Saturday, February 04, 2017

My new website and first new client, goodbye to my company car and Oli's first new car, hello Dilan Alexander and other stories.

Sunday 5th February 2017


My new website http://mashalloyd.es



Hi everyone,

Oh my God what a week it has been for me, very busy and emotionally draining but I will come to that later.

It would have been an emotionally and physically draining day for the 2 kings of tennis on Sunday, Rafa Nadal and Rogerer Federer. They played the final in the Australian Open and it was very close.  The Swiss gentleman won in the end but in a 5 set match.  Well done for him although I was sorry for Rafa.

It was a wet day here and quiet too, the perfect day to set up my new website. This is something very necessary for my new life as a freelance communications consultant.  I did not know where or how to start so just googled "build your own website". I took first choice and that was www.simplesite.com. It was pretty easy but not cheap by the way. I have been working on it on and off all week and have come to realise its design and structure restrictions.  This is it by the way, now nearly finished but not quite. I managed to get http://www.mashalloyd.es  You see this is what they call WIP in the corporate world hahaha and it means "work in progresss". 



I got lots of feedback; one to include more images which I am doing and the other on the technical aspects.  It seems I haven't chosen a good website builder for many reasons so I will probably migrate to wordpress which I have been told is easy to use and more google friendly as well as less restrictive.  Oh well it was a lesson.  

I managed to get in my 2 walks of the day, one with Eladio and the dogs. It was borsch for lunch made by Zena our Ukranian weekend carer which was delicious.



On Tuesday I wasn't the only one up at the crack of dawn. Oli and Miguel were up too at 6 in the morning as Oli had to travel to Cáceres that day. She was going to film a castle there for her upcoming programme on Mi Camara y Yo about palaces and castles for sale, a very tricky subject as there don't seem to be many of them.
Oli filming on location in Cáceres this Tuesday
Meanwhile I spent most of the day working on my master media and journalist list.  I had many all over the place but not up to date and ready to use.  This list of course is my know how and part of my professional assets, one of the most important.  I also worked on the presentation for the upcoming press conference in Barcelona next week. I can now tell you I am collaborating with a company called Genaker which is actually a spin off of the Nokia R+D centre in Barcelona headed up by the nicest engineer in the world Miquel T.  At the moment I am living and dreaming Genaker and doing it all alone. I have Miquel to thank for that and it means I'm so busy I have little time to mourn losing my job. I feel so happy and motivated I can hardly believe this is happening to me.
My first "client" is Genaker. 
If you are wondering what they do, they sell professional mobile secure communications; i.e. walkie talkie systems and devices to all sorts of sectors and in 15 countries by the way. The one that most comes to mind of course are the police forces and similar.  Theirs is a new world but not entirely foreign to me as when I worked at Nokia they sold similar products. The future for this industry is walkie talkie enabled mobile phones working on 4G networks with no need for any other infrastructure.  

Working on the press conference may sound easy but it's not and now I have only myself to rely on when in the past I had a press agency, Ketchum to do the groundwork; write the draft press release, q+as, presentation, make up the media list, send the invitation, do the confirmations, then on the day post the news on social media and send out the press release nationally to hundreds of journalists and then of course the media report with all the clippings.   All I had to do before was supervise and turn up on the day. For me it was a bit daunting to suddenly have to do everything myself, a real challenge.  But I am doing it and quite well too. All I need now is for lots of journalists to turn up at the event and for lots of journalists to write articles. The event is going to fall on my birthday, OMG my 60th by the way. That's a bit unfortunate but there was no other date available.

In the afternoon I had a phone call from, yes, a policeman, from Gibraltar of all places.  Robert had seen me in the Undercover Boss TV programme and found me on LinkedIn.  He wants to meet me to talk about an idea he has for a new business.  I don't think I'm the right person but we'll see when we meet next week in Madrid.  He rang me from a boat by the way hahahah. 

I got yet another stab in the back that afternoon with a phone call from HR from MásMóvil, the company that has bought up Yoigo and made me redundant.  They want my lovely BMW X6 company car back. Well of course they do but that leaves me without a car.  In the agreement they had promised to give me another car to use until 10th March which should give me time to buy one myself.  But they offered me a bl**** hugely Yoigo branded Mini which just turned my stomach.  I mean if I want to leave Yoigo behind and go on to the next step in my life the last thing I want is a car with a huge logo of the company that just fired me.  I protested but was told there was no other car available. I wonder. 



