Sunday, May 10, 2015

The swimming pool season begins, Pippa is 5 months old, 3 names for the royal baby, the outcome of the British elections, walks in flowery fields, oxtail made the Spanish way, and other stories.

Sunday 10th May 2015

Walking in flowery fields with the dogs on Friday
Hi everyone,

There is not that much to tell this week, so hopefully this post will be short and I will be able to spend the rest of the day going on our walk, having a family lunch and taking the first dip of the year in our pool.  The weather has been very warm and today the forecast is 30ºc and while I write, Eladio, helped by Olivia and Miguel, are removing the winter cover and cleaning the tiles where it was fixed.  This is, of course because of the good weather but it’s also in honour of the visit of our English friends Keith and Lorraine who are coming to stay with us next week.  I feel a little guilty I am not helping them but I need the time to write this week’s post if I am going to enjoy the pool later on today.
Eladio, Oli and Miguel getting the pool ready for the summer
But I am already telling you about today Sunday and should start with last Sunday.  I forget to tell when I wrote last week that on Sunday 3rd of May Pippa, our irresistible chocolate coloured smooth haired miniature dachshund, turned the grand old age of 5 months.  This is her with Olivia in the dining room last Sunday.  I was going to say isn’t she gorgeous referring to Pippa but perhaps I should say aren’t they gorgeous referring to both Oli and Pippa.
Pippa is 5 - here with Olivia last Sunday in our dining room
 Most of the photos I take during the week are of little Pippa or of Pippa with Elsa as they are such a twosome and here is one of Pippa I especially like.  It’s a close-up I took of her on our bed one afternoon this week. 
Pippa, who is very spoiled, here on our bed
Monday was busy. I had to attend a management team meeting after which I drove to Madrid where I had a lunch date with my boss and a journalist from a Spanish news agency.  You may be interested to know that it was at Asador de Donostiarra, one of the main haunts of the Real Madrid team.  It’s a great place if you like classic traditional Basque food which I do.

It was on Monday that the name or should I say names, of the royal baby (a sister to George) was announced.  She, the royal “she” will be called Charlotte Elizabeth Diana but formally known as HRH Princess Charlotte of Cambridge.  I love the name Charlotte and in fact wanted to call either of our girls that but Eladio was against it as the name in Spanish is not half as nice (Carlota).  The name Charlotte could be a tribute to her grandfather Prince Charles. As to Elizabeth, well that’s clearly because of the Queen and well Diana is in memory of the baby’s grandmother, “the nation’s beloved child”.  I read later that Charlotte Elizabeth Diana are Prince Charles’ most hated names.  To quote the article: “It combines the person who refuses to relinquish the throne he covets and the person who made everyone think he was a shit. And Charlotte is a woman on eBay who keeps beating him to the Franklin Mint royal memorabilia he collects”.  I thought that was very funny.  I wonder what he really thinks.
The royal baby who was named Charlotte Elizabeth Diana
Especially interesting was seeing a copy of the royal baby’s birth certificate which I share with you here. What wonderful occupations the parents of Charlotte Elizabeth Diana have of which there are very few vacancies in the world.
The royal baby's birth certificate
Tuesday was not a good day.  I fasted, got a headache at the end of the day and took an overdose of pain killers which made me sick during the night.  Quite ghastly I can tell you.  Tuesday was not a good day for Real Madrid either who lost to Juventus in Turin 1-2 in the first leg of the semi-finals of the Champions League.  I would have preferred their rival’s result for them: the next day Barcelona beat Bayern de Munich 3-0 in their first leg of the semis in Camp Nou.  It was to be Pep Guardiola’s first time back as a rival team coach and despite the ovation given to him by Barça fans it must have been a humiliating night for him. 
On Wednesday I was busy with meetings in Madrid.  I also coordinated the press release on prolonged free calls and sms to and from Nepal for a further 2 weeks.  There are still Spaniards missing there after the earthquake and I hoped that in this way we could do our bit, however little that is.

Wednesday was the first day we had dinner outside.  The weather has been wonderful and life is so much more pleasant when you can dress in t-shirts and shorts, smell the jazmine coming to life, the new roses or Eladio mowing the lawn. 

On Thursday I had more meetings in Madrid.  Eladio liked the way I was dressed (Zara summer emerald green coat and H+M flowery dress). He took this photo of me just before I left.  I’m not sure I like it too much but it did represent the moment so here it is.
Dressed up to the nines going to town this week for meetings
My meeting was in one of Madrid’s swanky streets, Lagasca.  Just as I was arriving, Gloria from my events agency, QuintaEsencia whose offices are in the same street ,was driving along in her little Smart.  We said a quick hello and agreed to have a coffee afterwards and before my next meeting. Gloria was joined by her sister Cristina and “Yoigo” her chocolate mini dachshund who is now 9 months old and a possible future boyfriend for Pippa.  It was uncanny to see just how similar the puppies are.  Thanks girls for the coffee it was great to have coffee with you in Madrid in the sunshine.  See you for lunch next week!
Gloria with Yoigo, Pippa's potential boyfriend
Madrid was looking great in the summery weather with people having meals or coffee outside like us.  So I wasn’t surprised to read later that Spain has been named the most tourist friendly country in the worldin this year’s World Economic Forum’s biennial travel and tourism competitiveness report.  Its popularity stems not only from its friendly hosts and gastronomy, but from its excellent culture, entertainment, and infrastructure. I was interested to read that Spain comes third in the world in the ranking of Unesco world heritage sites: 44 after Italy (47) and China (50).  France came second in the World Economic Forum’s report. They never like being beaten by their supposed poorer neighbours but it has happened over and over again, especially in sport.  If you don’t believe me look back on the years that Spaniard Miguel Indurain dominated their coveted national treasure “Le Tour” or Rafa Nadal’s multiple wins at Roland Garros the French Open.

