Tragedies in Barcelona and Marseille

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Tonight I can really identify with two places that over the years have meant so much to me.

The first is Barcelona and the wider Catalunya region where I spent so much of my working life, first for Pfizer where I worked with my good friend Joan Baiget in Tarragona who introduced me to the Catalan “C” which I proudly displayed on the rear of my old Ford Sierra.

Joan not only welcomed me to the factory where I was visiting to help install local area networks and email, but embraced me into his family and vice versa in the late 1980’s.  I remember seeing human castles being built, a huge Roman amphitheatre and a richness of life and a proud heritage of the people that I’ve always felt a strong connection to.

In more recent times I have spent many days in Barcelona acting as host to many CIOs attending the Gartner Symposium and although the days were long and tiring the attraction of the city and its people has never faded.

Unfortunately the scenes being played out on TV today where the Catalan independence vote has been brutally repressed by the Spanish government makes me realise how lucky I am to be a British citizen & live in Wales.  For example I hoped Scotland would remain part of the UK in the recent referendum and so was pleased with the result.  I truly believe that democracy is all about permitting a vote and then respecting the outcome.  Something to ponder I think for the wider Europe.

Then just a few minutes ago after watching the climax to an uplifting BBC TV series on “Astronauts: Do You Have What It Takes?” (to which the answer for me is patently no) I saw on the news that two young women were murdered in a knife attack by a terrorist on the steps outside Marseille railway station leading down to the old town.   The same location where I aged 20/21 as a InterRail student twice sat in the early 1980’s pondering my next steps.

It was there where I met my future travelling companion one Manfred Kratzner from Munich, a fellow student who I remember was covered from head to foot in dust after a traumatic visit to Spain beforehand.  We became good friends and I often wonder what became of that tall, ever so lacking German.

Memories of so long ago and such happy times, so my heart reaches out to all those innocents caught up with the evils of the consequences of politics and religion seen today.  It only makes me more certain of the need for all of us to enjoy life and concentrate on what matters, namely family and friends, while we can.  Too much ambition and certainty that you’re right has always been a dangerous cocktail and I want no part in it.

 

 

Tragedies in Barcelona and Marseille

You’re My Favourite!

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I’ve just come out of the bath relaxing while reading my newly acquired science fiction library book and was listening to TMS and day two of the first day-night test match against the West Indies, only to find out that Bruce Forsyth or “Brucie” has sadly passed away.

Memories of the Generation Game from the 1970’s flooded back (the “favourite” catch phrase which I replicated with Gartner sales came from Strictly) and the obligatory cuddly toy.  I remember seeing him when visiting the private hospital in Windsor where Debbie was undergoing treatment for tendonitis in 1992.  He was in for respiratory problems we found out later and he looked as if he couldn’t wait to “escape” to his home in nearby Wentworth.

On a happier note overnight I received an email from Joan Baiget to say he and his family was safe after the recent terrorist attacks in Barcelona and Cambrils in the Catalan region of Spain.

Both places are very familiar as in the late 1980’s I used to fly fairly regularly into Barcelona and onto Tarragona where Joan worked in our factory there as the local IT manager.  I took Debbie and the two boys over on one visit staying in Cambrils and let me put this delicately our daughter Emma is potentially half Catalan…

Of course for many years Gartner Symposium in early November necessitated nearly a week of hard work with many clients and prospects in Barcelona after the event grew too large to remain in Cannes.

I always remember sadly in later years that “Las Ramblas” was rather a dangerous place with many thieves operating in the area and so stopped visiting the tourist attraction.  I also made sure I always remained sober late at night when entertaining clients in the marina area night clubs.

Everything changes, but many happy past memories that won’t be forgotten, however I’m sure those mindless terrorists will be…

You’re My Favourite!