia.  I wish her lots of luck but mostly fulfilment and enjoyment.

Just before I left for Montrondo I had a quick chat on the phone with Suzy.  She is excited too, embarking possibly on a new career after sending in all the documents and complicated forms to register as a dietitian with the NHS in London.  I wish her the same as Olivia, fulfilment, enjoyment and much success.

At 10 we were on the road and 1.5h later having a glass of wine and plate of ham at Rueda on the way.  We got to Montrondo at about 14.30 and then my cooking started.  I have spent the whole weekend cooking for the men and have got many compliments. 
After lunch I went to see the “house” if that’s what you can call it.  It’s more like a shell as all the walls on the whole of the ground floor have been knocked down.  The builders have also dug about half a metre underground to isolate the damp.  It’s hardly damp as it looks more like a lake to me, or maybe the trenches in the First World War.  It looks totally depressing and hard to imagine it will ever be a beautiful country house.  However Eladio and José Antonio were very impressed with the work done so far. Eladio was very excited that the well in the old bathroom had appeared and now he wants to use it for extra water with a tap inside and out.  My comment was that water is abundant in these parts and I don’t see the need. However if he wants a well, he can have a well!
What the ground floor of our house looks like in Montrondo after 10 days of work.
Later I sat in the sun and started re-reading Wild Swans by Jung Chang, that wonderful book about China.  After a cup of tea and a biscuit with the men, they joined me on a long walk to Senra and back, some 8km. 
On the walk to Senra and back on Friday via the "Bao"
I continued as cook for dinner and prepared a healthy meal of vegetable soup followed by Spanish ham with salad and dark cherries and little orange coloured apricots.
Whilst the men spoke about philosophy and continued their conversation late into the night, I rang Olivia eager to know how her day had gone as on Friday they had to produce a pilot programme before the real one starts on 2nd June.  She had done two live reports, one about the public swimming pools opening in Madrid and another on some new healthy juice  famous people are all drinking.  I think it’s called “cleansing” or “detox juice”.  To do the report they needed a nutritionist to take part and I was very pleased to hear that Olivia got the girls’ friend Elena who had studied nutrition with Suzy at University, to participate.  Good on her.  Who knows, she may be hired for other occasions as a nutritionist on the programme.  Olivia didn’t leave the newsroom till past 10pm that night but was happy with her day. 

Yesterday was Saturday and it was a glorious day in Montrondo.  I was up early for my morning walk to Murias and back.  As always, Nuba, José Antonio and Dolores’ mongrel joined me. 
My favourite path on my early morning walk to Murias and back
The morning, for me at least, was spent making lunch: chicken noodle soup followed by chicken curry and Eton Mess.  Later Eladio and I lay outside in the sun reading, after which we fell asleep. It got so warm I had to change into shorts and a t-shirt.  After tea and biscuits with the men, we set off on a long walk up the mountains.  Yesterday I did over 15km, my average daily, but the exercise was much more intense as the climb up the mountains is so steep.
The men on the walk up the mountains yesterday
It was a glorious walk up and down and we were happy to see that the path had been improved.  Normally water runs all the way down but this had been channeled to the side of the path as today an important marathon was taking place called Omaña No Limits.  As I write now sitting outside in the sun this Sunday morning in Montrondo, I can hear people running past and being cheered by the villagers.  Some of them are doing 48km and others others are doing 18km. 
The Omaña no limits race which went past Montrondo today
As we came down the hill towards the village, a herd of cows and a big bull were being led up the path by one of the villagers.  It was a pretty sight and quite unusual for these times.  In the past nearly all the villagers, including Eladio’s family, earned their living by raising cows, but these days there are very few left.
Happy to see a herd of cows on the walk down the mountains yesterday
After such strenuous activity, a delicious dinner was in order.  Eladio suggested egg and chips, his favourite, so I obliged.  I made a fabulous meal of what is known in Spain as “huevos rotos con jamón” (broken eggs and grilled ham on top of a bed of chips).  The men and I tucked in eagerly.
Toño (left) and Eladio (right in the checked shirt) tucking into fried egg and chips last night for dinner
If we had had a good day out in the mountains, Suzy in London was out with her boyfriend Gabor and Italian flat mate Stefania.  From a photo Stefania posted on Facebook they must have gone for a picnic to a park but I don’t know which one.  I am so happy to see Suzy living contentedly in London. Enjoy darling!
Suzy (middle), Stefania and Gabor having a picnic in a London park yesterday
We all went to bed early last night as we were tired from the walk.  I fell asleep reading Wild Swans and this morning was awake at about 07.30.  I went on my early morning walk as usual and came home to have my favourite meal of the day, breakfast, with Eladio.

After writing my blog and hopefully publishing it, thanks to poaching a neighbour’s wifi, I shall make a simple lunch for the men and then we will be off.  José Antonio will be staying here all week as Dolores is away in Norwich, England, for a 10 day trip to stay with friends.  But he will not be alone.  Nuba will accompany him and tomorrow Monday, Andrés, Pili’s husband, will be here for most of the week to oversee the building of their new house which is looking good.  I can’t wait for ours to be at their stage of building.  I just hope it won’t take too long.

I will leave off now, happy to have finished my story of the week earlier than usual. I wish you all a great week,
Cheers till next time


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