Saturday, June 25, 2016

Home from Montrondo, Suzy’s new job, Summer Solstice, proud of my Welsh surname “Lloyd”, Goodbye Telia Hello MásMóvil and a bright future for Yoigo, my first bathe of the year, gutted and shocked by the Brexit referendum outcome and other tales of the week

Sunday 26th June 2016
Leaving for the office on Monday morning, happy and blissfully unaware of the Brexit outcome
Hi again.

I write today with a heavy heart because of the Brexit outcome. When I left off last Sunday I could hardly have imagined that 52% of the population would vote to leave the EU.  But let me start from where I left off when I was blissfully unaware of the catastrophe that was looming.

Sunday was our last day in Montrondo.  We had a leisurely breakfast with our guests and friends Julio and Fátima.
The table laid for breakfast on Sunday morning in Montrondo
Meanwhile at home Oli had guests too; the girls’ best friend from their Scout days; Laura and her toddler daughter Maia.  They had a grand time, including Maia who took to the dogs very well and even to their beds hahaha.  The photo below of this sweet little baby sitting in one of the beds next to Elsa made me smile and I bet it makes you smile too.

Maia in the dogs' bed next to Elsa!
Our friends were leaving at midday but there was time for a walk and back to Murias before they went.  We went to pick up Adela who would join us on the walk and whilst there went into the field next door to take a close view of a baby foal and its Mother.  It was a wonderful scene for someone like me who adores 4 legged animals.  I should add that I only like 4 legged animals from cats and rabbits upwards; nothing smaller such as mice or similar.
The days old foal and its mother mare in the field next to Adela's house in Montrondo
We had coffee with Adela and Primo when our guests left and then it was time to clean and iron to leave the house spick and span for next time.  It was a glorious sunny day and we had lunch with my in-laws on their lovely terrace overlooking the fields in front of the church; the best view in the village. We left at around 6 and drove non-stop and were home in record time.

Monday was my fasting day.  In the morning I had a meeting in the office.  It was very sunny and time to wear some of my new clothes, including the Oysho pink and green flowery pyjama top which I am using as a light summer jacket haha.  The photo featured above is of me ready to go to the office. 

Suzy had good news that day after some bad news from her previous new employer, Hifas Da Terra. After a successful start with them as a freelancer they took new tasks away from her, leaving her with only 2 days of work per week which of course was not financially viable for living in the city of London.  She panicked and immediately started looking for a new job; this time as a dietitian.  Between the previous Thursday and Monday she had two interviews with the Spanish dietitian group of clinics, Pronokal and they have taken her on full time in their UK clinic in the most prestigious medical street in the world; Harley Street.  Finally she will be doing what she trained to be and full time too.  Hifas Da Terra took her resignation badly which I do not understand.  They said they had high hopes for her and were disappointed she had resigned.  Could they not understand that she was the one to be disappointed when they told her they only wanted her to work for 2 days a week?  So my friends it’s goodbye Hifas and Hello Pronokal. Hello Harley Street too.
Suzy's new job will be as a dietitian in Harley Street!
But first Suzy will take a well-deserved but holiday she probably cannot afford with some of the friends from the girls’ group “La Manada” and will be off, of all places, to Nicaragua, next Monday for 10 days.  The destination worries me slightly as it hardly the safest country in the world.  I wish her a safe journey and stay there and of course lots of luck in her new job.
Monday 20th was the Summer Solstice, the transition between seasons and the official start of Summer.  It takes place when the earth is at its maximum tilt towards the sun.  The exact point at when it occurred on Monday was at 11.34 pm. For June 20th sunrise was at 5.44 am and sunset at 10.34 in European time.  But something else occurred that day that only happens rarely. The solstice coincided with a full moon and that is apparently called a strawberry moon.
The Solstice "strawberry moon"
Here in Madrid I saw the full moon with my own eyes from the balcony of our bedroom and was disappointed it wasn’t a strawberry shape or colour. It was full of course but looked the same as usual.

