Sunday, February 01, 2015

To the hospital to change my dressing, news about Greece, a visit from José Antonio and Dolores, another beautiful get well present, watching more films and series, Suzy left for London, Julio came, the 70th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz, how Betty’s tea rooms featured in our romance, making bread with Gema, the Podemos “march for change”, Suzy visited Nottingham University where I studied and other stories.

Sunday 1st February 2015
One of the highlights of this week, receiving a lovely gourmet hamper from JP Media
Hi everyone.

It is Sunday again and time to write this week’s post.  It is also 2 weeks since I had my accident in Montrondo.  I am bearing up as much as I can but I have to say I have my down moments as I feel so trapped and dependent on the people around me.  Thank goodness for my PC, mobile phone and iPad which keep me connected.  I have spent most of my time watching series and films; the best way to pass the time and to ignore the pain.  It is receding but comes and goes all the time.

I left off on Sunday.  When the girls came back from the hair and makeup session we had dinner in our room on trays.  Eladio and I then watched the last episode of The Fall which has had us riveted for weeks.

On Monday morning, Suzy took me to the hospital to have the dressing changed on the surgical wound on my ankle.  It was a palava to get there as you can imagine.  We used my Father’s wheel chair for me to get in the car and once at the hospital Suzy got me another wheel chair to be able to go inside.  A nurse removed the outer bandage on my leg.  Underneath, behind the leg and under my foot there is a cast which can be removed and put back on.  I was shocked to see I had had 17 stitches.  Actually they are staples.  She commented the wound was healing well thankfully. I shall be going back next week for the dressing to be changed again, for an x-ray and for an appointment with the orthopedic surgeon who operated on me.  This is what my leg looked like.  Sorry if the picture is unpleasant but it is reality.  I still don’t know when I will be able to walk again and that is probably what the doctor will tell me.  I think I won’t be able to put any weight on my leg for at least 2 months and will probably not be able to walk again properly as I did before the fall for at least 6 or 8 months! 
My poor leg
When we got home, just a while later, José Antonio and Dolores came to see me.  They brought with them some bags of “pilmeni” from the Russian shop which I had asked them to bring.  They stayed for lunch and part of the afternoon.  It was great to have company.
Dolores and José Antonio came to visit on Monday. They came again on Friday too
Whilst they were there another present arrived. This one was from my news clipping agency, JP Media.  I was delighted to receive a hamper of Spanish delicacies.  Everything in the hamper was wonderful and we ate most of it that night and the following.  The produce came from an exclusive shop called “España en la mesa” which I look forward to visiting when I up on my feet again.  You cannot imagine the things I want to do when I am up and about again; the list increases every day. The photo illustrating this week’s post is of me in my bed/office with the JP Media hamper.

On Monday the main news believe it or not came from Greece of all places.  The day before general elections were held and the radical left wing party Syriza won. Although to govern they had to make a pact with the centre-right party.  On Monday Alexis Tisipras was sworn in as prime minister and has promised to lead an anti-austerity coalition government.  Later in the week officials from Brussels went to meet the new government and meetings ended badly when Syriza refused to acknowledge the “troika”.  Greece was bailed out recently and has a huge debt which is what Syriza wants to negotiate.  I think they hope to be freed of it.  But if they are they will render money useless in my mind and the whole situation will be a farse. 

The new Prime Minister of Greece Alexis Tsipras head of te radical left wing party Syriza smiling after being sworn in.
Meanwhile in Spain at the Nato air base in Los Llanos in Albacete (south east Spain) an F16 Greek fighter jet failed to take off in military manoeuvres and somehow swerved off the tarmac and crashed into a group of F16 causing an almighty explosion.  12 Greek and French pilots and their military colleagues were killed and 12 badly injured.  It is yet to be revealed why the F16 failed to take off and crashed into the other fighter jets.

The appalling  Greek jet fighter crash at Los Llanos in Albacete
So that was 2 pieces of news about Greece in one day.  But they weren’t to be the last as that night the Greek singer Demi Roussos died aged 68.  I remember him very much when he was popular in the 70’s and 80’s.  He was very large and wore colourful kaftans.  I think his most famous song was “forever and ever”.  RIP Demis Roussos.
Demis Rousson R.I.P
On Tuesday while Suzy was out to see her friend Pili on her last full day in Spain, when I had my work out of the way I watched the end of The Honourable Woman which is one of the best series I have seen in years.  It’s about a woman and her brother who have a telecoms company that seeks peace between Israel and Palestine; something quite impossible.  If you haven’t seen it, give it a try. 

