Sunday, September 13, 2015

A giant pumpkin, Oli’s carrot cake, revealed I’m the Undercover Boss – “who dares wins” - a tribute to the Queen, The Clifton Chronicles, Oli reporting on TV this week, Jez we did it, Jeremy Colbryn new leader of the UK Labour party and other stories.

Sunday 13th September 2015
Meet my Undercover Boss fake identity. Would you have recognised me? 
Hello again,

What a week it’s been; full of work, emotion and quite a lot of news.  My main news this week is that I am going to be the Undercover Boss for Yoigo in the Spanish version (El Jefe Infiltrado) which will be broadcast on La Sexta at 22.30 next Tuesday 15th September.  It will also be available online here but if you live outside Spain and do not have a Spanish IP address then I’m afraid you won’t be able to see it.  I have had to keep it secret since we signed the contract with the producer back in June.  More about this later.

Last Sunday was a quiet day.  Olivia and Miguel were in the province of Cáceres for the weekend and that that morning Miguel was taking part in the 4000 metre open water swim in the big reservoir in Valdecañas.  Being the champion he is I was not surprised to hear he came first overall.  Here he is on the podium. 
Miguel (blue trunks) on the podium after coming first in the 4000 metre open water swimming race.
We spent the afternoon reading by the pool and waiting for them to come home.  The dogs were of course with us as usual.  Here is a delightful picture of Pippa in Eladio’s arms.  It’s lovely isn`t it?
Pippa with Eladio or Eladio with Pippa last Sunday afternoon
When Olivia and Miguel came home, they were loaded down with fruit and vegetables for us, including a gigantic pumpkin. Well at least I call it a pumpkin.  It is the elongated type which these days I think is called butternut squash.  I really think that is an American term the British have adopted since I left the country in 1983.  I’m not sure if you can appreciate it how big it is from this picture.
The gigantic pumpkin
My friend Jackqueline asked for a photo of the pumpkin with Pippa so she could gauge the real size and here it is.
You can see how big the pumpkin is in relation to Pippa's size!
The next morning Eladio and Miguel chopped it up into big chunks to be frozen.  I have since made a lovely cream of pumpkin soup adding some courgette.  I forget to add a carrot or too and had run out of potatoes.  It was nice though.
Miguel and Eladio chopping and peeling the giant pumpkin
I left them to it after breakfast on Monday and went out of the house a bit nervous as I was going to a very important meeting.  Eladio took this photo of me before I went.  Like the blue?  The clothes are nearly all from my beloved Swedish fashion shop Lindex and they were bought on different occasions in both Stockholm and Salo in Finland.
Off to an important meeting last Monday morning
The meeting was for three members from Yoigo, including me, to be given an advanced showing of the programme I had taken part in, Undercover Boss.  If you are not familiar with the programme, here is a good description I found on Wikipedia: The show’s format features the experiences of senior executives working undercover in their own companies to investigate how their firms really work and to identify how they can be improved, as well as to reward hard-working employees. I was very nervous and not sure I would like it.  I was worried I would look overweight and that I wouldn’t like to hear my voice. In the programme I was given another identity, so that no one would recognize me.  I couldn’t work directly with the company employees as we are only 100 and they would all recognize me, or if they didn’t recognize my disguise they would know me from my voice. So what we did was go undercover in some of our main suppliers’ installations.  Actually in the end I was quite happy with it and we only had to ask for a few minor changes.  My colleagues, Juan and Juan Manuel thought I was great. I was happy that they did as I needed their opinion because I would be too subjective.

