Sunday, October 12, 2014

The National Day of Spain, one Ebola case in Spain but thousands in West Africa. A birthday in London, this year’s Nobel Peace prize and other stories.

Sunday 12th October 2014

Woman in red  aka me ready to go to the office this week 
Hi everyone this wet Sunday in October.

Today is 12th October and in Spain is celebrated as the National Day of Spain, “la hispanidad” and the arrival of Christopher Columbus in America on 12th October 1492.  It is also the day of the Spanish Armed Forces and Eladio is avidly watching live on the TV the Military Parade in Madrid presided over by the new King and Queen.  It is one of his quirk likes which I cannot understand but of course respect.  He also likes boxing!!! This day is also known as “El Pilar” after the  lady patron saint. One of my sisters-in-law is called Pili (short for Pilar) so today is also her day. “Felicidades Pili”
Eladio watching the Military Parade today presided over by the King of Spain
But let me start from the beginning of the week.  On Monday there was bombshell news in Spain which fast went around the world.  A Spanish auxiliary nurse, Teresa Romero aged 44, who had attended the two Spanish priests who died of Ebola and who were repatriated from Africa, caught the deadly virus.  How can that be possible we all asked?  Well yes it can, even if the nurse and medical staff strictly followed the WHO protocol for treatment of the virus.  We are still not sure what happened but she may have accidently touched her face when removing a glove.  There has been nothing else on the news, it has turned political and there has been much criticism of the government’s role in the crisis with reason I think.  Spain like many other countries is just not prepared for Ebola.  Teresa’s symptoms did not seem like Ebola and her temperature was not the 38.6 degrees it should have been for the protocol to be activated.  Be that as it may there were many mistakes in the chain of detecting her case and transferring her to the Carlos III hospital where she is now fighting for her life.  We are making a huge fuss about the one case in Spain when there are thousands dying in West Africa.  If the rest of the world had paid more attention and given help when Ebola broke out, maybe Teresa would not be fighting the virus today.  It’s amazing to think there is a team of 13 people looking after just one patient in Spain when there is a huge lack of medical staff in Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea.  It is not going to spread in Europe but it is spreading like wild fire in Africa and only now are governments reacting and sending out resources.  It is useless to take people’s temperatures at airports in Europe or the US, if the disease continues to spread in Africa.  That is where all efforts are needed and I hope the world reacts on time.  Meanwhile my prayers go out to Teresa and all the people she was in contact with and who I hope go free of the disease.  Today her state is very critical but shows signs of improvement.  I really hope that when I write my blog next week I can tell you that she survived.
Teresa Romero with her dog Excalibur
Olivia on her TV programme commented on the case all through the week.  Media came from as far away as Russia or the US and caused a circus outside the hospital where the virus was detected, at the group of flats where Teresa lives and at the Carlos III hospital too.  Her flat and surroundings were to be disinfected and then came the problem of what to do with her dog Excalilbur.  Her husband is in isolation in the hospital in case he has the virus too but so far has no symptoms.  Meanwhile the dog was alone in their flat and the authorities decided to put it down as it could spread the virus.  This caused an uproar in society and social media around the world. But poor Exacalibur was not saved in the end and was put down in the couple’s flat, another victim of the crisis.
Olivia with her team who spent most of the week reporting on the Ebola case in Spain
Meanwhile our life continued as usual although I must admit we watch every news programme we can and follow developments closely.  On Tuesday I went into the office for a meeting with my boss.  I also had a few practical issues, such as a problem with my pc, to sort out.  It was a lovely day and I wore an outfit for which I got many compliments.  I combined red and white and I must have got it right.  The photo illustrating this post is of me in the outfit – a combination of Zara, Marks and Spencers and Lindex by the way. When people complimented me I explained that as I work at home and mostly wear t-shirts and jeans I like to make an effort when I go out to the office or to meetings in town. 

Eladio that day returned to his UNED (Spanish equivalent to the “Open University”) lectures.  He has two a week on Tuesday and Wednesday evenings and gets back very late.  However it keeps him active and alert to his profession. 

On Wednesday in London it was Gabor’s 22nd birthday.  Gabor is Suzy’s boyfriend and she went all out to make it very special for him. She keeps the same traditions she learned at home from me: birthday breakfast, presents, card and a lunch or dinner with a cake.  Here they are the two love birds on his birthday. I’m sure he had a great day.
Suzy and Gabor on his birthday this week in London
That evening at home in Madrid whilst Eladio was giving his second lecture of the week,  I made a lovely dinner for him and also for Olivia and Miguel.  This is what I made: “chicken mango salad” of my own recipe (roast chicken, mango, avocado, lettuce, sultanas, walnuts and mayonnaise). It’s my variation of the typical waldorf salad.
My chicken mango salad
Unfortunately no one came. Oli and Miguel had gone out for dinner and Eladio arrived really late, so all my efforts went to waste.  The salad got eaten though, don’t you worry!

