|Eladio and I raising our glasses to celebrate 37 years of marriage at dinner on Friday night|
|Katty picking blackberries on our walk|
|Where Mareuil is located in France, sort of central west.|
|My cousin's spectacular "maison de Mâitre" in Matreuil in Cognac.|
|Enjoying talking to my niece and cousin Sophie in Spanish about her future career.|
|Lying in the grass at my cousin's place in Mareuil, Cognac.|
|Vineyards around Mareuil|
|Inside the courtyard of one of the cognac making houses mansions in Mareuil of which we saw many|
|Lunch on Sunday|
|Eladio and I on our wedding day 37 years ago.|
|A goodbye selfie with Katty at the train station in Poitiers|
When on holiday with my cousins we had talked a lot about the past and somewhere I heard of a book by Prince Felix Yusupov called Lost splendor and the death of Rasputin which he published in Paris in the 50's when he was there in exile. He is famed for having killed Rasputin together with the Tsar's cousin, Grand Duke Dmitri Pavlovic although I have read in critics of the book that his tale is not completely credible.
|The memoirs of Prince Felix Yusupov which I bought for my Father and am avid to read too.|
|Prince Felix Yusupov in the days of splendour|
|My great grandmother (right dark hair) Olga Stachovic in Moscow circa 1910 with the Mother of Felix Yusupov, Zinaida, or Aunty Fairy.|
|Princess Zinaida Nikolayeva Yusupova, Felix Yusopov's mother and my Mother's god mother and my Grandmother's first cousin.|
|Our film of the week|
The highlight of Thursday was a goodbye party for 2 ex colleagues from Yoigo, Dragutin an Laura who both worked in IT mainly. It was held at Laura's house in far away Alpedrete but a superb location for the party. It was lovely to see a lot of my ex colleagues but somehow I really want to move on and leave it all behind, except of course for the good times. But that is not easy when you are in the midst of your colleagues, some of who still work for the new company that bought Yoigo and some, who, like me, were forced to leave. Inevitably we talk about how it could have been had they not bought us and how Yoigo is no longer Yoigo. It was good while it lasted and I have moved on thankfully.
|The goodbye Yoigo party for Laura and Dragutín.|
Friday came and we spent part of it preparing for our next Airbnb guests, a middle aged French couple who would be driving all the way from Perpignan on the border of Spain and arriving later that day. We have had a few things to repair in the house this week, due to our Airbnb guests. First the downstairs room had a huge damp patch with paint coming off the walls which worried me stiff as in September we have a lot of guests coming. Thankfully the plumber came and dealt with the damp which he said came from the bath. Eladio pointed out that as it's used so much by all the guests it is probably their fault. Later that day, after our new French guests had arrived, we found the front door had gone a bit wonky and would not close properly. They were the last to use it so I can only imagine they must have done something. Who knows? Last, but not least, was a broken blind in the room they slept in. It's not the first time a blind has broken and I am beginning to think that people who are not from this country don't know how Spanish blinds work. I shall just have to tell them in the future. On top of all this, the review from Philippe, the French Airbnb guest, was not flattering. He gave me 4 stars and said 1) I should have provided breakfast which by the way is not advertised and 2) that guests have to pay for the air con. I explained later in my public reply that we don't do breakfast anymore as people tried to eat us out of house and home and asking for it until lunchtime and that the air con now has a metre as we have had lots of abuse. I wish now I had added that after their visit the blind and door were broken and which would cost a lot more than the money they had paid for their stay. I could well have added too that the guests went away without even bothering to say goodbye. Oh well, you can't win them all I guess.
