Sunday, January 31, 2016

Sunrise walks, a family outing with my Father, poor Pippa, covered nude statues at the Vatican for Iranian PM, figure skater Javier Fernández does Spain proud, press breakfast for results’ day, a girly afternoon shopping in Madrid, Laura and Maya came to visit and other stories.

Sunday 31st January 2016
It was all smiles at the Yoigo press conference on Friday morning
Hi again everyone. 

It’s another sunny Sunday, the last in January. It’s been a busy and good week so let me tell you about it. 

Last Sunday I was up at 06.40.  I seem to be waking up earlier and earlier these days.  It means I have more hours in the day and now I go for my first walk of the day straight after my quiet breakfast with the dogs.  Thus all my early morning walks these last few weeks have been at sunrise and I must say it’s a privilege to witness such a beautiful sky in the morning whilst power walking and listening to music.  Today, being Sunday, I chose my list of favourite hymns which always takes me straight back to school assembly. 
Sunrise on Monday morning on my walk
My fitbit goes with me everywhere and the statistics it shows motivate me to do at least 20.000 steps each day, some 13 or 14km!  Here is the badge to prove that I have done 20.000 or more on at least 117 times. 
One of my Fitbit badges
The old adage of “red sky at night shepherds’ delight, red sky in the morning shepherds’ warning”, was wrong, at least last Sunday.  Whilst there was a snow blizzard in the US on the East Coast, called Jason, the fifth worst, since records began, here we had sunshine with temperatures reaching 20c.  My friend Fátima’s niece, Gloria, who lives and works in New York described the storm very well when she published this photo saying it was like something out of the film The Day after tomorrow. 
New York - the Jason blizzard - like a scene out of The Day after Tomorrow
Meanwhile it was a glorious day in Madrid so we decided on the spur of the moment to take my Father and the dogs for a walk in the parkland just outside Boadilla del Monte.  It was a challenge getting everyone into two cars but we made it and it was well worth it. It seemed the whole of Boadilla had had the same idea and there were people running, walking and cycling, many in their shirt sleeves.
My Father last Sunday morning with Eladio by the palace in Boadilla
The walk, past the palace and playing fields is very pleasant with many paths to choose from and lots of flora and fauna to interest my Father who had a grand time.  After about an 8km walk, we went to have a drink before lunch at a bar opposite the palace with the exhausted dogs at our feet. 
Drinks in the sun after our walk in Boadilla last Sunday
We were home late and lunch was late, but it would have been a crime not to take advantage of such a wonderful warm and sunny day.  We must do it again soon.  It was such a pity Suzy wasn’t with us. 

I haven’t written much about her recently in my blog and that’s because, ashamedly, I hadn’t spoken to her on the phone since she left Madrid on 29th December.  Thankfully we did so last Sunday and even skyped.  It was great to see her whilst we talked.
Skyping with Suzy last weekend
However, as usual the signal was not strong and the image began to get very pixeled so we rang her on the phone in the end.  She is full of news about moving house and interviews for various jobs. I do wish her lots of luck.  Love you darling.

On Monday morning, believe it or not, there was an earthquake in Mellila (Spanish enclave in North Africa) which was felt all along the coast of Andalusia, including Málaga.  Thankfully no one was killed but there was lots of damage to buildings in Mellila itself. 

On Monday I fasted, had time to go the hairdresser and also went to an important meeting at Yoigo in the late afternoon on our strategy for communicating the financial results for quarter 4 and full year 2015.  I was to be busy all week on preparations for the press conference we would hold on Friday, the day of the results.

