|Photo with my team from Ketchum past and present after lunch with them on Thursday|
Sunday was a quiet family day. However I shall remember it for 2 late night prank phone calls supposedly from the CEO of Másmóvil. I realised it wouldn't be him so late at night. No, it wasn't him but the same nasty man who keeps calling me using fake identities from the phone numbers in my mobile. When I answer the call he starts insulting me and I feel attacked as I don't know who he is. It's always the same voice and I just want to know why he does it and would he please stop. He has done this on other occasions using other identities or a number I don't know. I have reported the case to the IT and security people at Yoigo but there is not much they can do. I have found out my stalker calls me using a phone app called "ID caller faker". I have done some research and in the picture below you can see how it works
|How prank caller id faker apps work|
These nasty phone apps can even choose a different voice for the caller. I could report the case to the police but I think even they wouldn't be able to do much. It's very unpleasant and on Sunday night it stopped me from sleeping. The CEO promised to look into the case but I have heard nothing since.
1. Bill Gates (US): co-founder of Microsoft (net worth $75bn)
2. Amancio Ortega (Spain): founder of Zara owner Inditex (net worth $67bn)
3. Warren Buffett (US): largest shareholder in Berkshire Hathaway (net worth $60.8bn)
4. Carlos Slim Helu (Mexico): owner of Grupo Carso (net worth $50bn)
5. Jeff Bezos (US): founder and chief executive of Amazon (net worth $45.2bn)
6. Mark Zuckerberg (US): co-founder and chief executive of Facebook (net worth $44.6bn)
7. Larry Ellison (US): co-founder and chief executive of Oracle (net worth $43.6bn)
8. Michael Bloomberg (US): owner of Bloomberg LP (net worth $40bn)
(Source: Forbes billionaires' list, March 2016)
|The richest men in the world. The top 8 are richer than the poorer half of this world!|
Why don't these people give up half of their wealth to the world's poorest half to balance the injustice? What they donate seems like peanuts to me.
Monday was not a good start to the week. No sooner had Oli left the house for work than we got a phone call to say she had had an accident on the big roundabout over the M50 not far from home. She had bumped into the car in front of her and unbelievably both air bags had exploded, hurting and burning her right hand.
|Poor Oli's hand injured from the explosion of the air bags|
|We caused quite a spectacle on the M50 roundabout after Oli's accident on Monday|
|A shot of me in the programme Undercover Boss (El Jefe Infiltrado)|
|Trying on the dress Oli would wear at the gala hotel awards as the English MC|
That morning I had an appointment with my dear friend and ex Nokia colleague, Juana who now has a high flying job with Microsoft. She invited me to their offices nearby to help me update my cv. The format of mine is at least 10 years old and needs a fresher look. I felt something of an alien entering the amazing building of the 3rd most valuable brand in the world just after Google (1) and Apple (2).
|Microsoft is the 3rd most valuable brand in the world|
Of course its former CEO, Bill Gates, is first on the list of the 8 billionaires mentioned above. The whole place felt like another planet, sleek, clean, glistening with lots of young geeks walking around looking like superior beings. My jobless state made me feel quite inadequate, not to mention old, in the Microsoft Spain surroundings that day.
|The impressive Microsoft Spain HQ which is even more impressive inside|
We got on with the job in hand in one of the private rooms and here we went through various formats. We finally chose one and started work on it which I would later finish at home. Thanks my friend for your help and support. Juana had to rush off to London straight afterwards where she would be working at the company's Paddington office for most of the week. I left feeling a little inadequate until another friend, the Spanish cycling celebrity, Pedro Delgado, called as I was crossing the road to get my car. He had seen the article about me being fired the day before and had tweeted it of his own accord which was very kind of him. He's such a sweetie and is always on my side. We arranged to have dinner with our partners next week. I look forward to that. Thanks Pedro.
I came home to have a late lunch on my own again. But it was lovely to have Oli waiting for me. She was rehearsing for the awards. I was pretty bushed that day as was poor Eladio with his 3 hour afternoon private lessons. It was on Tuesday afternoon, once again sacrificing my second walk of the day, that I went to the dentist, my dear Dr. Garralda. You see I am losing the company dental care policy too. It expires at the end of this month so I decided to use it for one last time by getting an appointment to check my teeth and more importantly have them properly cleaned, something I don't remember when I last did. He was so sweet and understanding; he feels more like a friend and offered me the same prices as with the insurance company. How nice of him. We always have a good chat and exchange stories on how our daughters are doing, as they are the same age. One of them got married to a South African and lives in Dubai. Quite exotic I think.
