Now that things seemed to be progressing nicely yesterday with the move to Wales, coupled with Wimbledon tennis and Test Match cricket to look forward to in the afternoon, we had breakfast out together to celebrate at the “greasy spoon” I’d been to earlier in the week.  A misnomer really as it was delicious and great value at £9!

On getting back home, I followed up on a LinkedIn email that an old friend of mine called Joan Baiget from Spain had sent me in April, but I’d only picked up that morning.  We’d become good friends at Pfizer when he was the IS Manager of “Industrias Faimon” a trauma manufacturing plant in Tarragona, Catalonia about 100 km south of Barcelona, when I was the Pfizer’s European manager of PC services back in the late 1980’s.

Given our friendship and my love of the Catalonian way of life, I had a Catalan flag sticker on the back of my red Ford Sierra GLS 2.0i, I often used to stay in his flat in Tarragona with his young family, Marie-Jesus his wife and two sons Pol and Adrian.  This cut down on the hotel costs and I think helped justify potentially more business trips than were probably warranted..

When I first visited just after its acquisition the economy in Spain wasn’t so great and Joan had an old Peugeot I recollect which on the way to the office had a wheel fall off!  By the time (sadly) Pfizer decided to sell the plant back to its previous owner, Joan was driving a new company car I believe.

The financial controller in Faimon was an English ex-pat called Peter from Cumbria originally I believe.  He had a villa type home there with his wife called Romaine and two sons who went to a local private school and they had a fantastic outdoor pool in the garden.  Given my finance background I was well looked after on my visits, Peter would take me out to lunch most days as a visiting Brit from the European HQ in Staines, we had such a laugh together although I’m pretty sure we ended seriously abusing our livers as a result!

I believe he lived near Cambrils and I remember taking Debbie and the two boys with me on a business trip staying in the Hotel Maratim there back in May 1990.  Debbie found out she was expecting Emma that June so we think our daughter is half Catalan, half Welsh…

In any event, my email back to Joan (pronounced Joanne) advising him of my retirement solicited the shock response that he’d not been well at all, been off work for some months and was being looked after his sister while recuperating from two hospital operations.

As he’d been so kind to me and my family (we’d enjoyed a free holiday many years ago in his coastal flat at Salou back in August 1998) I felt the need to “see” him and so configured “Skype” on the iMac and within minutes we were videoconferencing!  He’d lost quite a bit of weight, but looked good on it, he’d also just passed his PhD in knowledge management too, so we had a lot to catch up with too.

To be honest it reminded me of the five things terminally ill patients consistently related to an Australian palliative nurse that they wished they done in their lives differently.  She recorded them on her blog, so here goes my effort at recollecting what they are and to confirm my resolve to follow them before it’s too late:

1.  Wish they hadn’t worked so hard

2.  Wish they’d kept in touch with old friends

3.  Wish they’d lived their own life rather than that others expected of them

4.  Wish they’d had the courage to express their feelings more

5.  Wish they’d let themselves be happier

Moving stuff which feels spot on to me, I also feel that over the past three months Debbie and I are making progress in at least a few, with Joan a very important start!


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