Saturday, January 23, 2016

Blue Monday, having it all and wanting more, a year since I broke my leg, Rajoy declines offer from the King, Oli and Miguel in Chinchón and other stories

Writing my blog this afternoon
Sunday 23rd January 2016

Hello again. It’s actually Saturday, not the day for writing my blog but I’m having a break from binge (re)watching Downton Abby this afternoon.  Also Oli and Miguel are away and I want to be here for them tomorrow.  I don’t really have a good photo to illustrate this week’s post so decided on one of me, writing my blog.  Yes, this is the moment, courtesy of Eladio.
It has been a quiet, unexciting but busy week.  Monday was Blue Monday, perhaps not the best start to a week.  It is supposed to be the most depressing day of the year, apparently when the weather is at its worst, debts are high and we are still under the influence of post-Christmas malaise.

It wasn’t going to affect me or so I thought.  What was incredibly depressing that morning was reading the findings of Oxfam’s 2015 report on the gap between the rich and the poor.  The statistics make frightening reading.  The richest 62 people in the world are worth the same as the poorest 3.5 billion. That translates into the richest 1% own as much as the rest of the world combined.  In Spain 1% own 80% of the wealth!  That is so unfair. Even worse, the forecast for 2016 could not be bleaker when the top 1% will be richer than the rest of the world combined.

It seems the rich come mostly from the financial, pharmaceutical and health care sectors.  Basically the wealthy get wealthier and the poor get poorer.  The Oxfam report was entitled “Having it all and wanting more”.  It couldn’t have been better put.

In any case I felt lucky on Blue Monday. You see it was a year ago that day that I broke my leg in Montrondo when I slipped on ice and now I am well and fighting fit. There is nothing like an illness or accident to appreciate good health.  It was actually Facebook that reminded me via this photo of me with my sister-in-law, Pili at the hospital in León. I was smiling then but not later when I knew I had to be operated and would be bedridden for at least 2 months. I’m so glad that’s behind me.  It seems not much more than a hiccup now but it was quite big at the time mostly because I am hyperactive and being home bound and bedridden was a real drama for me.
It was a year ago this week that I broke my leg in Montrondo
I was busy too on Monday and up early to go to a management team meeting.  I hardly had time to be hungry so didn’t really notice I was fasting, as I would again on Thursday.  I have been very good with my New Year’s resolution so far, to fast twice a week and go for an hour long power walk twice a day.  I am determined to keep it up.

Tuesday was the 19th January, a date forever ingrained in my mind as it would have been my cousin Jacqueline’s birthday.  She died tragically aged only 12 on the 23rd May 1971 along with all her family in a terrible air crash in Rijeka (Croatia).  We can never forget the loss of my Father’s sister Gloria and her family, husband Derek and children Jacqueline (12), Michael (9) and little Anthony (7).

But I had to put those thoughts out of my mind to concentrate on a very long conference call with Sweden on quite a boring matter; well more like long winded and complicated.  You’d think the Swedes were more practical and simple. Usually they are but not always and certainly not on Tuesday. 

Tuesday was a bitter sweet day for Eladio. After 20 years he was to give his last University lecture with the UNED that evening.  He has been obliged to retire against his wishes but he can’t complain as he was allowed to work for 1.5 years after the official date of retirement.  He has mixed feelings about stopping work completely.  Both Oli and I tell him he should enjoy his time.  After all he has worked all his life to earn his retirement and he is fit and well and should make the most of it.  I hope he will.

We had this conversation on our morning walk. It was sunny as it has been most days of the week except for fog in the mornings.  Elsa our golden labrador is shedding at the moment so we take along a special comb and create our own outdoor pet parlour as you can see in the photo haha.
Our outdoor pet parlour 
On Wednesday morning I was interested to read a piece of news from the Spanish Institute Cervantes.  Spanish is now the second most spoken language in the world after English and ahead of Mandarin.  Spanish comes third on internet but second on Facebook and Twitter.  Wow.  It’s nice to know I speak the two most spoken languages. I cannot find one single article in English to corroborate the prestigious Spanish institute.  I wonder what the reason for that is.

That morning I was to have a coffee and a chat with Consuelo, a highly experienced bilingual (yes in Spanish and English, so part of the Institute’s statistics) journalist who is out of work.  I met her recently when we did a PR agency pitch and it was great to see her again as she had made a good impression on me.  I have been where she is now so could sympathise and give lots of good advice as well as moral support.  We met at a café at the Zielo shopping centre in Pozuelo. Whilst there I went to buy some fresh fish for lunch which was incredibly expensive so when Eladio said how delicious it was I decided not to tell him what it cost haha.