Here you can see a photo of the real me during the shooting. 
The real me in the programme Undercover Boss
I had no saying in how they would do the transformation and was really shocked with the end result.  In fact I didn’t recognize myself and just hated the awful “common” clothes I had to wear which were the exact opposite of how I like to dress.  That of course was done on purpose.  The photo of me in disguise illustrates this week’s post.  Do you recognize me? Most people said I looked great, 20 years younger etc, but I never felt great.  Below is another one of me in disguise, this time kitted out to work at a Yoigo shop.
My disguise in the programme
The shooting took more than 10 days in July when there was a heatwave here and we worked from dawn to dusk.  I was even supposed to stay at a nasty little hotel, more in accordance with my new lowly status as a bottom of the rung new employee.  I outwitted the producer though and only ever stayed there one night, coming home to sleep in my own bed hahaha.  I had to work in different areas of the company, ranging from a telesales operator, a customer service agent, repairing mobile phones (imagine!), load orders of mobile phones onto lorries to be distributed around the country and even in a shop.  It was the most amazing experience I have ever had. It was also difficult to maintain the two identities and to keep to my story line so that the employees would not suspect as I was actually a “boss” from Yoigo.  I had a lot of fun too and got to know the workers well and understand their problems and how the work is done. I was humbled by how many of them knew their job so well as well as the company.  As a communications director who is supposed to know her company like the back of her hand, the experience was more than fulfilling.
Learning how to repair a mobile phone in the programme
The best day of all was the last day, the “day of revelations” as the producer calls it when I was to meet the people I had worked with and when they would find out who I really was.  I felt like a sort of TV star or even Mother Christmas as I talked to them, telling them off first and then praising them after which I handed them cheques or vouchers for holidays as their reward.  Here I am with the two “boys” from the shop I worked at out after all was revealed.  I have kept in touch with 5 of the 7 since the programme and seem to be their mentor.  Their participation changed their lives in many ways and that’s the part I like best of my experience as Undercover Boss.
The "day of revelations" was just great
I was questioned by an ex colleague as to why we or I had accepted to take part in what he probably thought was a frivolous reality show with all its possible pitfalls. I answered that it was a serious proposition that we had debated internally and that we saw it as a good opportunity for TV visibility. One of Yoigo's values is transparency.  We have nothing to hide so why not let people see how our company works from the inside. It was an amazing experience. I also added to quote the SAS, “who dares wins”.  Here I meant that I’m sure other big operators were given the opportunity but only Yoigo accepted.  Yes we dared do it and I think the outcome will be successful but that of course is for the audience to judge. I should also add here that many people seem to think this programme is fictitious and that the people in it are either actors or have to follow a script.  I can tell you we were not actors and there was no script at all to follow. You can believe me because it is true.

After the showing and a quick lunch with my colleagues I went home to catch up with my work.  I have a huge project in hand organizing this year’s summer party in El Rocío (Huelva) for 250 people.  We will be going next Wednesday until Friday. The programme is very full and there are so many details still to be dealt with.  I just wish this and the Undercover Boss project hadn’t coincided but that’s how it is.

I worked till late that day and was very happy when I walked into the kitchen to start on dinner to find Miguel and Olivia in the throes of making it.  Miguel prepared huge platters of steamed cockles and mussels and Oli made a superb carrot cake.  I wonder if she has thought of making a pumpkin cake but I’m not sure it would taste as good.
Oli's amazing heart shaped carrot cake
On Tuesday, I was surprised that a very well-known PR website, PR Noticias had leaked the news of the programme and my part as the Undercover Boss.  That was because the channel was promoting the programme and I come out in it although neither my name nor the company’s name was mentioned.  This is their article after which I sent an internal release to all our employees with the news.  Finally the cat was let out of the bag and I no longer had to keep the story secret.  You cannot begin to imagine how difficult that was for me being such a transparent person.  The worst part was the 10 days of filming which I couldn’t even hint at in this blog.

I had a meeting that morning with my events agency, QuintaEsencia about the summer party after which we went to lunch at a new place in Madrid called Babelia.  That evening I finished the book about Lis Salander, The Girl in the Spider’s web which as you know was not written by Stieg Larsson the author of the Millennium series but by another Swedish author David Lagercrantz.  I am no literary critic and to tell you the truth thought it was just as good as the three books by the original author and did not notice any difference in the style of writing.  I really miss Lis Salander and Mikael Blomqvist now and sincerely hope David Lagercrantz writes a sequel.

Wednesday was a historic day for the British monarchy.  The papers had been full of the news that on that day “the Queen” as she is known, Queen Elizabeth II would become the longest reigning monarch of the United Kingdom just beating her great grandmother Queen Victoria to the post.  She would also become the oldest living monarch at 89 years old. 

My Queen on her Coronation Day in 1953
She herself did not want any celebrations in these austere times and only made a slight hint at the historic achievement when she opened a new train line at the Borders (the border of Scotland and England) that day. I watched her open mouthed speaking her beautiful Queen’s English with hardly a hitch and doing so on high heels and without the aid of a walking stick.  Gosh I do love her I have to admit being brought up in the 50’s and 60’s when she was a young and beautiful Queen and the British people admired and revered the Royal Family.   A portrait was painted of her for the occasion next to her famous red box. It was done so by the artist who is the daughter of Paul McCartney of the Beatles’ fame. 