Monday thus was the longest day in the year and it certainly felt like it for me. Things were moving fast with the planned sale of Yoigo by its main shareholder the Telia Company (formerly called TeliaSonera) to MásMóvil.  I knew that evening that the contract would be signed that night and the monies moved the next morning.  A press release was prepared to go out at 9 am but we wouldn’t know for certain if things would go according to plan until early in the morning.  Thus I agreed with my CEO and PR team from Ketchum to meet at 8 in the morning at the office to put into motion our PR plan; the most important part of which was to inform the staff.  That night I hardly slept as I didn’t get the main green light until past midnight.  I had my alarm clock on for 5.30 in the morning as traffic to the office can be hazardous and it could take anything up to 2 hours to drive to Yoigo.  But and it was a big but; I forgot to take my sleeping tablets and thus hardly slept, waking up every half an hour to check my phone for news.  So you see it really was the longest day in the year for me.

If Monday was the longest day, Tuesday felt equally long.  There was to be a new future for Yoigo.  The company has been on sale practically from the start, when I joined nearly 10 years ago.  I am sorry to see the Swedes go but on the other hand we always felt a bit like the ugly duckling of the group.  I mulled over this whilst I had my breakfast.  I didn’t have time for much else that morning but I did skip through the headlines of the main news.  What made me smile that day was that Wales beat Russia in the UEFA Euro Cup 3-0 the night before.  That was a kick in the **** to the Russian hooligans. You will know that I am half Russian and half English.  But you probably don’t know that my paternal grandfather was Welsh.  On Monday morning I was proud of my surname, Lloyd which if you didn’t know actually means the colour grey.
Proud of my Welsh surname
Well it was not a grey day for Wales, it was an historic day.  They will now meet Northern Ireland in the last 16 and I wonder what the outcome will be. I will be cheering for Wales that’s for sure.

Tuesday was the start of a new future for Yoigo.  Telia had sold us to MásMóvil, a Spanish telecom group of companies.  The price? 612k euros! Funnily enough it is 10 times smaller than Yoigo but as a group it knows where it’s going and it wants to grow with Yoigo.  More recently they had bought Pepephone, a mobile virtual operator like themselves and now they will be able to use our own network and between us the future looks bright for the more than 4 million customers the group now possesses. 

Later in the day I went to the MásMóvil press conference to officially present the project to the Spanish telecoms press.
The CEO of the MásMóvil group that has bought Yoigo
It felt funny to be invited and not the organizer.  Of course I knew everyone there so felt pretty much at home. I was impressed with the CEO of the company, Meinrad Spenger, an Austrian entrepreneur who has made Spain his home like me.  He gave a very calm message to the public when he assured the press there would be no job cuts and that the 3 brands, MásMóvil, Pepephone and Yoigo would remain.  Yoigo brings a lot of talent and experience to the group as well as a very well-known brand which is why it makes sense for it to remain. 

The day did not end well for Spain in the Euro Cup.  I couldn’t believe how the Spanish team threw their chances away by losing to a very strong Croatian team; especially Sergio Ramos missing the penalty.  God knows why he kicked it and I wish he hadn’t. They now go through as second in their group and will be playing Italy next Monday.  Spain is the reigning champion but looks a little fragile at the moment. I will not watch that match as it will be too nerve wracking for me.  The Italians are not happy either and many of their articles carried the words “mamma mia”.  They have not won a match to Spain in many years and the stakes will be big next week for both countries.

If you are interested, this is the draw for the last 16.  You will notice Iceland got through; that is news for that valiant little country which will be playing England.  Let’s see who wins and I hope the UK hooligans behave this time although that is asking for a lot.

The draw for the last 16 in the UEFA Euro Cup
Wednesday was the beginning of a new day for Yoigo.  In effect though not much will happen for another 3 months as first the Spanish regulator, the CNMC, has to approve the operation which they are guaranteed to do as there are no threats to competition in the market; quite the opposite. Then Telia will hand over the company formally to MásMóvil.  In the meantime our customers should have no fears as this operation only brings them more benefits.  The three operators united will create real competition in the Spanish telecoms market and that is to be applauded.

