Saturday, May 23, 2015

Yoigo best mobile operator for customer care, Suzy came, fun trying to donate blood, English is weird, making räksmörgås, a girly lunch, Oli turns 30, God voting yes to gay marriage in Ireland and other stories.

Saturday 23rd May 2015

Oli's 30th birthday dinner at home on Friday night
Hi everyone,

I am writing this week’s post this sunny Saturday afternoon whilst the girls are celebrating Olivia’s 30th birthday on the other side of the house with “the manada”.  Tomorrow will be Suzy’s last day with us and I want to spend as much time with her as possible.  So here goes.

I left off this last Tuesday, so let me start from Wednesday this week.  Wednesday 20th May was the 10th anniversary of the passing away of Antonio.  Antonio is Eladio’s Father and was quite a character.  I loved him very much and we all miss him a lot.  He would be happy to know we are all building houses in Montrondo and probably especially interested in the house we are rebuilding which was the original family home.  God bless you Antonio.  I wonder if you can see us from up there.  I hope you can.  One thing you have achieved and that is bringing us together as a family for which I am forever grateful.

On Wednesday I worked from home as usual and was very busy.  I was working on a press release to inform the media of a study made by the Spanish Ministry of Industry where Yoigo came top in customer care with only 1.35 complaints per 10.000 customers. The figure is even smaller than last year when we also topped the ranking. This really is thanks to our insistence on quality in Yoigo in everything we do.  I must say I was very proud. This was our press release. The photo below is of the table of operators in Spain in how they fare in customer care. 
Yoigo has fewest complaints of all mobile operators in the market!

I was too busy to go and pick Suzy up from the airport so Eladio went instead.  She arrived on time for lunch and it was great to see her again.  She had been here at the end of April for her birthday and had come back in time to celebrate her sister’s 30th.  Here is a photo of her at lunch on Wednesday.
Suzy at lunch on Wednesday just after she arrived in Madrid from London
Keen to spend time together, she came with me to the doctor at the Montepríncipe Hospital in Pozuelo.  I had an appointment about the scar on my ankle from the fracture after the operation at the end of January which doesn’t seem to be healing well.  I went for a scan on Friday. I was a bit worried the problem may be related to the 7 screws on the fibula bone but the doctor who did the scan said he thought it didn’t but that I should show it to my surgeon. I will be seeing him next week but I am much relieved that the screws will not have to be removed which was my fear.  At least I don’t think they will have to be but will know more after seeing the doctor.