Eladio had lunch out that day with his friends Roberto and Juanjo.  So we were only three for lunch, Suzy, my Father and I.  That day I taught Gema how to make “bitki” a staple part of our diet.  They are a sort of Russian hamburger but much nicer than any normal hamburger. Gema made more of her delicious brown bread that morning which I captured on my camera for my blog and for her daughter Saida.
Gema and her homemade bread
When Dolores saw the photo on Facebook she asked if she could come next time Gema made bread to learn how to make it.  Another sister-in-law, Yoli also rang to ask for the recipe which of course I didn’t have.  On Friday, however, both Dolores and I would find out as you will read later.

After lunch Suzy and I watched “Saving Mr. Banks”, the supposed story behind the making of the Mary Poppins film.  We were both a bit disappointed with the film but then Olivia had warned us we probably wouldn’t like it.  That’s probably because we are huge fans of the original Mary Poppins film which in fact is hardly mentioned in Saving Mr. Banks.

There was also time to watch Olivia on the TV that afternoon. Last week I posted a photo of her dressed up in medical surgical clothing as she was to do a report on the benefits and drawbacks of fathers being present in the delivery room.  It was on Tuesday that her report was broadcast.  You can see the full report here. The verdict by the way is positive for the father and the mother.  I wholeheartedly agree.
Oli's report on fathers in the delivery room
Tuesday was also the 70th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz the deadliest of the Nazi concentration camp where 1.1 million people, mostly Jews, were killed.  Other victims were gypsies, disabled people, homosexuals, dissidents, non-Jewish Poles and Soviet prisoners.  The Russian army liberated the camp and of the many photos they took one stands out. It is of a group of children.  300 camp survivors returned for the ceremony when a few years ago over a thousand were there to bear witness.  I wonder how many there will be next time as their numbers are dwindling.  Of all the news that day, it was the photograph of those children with 4 of them, now old, standing by it and pointing out there picture at the time.  Isn’t it incredible? The four survivors were 81-year-old Paula Lebovics, 79-year-old Miriam Ziegler, 85-year-old Gabor Hirsch and 80-year-old Eva Kor and they remembered each other.  I read somewhere that a person in the US had investigated the names of all the people on that photo that day, some of the few surviving children of the holocaust.  As I write this a shiver goes down my spine.  I was brought up on stories of the Second World War as both my parents were in it and have been fascinated with the holocaust ever since. 
4 of the survivors from this picture reunited in Auschwitz this week
On Wednesday, the day Suzy was going, I had breakfast downstairs for the first time. But I won’t be doing that again for a while as I get very tired sitting down without my leg up.  It was on Wednesday that another piece of international news interested me.  The Obamas were visiting Saudi Arabia to pay their respects after the recent death of King Abdullah.  What most interested me, and people around the world, was what Michelle was wearing, or rather wasn’t, much more than in the main objective of their visit which was US and Saudi relations.  The thing is the First Lady did not wear a headscarf. According to political and international protocol she is not obliged to.  However the Saudis saw this as a sign of disrespect.  I on the other hand, think it was a lesson to the Muslim world.  I mean, if they don’t respect the way we live in the west why should a western woman visiting them be expected to cover her head?  I also noticed that in the hand shaking queue many of the Saudis (all men unsurprisingly) did not shake her hand.  That for me is a sign of disrespect on their part.  I wonder if you agree.
It caused a bit of a stir when Michelle Obama did not wear a head scarf when visiting Saudi Arabia this week
On Wednesday I watched the lovely English TV mini-series South Riding, set in Yorkshire in the 30’s which is about a feisty woman head mistress and her relations with the villagers. I loved it.
I loved this BBC TV mini series set in Yorkshire
Gema, our Moroccan living-in home help, made couscous with chicken which was just delicious.  Here is a photo of my plate.
Gema's couscous
Soon after lunch it was time for Suzy to leave.  Eladio was to take her to the airport.  She would have stayed longer but she had an interview with Decathlon the next day.  It was to be the second interview so cross your fingers she gets the job.  It is really an interim job until her registration with the HCPC (health care and professions council) comes through. 