The week has been very hot indeed and Wednesday was the day I had my first bathe in our recently repaired, painted and filled swimming pool.  I was not, however, the first person in the family to do so.  Olivia pipped me to the post. For the records the temperature reached 35c that day.  In fahrenheit, 93º, it sounds a lot higher.
My first bathe of the year
Elsa, our lab, was more hesitant.  Labradors are supposed to adore water and she doesn’t seem to fit the norm.  I think she is attracted to the water as she stands on the steps but hesitates to go in.  Here she is on camera debating whether to overcome her fears or not.  She didn’t in the end haha.
Elsa our lab hesitant to go into the water
The only place to be in the garden when it is so hot is in the shade.
The shade in the garden by the pool, the only place to be when it so hot,
As I sat in the shade after my bathe I thought about our plans for retirement.  The latest ones were to move out of our enormous house and buy two flats, one to live in and one to let.  As I bathed and sat in the shade I began to realise what a stupid idea that was.  Eladio asked me this week if I really wanted to live in a flat, squeezed in a space shared with many other occupants.  My answer is no. Ok our house is far too big but we have got used to the space and the independence.  I think I would regret leaving and moving somewhere smaller.  Anyway we shall cross that bridge when we come to it. Meanwhile I am enjoying the summer here with the pool and terraces where we can have our meals outside and of course all the foliage and green we are surrounded by. We wouldn’t have that in a pokey little flat which is how the majority of people live in this country; something I have never understood.

Thursday was quiet and hot again as it has been all week.  I had to go to a dermatologist when a rash I had on my legs spread, became redder and redder and began to itch all over.  It turned out I had eczema; something I have never had before and something I would not wish on my worst enemy (well maybe on Boris Johnson hahaha).  Thankfully I was prescribed a cream which seems to be working.

Thursday of course was the day of the historic referendum in Great Britain to decide whether the country would remain or leave the European Europe. I had been watching the news closely and my forecast was a win, albeit very minor, to the remain camp.  So when I woke up on Friday morning to hear that Brexit had won by 52%for and 48% against I was truly devastated.  I am still reeling from the news.
How England voted in the referendum to remain or leave the EU.
I was even more stunned to learn that it was the older people who had voted to leave and the younger people to remain. That is so unfair as the older people have decided in one stroke their children’s bleak future.
How the different ages voted. It was mostly the old who voted out and the young who voted to remain.
I was truly shocked at the result.  Early on Friday morning David Cameron, the instigator of the referendum, resigned.  He is a true loser and is much to blame as he orfanised the referendum in effect to become Prime Minister in the last elections.  Well now he’s out of the government and out of Europe.  Was it worth it David? You will now only be remembered in history for leading the UK out of the European Union!!!
David Cameron had no option but to resign. It will become effective in October after the Tory Party conference
My first thoughts were practical ones.  I have lived in Spain for some 35 years and have never had the need to acquire Spanish nationality.  Now thanks to the bigoted, over-zealous and ignorant out voters, I now face the long and hard road to becoming a Spanish citizen with all the bureaucracy and paperwork it requires, not to mention the stupid cultural and language exams I have to take.  I took a look at the tests and they are ridiculous.  Of course I would pass but on the cultural questions, not the ones about how many delegates there are in the Senate or what dates it sits, etc.  I have now rung a lawyer recommended to me.  Thankfully she assured me I will not have to give up my UK passport.  It will take more than a year and will cost over 600 euros.  Thank you Brexit Out camp for making me have to take this forced, complicated and emotional decision.

On Friday, as predicted, the pound plummeted.  I thought of my Father’s pension in pounds.  He will now be worse off, like the other estimated 700.000 British people living in the UK.  Didn’t the Out Camp think about that? Then I learned that the day afterwards the most googled terms in the UK were: “What is the EU?” and “Brexit” and I was furious.  I mean why didn’t they do that before?  Didn’t they realise what the repercussions would be.  This is what I wrote on Facebook in response:

I can't believe Brits who voted out are now googling “Brexit” and “What is the EU? That is sheer ignorance coming from that silly island that still thinks it rules the Empire. How stupid can you get? The repercussions are catastrophic. In one blow the out campaign has just denied their citizens freedom to live in or travel freely to 27 countries with no access to health care not to mention all the disaster in economic terms. I am beyond belief. It is thanks to the 52% of my ignorant countrymen that I now have to start the long and painful procedure to become a Spanish citizen, something I didn't need to do in all the 35 years I have lived in Spain. Thank you Brexit. You make me ashamed to be a British citizen”.

