Sunday, July 06, 2014

Fruit from our garden, Oli reports on Pedro Delgado’s new book, freak hailstorms in Spain, this year’s Yoigo summer party, Suzy in Tenerife, The Tour de France departs in “God’s own country” and other stories.

Sunday 6th July 2014

Me on the vintage round about we hired for the Yoigo Summer Part
Hi everyone,

It’s Sunday again and time to write my blog.  The week has been very eventful.  Three of the biggest sporting events have coincided this weekend; Wimbledon, The Tour of France and The World Cup; the first two taking place in England but more about them later.

Last Sunday we returned from Montrondo and brought back Eladio’s mother who is staying with us for a fortnight.  It was a bit of a squeeze in the back of the car where I sat with José Antonio and Dolores.
My 92 year old mother-in-law, Ernestina who is staying with us for 2 weeks and who spends most of her time knitting socks for us all.
It was nice to see my Father and Olivia when we got back as well as the dogs.  Nuba, Toño and Dolores’ terrier mongrel, was to stay with us this week too as they were going away.  I must say our house resembled a senior citizens’ and dogs’ home all of this week.  We hardly saw Olivia but when she was here at least she, and her boyfriend Miguel, lowered the average age of the residents, thank goodness.

Monday was quiet and my first fasting day of the week as usual.  I must say I missed Fátima our home help when she went away for her two days off.  It meant Eladio and I had to take care of everything.  That day Eladio picked fruit from our garden.  We have an abundance of different types of plums and here are the small red ones he picked.  The best ones are yet to come and the greengage tree is the heaviest of all.  We have never seen so much fruit of it.  A gust of wind blew down one of the heaviest branches and I think the dogs are semi enjoying the unripe fruit within reach of them.  No doubt the birds will get at the greengages as they did with our peaches of which they left us just one, very annoyingly.  But no way are they going to be able to eat all the greengages thank goodness.
Fruit from our garden, damsels I think

We all watched Olivia that evening reporting on a special layby for Muslims travelling back from France, Belgium and probably Switzerland all the way through Spain to Morocco for their annual summer holiday.  The layby was one of the stops for them to rest, fill their tanks and of course pray, believe it or not. 
Olivia reporting on the muslim layby and rest stop outside Madrid on Monday
On Tuesday I was invited by my friend and cycling legend Pedro Delgado who won the Tour of France in 1988, to the presentation of his new book “A golpe de micrófono” at the Fnac bookstore in Callao in the centre of Madrid.  The book was about his experience as a TV, radio and sports paper cycling journalist which he has been for 20 years now since he quit cycling. 
The invitation to the presentation of Pedro Delgado's new book.
I suggested to Olivia that her programme report on the new book and they agreed.  They were especially interested in his opinion of the upcoming Tour starting this weekend.  So there I witnessed my own TV journalist Olivia covering the story of my friend, the Spanish cycling legend, Pedro Delgado’s new book.  I was literally tickled pink.  Pedro being the darling he is, made no fuss when Olivia’s programme insisted on her doing the live report just as his presentation was supposed to start.  It was great to see many familiar faces at the presentation, not least his lovely wife Ludi and three beautiful boys.  Ludi’s pretty mother was there too as well as lots of Delgado fans of which there a legion in Spain as the ex-cyclist seems to be just as popular today as when he rode. 
Olivia reporting live at the presentation of Pedro Delgado's new book
I was well aware during the presentation that the world’s number one tennis player, Spain’s top ambassador for sport, Rafa Nadal, was playing his third round at Wimbledon and of course expected him to win.  But that wasn’t to be so.  He was shockingly knocked out by an Australian newbie, the 19 year old Nick Kyrgios who is ranked 144 in the world and was playing his first Wimbledon championship.  He beat the Spaniard 7-6, 5-7, 7-6, 6-3 and he seemed to do so entirely based on his incredibly fast and blistering serve which is the best way to win on grass.  Wimbledon for me has now lost interest.  Today, Sunday, is the men’s final and Federer will be meeting Djokovic. 