The Queen 63 years later, aged 89 and still looking good
I loved The Daily Telegraph’s amazing video of her too which is made up of one photo of her from every year of her reign starting with 1952 when her Father King George V1 died. It makes fascinating watching.
A still of  The Daily Telegraph video of a portrait per year of the Queen since she came to the throne.
I posted my own tribute to her that day on Facebook and here it is if you didn’t see it there.  Long may she continue to reign over us. You are the Queen of my generation. When I was born you had been the Queen for 5 years. Today marks the 63 years you have been on the throne since you were just 25 years old and is the day you become the longest living monarch in the United Kingdom. Today is a very special day for your subjects myself included. You were beautiful on that day and have aged remarkably. I love the portrait taken to mark this historic occasion. I only ever saw you once but I have respected you always.

As I said I was brought up to be a royalist.  These days I am disgruntled with most of the Royal families of this world, not least the British and Spanish monarchies.  However I continue to respect the Queen herself and that day I felt shivers going down my spine and emotion from such an historical event.

On Thursday I fasted and worked on the press release about Yoigo’s participation in the Undercover Boss programme, liaising with the Communications Manager of the producer who seems to live on whatsapp like me.  It’s a joy to work with Carmen or Carmencita as the director of the producer, Warner Bros Spain, calls her.

It was on Thursday evening, feeling bereft of what to read after finishing “The girl in the spider’s web”, that I came across a book or rather series of book I knew would be right up my street.  The seven part series is called The Clifton Chronicles and is by Jeffrey Archer, the well-known British author.  It is set in Bristol, where my Father grew up and in the same years he lived there.  It spans the end of the First World War and the Second World War and is basically a two family saga story.  The first book “Only time will tell” centres on the story of Harry Clifton the son of a London ship worker whose father dies before he is born and his quest to find out how.  I must say I devoured it and am now on the second book, “The sins of the Father”.
Some of the books in the Clifton Chronicles 7 book series by Jeffrey Archer which I am enjoying thoroughly
That night the first promotional advert of the upcoming Undercover Boss episode I will be “starring in” (doesn’t that sound fancy?) was broadcast and I’m not sure I like it.  The producer makes the programme which we could see before it was broadcast but unfortunately it is the TV channel which does the ad and here we have no say. I do wish I had known that before as I would have certainly changed the “promo” as it is called here as I come out far more aggressive than I really am.  But that is how TV works I’m afraid, they look for the images which will have the most impact.  See the promo for yourselves in this link if you have not already seen it on TV as most of my Spanish friends, colleagues and acquaintances already have.  Here are two still images from the “promos” as I think there are two, just in case you can’t see the video.
In the advert for the programme - the shopkeeper telling me to dust the shop!!!
In the advert for the programme - me horror struck when I saw my new look for the first time
Friday was 11th September and the anniversary of that dreadful attack in the US.  Who does not remember what they were doing when it happened?  It’s one of those major events that are ingrained in your memory forever.  However, life continued and I was busy again that day; this time correcting the TV channel’s press release about the programme. In between time I did the weekly shopping with Eladio.  I also managed to see Olivia on the TV that day reporting on a horrible story of a Russian woman who tried to kill her own daughter as well as her granddaughter.  Thankfully they survived.  Here is Oli reporting live that day.
Olivia reporting live on TV on Friday
The day finished nicely when Eladio and I went out to dinner together to La Vaca Argentina in Las Rozas, one of our favourite places.  They do serve excellent steak I must say which is why, I, at least, always want to go back.  I always find it funny that when we go there Eladio usually orders fish. I mean who would bother ordering fish at a restaurant that specialised in meat?  My husband, of course.

Saturday morning was spent at Ikea when Eladio and I went to get lamps, light bulbs, towels and lots of kitchen stuff for our house in Montrondo.  I also visited the food store and stocked up on the Swedish fare we love so much.  As there wasn’t much time to make lunch when we got home you won’t be surprised to know that I served Ikea meat balls with all the trimmings I bought there.  My Father was delighted as it is one of his favourite dishes.  He remarked that the Scandinavians are very fond of meat balls and commented that he first had them on a Norwegian ship when he was in the Royal Navy in the Second World War!

It was at around midday yesterday when Britain and Europe were stunned to hear that the 66 year old “bearded leftie” (as described in one of the papers), Jeremy Cobryn a Labour backbencher had won the British Labour party leadership elections against all odds.  His theories are likened to Greece’s Syriza and Spain’s Podemos.  I also noted he was a disciple of the radical Tony Benn.  I wonder what that will mean for Britain and indeed Europe.
Jeremy Cobryn (Jez) the new radical leader of the British Labour Party
His slogan was “Jez you can” and afterwards his win was quoted as “Jez you did”.  I wander what he thinks he has won whilst witnessing most of the Shadow Cabinet  resigning fast and whether he will ever get elected to become Prime Minister.  Now I also wonder what the Queen, whose favourite Prime Minister was Winston Churchill, will think of Jeremy Cobryn who, if he gets his way, would do away with the Royal Family.  That will be an interesting fight if it ever comes to it.