On Tuesday I spent the whole day at home working on the press conference documents. That day there was yet another article about me being made redundant - I can't get away from my association with Yoigo. Well, after all it was 10 years there and I was a founding employee who put her heart and soul into building the brand. Some people tell me I was the soul of Yoigo and I think I possibly was.  I didn't really like the article. Here it is by the way. As I was making dinner that night I saw and read that they had a huge problem with their network which according to some articles had crashed.  I wonder how they dealt with that communications wise. 

That night I slept really badly. In fact it was the second night in a row where I only got about 4 hours sleep. Despite taking sleeping tablets I think I am so raring to go and so hyperactive with so much on my mind that it's nearly impossible to relax.  

One of the reasons I didn't sleep well was that the next day I was facing the "theatre" of court, or rather settlement with Yoigo out of court. Whatever the thing - here it's called SMAC (servicio de mediacion, arbitraje y conciliación) and it's not a nice place to have to go to.  I had to be there to meet my lawyer and another colleague at 8.15.  So I had to get up at the unearthly hour of 5.30.  I would be using my lovely BMW X6 for the last time that day as after the SMAC I had to give it in.  

It was Wednesday 1st February, not the best start to the month I can tell you.  It was to be my first time in court in over 25 years, the last time being when I left Motorola.  But in that case I had the nicest lawyer in the world, Iñigo Sargadoy.  The appointment at the court was much harder than I had thought. They made a huge mix up with the text of my agreement where they included a figure of one of my colleagues instead of mine who, by the way, was getting double what I was. They had to change it. Then there was a fight over a clause and I just felt I was doing more to defend myself than my lawyer.  Sorry but I'm not impressed with him.  He got rather uppity with me which was hardly the thing to do if I was his client and was going through what I was going through. He later stated that his work had been impeccable. I disagree as he has not been able to change one iota of the terms but I wanted to avoid any confrontation and didn't say anything. No doubt his fees will be enormous at 170 euros an hour but I don't think he is worthy of them.  
Like a lamb to slaughter on Wednesday 1st February - at court
Once out of that ghastly place and with a curt goodbye to the lawyers, I rushed to take the metro to Colonia Jardin. From there I would drive home to pick up Eladio and we would go together to take back my BMW which we will sorely miss.  Just as I was approaching home, he was coming back from his walk. He took this photo of me, the last time I was to drive my company car.
Me driving my lovely BMWX6 for the last time on Wednesday
I was not looking forward to giving it in, nor meeting the HR people who would take it away and lend us the Mini with the huge logo. I have only driven automatic cars in the last 8 or so years and knew it would take some time to get used to a manual one again. I shall very much miss the parking camera and fantastic sat nav system.  Eladio drove us back in the mini which I felt rather hostile to. Don't get me wrong, I love minis and am even thinking of buying one as my new car, I just hate the huge logo on it. 
My "new car" for the next month - what a joke
I came home to have a super quick lunch with the men and then carry on with my work. That afternoon I had to send out the online invitation to journalists one by one, all of them in Barcelona. It was pretty difficult to do so on gmail and I really must get outlook for work purposes.  Here, my dear friend, Juana, who works at Microsoft, the makers of outlook, will help me once again. I love her support both emotional and technical.



This by the way is the invitation I was sending. I was hoping the catch of the company being a spin off of the Nokia R+D centre and its success story with its products would work. 
The invitation to the press conference next week

Well it seemed to, judging by some of the responses.  Others were not successful as lots of the mails bounced back, possibly because of using gmail - it would either not be delivered as it would be considered spam. That's why I definitely need outlook. I worked hard all afternoon, living and dreaming Genaker haha.  Pippa was faithfully tucked up in the corner of the sofa next to my desk which you can see looks very busy hahaha.
Working hard
On Thursday I worked hard all day on the upcoming press conference. I took a break, however, when one my best friends  came to see me.  It's very sad to have to tell you she has just been diagnosed with colon cancer which has spread. This week coming she will be starting on chemotherapy.  What can I say except that I am heart broken for her. I did my best to cheer her up but that wasn't easy.  She is being very strong. I cannot mention her name because there are members of her family who do not know her situation and I do not want them to find out here.  She will have my full moral and physical support. What else can I offer her? God life is a bitch sometimes. The next day would be International Cancer Day and I would be more sensitive to it compared to other years because of my friend.