Oli and Miguel arrived later that day and cheered me up enormously. They also brought down the average age in the house by quite a few notches haha. I hadn't seen my youngest daughter since before I left for France and it was lovely to be reunited. We spent some time by the pool and then it was time to get ready to go out for our 37th wedding anniversary dinner. For the occasion I had made a reservation at a new restaurant which is actually open only for the summer months. Called "Los jardines del palacio" it is situated in the gardens of the Palace of Boadilla. Of course I have seen the facade of the palace many times but had never been in the newly restored gardens which are magnificent. I was bowled over too by this place.
|The restaurant "Los jardines del palacio" in the gardens of the palace of Boadilla del Monte|
The palace was built by the Infante Don Luis de Borbon, the 6th son of King Philip V of Spain and his second wife, Isabel Farnasio. The Infante who went into the church and became the arch bishop of Seville, was also the brother of King Charles 3rd and in his later life a patron of the arts giving support to the painter Goya and others. He had the palace built around 1761 and it is built to the plans of the Spanish architect Ventura Rodríguez in the neoclassicism style and is magnificent although mostly run down inside as it must need billions to restore properly. In any case it was amazing to be there. We could not have chosen a more romantic setting for our wedding anniversary dinner. As soon as we entered the gardens we started taking photos, like the one illustrating this week's post, the one of the palace and restaurant above and some selfies too like this one of the 4 of us who had the pleasure of dining there on Friday night.
|A selfie of the 4 of us about to have dinner on Friday night at the new restaurant in the palace gardens.|
Yesterday, Saturday, was quiet day. After our walk, I went into Majadahonda to the local market again. I went to pick up some of the cushions missing from the order I had made to cover our three piece suite in the lounge of our flat in Santa Pola. They weren't ready so guess what? I shall have to go back again. I don't mind going at all as I just love some of the clothes there and yesterday bought another jump suit and similar dress, both of which I have worn today and yesterday.
I was home on time to finish making lunch for everyone and it was nice to have the company of Oli and Miguel again. During the meal we had a call from Suzy from London airport (not sure which one). She was waiting for a flight to Dubai with her flat mates and friends from their "manada" group in Spain, Chati and Anita. From Dubai they would be taking another flight to their holiday destination, Malaysia. They would be joined today by 3 other friends from the group who would be travelling from Madrid, Rocío, Chati's sister Elena and Elena's boyfriend Antoine. They didn't get there until lunchtime today which is quite a haul. Once outside, Suzy rang to say they had arrived safely. I don't know why but as I get older I get slightly more worried about the girls travelling when I never used to do before. Particularly worrying for me was when I read that in Malaysia, a strict Muslim country, there is a death penalty for consuming or having drugs of any kind and prison for homosexuality. I warned Suzy but she didn't seem worried. Later she would post this photo of her and Chati about to leave on holiday.
|Suzy and Chati about to leave for their holiday in Malaysia and Indonesia|
I look forward to vicariously enjoying their stay in Malaysia and later in Indonesia (only Suzy, Chati and Anita in Indonesia) with Suzy's posts, phone calls and photos sent to the family Whatsapp group. Thank God for modern technology that keeps us all in touch these days.
But back to Madrid. In the afternoon yesterday, we lounged around the pool and I also played cards with Oli and Miguel; for the record a game called "sevens" which I actually won hahaha.
While we were playing cards, a big demonstration was held in Barcelona where more than 500.000 people marched chanting "No tinc por" (I'm not afraid) in protest for the 2 attacks in Barcelona last week which left 15 people dead. There were other marches and protests around the country including the town of Ripoll where most of the terrorists had their residence. Chillingly, the sister of 2 of them, Hafida Oukabir, spoke out against terrorism too. It must have been very hard for her. The Spanish King was present but was criticized by many for links to arms deals with Saudi Arabia who many people think finances Isis. They also called for the country's PM, Mariano Rajoy to "go home" in a clear cry for independence. It is unfortunate that the march was tinged with politics when clearly it should all have been about the victims and their families. I would have preferred a real show of unity.
|Yesterday's anti terrorist march in Barcelona.|
And today is Sunday and I woke up to the sound of rain, something we haven't had in a long time. Even so we managed our morning walk. Right now as I write the sun has come out but rain has been forecast for the whole of the week. It will be great to have a respite from the hot temperatures and be able to sleep without the air con.
The week ahead looks to be quiet. I have no trips planned or any events but no doubt there will be something to write about next Sunday that will interest you.
Hoping this post has interested you, I will sign off now and wish you all the best till next time.
Cheers for the moment,