Wednesday was a busy day for me, like all of this week.  It was the day before the annual Yoigo summer party and I had lots of last minute hiccups.  On Wednesday I fasted rather than on Thursday so as to be able to enjoy the food at the party.  Again we watched Olivia live on TV.  This time she reported on the killing of a young Danish girl at her hostel in the centre of Madrid at the hands of a Belgium who later admitted to the ghastly crime.  It was big news in Spain that day.
Olivia reporting on the detention of the 33 year old Belgian in Madrid who had killed a young Danish girl recently.
Finally my big day arrived, Thursday 3rd July, the date of this year’s Yoigo summer party which was to be held at a wonderful location called Las Jarillas.  I had managed to get 28 of our partners and providers to fund the party which would be attended by over 250 people.  But all was not well as we were expecting huge rainfalls during the day and evening and I thought our party would be a wash out. Thus we had to get a marquee and resort to plan b of having the cocktails, dinner and after dinner activities inside rather in the wonderful gardens.  I had to make a big decision as whether to go ahead with bringing a beautiful vintage roundabout all the way from Valencia.  In the end we did bring it.  The photo illustrating this week’s post is of me on the lovely roundabout.  It felt like being in the Mary Poppin’s film as a lot of guests commented.

The weather was threatening all day and in most of Spain.  In the afternoon there was a freak hailstorm in Madrid, so unusual in July.  Even the outer ring road, the M40 was blocked for over an hour.  Much damage was done.  There were similar hailstorms in other parts of Spain making some villages turn completely white from the huge and extensive hail stones. 
Clearing the hail after the freak storm in Madrid on the M40 on the day of the Yoigo Summer Party this week

The weather forecast for 8pm which was when our party was to start was for rain.  As I left the house, Eladio looked at the sky and told me he didn’t think it would rain that evening.  He was right.  In the end our wonderful party was not a wash out.  Quite the opposite really, it was a huge success.  People enjoyed the roundabout, the cocktails, the amazing dinner, as well as the musical group called Fe de facto y flores or something like that, as well as the tombola, casino and endless free drinks.  Here is collage of just some of the shots from the party.
A collage of photos of the Yoigo Summer party this last Thursday
I was not able to see Olivia on the TV that day as I was on my way to Las Jarillas.  Thus I missed her report on the Spanish melons grown in Villaconejos in the province of Madrid, supposedly the best melons grown in Spain.  However I was able to see the report the next day.  You can too if you click on this link and don’t mind watching a few adverts before the report starts!

Friday was of course 4th July, American Independence Day which I of course do not celebrate but I wished a happy 4th July to my American friends on Facebook. I was pretty tired on Friday as I usually am after an event I have been working on for a long time is finally over.  I went for a walk with Eladio in the morning before it got too hot and took this lovely shot of my husband combing Elsa our golden Labrador who once again is shedding hair from one of her coats.  I didn’t know until recently that this breed has two coats; one for water resistance and the other for keeping warm.  Elsa seems to love the attention and keeps very still whilst Eladio grooms her.
Eladio grooming Elsa on our walk on Friday
Eladio and I went out to dinner that night for the first time in a long time.  We enjoyed dinner at La Vaca Argentina and found out afterwards that the teams we didn’t want to win, won the quarter finals.  Germany beat France and Brazil beat Colombia.  In the latter Neymar fractured a vertebra and will be out for the rest of the World Cup.  The next day, Saturday, again play went the wrong way for us when Argentina and Holland beat valiant Belgium and Costa Rica respectively.  The next matches will be the semifinals.  On Tuesday 8th July the hosts, Brazil will play Germany and on Wednesday 9th July Holland will play Argentina.  Like Wimbledon, I have now lost interest in the World Cup.   Everyone I know, including myself, doesn’t seem to want Brazil to win.  I wonder why.