As we left the hospital we spied a blood donation van.  I have never donated blood because until not so long ago you couldn’t do so if you had ever had hepatitis A (jaundice) which was my case.  So this was a great opportunity to do so.  My blood group is -0, the universal donor blood so I hoped I would be doing a good deed.  Suzy and I had a great time inside the van as the nurse and assistant were such good fun.  We made quite a show of the whole thing; me wanting a photo for my blog etc.  We had to fill out an exhaustive list of questions, one of which was whether we had lived in the UK during the mad cow disease years.  Actually I hadn’t but it did make me wonder if they were as strict about this in the UK.  After all the palaver I couldn’t donate blood as I was still on a course of antibiotics after my dental implant.  I was most disappointed. Suzy, happily, was able to donate her +0 blood after which she had to drink a can of coke.
Having fun with Suzy - donatng blood
From the hospital we had to rush by car into Madrid to an unknown area to us to pick up Oli.  She was reporting for TV on the death of a gypsy after a fight.  We were a bit worried about parking our car in such an area but that never happened as just as we arrived amid what seemed hundreds of police cars, Oli had just finished and got into the car and we drove off.  That was not before Suzy getting out at the traffic lights to embrace her darling sister.  The three of us went to have a coffee together and do some purchases.  It was lovely to be together.  Here is the photo of my two lovely daughters embracing.
Suzy and Oli reunited on Wednesday when we went to pick Oli up after work in Madrid
Much to our chagrin Suzy was going to sleep at her friend Elena’s house that night so we didn’t have the pleasure of her company for dinner which is what we wanted most but we had to be understanding as Elena is her best friend.  So we just got on with life and I turned my attention to making dinner for Eladio, Oli, Miguel and myself.  Whilst doing so I came across a lovely bit of trivia on Facebook about the English language which I made everyone read at dinner.  It was this phrase which even if you are English you have to read slowly: "Yes, English can be weird. It can be understood through tough thorough thought, though."
English certainly is at its wierdest when it comes to spelling and pronunciation.  I remember learning at school from my English teacher at St. Joseph’s College, Miss Speak, that according to George Bernard Shaw the word “fish” could easily be spelled as “ghoti”: gh (f) is pronounced as in tough, o (i) is pronounced as in women and ti (sh) is pronounced as in nation. This is certainly not trivia and something I have remembered forever. 
George Bernard Shaw said that "fish" could be pronounced or spelled as "ghoti" Isn't English wierd?
In relation to this a friend of Suzy’s posted a link to a marvelous poem which basically makes fun of English pronunciation and which I hope you enjoy as much as I did.
I take it you already know
Of tough and bough and cough and dough?
Others may stumble, but not you
On hiccough, thorough, slough, and through.
Well don't! And now you wish, perhaps,
To learn of less familiar traps.
Beware of heard, a dreadful word
That looks like beard but sounds like bird.
And dead: it's said like bed, not bead,
For goodness sake don't call it deed!
Watch out for meat and great and threat
(They rhyme with suite and straight and debt).
A moth is not a moth as in mother
Nor both as in bother, nor broth as in brother,
And here is not a match for there,
Nor dear and fear, for bear and pear.
And then there's dose and rose and lose--
Just look them up--and goose and choose
And cork and work and card and ward
And font and front and word and sword
And do and go, then thwart and cart,
Come, come! I've hardly made a start.
A dreadful Language? Why man alive!
I learned to talk it when I was five.
And yet to write it, the more I tried,
I hadn't learned it at fifty-five.
I amused Eladio and Olivia with the poem and also posted it on Facebook dedicated to my friends who are teachers of English like Jacky, Grainne or my sister-in-law Dolores. 
But let me tell you about dinner.  Miguel made this superb home-made pizza which you can see in the photo below.
Miguel's home-made pizza is delicious
I, on the other hand, finding a bag of frozen prawns in the deep freeze had decided to try my hand at making my favourite Swedish dish.  It really is just an open prawn sandwich but the Swedes call it “räksmörgås”.  I have eaten it many times both in Finland and in Sweden and have often written about eating it at my favourite hotel in Stockholm, the Skeppsholmen.  It’s so easy to make I don’t know why I haven’t made it before.  Basically it is a piece of bread or toast, covered with lettuce then a bed of prawns to which you add mayonnaise and sliced boiled egg. This is what mine looked like. All in all, dinner was great except that we missed Suzy.
The Swedish prawn open sandwich I made for dinner this week called räksmörgås
On Thursday morning I spent as much time with Suzy as I could in between work.  At 2pm we had a lunch date in town with my nieces Alicia and Paula.  We hoped Olivia who works near the restaurant would be able to join us but that didn’t happen as she was too busy and was sent off to shoot something for her programme.
Suzy and I got dressed up for the occasion and this is the photo Eladio took of us as we were about to leave.  To quote my friend Kathryn, we looked like two peas in a pod, bar the 27 year difference of course haha.
Suzy and I ready to go out for lunch on Thursday
It’s not often Suzy gets to see her cousins so this was a lovely occasion to make up for lost time.  Here is a photo of the four of us around the table at the restaurant we went to on Thursday.  We had hoped my other niece Sara would be able to join us but unfortunately she was on a training course and couldn’t make it.  Paula had some lovely news for Suzy which made the lunch very special.