Just as they had gone my dear friend Julio came to visit.  He and I go back a long time and first met as colleagues at Nokia in 2000.  It was lovely to chat and catch up.  I had promised afternoon tea which turned out to be a cup of tea and a biscuit.  For the record I just had the tea as I am steering clear of fattening food so as not to put on weight whilst I am recovering from my fall.  Here is a photo of us together.  Thnks Juli for coming.  Your visit was much appreciated.
A selfie with Julio when he came to visit this week
On Thursday I was quite busy work wise.  TeliaSonera, our mother company, was to announce the 4th quarter and full year results for 2014.  Luckily Yoigo continues to be profitable, has kept its market share and has even increased its subscriber base.  There was a conference call after which we sent out a press release on the local results, followed by an internal release.

I spent part of the day watching episodes from season 4 of Homeland and continued to do so until yesterday.  It’s very good but I was not happy with the last episode as there was no closure.  Now I will have to wait more than a year for the next season.  Meanwhile I am already missing Carrie, Saul and Quinn.
I finished Season 4 of Homeland this week
It was on Thursday that I participated in a Betty’s Tea Room St. Valentine’s competition.  This week I had come across a photo of myself at a table in Betty’s in Harrogate. It was a photo Eladio took of me there in 1982.  We were so in love we spent the whole afternoon there in our own little world and Eladio kept taking photos of me.  This is the photo.          
At Berry's in Harrogate in 1982 before we married
I posted it on their Twitter page and got some lovely feedback. They also encouraged me to send in my story for the competition about how Betty’s featured in our romance.  So this was my entry.  I don’t know if I will win but I do think my story is compelling.  Don’t you?
How Bettys featured in our romance:
I have always loved Betty’s since living in Yorkshire when I was a child.  There used to be one in Bradford where we lived and my parents would always take me for tea and our favourite was the meringue cream cake.  When it closed I would often visit the Ilkley, York or Harrogate branch.  For me Bettys summed up a genteel classical romantic quintessential English tea room and I loved every bit of the place.  I always have.  So when I fell in love in the early 80s I took my boyfriend to Betty’s in Harrogate.  He was my boyfriend but no ordinary boyfriend.  Our relationship was illicit as he was a Spanish catholic priest, something unheard of in Spain in those days and our relationship was a secret. We sat one afternoon at a table in the front window of Betty’s in Harrogate overlooking the Stray and it was the most romantic afternoon we had ever had.  We were so much in love, he kept taking photographs of me over Betty’s glorious afternoon tea (he had your fish and chips his favourite always at Betty’s when we have been back).  It was a cold frosty Christmas afternoon day and I was smoking (unimaginable today) and looking at him lovingly.  I had long hair then and think I looked quite beautiful in a white jumper; or at least he thought so. We spent hours there and I was surprised the staff didn’t turn us out but they were so polite as they always are.  We were in our own little world.  It was there that our wedding was forged and the summer afterwards we got married.  This year we will have been married 32 years and it has been bliss.  We went to live in Spain which is where we have made our home ever since building a lovely family.  Even our girls know Bettys (the one in Ilkley) where we took them after my Mother died as my Father was and is an equal fan of Bettys.

29 years later in 2011 on a trip to Yorkshire, we made sure Harrogate was on our agenda.  We hadn’t been back since 1982. There are many places to have lunch in Harrogate but Bettys being a part of our romance was our one and only choice. It would be our first time back since that romantic afternoon.  We would have loved to have sat at the same table again but it was full and just how could we explain to staff why?  It was too long a story. Again my husband took a photograph of me and here it is together with the one of 1982.  I don’t look quite as beautiful as I did in 1982 but I know that I am still as in love with him as I was then.

The afternoon is one that I shall never forget and whenever I think of it I feel even more love than could be possible. Thank you Betty’s for being part of our romance. 

In the collage photo enclosed you can see the photo of me in 1982 and in 2011, as well as a photo of my husband queueing outside the Tea Room in 2011.  I just had to add a photo of the way you serve tea too! .