Thursday was a big day in the UK.  It was voting day for the general elections and unlike when I was a voter when I lived there, itwas held during the week and not on a Sunday.  The pooling stations wouldn’t close until 10 at night and as the votes are still hand counted, we wouldn’t know until the next day what the results would be.  Pollsters had warned us the country would be more divided in their choice since the second world war and an even more hung parliament was predicted than in 2010 when the Conservatives won 306 seats, insufficient for a majority and had to form a coalition with the Liberal Democrats, led by Nick Clegg (famous in Spain for his Spanish wife, Miriam González from Olmedo) who garnered 57 of the 650 available seats.

Friday came and it brought a sweet victory for David Cameron whose Conservative party won a slim majority – 331 seats but enough to form a government without a coalition.  His rivals, Ed Miliband, Nick Clegg and the loud Nigel Farage of the Labour, Liberal and anti-immigrant UKIP parties all had disastrous results and immediately resigned.
The General Election results this week
Upon winning David Cameron posted a photo on twitter where he is kissing his wife Samantha.  I suspect like many others that he was trying to copy Obama whose photo with Michele when he won is one of the most retweeted photos in the history of the social media site.  However the photo was just not as good or as emotional or as glamourous, mostly because in it, as one person on twitter pointed out, “he is digging his nose in her eye”.
David Cameron's photo of him kissing his wife in a copy of Obama's famous tweet
The other victor of the day was the Scottish National Party led by Nicola Sturgeon who won 56 of the 59 seats in Scotland with a landslide victory.  Most of the seats they won were Labour’s.  In the news following the results of the elections, there is much talk of the possible British exit of the EU as Cameron promised a referendum on the subject in 2017.  However I suspect he is offering this possibility knowing that most people will vote against it. I sincerely hope they do.

The other talk is about the independence of Scotland and how after the SNP’s victory, the party may want another referendum.  I’m not sure that is what is on their mind.  Friday’s votes were for Scotland’s representation at Westminster and not for independence.  Of course now they will have a stronger voice in obtaining the increased authority David Cameron had promised them if he won. 

Whilst the UK and the world were digesting the results, Eladio and I continued life as usual.  As it has been so warm this week, we took to going on our walks in the morning rather the afternoon as the day before poor Pippa and Norah suddenly went on strike in the middle of the walk and lay down in the shade refusing to continue.  So on Friday just before lunch, off we went.  Our walk at this time of year is a joy not only because of the weather but because of nature and the wonderful budding of wild flowers everywhere.  The photo illustrating this week’s post is of me on the walk in flowery fields with the dogs.  Here below is a collage of these “flowery fields” on our walk which we enjoy so much.

Whilst the Conservatives and the SNP were probably celebrating and the other parties drowning their sorrows, Eladio and I went out to dinner as always on Friday night.  I had found a new place on La Fourchette, an Argentinian restaurant in Boadilla and we were joined there by Olivia and Miguel.  Neither Oli nor I liked my choice and had to persuade the men to leave, despite their embarrassment.  In the end we had dinner at La Txitxarrería, always a guarantee.

By the way, I nearly forgot to tell you the best news of the day.  My daughter Suzy who lives in London and is not at all interested in the results of the general election, had an interview that morning with a group called Revital UK which has a chain of health shops in London.  She landed the job and is looking forward to working in her industry, whilst she waits for the HCPC to finally approve her submission to be a registered nutritionist in the UK.  Good news Suzy.

Saturday was quiet and we spent most of the day at home.  Having a bit more time on my hands than usual I decided to make the lunch that day.  Unfortunately neither Olivia nor Miguel would be there to enjoy my oxtail dish.
The oxtail dish I made for lunch yesterday
I made the oxtail cooked in white wine and with two large onions and 4 or 5 carrots (these get made into a sauce afterwards), according to the “bible of traditional Spanish cookery”, the 1080 recipes by Simone Ortega.  This is a book I bought when I first came to Spain and it has stood me in good stead over the years with very easy to make and well explained recipes.
The Spanish "bible" of traditional cooking which has always held me in good stead.
And today is Sunday which I have already told you about at the beginning of this post.  In next week’s post there will be a photo of my first dip of the year.  Meanwhile I wish you all a great week ahead.  We look forward to Keith and Lorraine’s visit which you will also read about next week.

Meanwhile all the best


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