On Thursday Eladio and I went to look at cars. You are probably wondering why. Well I am a very lucky person and have a company car and soon the renting period will be over and I need to order a new one.  We tried out a Range Rover and looked at a BMW similar to the one I have now and haven’t yet decided although I think it will be another BMW. Here I am at the wheel of the Range Rover which used to be Land Rover (or still is) but is now owned by the Indian Tata company.  I was “reassured” in the showroom that the cars are still made in the UK and that the Indians only put up the money. 
Me trying out a range rover this week
It was on Thursday that the Nobel Prize for literature was announced. Once again it went to a man and once again it went to a French person.  I remember doing some research on this prize for Olivia a few years ago and learned that France is the nation with most literature prizes.  The prize went to an author unknown to me; Patrick Modiano.

That day I was fasting as I always do on Mondays and Thursdays but when midday came I had a big headache and decided to break the fast.  I nearly always get a headache on a fasting day so there and then I have decided just to fast on Mondays.  Let’s see how that goes and whether I return to 5:2 or continue with 6:1.  In any case, that together with my two hour long walks a day, are part of my life now and what help to keep my weight down and feel fit.

On Friday Eladio and I got lost going to the BMW show room on the other side of Madrid.  We didn’t get home on time to make lunch so committed a terrible sin and bought a burger king lunch for the three of us.  Now that is not healthy.  However it is nice to indulge in this sort of fast food two or three times a year which is our case.

Friday was a busy day but I had time for a long chat with Suzy on the phone who, believe it or not is thinking of going into teaching.  Actually I think that is not a bad idea.  She has had experience with her private lessons over the years and seems to have the right qualities.  The plus side is the holidays and as I pointed out to her if she went into teaching now she would coincide most of the time with Gabor’s University holidays.

Eladio and I did the food shopping in the afternoon.  Usually I do it with Fátima, our home help but she is on holiday for the moment, only coming on Tuesday and Saturday mornings to shower my Father bless her.  After our second walk, Eladio and I went out to dinner as we nearly always do on Fridays.  This time we went to De María a “posh” Argentinian place in Majadahonda next to the Atlético de Madrid practice playing grounds.  The meal was delicious but we were only able to eat one course and we couldn’t even finish that.  The dogs were very happy with the “doggy bag” we brought home.
Eladio at dinner on Friday night
It was on Friday that this year’s Nobel Peace Prize was announced.  I think for the first time it was given jointly.  It went to the Pakistani child education activist Malala Yousafzai and Kailash Satyarthi, an Indian child rights campaigner. Everyone knows who Malala is but I don’t think the same could be said of the latter.  If you read the articles in the press about the peace prize Malala gets the lion’s share of the copy.  She is only 17 and the first person from Pakistan ever to win the prize.  I’m sure the Taliban who tried to kill her were not happy to hear the news on Friday.  It’s sort of ironic that the peace prize has gone to two people from nations which are not at peace, Pakistan and India.  Maybe this joint prize and their efforts could help affairs in this sense.   I certainly hope so.

The joint winners of this years Nobel Peace Prize, Kailaish from India and Malala from Pakistan
And Saturday came and thankfully was quieter.  Eladio prepared the pool for the winter and with the help of Miguel and Olivia he covered it with the blue tarpaulin. Later it rained and I took this picture and it is quite a depressing scene.  Long gone now are the sunny days reading by our pool.  We shall have to wait until the spring now.
The pool was sadly covered yesterday for the winter
Eladio was very busy yesterday morning as his next task was washing the dogs with my help.  My help is getting him to do it, plus washing their bedding, giving him the shampoo and towels and semi dragging Norah and Elsa  down although these days they seem to come quite willingly. Here is Norah in the middle of her bath.  Later I love hugging and kissing them as they are so clean and smell so nice.
Norah having a bath yesterday
For lunch yesterday we were all together and I made fish and chips with mushy peas, English style.  Everyone was happy, myself included although it’s a lot of effort. Later we went for our walk and came home just as it began to bucket it down.  The rain continued along with thunder and lightning.  In fact when we went to bed the storm continued and was so strong the TV went off.  Thus we both resorted to our kindles before we fell asleep.  I have just downloaded “Gone Girl”, the so called “thriller of the year” which is being recommended all over the place and I am much looking forward to reading it. Eladio, meanwhile, continues to read Bertrand Russell.

And today as I told you at the beginning is the National Day of Spain.  If it had fallen during the week it would have been a holiday but being on a Sunday doesn’t make the day feel special.  For lunch there will be just the three of us as Oli and Miguel have gone out with his family.  Later today hopefully I will be able to start on “Gone Girl” and then go on my second walk. 

Next week promises to be very busy.  I shall be attending a cocktail press event on Tuesday and have an ex Nokia colleague dinner on Wednesday when my dear friend Anne will be coming from Finland. On Thursday evening I will be going to a sector prize giving dinner and on Friday have an internal Yoigo event.  In between, there will be a couple of conference calls and also a visit to my urologist.  You will hear how I got on when I write again next Sunday.

Meanwhile I wish you all a great week ahead,

Cheers till next time,


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