Sunday, November 01, 2015

The WHO says processed meat causes cancer, don’t buy an Ikea Uppleva TV, “parkin” from Jacky, Pippa reaches puberty, #VideoForNepal, no I’m not celebrating Halloween, cooking for pleasure, and other stories.

Sunday 1st November 2015

Cooking for pleasure on Saturday
Hi again,

It’s Sunday and blog day also the 1st November which is All Saints’ Day, an important date in the Spanish calendar and around the world.  People will be visiting cemeteries all over the country and putting flowers on their beloved ones’ tombs.  Not me as I have no tomb near me. But I would if I were in Montrondo as I’m sure the villagers will be visiting the lovely cemetery there.

Well we were there this time last week enjoying our last day with Miguel and Oli who left after lunch as you will remember from my post last Sunday.

On Monday it rained non-stop.  I worked most of the day whilst Eladio cleaned our new house.  We had one visitor, Salo, our neighbour who came to bring us a sponge cake she had made.  We left her our keys as she kindly agreed to open the house when the Ikea people were coming on Friday to put up some lights and install a couple of kitchen drawers; the previous ones having been faulty.

We left at about 16h, stopping at the Murias de Paredes bakery to pick up a meat pie I had ordered.
The not so good meat pie we picked up at the bakery in Murias on Monday
I had asked for a small one but this one was huge.  We had some of it that night with Olivia for dinner but have frozen the rest which we will probably never eat. It was rather a coarse pie with thick chunks of fatty pork; a bit disappointing really. 


On Tuesday it was raining in Madrid too.  I had an interview in Madrid at midday at a lovely new restaurant bar called Perra Chica.  Funnily enough it was one of the locations proposed to me by my events agency for our Christmas party and I would be visiting it again on Friday and also having lunch there.  It really is a great place.
Perra Chica a very "in" restaurant and bar in Madrid
There I was to be interviewed by Mar, a journalist I have known for many years but whom I hadn’t seen for at least 10.  I remember taking her on a Nokia press trip to Helsinki and her arriving late at the airport and nearly missing the plane.  She was late too on Tuesday by about 15 minutes and I laughingly reminded her of the incident.  The interview was all about my career in communications in technology companies and my opinion on some of the challenges today.  I look forward to reading her article.  Thanks Mar, it was lovely to see you again and I hope it’s not another 10 years before I see you again.

On my way home I decided to stop at the only British shop I know in Madrid as it’s not too far from Perra Chica.  Called “Living in London” there are in fact 2 shops, one for food and the other for some very British bric a brac. 
The English shops "Living in London" in Madrid
I went to the food shop and was lucky to find they sell crumpets.  I bought all the frozen packets they had – 13.  I also got some scones and biscuits.  The latter were not just any biscuits but a gourmet pack of Crabtree and Evelyn luxury biscuits and shortbread.  I shall be taking them to Montrondo where they will be wonderful to have with a cup of tea or coffee and the pretty tins will come in handy for decoration. 
The Crabtree and Evelyn luxury biscuits I bought at the English shop
I was home on time to make lunch for the men.  It was to be Ikea meat balls and happened to be the day the medical world, or rather the WHO, issued a warning that red meat, processed meat, sausages and bacon can cause cancer.  It hit the world with a bang, especially the meat industry. There are so many health warnings about food these days that it makes life very confusing.  Then I think about Eladio’s grandmothers who lived till nearly 100 and ate chorizo most of their lives and never got cancer.  I also think the warning was not well communicated as we have later learned that the cancer warning is if you consume many portions a day which is not our case. There have been lots of puns on the internet on the subject, the one I like best being a picture of bacon similar to the pink ribbon for breast cancer.  Well my Father who is 96 has been eating bacon all his life and is perfectly fit.
Bacon the WHO says can cause cancer!
It was on Tuesday that I bought an HDMI cable, hoping to be able to use it with my PC and Ikea Uppleva TV in Montrondo where you will remember I told you it won’t work with Netflix.  I then rang the Ikea customer service number and actually got to talk to a technician based in Holland who spoke perfect Spanish.  He told me I wouldn’t be able to watch Netflix even with the HDMI cable but suggested that maybe in the future there would be an update in the software in the Swedish TV and it would be possible.  I was very disappointed as I have just signed up to Netflix mostly to watch it in Montrondo.  At the same time I told him we couldn’t get the usual Spanish smart TV channels such as Atresmedia or RTVE which surprised him.  It comes with useless preprogrammed content as you can see in the picture below. In any case he was helpful and will be ringing me next week when we are there to guide me on the phone.  My conclusion here is that we made a wrong decision and should not have bought the Ikea Uppleva TV.  It is very cumbersome to set up and it’s not good news you can’t watch Netflix.  My recommendation would be not to buy one and get a mainstream brand like LG, Samsung etc. 
The Ikea Uppleva TV comes with some pretty pathetic pre programmed content
That day I received a parcel.  I thought it was something I had ordered on Amazon but no it was from my dear friend Jacky.  She had sent me some of her homemade “parkin”.  Parkin is a type of gingerbread made with oats and treacle which comes from Yorkshire and it is typical to eat it on Guy Fawkes Night, the 5th November.  Both of us were brought up in Yorkshire and because of that my friend wanted to share it with me; her fellow “Yorkshire lass”. There was a card too with instructions not to eat it until 5th November.  I’m afraid I disregarded them and both my Father and I had a piece that night.  Thanks so much Jacky, you made our day.
Jacky's parkin
On Wednesday I had another meeting.  It was with my PR agency and the head of marketing for Motorola. Yes, you heard right, Motorola. Isabel is the girl who now has the job I had there 20 years ago.  How times have changed.  Today Motorola, after being bought by Google, belongs to Lenovo.  At the meeting I realized just how old I am, not because I had Isabel’s job 20 years ago but because of some of the jargon used in our meeting. The purpose was to collaborate on social media and Motorola was keen to promote their devices with us via competitions some of which were with “memes” (pronounced “meems” in English) and “gifs” (graphics interchange format).  I had heard these words many times but had to own up that I didn’t know what they were, showing my age or lack of knowledge. Of course as soon as I saw them I realized I had seen them many times before but just didn’t know the names. I was annoyed with myself as usually I’m quite techy and keep up with the times.  So I learned that a meme is a piece of media or a photo with a text that goes viral and that a gif is an animated photo. Not so difficult right?  That night, determined to keep up with the times, I downloaded apps on my phone to make my own memes and gifs.  Here is an example. 