The day ended well, however, when Oli and Miguel came home bringing Oli's first new car. It is the first car she has bought herself after the Seat Córdoba was a write off due to the recent accident. And here she is just a few minutes after going to collect her new Ford Focus.
Oli and her new car. Congratulations darling
That night Eladio and I watched a film on Netflix called Child 44. It is set in Stalin's Russia in the 50's and is a chilling mystery story. I had read the book and was riveted by the film. Eladio liked it too as it was our sort of genre. 
A good film to watch on Netflix
On Friday I finally tried out the Yoigo Mini.  I was a bit hesitant as I hadn't driven a manual car for years.  I went up and down our local streets and soon got the hang of it.  It's very nice, apart from the bl**** logo but oh how I miss my wonderful BMW X6. There is no comparison. 

Oli meanwhile was in another car, her cameraman's and they were off to a village in the province of Zaragoza. That day she was to film a castle on sale. The 78 year old doctor who owns it lives in Italy and had flown over especially for the TV report. He is mad about castles and has quite a few. Oli told me he was selling it to fund a hospital he wants to build for the poor in Nepal. He sounded a nice guy until I heard he was on to his 3rd wife who is 30 years younger than him. Quite a personality it seems. Here he is with Oli outside the castle he is selling.
Oli with the owner of the castle for sale in the province of Zaragoza.
The one in question is on sale for 900.000 euros if you are interested.  It was built in the 15th century, above a 10th century chapel and the owner has restored it completely inside and out with furnishings and decor of the 15th and 16th century. What he has not put in is central heating so if you want to buy it and live there you might contemplate putting it in hahahaa.

That morning we were in shock when we heard from one of Eladio's brothers, Alejandro that his wife, Carolina was about to give birth.  Like the wife of the Italian doctor, she is more than 25 years younger than my brother-in-law who has two boys her age or older.  We didn't even know his wife from Paraguay was pregnant!!!!  So imagine what we felt when he told us their baby was born.  The baby is to be called "Dilan Alexander".  That sounds so funny in Spanish. In any case we are delighted to welcome a new member into the family. So welcome Dilan to this world. Hope you have a great life.
Our new and unexpected nephew Dilan Alexander was born on Friday
So the girls have a new cousin. We were all in shock yesterday at the news. I mean it's good news but we had no idea "Dilan" was coming haha. In a way that is typical of Eladio's brother to keep the news from us and tell us nearly after the event. He did it too when he married Carolina. In this case it was 5 minutes before hahahaha.

We had a lot to celebrate on Friday; Oli's new car, Eladio's pupil  passing 3 exams since he started teaching her, my new "customer" as well as the receiving of my severance pay. How better to celebrate than going out to dinner?  We decided on La Vaca Argentina which is now called plain La Vaca, the one in Las Rozas.  We were joined by Oli and Miguel and drove to the restaurant in the Mini hahaha.  
Dinner at La Vaca on Friday night - here with Oli.
Being Friday night, it was my time to break the diet and break the diet I did.  I had artichokes with foie gras, a piece of bread (first in months), followed by steak and then naughty naughty, a brownie shared with Oli. All of this was washed down by a wonderful bottle of wine (Azpilicueta) we shared.  It would give me a headache the next day but was well worth it. 

Saturday came and it was the most relaxed day of the week. I was up at 5.30 - just too early and corresponding by mail with Genaker.  You know I haven't worked so hard in years. People tell me if you are self-employed one works much harder.  I think it's true. But that meant the day was much longer and I got lots into it.  I worked in the morning but managed to get 2 walks before lunch.  The highlight of the day was a long whatsapp call with my dear friend Sandra from Nottingham University who lives in Brussels.

Whilst everyone had spaghetti bolognese I had my plate of thin steak and vegetables.  Very unusually for me I joined Eladio for a siesta. Incredibly I slept from 3 till 5.30pm. Well maybe I needed the sleep. Later that evening I tried on some skinny dresses which were just slightly tight before Christmas.  Now they are loose!  It's amazing. On Friday night I even wore a Zara size 10 (38 here) pair of black jeans that Oli  lent me and they weren't even tight hahaha.   Since when have I been able to fit into a size 10?  Well I don't remember.

And today is Sunday, "blog day" as my Father calls it. I shall publish this, print a copy out for him and then get ready for my first walk of the day.  I have to work today on the English version of the Genaker press release.  I also have to continue translating the English text on my website into Spanish. 

So I shall love you and leave and get on with the day. 

Have a good Sunday everyone,

Cheers/Masha

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