A reader of the Financial Times was much more eloquent than me and I am happy to share his or her words.  They will make you think:
Perhaps the most eloquent comment on the result of the referendum comes from a reader of the Financial Times
As the day wore on and the days wear on, we are seeing and will be seeing many movements not predicted.  Importantly Scotland now out of the EU wants a new referendum to separate itself from the UK.  Good luck to them I say.  They have the right.  Northern Ireland too is threatening to unite with Eire (Southern Ireland) which is part of the EU and I support that too. I wonder what the likes of Boris Johnson and that madman Farage will think about their politics when the United Kingdom is no longer united.  In fact it is not united now and the results show that.  There is even a petition gaining momentum to discredit the results as the margin for leaving was so small and only 75% of voters went to the polls. I do not want Boris Johnson to become the next Prime Minister.  He reminds me of Donald Trump or as Donald Trump with “a Thesaurus” as a friend commented to me.  But oh boy how he manipulated the masses. If only Winston Churchill could rise from the grave and turn the vote around. 
Boris Johnson, the main backer of Brexit, Englands answer to Donald Trump.  Eton doesn't always produce the best of men or the most intelligent and even so he is likely to be the UK's next PM.!
The whole process of leaving Brussels will take a long time. There is even a glimmer of hope it doesn’t happen as I read in an article in the FT. I was staggered to read the referendum was not legally binding, merely advisory, and that it would need a vote from Parliament before the latter invokes the now famous article 50 of the EU rules to exit the Union.  I would like to think that would happen but doubt Westminster would go against the wishes of the British people, however stupid they are. 

On our walk that morning, all Eladio and I could talk about was Brexit. In fact it has been on my mind ever since.  I wish it was Sunday again and I was blissfully unaware of what was to come. 
On our walk on Friday all we talked about was the outcome of the UK leaving the EU
We went out to dinner with Oli and Miguel on Friday night.  Of course it wasn’t to celebrate.  It was to commiserate about Brexit. Both my girls who have Spanish and English passports are equally devastated.  Suzy will be able to continue to live in London but I wonder about all her EU friends and colleagues of whom there are many in the capital.  They will be worried, as worried as the Brits in the EU, like me or my Father.   But we did celebrate one thing; Oli and Miguel moving into a new flat on 1st July. I have mixed feelings on my darling daughter flying the nest but that is natural. 
Oli and Miguel - a happy moment this week
Today is Saturday, the day after what has been denominated “Independence Day” and I still can’t get over the news.  I can’t believe the UK has done this but it has and life goes on and we will cross all the bridges we have to when we get to them.  But it will be a damned difficult and uncertain journey. 

So today I went for our walk with Eladio and the dogs as usual, had a bathe in the pool, made the lunch and will be reading by the pool  in the afternoon. When Oli asked me what I was going to do tiday and I answered the above, she wondered whether I didn’t get bored.  I laughed and told her the older you get the less bored you are and that I had a wonderful life.  I am never bored.  I have no time to be bored. Life is for living and enjoying as much as you can and if you have free time; i.e. time for yourself the last thing you want is to be bored.  So no, I was not bored yesterday; nor am I today, nor am I ever.  If I ever was, I would always find .

I am posting this week's tales today Saturday as I want to be free tomorrow to be with Olivia.  She plans to take me to Ikea to get all the kitchen stuff they need for the new flat, so here you have my post one day early.

Let's see what the coming week brings, but of course I shall be telling you all about that in next weekend's post.

Cheer up, if, you, like me, are devastated by the vote to leave the EU by 52% of the voters of the referendum in the UK.  Let's just hope it doesn't have a domino effect.  

All the best until next week,


Anonymous said...

I love your blog Masha and fully agree with your thougts and feelings about Brexit. I am so proud and happy to have a so special and wonderful friend. You are the best!!.Fatima

Masha Lloyd said...

Thank you my friend. It makes me happy that you read it.