Thursday was a quiet day. I fasted and worked most of the day.  In the early evening which is dark already now at 6pm, Eladio and I went off again to Ikea for the umpteenth time for more stuff for Montrondo.  I have lists and lists of things we still need and no doubt the car will be just as full when we go next time.

Friday, oh Friday (TGIF), was the best day of the week.  I was up early as usual and Eladio and I went for our daily walk with the dogs.  There is never any need to call them as they always know the time of the walk.  Here in this picture they are waiting in the garage telling us it’s time for their walk.
The dogs "telling" us it's time for our walk
It was on Friday morning that we noticed Pippa, our adorable 11 month old chocolate coloured smooth haired miniature dachshund, had reached puberty.  There were a few stains on the sheets.  But not to worry they were washed and the next night Pippa wore a special panty I had bought for this very purpose.  She’s not very happy with it.  So, yes, our little puppy is now sexually mature but of course she is far too young to be a mother.  We want her to have that experience at least once in her life; we want puppies too, but have been advised by her vet that it is best to wait until she is 3 years old.
Pippa with her doggy panty on poor thing
That day I had an appointment in Madrid with Gloria and Miguel from my events agency.  We went to see three locations for the company Christmas party.  They were all good but one was exceptional.  I can’t give away where it is yet as it will be a surprise and no doubt some employees read this blog hahaha.  We later had lunch at Perra Chica, the new restaurant bar I mentioned above where we were joined by Bea and Cris.  Sorry I forgot to take a photo.  The lunch was great and we worked all through it on preparations for our Christmas events.  Believe it or not I didn’t get away until nearly 5pm.

I came back to work, at home, of course, to a hell of a number of emails that I had to wade through.  This week has been quite busy with two press releases, one on the extension of our network managed services with our infrastructure supplier Ericsson.  But on Friday I was happier to work on something much more human; a promotional video on visiting Nepal after the earthquake.  My colleagues at Ncell (TeliaSonera’s operator in Nepal) had asked Yoigo to help by including Spanish celebrities in the video as, believe it or not, Spain is one of the top countries to visit Nepal, or was before the earthquake.  The video is called #VideoForNepal and you can watch it here in English and here in Spanish.  For the Spanish version I am eternally grateful to my friend and celebrity, Pedro Delgado for his help, not to mention the singer Hombre Negro.  Please share it wherever you can. If you have been to Nepal you will love watching it as I did, because that country at the top of the world touched my heart when Eladio and I went there in 2009. If you haven’t, I hope it whets your appetite.
#VideoForNepal by Ncell with the collaboration of Yoigo 
It was on Friday afternoon that a little parcel arrived, this time from Amazon.  It was an ink cartridge for my little HP photo printer which I have had since the early 2000’s and I thought had stopped working. Of course it had dried up.  I love this little machine as with it I can print photos from my phone or pc whenever I feel like it and I was so glad to see it working again.  No doubt there are more modern versions today, but my little HP Photosmart 375 has obviously passed the test of planned obsolescence for machinery and technology which is so prevalent today.

