Sunday, April 03, 2016

Easter Day, Oli and Miguel back from Gijon, on a secret mission, RIP Ronnie Corbett, Javier Fernández world ice skating champion again, shopping with Oli, clearing rubbish on our walk and other stories.

Sunday 3rd April 2016
Feeling happy on a secret mission this week
A week ago today was Easter Sunday, the day the clocks went forward and we were robbed of an hour of sleep.  On the other hand the hours of light are now extended and in Madrid, sunset is at 8.30 p.m. making for a longer day which I just love. 

It was a quiet morning.  I was writing my blog and Eladio was reading the papers in our new temporary office.  Pippa, as usual, was at our feet.  Wherever we go or whatever we do, all she wants is to be with us.  She is a true lap dog and I wouldn’t have it any other way.  Here she is at Eladio’s feet by his desk last Sunday morning.
Pippa at Eladio's feet
Oli and Miguel were on their back from Gijon on the coast in Asturias.  They had gone there from Montrondo to spend a couple of days with their friends Fran and Marivi.  Fran is Miguel’s colleague at TVE Valencia and coincidentally it was Fran who introduced Miguel to Oli when she was there for a few days reporting over 3 years ago now.  The weather was typical of the area, sunny and then suddenly showers appearing.  They had a great time though as Gijon is a beautiful town totally dominated by the great city beach, “Playa de San Lorenzo”.  In a way it is similar to Santander and San Sebastian which are beautiful beach cities too.  They also enjoyed the local gastronomy, which like most of the north of Spain is frankly, in my opinion the best Spain has to offer.  Forget paella in Benidorm and head north for authentic Spanish food. Here are Oli and Miguel with their friends by the San Lorenzo Beach last week.
Oli and Miguel in Gijón with their friends Fran and Marivi last week
They were home on time for Easter lunch which is a family must in our house.  I made roast lamb with all the trimmings for the occasion as you can see below.
My Easter Sunday roast lamb
It was, as custom dictates, followed by chocolate Easter eggs.  They were the mini type as I wasn’t able to buy the big ones on my trip to London as I told you in my post last week. I had mixed feelings on Easter Day about my religious beliefs.  Easter Sunday as we had to explain to Olivia is the celebration of the day Christ was resurrected and I kept wondering why we celebrate it by eating chocolate eggs.  I actually felt a little guilty.

Monday was a quiet day.  I fasted and did my 2 walks.  Of note on Monday Eladio and I watched the film “Taken” (2008) with Liam Neeson on Netflix.  He is a retired CIA agent who has to rely on his old skills to save his 17 year old daughter who has been kidnapped on holiday in Paris and in the snare of the white slave trade. If you haven’t seen it, it’s a pretty thrilling film.
Great film "Taken"
Tuesday came and off I went travelling again.  It’s very frustrating but I can’t tell you where I went as it was a secret mission.  I went on a site inspection trip with members of my events agency to scout for locations for the Yoigo employee and supplier annual summer party which this year will be earlier than usual.  The destination has to be a surprise so I must keep the secret I’m afraid.   The photo illustrating this week’s post is of me during that trip looking pleased with myself as it went very well on all levels. The only other photo I can publish is of me with the girls, Bea and Cris who are sisters, at one of the locations.  If I published any of the other photos you would probably guess where we had been. 

We came back on Friday afternoon which was 1st April, All Fools’ Day.  It was a bit ironic that on that particular day, one of Britain’s greatest comedians, Ronnie Corbett, aged 85 of The Two Ronnies (famous in the 70’s and 80’s), chose to die.  I’ve never been much of a fan of comedians but I did like Ronnie Corbett. 
RIP Ronnie Corbett
You can see some of his best jokes on this link.  I took a quick look and especially liked these haha:
“A cement mixer collided with a prison van on the Kingston by-pass. Motorists are asked to be on the look-out for 16 hardened criminals.”
“We will be talking to an out of work contortionist who says he can no longer make ends meet.”
Being Friday night, I went out to dinner with Eladio and we were joined by Olivia.  The choice was La Vaca Argentina, somewhere we go often.  It was a nice end to a very special and fascinating week which I wish I could tell you about but my lips have to remain sealed for the moment unfortunately.