After lunch we took Paula back to work to Aegon, the Dutch insurance company where she works and reports to a good friend of mine from my Nokia days, Marta, who is the communications director.  Then we went to Alicia’s house to pick up her things as she was coming with us to the town near where we live and where her boyfriend Chema resides, near the UEM University where Oli studied and where he is studying medicine in his 4th year.  Alicia has just finished her Nursing Studies and was free to be with us.  Not so Chema who is studying for his exams in June.  So we came home to our house and immediately the girls went to lie by the pool. It wasn’t very warm but it was lovely and sunny and both of them decided to take their first dip of the season. Here they are in the pool together with Elsa our lab looking on.
Alicia and Suzy taking a dip in our pool - their first
Soon Oli was back with Miguel and we all had dinner together.  Salu made us a big tortilla and Miguel made another of his excellent pizzas, yummy.
Friday was Olivia’s 30th birthday.  In order to have breakfast all together we had to have it early as she had to be at work early that morning.  I got up at 6.30 and laid the table lovingly.  We had already set out all the presents; most of which were from Miguel her boyfriend.  I had prepared coffee, fresh orange juice and had bought some delicious croissants.  Just before Olivia came down Miguel went out to buy churros and chocolate which are her favourite.  Here is a photo of everyone enjoying Oli’s family birthday breakfast.  
Olivia's family birthday breakfast
30 is a milestone certainly.  I will never forget the day she was born as no Mother can ever forget any birth.  She came into our lives on 22nd May 1985 and I gave birth at the Francisco de Asis private hospital in Madrid which is where both girls were born.  Here is a picture of the four of us together shortly after my little baby girl Oli was born.  Little did I know, she would grow into the  beautiful and accomplished young woman she is today.
The day Olivia was born - 22nd May 1985
Miguel her boyfriend had made a wonderful video of the time they have spent together since they met in 2012 and which I am happy to share with you here.  It is very romantic I must admit and I shed a tear or two when I watched it.  Maybe you will too.  She is a very lucky girl to be loved so much by someone like Miguel.  Bravo Miguel for the video.  It is wonderful.  I give him a lot of credit for the video of course but part of the credit is also due to the fact that he earns his living as a cameraman.
After Oli had left I did some work then spent as much of the rest of the day with Suzy as I could.  I accompanied her to the hairdressers, we had a coffee together and also did the weekly shopping; some of it for Oli’s party today. There was time for a walk before lunch too and Suzy joined Eladio, the dogs and I on the more strenuous walk which we prefer these days because of the shade but also because there are no nasty dead rabbits for Elsa or Pippa to feed on hahaha. 
Eladio and Suzy on our walk yesterday
In the afternoon Alicia returned.  I started on preparations for Olivia’s birthday dinner and Suzy made her cake. Oli managed to get away early from work if you can call 7pm early; although it is for her.  I made a lovely “bits and bobs” dinner, consisting once again of the Swedish prawn open sandwiches.  I also made chicken waldorf salad and tuna spread canapes.  On the table too were bacon rolls with dates, a cheese platter and foie to be eaten with lingonberry jam. The photo illustrating this week’s post is of the dinner.
The piece de resistance was Suzy’s Victoria Sponge cake, made the way Oli likes it; cut in the middle with a layer of jam and spread with icing and decorated with fresh raspberries.  Here is Olivia making a wish whilst cutting the cake.
Oli making a wish whilst cutting her birthday cake
And Saturday came and the celebrations continued.  Even I slept in, if you can call 8am sleeping in.  But it is for me as most days I am awake at 7 or earlier.  There were big preparations for Oli’s party.  My contribution was a huge bowl of fresh salmorejo for ourselves and her 16 guests.  The main chef of the day though was Miguel who made a superb risotto for lunch.  Ana, Oli’s University friend, who specializes in cakes, brought 3 at least but I only got to try the meringue one which was delicious.
I have just been to the kitchen to get a cup of tea and check on the party. Most of the friends have left now but here are the rest of them enjoying drinks and cake and playing cards, including my sweet god daughter Alicia.
The end of Olivia's birthday party today
Meanwhile in Ireland there has been a referendum today on gay marriage.  So when I saw a photo of a rainbow in Dublin on internet I thought it was quite a coincidence as of course a rainbow also symbolizes bisexuality.  One young chap in Dublin posted a photo of it on Twitter and suggested this was possibly God’s way of voting yes.  I thought that was very much to the point and that it is about time the Catholic Church admitted gays and lesbians, single sex marriages, women priests, etc.  I do like the new Pope and wonder what he thought if and when he saw the photo of the rainbow as well as the outcome of the referendum. It seems gay marriage has been the victor of the day in the Irish referendum.
A very appropriate tweet about Ireland today
And now my friends I have come to the end of the week, ending today on Saturday.  Tonight will be the Eurovision Song Contest, not something that interests me especially; apart from the voting bit at the end.  I wonder which country will win.  We will all know that when I write next week.
So I will leave you now and return to my girlies, make my Father’s dinner as well as ours, if there is any room in the kitchen which is currently invaded by the “manada” haha.
Cheers all until next week

PS nearly forgot to add that today is Primo’s birthday; my lovely brother-in-law – Felicidades Primo.  

No comments: