Saturday, April 01, 2017

Oli’s programme this week, the search for a new carer, a sad day for Britain and Europe, little red coat, goodby “Salud” and other stories.

Sunday 2nd April 2017
In my new little red size S coat from Zara
Hi everyone,

The week has been quiet, much of it spent searching for a new home help as last Sunday Saida, the Moroccan lady we had hired, suddenly told us she wasn't coming back. So I had to start all over again.

Monday was spent receiving calls from candidates and interviewing some of them.  It seemed like the United Nations was calling at our  house.  That morning I interviewed ladies from Paraguya, Honduras and El Salvador! Most candidates seem to come from Latin America.  It is pretty hard to find a Spanish woman.  We have been spoiled with Salud and she will be difficult to replace. 

The highlight of Monday was watching Oli's programme (Mi Cámara y Yo) that night.  It was about curious and unknown things in Madrid.  One of the places she showed was a luxury jewelry shop where the Queen of Spain shops and the day Oli was there, one of the customers was the Baroness Thyssen!  She also visited the oldest barber shop in Europe and here she is cutting the barber's hair hahahaha.
A scene from Oli's programme last Monday
If you missed it or would like to see it and understand Spanish, you can see the programme online here.  

On Tuesday I continued interviewing new candidates.  We were in a hurry as Salud was to leave on Saturday and I wanted the successful candidate to start on Wednesday so as to learn the ropes as soon as possible. Another woman came from Paraguay and one from Equatorial Guinea who looked just like "Mammy" from "Gone with the Wind" hahaha.  In the afternoon, our weekend carer, Zena who is Ukranian, brought along another prospective candidate.  I couldn't believe my eyes when a girl who looked like "Miss Ukraine" arrived on our doorstep. She was just 25, absolutely beautiful but completely unsuitable for the job, mainly because she could not speak Spanish or English. She could have spoken Russian to my Father but could not have communicated with the rest of us. She had a degree in Economics and my advice to her was to learn Spanish and be more ambitious when looking for a job and the last thing she should do was to start in domestic service.  I felt very sorry for her. 

So we had to make our choice and it would be Lucy from Paraguay, a nice looking woman aged 52.  She came the next day to learn the ropes and only time will tell.  She is very religious so I am not too worried about her stealing although I did notice a pack of yoghurts missing from the fridge on Saturday after she left.  She came with very good references from her last job.  So keep your fingers crossed.
Lucy from Paraguay on the left, our new home help and Salud on the right who, sadly, is leaving
Whilst I was doing all that, my brother-in-law was undergoing brain surgery.  He went into the theater at 8.30 in the morning and didn't emerge until past 3 in the afternoon.  Under the circumstances, it went well thank goodness.  But of course no one knows, including the surgeons, how well he will recover. If you believe in God please pray for him. 

On a more positive note, Tuesday was an exciting day for Miguel my nephew and his Cuban wife, Claudia. They were starting a new life in Utrecht in Holland.  I didn't hear from them until last night. Their first week went well.  They feel at home already at Miguel's friend's place and  will be starting lessons in Dutch very soon.  Luckily for Claudia the weather has been ok; not too cold, as she is used to the Cuban climate and I'm sure it will take a while to become accustomed to Dutch weather. I wish them all the luck in the world.  Here is sweet Claudia on a swing in what looks like a park.  Love to you both.
Claudia on a swing in a Dutch park this week.

On Wednesday I woke up to read that Theresa May had signed the letter that would trigger Article 50 and the UK leaving the EU. 

It was a very sad day for Europe and for Britain. That day in Parliament she declared that it was in respect of the wishes of the majority of Britons.  Well it wasn't mine.  On Facebook I wrote this and it is what I think: Bloody Brexit. That's what I'm thinking right now. Those of us who are UK citizens living in the EU are the most affected and weren't even allowed to vote if we had lived away for more than 15 years. Overnight we were stripped of our EU citizenship without having one word in the matter. None of the Leave campaigners thought about what would happen to the more than 300k Brits living in Spain. This is one huge mess. Damn you Theresa May and your letter invoking bloody Article 50. And no it was not the wish of the majority of British citizens; only the wish of a slight majority of those allowed or those who bothered to vote.

This post got quite a few reactions; most of them agreeing with me, but not all. One man I don't know, called Kevin H. but who is a "friend" of a school friend from Yorkshire, wrote this in pretty poor English by the way:

"If you want to live in Spain then become nationalize (sic) Spaniard". I replied "Why should I have to swear allegiance to the King of Spain if I have not voted for Brexit?". Then came his xenophobic comment which brought to me the reality of the divide there is in England on the issue: "Because you have chose (sic) to live in Spain if had been living Britain you could have voted for things that "effect" (sic) people living here".  I immediately blocked him on Facebook but felt like replying that he should go back to school to improve his spelling and maybe learn to be less zenophobic. Nasty man!!!!

I must admit the subject is on my mind quite a lot as I don't know what the outcome for UK citizens like me living in Spain will be long term and I may have to finally consider taking Spanish citizenship. Apart from all the paperwork and exams, I would have to renounce my UK citizenship on paper (in practice I could keep my passport) and declare allegiance to the King of Spain something I do not want to do but which I may be forced to,   thanks to the ignorant, xenophobic and racist Brexit voters for what their votes have done to me.  Now I've said my word, let me move on to the next topic. 

On Wednesday I had lunch with Jill, my ex colleague and friend from Nokia.  She has started a new business offering dancing and walking classes which she calls Wanz (walk and dance).  You can read more about it on her website here.  She wanted me to help her with the PR; no easy task. But I have agreed to take it on free of charge of course as she is my friend. So I now have to do a plan for her and am not really sure where to start.  

Who was starting that day was Lucy, our new home help.  We welcomed her warmly and then left her under Salud's supervision. What worried me most was whether she would be able to shower my Father.  That was his worry too but we would only find out on Friday. Meanwhile he trusts us and gets on with his life which, although, limited is quite full for someone his age.  Much of it is spent reading.  This was what he was reading this week. The Economist and a another book by his favourite German author Theodor Storm!  I looked inside briefly and saw he had bought it in Berlin in 1938! I do so admire him.
My father's reading habits are very highbrow
On Thursday morning I went to another audition.  This one was for a Vodafone ad and I had to be the Mother of a man watching high definition TV.  I go along for fun and experience and have no idea whether I will ever actually be chosen for a role.  One role I won't be chosen for is for an audition for an Aquarius ad I was asked to go to. I declined when I read I would have to wear a swimming costume hahaha. There are limits to what I will do to earn money and it must be respectfully hahaha.  

With some time on my hands, after the audition I visited the shopping centre in Príncipe Pio. It was at Zara that I found a delightful little red coat. As soon as I saw it I knew I had to get it. It looks lovely and I was very pleased to fit perfectly into an "s" size; something pretty unheard of for me during most of my life but not for the new "petite" me I have turned into. It's the photo I have chosen to illustrate this week's post. Maybe I shall wear it for my next audition on Monday, this time for a TV advert for the Antena 3 TV station. I bet you are laughing out loud. I am.  

That night we watched the last 2 episodes of Season 2 of Narcos, the end of Pablo Escobar, the notorious Colombian drug lord.  The actor who plays the main character, Wagner Maniçoba Moura, is actually Brazilian and plays the part to perfection.
Pablo Escobar played by the Brazilian actor Wagner Maniçoba Moura, in the last episode of Narcos.

In a way I'm glad it's over as it was really rather violent. 

On Friday I was up early as usual.  It was to be another lovely day with mild temperatures although it would be warmer in London than in Madrid which doesn't often happen. That morning Lucy was taught how to bathe my Father by Salud and unfortunately she didn't make a very good job of it which had me worried all day.  That is her most difficult task and if she can't bathe him she's no good for the job. She would have one more chance on Saturday under Salud's supervision and I was crossing my fingers all day. 