On Thursday I went into the office yet again, this time for a meeting with the agency that takes care of our Wikipedia page.  They do talk such jargon but I must say they do a good job.  Just as I got home I was called back to the office for a management team meeting and then a staff meeting, so it seemed like I was in my car all day as it’s 50km there and back each time.  I was back too late for my second walk but the trip was worth it as both meetings brought good news for us all.  I can’t believe I’m into my 10th year with Yoigo.  It’s the longest period I have ever worked with any company but long may it last as it is by far the best company I have ever worked for.

On Friday I was up super early at 6.22.  I went on my early morning walk at 7.30 when it was still dark.  Just as I was returning I got a message to cancel my morning meeting and postpone it until Monday.  The message couldn’t have come at a better moment.  I needed some quiet time to get up to pace with all my emails, etc. 

It was on Friday evening that Spain’s acting Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy of the PP (right wing) party announced after meeting the King that he would not be accepting Don Felipe’s proposal for him to be the first candidate to try and form a government.  It was like he said No to the King. Well he did.  He shocked Spanish politics yesterday.  In a press conference later he explained he did not have the support to win a confidence vote in parliament.  The problem we are facing is mathematical and a pull between the right and left wing old and new parties.  A coalition has to be formed and we have yet to see who will be the next President.  If there is no consensus, elections will have to be held again.
Rajoy said no to the King
Just as Rajoy was making this unexpected announcement, Eladio and I went out to dinner to Ginos nearby.  We kept looking at our phones, over our pizza and scaloppini, to see what was being said about Rajoy’s latest move which came a few hours after the leader of the anti-establishment party Podemos, Pablo Iglesias, had suggested a coalition with the socialist party PSOE with him as Vice President neither of whom want to form a coalition with the PP. These days in Spain this is all people are talking about.

Meanwhile Oli and Miguel went to Chinchón for the night.  Oli had recently done a TV report on this beautiful little town some 40km from the centre of Madrid which you can see here.  She loved it so much she wanted to go back.  We have only been once.  It was with my Father in 2007 and we loved it too.   For memory’s sake I have dug out this photo of me in the middle of the legendary town centre square which also doubles as a bull ring.
Me in Chinchón in 2007. Oli and Miguel's trip there has inspired me to go back and visit it again
Oli and Miguel were lucky with the weather and had a really relaxing time.  They very much recommend the restaurant called La Casa del Pregonero which is number 1 on Trip Advisor.  Oli sent me some photos of the food and it looked great.  On offer too are prize winning tapas.  We must go again soon and if we do we will certainly go to La Casa del Pregonero.
Oli and Miguel today in Chinchón.
I asked Oli to look out in the shops for plates like one I had bought there and which I cherish. I couldn’t believe my luck when she found 2 round plates which are just like the rectangular serving plate I have.  I think one of them will be going to Montrondo.  Thanks Oli, love them.
The plates from Chinchón
Today has been a long and quiet day.  I woke up just before 7 and once again went on an early morning walk.  I was well wrapped up and it was foggy.
On my walk early this morning
I would never have known that later in the day the temperature would soar to 18c.  If you don’t believe me this is proof.
The temperature in Madrid this afternoon.  It was more like spring than winter
The dogs got their baths this morning, something they used to hate but now seem to enjoy.  Pippa looked as though she wanted to get in the bath with both Elsa and Norah as you can see in the photo collage below.
The dogs got a bath today!
My second walk was in the sun and both Eladio and I had to remove our coats.  I would have taken my jumper off too but couldn’t carry any more. We came home to a meal made by me which my Father later said was delicious.  It was only steak with vegetables but they were his favourites: Brussel sprouts and cauliflower. 

And now Oli and Miguel are back with lots to tell about their trip to Chinchón, a town where Goya once lived.  We shall have a quiet dinner in the kitchen followed by a few episodes of Homeland.  I am watching it again. Eladio has never seen it but was hooked pretty quickly.  I will not give him any spoilers even though I am very tempted to tell him what happens to Brody and Carrie.  No I mustn’t. 

Tomorrow Sunday will be a quiet day and next week who knows? On the work front it will be busy because on the 29th Jan our mother company TeliaSonera will be announcing the Q4 results and year end 2015 which of course include Yoigo’s.  We will be holding a press conference, always a tense event to organize.  I’ll be telling you how it went next week. 
Meanwhile cross your fingers.

Cheers now till next week,


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