Thankfully my teeth were ok and thankfully they were very professionally cleaned by the most competent dentist I know. On my way out I crossed the road to enter what must be the best fruit and veg shop in the area, La Frutería Luis and where I bought some delicious tangerines and leeks. I would have bought a lot more but it's quite an expensive place and after losing my job we are on a cost cutting exercise (ouch).
|La Frutería de Luis in Majadahonda|
As usual we were in bed at about 9.30 and I fell asleep during a new episode of our current Netflix series, "Bajo Sospecha".
On Wednesday morning I was tickled pink to hear from a close acquaintance that this daughter had got into the final of this year's Masterchef. She got into the last 15 from months of competing with what began with 2000 applicants. I have been sworn to secrecy as to who she is. All I know is that she will be separated from her family for more than 3 months and will not even be allowed to use her mobile phone while the programme is being shot. What an experience for an amateur chef and what an experience for her and the family. Watch this space when the programme comes out in the spring.
It was a freezing cold day. The cold front finally hit Spain and on my walk at 9 a.m. my phone registered -2ºc, even lower than London, the difference being the sun was shining here. It was even colder than in Ottawa, Canada, where my cousin Andrei lives!
|It was very cold in Madrid this week|
|The beach in Benidorm this week. Unbelievable.|
As I was leaving to get my car, another car passed me and stopped. The driver was one Miguel Angel, the boy who had featured in the phone repair scene with me on TV. He was with his Father and sister Sara and told me he was, like me, now on the "dole". So now there were 2 people who had featured in the programme in the ranks of the unemployed. He parked the car and we hugged and his Father kept thanking for me for treating his son so well. He didn't need to thank me as Miguel Angel, although a little aggressive in the programme, has a heart of gold. He just lost his job as a phone repair technician as the brand he was working for, Sony, is losing market share.
|With Miguel Angel who featured in the TV programme Undercover Boss|
I didn't get home for lunch until late, just as Eladio and my Father were finishing theirs. After a 15 minute siesta (I need a little nap in the middle of the day as I get up so early), I went off for my afternoon walk. Thankfully the temperatures had climbed to a more bearable 5ºC. Eladio went off to his private lessons to Sara, the 18 year old who is in her last year at school and needs constant tuition.
Just as I was coming back I got a notification on Facebook to tell my my administrative rights for the company FB page had been removed. It was yet another part of the mourning process of losing my job. It felt like a stab in the back especially as it was I who had set up the page years ago, when FB was only just starting.
|This Facebook message was yet another stab in the back in the mourning process of losing my job. I wondered who the guy in the picture was, the guy who removed me.|
|The invitation to the cocktail party|
I couldn't eat any of the cocktail stuff and only drank water, so at about 9 pm (it started at 7.30) I left. So did Tony and Teresa and we arranged to meet again soon for lunch. It took just under an hour to get home by metro and car. Eladio and Pippa were waiting up for me and came down to join me as I had a quick bite to ease my hunger.
Thursday turned out to be the best day of the week. It was packed with activity and good news. It was the best day since I had lost my job. At 12 I had a phone call meeting with an ex Nokia colleague who wants me to collaborate as a freelance consultant for his company that deals in professional two way radios. We agreed on an initial project; a press conference in Barcelona at the beginning of February and others to come. There and then I had landed my first freelance job. I have been debating whether I want a permanent corporate role or whether I should be a communications consultant. It seems I don't get to decide and to start with, at least, it will be the former.
Afterwards I had to rush off and drive to the metro station Colonia Jardin, leave my car there and take the train into the centre of Madrid yet again. This time I was invited to lunch by Isabel and Ludi from my PR Agency, Ketchum as a sort of farewell meal. We have worked together successfully for 10 years and will sorely miss each other. The "girls" had a surprise in store for me as they had invited 2 former team members who left Ketchum a while ago; Carlos and my dear dear Gustavo H. A more recent team member, Víctor, also came. It was a lovely reunion. I have chosen one of the photos we took as the main photo for this week's post. Guys you rock. It was great working with you and I hope to again one day soon.
|With my lovely PR team. From left to right: Carlos, me, Isabel, Ludi and Gustavo|
Once home, I started immediately on the first project which is more concrete and has a deadline. My afternoon flew past whilst I worked until Eladio came home from his private lessons at 9 in the evening. He was happy too although being a more cautious person, he is wary of me being a freelancer rather than a full time corporate employee. Well time will tell.
On Friday I was awake at the unearthly hour of 5.45. I had decided my weighing days after the start of the 1000 calorie maintenance diet would be Friday mornings from now on as at the weekends I was going to follow the doctor's advice and break the diet for at least 2 meals. I got on the scales grudgingly, worried I had put on weight since the new diet, but wow oh wow I had lost another kilo. I now weigh 59.3 kilos. I don't think I have weighed that in more than 30 or 40 years. I have gone from 74.1 to 59.3 since October 4th which in stone my English friends is from 11.6 to 9.3 stone. Suzy says that's too little but I don't agree as many people my height weigh a lot less. What she has suggested is that I stop the 1000 calorie diet as it's very restrictive and I feel hungry most of the day. Instead she will draw me up a more reasonable one. I'm very proud of myself. To celebrate I would take Eladio out to dinner that night using some of the last company luncheon vouchers in my possession.