Friday was food shopping day. Before going to the supermarket, Eladio and I went for a coffee at the "churros" place. This time I was tempted to have a "porra" (sort of thick fritter) and enjoyed it enormously without feeling guilty. You see I have lost more weight this week and was under 56 kilos so I really needed to eat more. I have never ever been in this situation and it feels very funny indeed. I am sort of hoping my metabolism has become faster after my long and drawn out diet. Let's see what my diet doctor says when I go to see him for my appointment next Wednesday. 

I probably burned off a bit of the fritter or porra with my walk after the shopping with Eladio and the dogs. 

Oli was home early on Friday and I accompanied her to the doctor for a routine appointment. That night the 3 of us went out to dinner.  I had chosen what for us what was a new Indian restaurant in Boadilla, or rather the only one here. It didn't look much but had good ratings on The Fork which offered a 50% discount. Eladio didn't like it all but Oli and I did, although I felt terribly full afterwards. We had the usual tikka masala and korma but I was surprised to see pizzas and pasta on the menu and even more surprised to see pork and beef which you would never find in a real Indian restaurant. However, the delightful Indian owner, a woman from Kerala who is actually a Christian, told us she had to cater to Spanish food tastes which makes sense I suppose. However I didn't find the place very authentic. 
The Indian restaurant we went to on Friday night
It was called India Gate but looked nothing like the real thing hahaha. 

Yesterday was 1st April and of course April Fools' Day so I was wary when reading the news on Facebook which for once could be allowed "fake news".  I read that Donald Trump was thinking of resigning. How I wish that was true. 

April Fools' Day started off with a false alarm for us. Lucy was up even earlier than me and has not yet learned how to switch it off or on so she woke us all up at the crack of dawn yesterday. She was very apologetic. She was worried too after hearing about a sort of "coup" in Paraguay where Congress had been set on fire by rebels against the current President or Prime Minister who wants to be re-elected. She told me one of her sons was a policeman but was happy to tell me he was not affected. I was more worried about her being able to bathe my Father and very relieved when Salud told me she had done it fine. I heaved a sigh of relief. Now she can stay on and I am less worried. I just wonder how long she will last. We have had a string of women since Olga from Paraguay and none of them stay longer than Salud has. Of course they all go for logical reasons, but starting again with a new carer is always a problem and big responsibility. 

That morning was Salud's last with us and it was very emotional to say goodbye, both for her and for us.  We shall miss her dearly but wish her a happy life in the Canary Islands where she will be going to live with her new "boyfriend" Fran and starting a new life.  For us she has become another member of the family and our goodbyes yesterday were charged with emotion. Thank you Salud for looking after us so well. We shall miss you dearly. 

I mentioned at the beginning of this post that with all the candidates for the carer job, this house seemed like the United Nations. It seems even more like it with all my Airbnb reservations. That morning I got 3 more! So far we have received guests from Italy, France and Spain but next week we shall be hosting 6 Koreans, the following week we shall have guests from St Petersburg and I have more bookings coming up of people from Italy, Canada and France again.  This is such fun and a great way of bringing in some "pocket money" which is what Eladio calls it hahaha. 

Yesterday was an enjoyable day and I spent some quality mother and daughter time with Oli again. In the afternoon I accompanied her to Carrefour for her to do her food shopping. It is such a tempting place I ended up buying lots of nice stuff too for dinner last night and lunch today. We came home for a cup of tea which would be followed by a walk with the dogs. We were joined by Eladio who had just come home from his tuition classes.  

And today is Sunday, hopefully another quiet and mild day.  Of course I will be telling you about it in next week's post.  Next week I will be getting my new Mini. I can't wait and at last we will have a car each as sharing one has been a bit of a challenge at times.

So I shall leave you now, print this for my Father and get on with the day,

Cheers till next Sunday my friends and readers,


1 comment:

Robert said...

Love your weekly blog. Regards. Rob