Tuesday was an anxious day for me.  Poor Pippa was to be spayed that day.  We had come to the decision that we will not have puppies from her and that it’s better for her health in the long run to be spayed and of course to avoid the nuisance that being on heat brings with it.  I was to take her to the vet early in the morning on an empty stomach.  I felt like a criminal when I took her.  I was told her operation would be early and they would ring to say how it went.  I didn’t hear anything until around 2pm and was cross when I realized that she must have been alone, frightened and hungry in a cage for so many hours.  We picked her up at 8.30pm and she was thrilled to see us. She seemed as fit as a fiddle and had only 2 stitches on the incision.  Thankfully she didn’t have to wear a “lampshade” and she’s been pretty good about not licking the stiches.  We have been giving her the medication of course but I witnessed no suffering of any kind.  Amazingly she went on our 4km walk the very next day.
Whilst Pippa was at the vet, life went on at home where I worked quietly with Eladio at his desk next to me.  I say quietly until a plumber came to investigate damp on the ground floor on the passage outside our office.  Boy did he make a noise breaking the floor boards trying to find out where the damp comes from.  Here is the hole he made.
The hole in the floor boards on the ground floor!
He wasn’t sure what caused the damp but has told us the whole floor will have to be lifted which is a major problem.  I just hope they find the cause soon and also hope the insurance policy covers the repair work necessary.  I am keeping my fingers crossed. In a house like this all sorts of things can go wrong.  At the moment we have two issues, the ground floor and the swimming pool. The main drain has a leak and the pool has lost all the water.  It will need repainting too.  Both jobs are Eladio’s domain and of course are worrying him at the moment.

Whilst the hole was being drilled I tried out some new headphones, for two purposes, to drown out the noise but also to try them out. They were the headphones we would be giving out at the press conference; some colourful Bluetooth ones made by Energy Sistem (BT1). It took me a while to figure out how to pair them but once they were working I was very pleased with the quality.  I now use them on my walks.  It’s so much nicer to wear cordless headphones I must say.
New headphones
Meanwhile in The Vatican the Iranian Prime Minister, Hassan Rouhani, was visiting the Pope.  The visit came after agreements with the US to halter the Iranian race for nuclear weapons.  Sanctions were lifted, Iran will now be able to export oil and the Prime Minister is making visits to Italy and France.  There was an uproar when the world heard that The Vatican had covered any nude statues the Iranian premiere may see on his visit. 
Prime Minister Hassan Rouhani and the covered up nude statues at The Vatican!
A cousin of mine said it would have been better to blindfold him. I personally think it is outrageous because if a western leader went to Iran there would be no concessions there for him or her.  Funnily enough we later found out the request had not come from the Iranian government.  Even so.  His next visit was to France where the French Government would not bend at excluding wine from the menu.  So in the end they had afternoon tea instead of a state dinner!! 

That afternoon Olivia was doing a TV report in the village called Robledo de Chavela, not very far from where we live. Believe it or not this is a deep space communications complex belonging to the NASA.  Here you have Oli dressed in a space suit!!  We really must go there one day to visit the space museum.
Oli dressed up as an astronaut at the space station in Robledo de Chavela which belongs to the NASA
Wednesday morning was foggy so I went for my walk a little later.  We then took Pippa to a big pet shop called Petuluki in Majadahonda to buy her a jumper which was supposed to cover her wound.  In the end we bought this pretty red one which she seems to love and we do too.
Pippa with her new red jumper. She looks very smart
Then it was time for a coffee and we dared to take her with us to Centro Oeste; not sure whether she would be allowed in.  Later we heard you can take dogs only if you are carrying them.  Well it’s easy to carry little Pippa as she only weighs 4.2kg!  Here is Eladio having coffee with our little darling sitting on his lap.
Eladio with Pippa - coffee time at Centro Oeste
It was on Wednesday that the Spanish figure skater, Javier Fernández, from Madrid won the European Championships for the 4th year in a row.  You can see how pleased he is in this photo; positively radiant.  I was very proud of him for Spain; yet another Spanish sports person doing well in the world.  It’s not very usual for Spaniards to excel at ice skating and Javier Fernández had to go and live in Canada if he wanted to progress to the level he is at now.  Funnily enough he used to train at the little ice rink in Majadahonda.
Javier Fernández, the Spanish figure skater who garnered his 4th European championship in Stockholm this week. 
Friday was my big day.  It was results day and we had our press breakfast.  We held it at a lovely café in Madrid called El Perro y la Galleta where, by the way, dogs are allowed.  I couldn’t take Pippa though as she was still recovering from her operation.  I’m not sure whether she would have behaved either.  The photo illustrating this week’s blog is of me by the photo-call at the café before the press conference started. I was happy with how everything had been executed.  Bravo for my events agency QuintaEsencia, as usual.
The Yoigo press breakfast on Friday at El Perro y la Galleta in Madrid 
We had a full turnout.  As the results were good, sales were up and our outlook in the sector quite rosy, we were to get some great headlines.  By lunchtime we had counted 215 online clippings.  There will be more by Monday.  I came home relieved and happy that everything had gone well. It’s funny how I still doubt myself after all these years. Maybe that’s what keeps me on my toes.