On Saturday morning at breakfast I was delighted to hear that the 25 year old ice skater, Javier Fernández, who hails from Madrid, had won the Figure Skating World Championship in Boston defending his title from last year. 
Javier Fernández during his winning performance
This is a huge feat but ice skating in Spain is a minority sport and he was not on the front pages of the papers. I expect he may have been in countries where ice skating is big such as Canada where he had to emigrate to if he wanted to excel in his profession.  It’s funny to think he started out by skating as a kid at one of the only rinks in the area, in Majadahonda where we used to take the children.  This was his second victory in the world championships but even so he just got a small mention in the sports section of the news here.  Shame on the media here is all I can say because his victory did not give him the merit he deserved in his home country.  The same can be said for the Badminton World Champion Carolina Marín who also had to emigrate to excel in her sport.  These sports champions are not prophets in their own land. There is so much space and time dedicated to football, then to a lesser extent basketball, cycling and tennis, that if Spain does well at skating, badminton or even golf it is not big news. Perhaps the most glaring example is Severiano Ballesteros.  When he died the English newspapers dedicated pages and pages to his life compared to a meagre one page obituary in El País here.  It’s a pity as excelling in sport is a wonderful way of representing a country and giving it good brand recognition.  If you haven’t seen Javier Fernández’ winning and flawless performance, here is where you can watch it.

Saturday was a quiet family day and time to relax  and wind down after an exhausting week.  Oli and I went shopping in the afternoon to Gran Plaza 2, a huge US style “mall” (hate the word and the concept).  Here we shopped for presents for her boyfriend’s birthday which is on 7th April. 
Gran Plaza 2 shopping centre (spot Oli!)
As I had been away most of the week our cupboards were getting pretty bare, so there was no avoiding doing the food shopping yesterday afternoon.  Oli helped me thank goodness as there was a lot to buy.  Below you can see us just starting with 2 empty trolleys which would soon be full.  I am seriously thinking of doing most of the basic shopping online and must get down to it soon.
Food shopping with Oli yesterday afternoon
Last night Real Madrid was playing Barcelona in El Camp Nou where spectators and players paid homage to Johann Cruyff.   This type of match is known worldwide as “El Clásico”. The former haven’t won a match against “Barça” in the last 39 times they have met so I never expected my team “Real” to win.  We couldn’t watch it anyway as it was only broadcast on pay per view TV.  Thus I was surprised and happy to learn the result this morning:Barcelona 1 – RM 2.  Piqué scored for the former and Ronaldo and Benzama for the latter. 
A great win for Real Madrid in "El Clásico" yesterday night in the Barcelona football stadium "Camp Nou"
It won’t make much difference to Real Madrid’s performance in La Liga but it will no doubt spur them on in the Champion’s League where they still have a chance to win. If they do I think it will be their 12th time.  “Hala Madrid!”

After breakfast Eladio, Oli, the dogs and I went for our usual walk.  This time though we went armed with a huge black bin liner.  We aimed to clear up a tip of rubbish some environmentally disrespectful person had dumped on one of the lovely paths we walk on.  As I remarked to Oli and Eladio when we started on the job, if we didn’t do it no one else would; not even the council as the land we walk on is private. 
Clearing rubbish on our walk this morning
There is so much lack of respect for the environment in this country and there always has been.  People here keep their homes immaculate and I mean spotlessly clean but have little regard in general for property that is not theirs so you see litter and mounds of rubbish everywhere.  I was brought up on a campaign at school in the 60’s called “Keep Britain Tidy” and which is still going strong today.  

The Keep Britain Tidy campaign I was brought up on at school in England and still going strong today
Since then I have hardly ever thrown rubbish in the street and have brought up my children not to either.  Eladio puts it down to a lack of culture and education. He says the higher the level of culture and education the cleaner the country and maybe he is right. I think it would be great if the Spanish government put in place a campaign to “Keep Spain Tidy”.  Why don’t they?

I have to finish here now as lunchtime is approaching and this afternoon we have an important visitor from India.  Sumit, Oli’s friend from her Erasmus in the UK, will be arriving in Madrid this afternoon in transit to London.  He will be staying until tomorrow morning and we shall be taking him into the city to see some of the sights and then home tonight for dinner.  I will be telling you all about his visit in next week’s post. I will also be telling you about the visit of Keith and Lorraine who are coming from the UK to stay with us next Thursday.  We will be taking them to Montrondo to see the new house.  So you see I have lots of material for next week’s blog post.

I will love you and leave you now and wish you all the best until next time,


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