Betty's Harrogate 1982 and on our return visit 29 years later in 2011
I keep visiting the competition page to see how the other stories compare to mine and am keeping my fingers crossed I will win.  If I do I look forward to a lovely St. Valentines Hamper.

Meanwhile that evening Olivia stayed in Madrid after work rather than coming home for dinner with us as she usually does.  She went out with some of her journalist colleagues and here is a photo of them together.
Oli had an evening out with her fellow TV reporters on Thursday evening
On Friday morning I was busy work wise again. We were to send out another press release.  This time on a new promotional tariff for February that is very competitive. While I was working Eladio went out to do the weekly shopping on his own.  I had drawn up a very clear and long list to make his task easier.  It’s amazing how much food we get through in a week, especially fruit and veg. 

In the afternoon Dolores and José Antonio came to visit again.  Their main objective was for Dolores to learn how to make Gema’s bread.  They never come empty handed and they brought me the lovely Crabtree and Evelyn white chocolate and raspberry biscuits I had asked them to get from “Naranjas de la China”.  You may remember me receiving a super fruit basket from there last week which included these most delicious English biscuits. They also brought two huge fresh fillets of cod, my favourite fish.  Thank you so much Dolores and José Antonio.
Thank you José Antonio and Dolores for these amazing Crabtree and Evelyn biscuits
We watched Gema make her bread, or rather Dolores watched, took note and tried to learn how to knead the dough, the most difficult part.  Here is one of the photos we took of the bread learning process.
Dolores learning how to make Gema's bread
I’m not sure I could do it on my own, but am very privileged to have Gema make us fresh bread so often, so for the while I don’t need to.

Yesterday, on Saturday a huge demonstration took place in Madrid lead by Spain’s increasingly popular radical left wing party “Podemos” (we can) headed up by the pony tailed leader and University teacher, Pablo Iglesias.  The demonstration was dubbed “the march for change” (against austerity and corruption) and literally thousands marched from Cibeles to the Puerta del Sol where the movement started some years ago. Like Syriza in Greece, Podemos may well win the general elections at the end of this year.  I have mixed feelings about this new party which on television sounds great. But how would they deal with the “troika” in Brussels I wonder and could their promises really become reality?  Spain’s main problem is unemployment and I don’t think even Podemos could wave a magic wand to rid Spain of such a high number of unemployed people.  It all remains to be seen. What is true is that Podemos has certainly changed Spain’s political scene and it will never be the same again.
The Podemos march for change in Madrid yesterday
I spent most of Saturday watching a new series for me, the new BBC version of the Forsyte Saga by John Galsworthy – the Nobel prize winning English author.  I am in the middle of it and I’m loving it. I well remember watching the first series in 1967 at home with my parents in Bradford.  Funnily enough the actor for Soames in the new series is the same actor who played Brodie in Homeland.  I far prefer Eric Porter in the 1967 series.

It was while I was watching the Forsyte Saga that I got a whatsapp message from Suzy that could have blown me over with a feather.  She posted this picture and asked me if I knew where she was.
Suzy visiting my University, Nottingham. The Trent Building in the background
I looked carefully thinking she was in London then realized that no, the photo was of Nottingham University where I finished my studies in 1980.  I haven’t been back since 1981 and would love to.  Another thing to add to the list of what I want I want to do when I get my mobility back!  I had no idea she was going to Nottingham.  She had gone with Gabor and other friends to stay with a friend of his who studied there and now works in Nottingham.  You cannot begin to imagine what this photo means to me.  It brought back so many memories, mostly of my cycling on the beautiful campus from my Hall of Residence, Nightingale Hall to the Trent Building where the Spanish department was for my lectures.  Suzy told me there were lots of people on bikes.  Of course there would be as the area is very flat.  Gosh I do wish I could have been with Suzy yesterday.   I would have taken her to all my old haunts. 

And today is Sunday and whilst Suzy is still in Nottingham, here I am in bed writing my blog as I can’t go anywhere. 

I don’t have much to look forward to next week just the hospital visit and more work on our preparations for our participation in the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona at the beginning of March which for the first time ever since I joined Yoigo I will not be able to go to.  I will of course continue to watch TV series and films and today look forward to more of the Forsyte Saga.

Wishing you all a great week ahead, all the best till next Sunday


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