That night Eladio and I went out to dinner to celebrate to La Txitxarrería.  We love that place, the meat is amazing and I always enjoy the good Basque or is it Asturian cider they serve.

Saturday was another sunny day. On my first walk I caught the sun coming up and I felt like singing that very British hymn that all children learn at school or at least they did when I went to school in England; “Morning has broken”.
The sun coming up on my early morning walk on Saturday
I got a lot in that morning, including making a full lunch of meat loaf with mashed potatoes with carrot, salad and fruit as well as my second walk of the day, this time with Eladio.

The day before Olivia had done a TV report on Spain’s swankiest street, Calle Serrano in Madrid. A green quilted feather jacket caught her fancy in the sales at Roberto Verino a Spanish designer and she had asked the shop assistant she interviewed there to keep it for her until Saturday.  Thus I got asked to go shopping with her after lunch that day. I was all for it.  Not only did she get the green jacket, she also got a lovely poncho type garment and an elegant red dress.  Here we are leaving the shop with Oli’s purchases.
Oli and I outside Roberto Verino yesterday afternoon in Calle Serrano.
Oli’s bosom friend Ana (Anita) joined us as we were leaving, so the afternoon was fast becoming a girly shopping outing in Madrid.
Oli with Anita at Platea yesterday afternoon
From Roberto Verino we walked a few steps to Zara’s flagship store.  There I nearly bought a pink coat but was put off by the very long queue and the price which I thought was far too high for Zara. 

From Zara we walked to Platea, that lovely gastronomic centre opposite the Colon square.  Here I bought some delicious pie to take home for dinner  My sister-in-law Dolores was to join us at Platea and soon we were sitting down to coffee and cakes at a super little cake shop called Mama Framboise. 
With Dolores, Oli and Anita at Mama Framboise yesterday afternoon
We left Madrid at sunset, happy with our afternoon out shopping.  We were home in a jiffy as the roads are hardly ever congested at the weekends.  Dinner was at home and Ana joined us.  Wow was the Platea pie good as were the Christmas ham and wine we are still consuming. 

And today is Sunday. I’ve now done my two walks and had lunch.  At midday, Oli and Suzy’s friend Laura from their scout days came to visit with her 6 month old baby Maya.  It was amazing to see one of the girls’ childhood friends with a baby.  Both Mother and baby were looking super.  Laura is such a natural relaxed mother, unlike the obsessive ones that seem to abound so much these days.  She had no worries about the dogs and no problems of her baby's photo being on my blog or her facebook which also seems to be the norm with fussy new mothers these days. Oli was so happy to see Laura with her baby, she cried with joy.  I nearly did too.  
Olivia with little Maya and Laura.  Lovely picture, lovely moment.
Maya behaved beautifully and didn’t cry once. She just smiled and did baby faces and was very interested in the dogs.  Pippa, as usual, barked too much. Thankfully she later calmed down.  Hopefully we will be seeing them again soon in Barcelona where Laura lives.  The baby visit got us talking about Oli having a baby. She seemed to be surprised I wanted to be a grandmother.  There is nothing I want more.  I sigh here as she is in no hurry although thankfully I know she does want to be a Mother but just doesn't know when. 

Now I have come to the end of this week’s tales.  As you have read it has been busy but happy.  Next week will be less stressful and who knows what awaits us all.

So I will love you and leave you to get on with your day whilst I publish this.  Later I will be watching the end of Downton Abbey.  I have now re-watched nearly the whole series and soon will be missing Mr. Carson, Lord Grantham, Lady Mary and co. 

That’s it for now.  Cheers until next week


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