The highlight of yesterday was dinner that night.  I went with my great friend Fátima to Madrid to have dinner with Pedro Delgado and his friends who were celebrating the end of this year’s Tour of Spain.  I used to go nearly every year since I got involved in cycling when I worked for Motorola which had a cycling team, but had lost the habit in the past few years.  It was nice to see everyone again and I’m sorry I don’t have a photo to remember last night’s dinner.  We chatted so much I completely forgot to take one. 

And today is Sunday and I’m at the end of the tales of this week. Of note my oldest and best friend from school, Amanda, is celebrating her birthday today. I do wish I could be with her.  We haven’t seen each other for some years and we must  remedy that soon.  Happy birthday dear Amanda. I miss you.

Today there is nothing else really to tell you.  After finishing writing this week’s post I shall be reading more of the Clifton Chronicles which will keep me entertained until dinner at least.

The week coming up will be both exciting and busy, not least because my Undercover Boss programme will be broadcast on Tuesday evening.  If you watch it I hope you enjoy it.  I can guarantee you will have good laugh, will learn more about how Yoigo works but you will probably also cry from emotion because some of the stories of the employees I worked with are really quite something.

Wishing you all a great week, I will sign off now until next Sunday.

Cheers till then

Masha

4 comments:

Emma Kate said...

Fantastic program ! Loved every minute of it, congratulations!!
Let me introduce myself...Emma 46 years old, born in Liverpool ;) lived in Madrid since I was little. My father is Spanish my mother is English.
Mother of two children, a girl nearly 17 and a boy of 8.
I used to be a secretary in a German multinational company.
I have been not working since 2008. Been trying to find a job since then, no luck I'm afraid ;(
I have sent houndreds of cv to.work as a teleoperator, thinking that due to my high english level I wouldn't have any problem...
After watching this nights tv programme I thought it would be a good idea writhing to you...as they say " El que no arriesga no gana "
Hope you don't mind my "hard face" but could you be ably to give me a job interview for your company.
I'm sure I could work great at the customers attention department.
Thank you for your time.
With kind regards,
Emma Kate Morcillo Docksey.
www.onlythebest2010.net
onlythebest2010@hotmail.com



Anonymous said...

Fantastic program ! Loved every minute of it, congratulations!!
Let me introduce myself...Emma 46 years old, born in Liverpool ;) lived in Madrid since I was little. My father is Spanish my mother is English.
Mother of two children, a girl nearly 17 and a boy of 8.
I used to be a secretary in a German multinational company.
I have been not working since 2008. Been trying to find a job since then, no luck I'm afraid ;(
I have sent houndreds of cv to.work as a teleoperator, thinking that due to my high english level I wouldn't have any problem...
After watching this nights tv programme I thought it would be a good idea writhing to you...as they say " El que no arriesga no gana "
Hope you don't mind my "hard face" but could you be ably to give me a job interview for your company.
I'm sure I could work great at the customers attention department.
Thank you for your time.
With kind regards,
Emma Kate Morcillo Docksey.
www.onlythebest2010.net
onlythebest2010@hotmail.com



Marisol Kuruklis said...

Hi Masha, the program was fantastic!!!!
My name is Marisol, I'm half Greek half Portuguese and born in Belgium!
Now I'm living in Málaga with my boyfriend who's English.
We've met each other at the airport, I used to work there before in a rent a car, he still works at the airport.
So as you can see my English is not 100% correct but I've no problem with languages and with learn more new ones!
It was very nice to see you on television,it would be very nice to meet you in person so if one day you decide to come and visit Malaga don't estate and let me know please!
Kind regards,

Marisol Kuruklis
kuruklismarisol@gmail.com

Marisol Kuruklis said...

Hi Masha, the program was fantastic!!!!
My name is Marisol, I'm half Greek half Portuguese and born in Belgium!
Now I'm living in Málaga with my boyfriend who's English.
We've met each other at the airport, I used to work there before in a rent a car, he still works at the airport.
So as you can see my English is not 100% correct but I've no problem with languages and with learn more new ones!
It was very nice to see you on television,it would be very nice to meet you in person so if one day you decide to come and visit Malaga don't estate and let me know please!
Kind regards,

Marisol Kuruklis
kuruklismarisol@gmail.com