That day was Suzy’s last day at Oxo.  She has left in seek of a better job with the NHS and hopes to start working as a dietitian in July or August.  That night she and Gabor spent the night at Stansted airport as they were to catch an early morning flight to Santa Cruz de Tenerife where Gabor is from.  She sent us a photo of her new haircut.  It’s the only photo I have of her this week. 
Suzy's new haircut the day before she left for an 8 day holiday in Tenerife.

They will be spending 8 days in the Canary Islands and I look forward to hearing what they have been up to.

Meanwhile on Friday night Olivia and Miguel had left Madrid for Santa Pola where they were to stay the weekend.  The reason for going was because Miguel would be taking part in a deep swim race from the small island of Tabarca to Santa Pola very early this morning when the sea is at is calmest.  We haven’t received any photos from them either but look forward to seeing them again tonight.

So on Saturday we were all alone with my Father and my mother-in-law.  That day the Tour de France was starting and amazingly it was to start in “God’s own country”, i.e, my home country Yorkshire.  Yorkshire is definitely the most beautiful area in England, even if I say so myself.  I am so pleased the rest of the world watching the race will realize that too.  It is great publicity for Yorkshire and the people from there have risen to the occasion in a magnificent way.
Le Tour in Yorkshire, the first two stages 

The first stage, “le grand depart”, started in Leeds and ended in beautiful Harrogate, passing through the most wonderful Yorkshire towns, such as Ilkley or Skipton and of course through the spectacular Dales.  I really wished I could have been there amongst the crowds of spectators, reported to be over 2 million all along the route.
The Tour de France going past Ilkley yesterday in West Yorkshire.
There were many hopes for the yellow jersey to be won on the first stage by England’s Mark Cavendish in Harrogate where his Mother lives.  Spectators included the royals, Kate Middleton, Prince William and Prince Harry as well as David Cameron, the Prime Minister.  Yorkshire had gone all out to make this a festival of Yorkshire but the stage ended in tragedy as Cavendish trying to sprint to the finish line first, pushed another rider and ended up on the ground himself.  He crossed the line minutes later holding his midriff and collar bone in obvious pain.  This morning he went to the start in majestic York for the second stage which would end in Sheffield and go through some of my favourite places, such as the home of the Brontë’s, Haworth, but there and then he announced he would have abandon the Tour.  What a shame.  However the Tour continues and the final stage in England will be from the town I was born in, Cambridge, ending in London from where it will cross the channel to its natural home in France.  It is quite amazing to see how popular cycling has become in England. 

In the afternoon, after the stage finished we had the pleasure of the visit of my niece Sara and Cristina, Sara’s brother’s partner who I was happy to congratulate on her pregnancy.  They had come to pick up Nuba who would be returning to life in a flat in Madrid rather than life with our dogs in our massive garden.  I have to add that Nuba was not at all pleased about leaving and had to be picked up to be put in Cristina’s car.

Yesterday night, Eladio and I had an exciting evening to look forward to.  We had been invited to Tomas’ 50th birthday party where the women had to dress in black and white, the idea being that when he was born in the 60s life was black and white as it was indeed.  Tomas is the husband of Irene who is a member of what I consider “my other Spanish family”, the family I lived with for a year when I was studying Spanish in Madrid in 1978.  It was great to see them, as well as Irene’s sister Julieta, her brother Gerardo and his wife Vicky and their brother “Toti” and his wife Sonsoles who live in Tenerife where Suzy is at the moment. Pili their Mother was away on a cruise in Russia and Lucía their youngest sister was also missing.  It was a great evening. I now regret not having taken any photos for this week’s blog but look forward to the photos Tomas should be sending us all soon, taken by his son Tomas’ delightful girlfriend whose name I cannot remember with an impressive looking Canon camera.

And today is Sunday, the last day of the week and I have come to the end of the story of this week.  Fátima went off early and won’t be back until tomorrow night.  Eladio and I were up a little late and after making everyone’s breakfast went off for my first walk of the day.  I hope to do another one after publishing this blog as thankfully today is not quite as hot as yesterday. 

Next week should be quiet and I feel so relieved now one of my biggest projects of the year is over and was successful.

I will leave you here now, wishing you all the best until next time,

Cheers Masha

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