Happy my HP Photosmart photo printer is working again.
Meanwhile in Montrondo, Salo was taking care of the Ikea man who had gone to install the new drawers and the lights.  Typical of Ikea’s bad customer service, he didn’t actually connect the lights to the electricity.  Ikea is a great store when the products are not defect but when they are then the nightmare begins unless you go yourself to the shop with the product which of course we can’t do as Montrondo is a 4 hour drive from the store in Madrid where we purchased everything. 
The Ikea lights, installed but not connected to the electricity.
That night Eladio, Oli and I went out to dinner.  We chose La Vaca Argentina which was offering its loyalty card members 40% discount.  We always enjoy our meals there. Sorry I forgot to take a photo.

Saturday was the last day of October, it was also Halloween, a festival I do not care for at all.  Spain seems to have taken to this pagan celebration as if it had been celebrated here always, which, of course it hasn’t.  I know it as a purely American event where people dress up in scary disguises, carve up pumpkins and children go out and ask for sweets: trick or treat.  In reality it is of course the Eve of All Saints (Hallow’s (holy) evening, All Hallow’s Eve) and is supposed to be of Celtic origin when the harvest festivals took place.  For me there is nothing holy about dressing up as a witch or devil.  Perhaps I am against it because I was not brought up on the tradition.  In England the only equivalent was mischief night on the 4th November, the night before Bonfire Night or Guy Fawkes’ Night.  So when people posted photos of themselves and their children in scary outfits and wished each other “happy Halloween” I just ignored them. 

However I couldn’t ignore the fact that my daughter Oli went to a Halloween party for lunch on Saturday. When the girls were small they loved Halloween which was a pain for me; not because I didn’t like the festival but because I had to find the clothes for them and in those days there were no disguises available as they are today. Oli has got over the phase of dressing up but was happy to join 20 of her TV colleagues at a party in El Molar. This is the photo she sent me.
Oli with some of her friends at their Halloween party on Saturday
Instead of celebrating Halloween I cooked.  Cooking, when it is for pleasure, which was the case on Saturday, can be very relaxing and fulfilling.  The photo illustrating this week’s blogpost is of me happily cooking in our kitchen. For the record I made a meat loaf (to hell with the WHO’s warnings) from an old recipe book which is a great favourite at home. This is what it looked like.
The meat loaf I made on Saturday in my cooking session
I also made broccoli and potato soup, one for consuming at home and one for freezing to take to Montrondo.

Saturday would have been the perfect day if it hadn’t been for the bad news from one of my oldest friends.  She wrote to say she has breast cancer and will be operated on 16th November.  I couldn’t believe it but of course I had to.  I am not mentioning her name here as I want to respect her privacy.  She’s so scared I know and I do wish I could be with her, but she’s too far.  The only good thing is that it appears to be a slow growing tumour.  Please either cross your fingers or pray for her. 

There’s not much else to tell you about Saturday except that finally Eladio and I got to watch a series on Netflix together.  It was episode one and two of the Danish Swedish series called The Bridge.  I’m not too sure about it as I don’t really like the arrogant and aggressive Swedish detective “Saga”.  What is good is that we have finally joined the new age of TV where you can watch what you want when you want and don’t have to depend on TV channels times for programmes and films. 
The Bridge, the Danish Swedish detective series Eladio and I started watching on Netflix on Saturday night
And today is Sunday, the last day of the week, All Saints’ Day of course.  We went for a walk with the dogs and Oli joined us.  Later Oli helped me make lunch when we both cooked for pleasure. We made good old fashioned fish and chips with mushy peas. 
Homemade fish and chips with mushy peas for lunch today
Next weekend we will be in Montrondo again where we will be joined by Ana and Javier.  They will be our first guests at the new house and we are really looking forward to our time together there which you will read about in next week’s post.

Meanwhile, enjoy the rest of Sunday.

Cheers till next time,

Masha

1 comment:

Mar Carpena Garcia said...

Un besazo :-)