Friday was the day of the dreaded Trump Presidential inauguration and swearing into the highest office in the world. The country is divided and there was to be an anti Trump march of an estimated million people at the same time. Oh how I hate that man and all he stands for.
|Donald Trump's swearing into Presidential office.|
|The crows compared - Obama and Trump's Presidential inauguration day. The picture speaks for itself.|
|My friend Sue (right) in the women's march against Trump in Chicago on Saturday.|
After my first freezing walk in the early morning, I came home and settled down to work on my first project for the upcoming press conference to be organised in February. I have to come up with the press materials; press release, power point presentation, facts sheet and q+as, so I started on the press release. Eladio was my proof reader and I was quite proud of myself for having written it and also happy with the visual format. I was only to find out later in the day that the company hiring me for this project had already drafted their own press release with information I didn't have so Friday morning's exercise may well have been in vain. But not completely, as it showed me I was capable of drafting one. You see it has nearly always been my PR agency who wrote my press releases until now of course.
Eladio joined me on my second walk of the day and the dogs came for the first time in days. It was still very cold. After a short siesta - I need one if I get up at 5.45 in the morning hahaha - Eladio went off to his 3 hour tutoring in Pozuelo and I went to do the weekly shopping. Our usual supermarket, Mercadona was closed. It must have been a local holiday in Villaviciosa that I wasn't aware of. So I decided to try my luck at the new Dia in Boadilla. If it takes me 30 minutes to do the shopping at Mercadona as I know where everything is and follow my list, at Dia it took ages as I didn't know where anything was. I was not impressed with the French owned supermarket even though the whole chain has been recently refurbished. There were lots of things on my list they didn't have so I had to go to Supercor nearby afterwards to get the rest. Thus I got home much later than usual. Just as I was arriving so were Oli and Miguel who helped me carry in all the provisions together with Salu our home help.
They had news for us. After Oli's accident, her hand was better but still bandaged and sore and she can't drive. The news was bad in that her car was a write off after the accident, as to restore the airbags the price would be over 4000 euros which the car is certainly not worth. So she will give it to a friend who owns a garage for scrap and now has to buy a new one. Miguel is in charge of finding one for her. Today they are going to see a "0 kilometre" car, a black Ford Focus. I asked him to look for a car for me too. They wanted to buy it up front but that is not possible these days. You are obliged to finance it, of course to boost the financing market. Isn't that just ridiculous?
Friday night was the best night of the week. It was the night I would go out to dinner and break my diet for once and boy was I hungry hahaha. It was also my first night out to dinner since I started the diet, not counting our time in Cuba. Oli and Miguel joined us and Eladio came straight from his long lessons in Pozuelo. We ordered pizza bread for starters and I had pasta with tomato sauce, prawns and asparagus which tasted just delicious. I was not able to finish it though which is highly unusual for me but maybe that's because my stomach has shrunk. I even had dessert, 2 delicious scoops of pistachio ice cream, all washed down by lambruscco rosé wine. But don't worry it was back to my diet the next morning.
|My choice of pasta with tomato sauce, asparagus and prawns for dinner at Gino's on Friday night|
I spent part of the morning working on the second project I have been given but will know more about it in a scheduled phone call with the US on Monday. Exciting!
People have been so supportive of my recent dismissal from the company I have worked for for 10 years and I was to get some more support on Saturday. My dear "Spanish family", the "González-Gálvez" with whom I lived from September 1978 to July 1979, organised an impromptu dinner that night. It was to find out how I was coping after the dismissal. The dinner was to be late though, not until 10pm at night. Irene and her husband Tomas invited us as well as her brother Gerardo and his wife Vicky. When I went to live with my "Spanish family" in 1978 as an au-pair to teach them English during my year in Spain as part of my University studies, Gerardo was about 14 or 15 and Irene one year younger. It's amazing to see them today in their 50's with 5 and 4 children respectively, some of them now University students!
|Dinner with my "Spanish family" - at Irene and Tomas' house on Saturday night|
And today is Sunday and we shall be having guests ourselves for lunch today. Thankfully Eladio's Sunday philosophy lesson to his Brazilian student, Emiliano was cancelled. When I heard that I rushed to invited Toño and Dolores to lunch whom we haven't seen since we parted on 4th January in Havana. But of course I will be telling you all about that next week.
I have got to the end of the story of this week now my friends. It's time to publish this, print a copy for my Father and go on my first walk of the day. This week turned out better than expected. Let's see what next week brings.
Cheers for now, Masha