First, my apologies.  I began writing this letter a few days after number 107, and because of a few JBR-projects (that you know I do love), I sort of became side-tracked a bit.  But now, almost a month later, I decided I had better get my fingers clicking away on finishing this letter. 

Yes, I flew to Geneva again. (yes, again) This was going to be a relatively short trip, but an important one.  And extremely importantly, I had very high expectations.  The weather forecast for the two days I would be there was exceptionally good, and I was relishing the opportunity to once again see the city in a different light than the past several months of trips.  Well, actually, I was relishing the opportunity to see the city in any light.  Winter’s in Geneva are not all that fun for someone who lives in Mallorca.  Granted, I am quite weather-spoilt, and equally granted, I don’t really do winter outdoor sports.  I suppose if I lived here, I would love the fact that in a one-hour drive, I could be well and truly on top of some snow covered mountain and in winter sports heaven.  I have been told by some local friends that when the weather is at its gloomiest, all they do is go up to one of the mountains that encircle the city and you can actually be above the clouds and in brilliant sun.  Okay, I am sure that is quite pretty, but it must be colder than a freezer.  So I don’t do it.  In winter, I seem to shuttle back and forth between client offices and my hotel…which has quite speedy broadband, interesting room service, and a good heating system. 

On Thursday, it was so nice that I walked to the office from my hotel and back.  It was wonderful.  A bit chilly – all the locals were rabbitting on about how warm it was…10c – but the sun was out and whilst walking along the lake, it was very nice.  As I was walking – 3,850 paces return trip, and please don’t even ask how I know that – I began noticing that the worldwide recession hasn’t really impacted the city too much.  I managed to see more Maseratis, Maybachs, Aston-Martins, Ferraris and Bentley Continentals buzzing along my route that I could count.  It was if I was walking in the midst of the world’s largest mobile used car dealership.  I was beginning to think that this must be testosteron city, but then noticed that most of these cars were being driven by women.   It is, I suppose, possible that there was a Barbi-look-alike convention in the city, but probably not. More likely, it is just Geneva.

Immediately after the Geneva trip, we went to Andorra to see some friends.  I have been to Andorra before, and the first time I thought it was sort of a ‘Wal-Mart-surrounded by mountains.’  That was almost ten years ago, and if it weren’t for my friends there, I am sure I wouldn’t find any reason to go, because not much has changed.  But when the sun is out and I am not in the midst of shoppers from France and/or Spain who zip across the frontier to buy alcohol or cigarettes, it is a pretty spectacular place.  Having said that, it did snow one day for  a bit and that did, for me, sort of deflate my view of it.  But the little side trip to Andorra on my way home was very special and we all had some fab food and good conversations over the weekend.

After my return home, I became pretty focused on some Sol y Mar projects.  Now you may be thinking that it is almost mid-April, and that means that we are on the edge of summer weather.  But none-the-less, I had ordered another ton of leña for my fireplace.  It isn’t that it is desperately cold or anything.  I just do like to have a fire at night and I reasoned that if I bought the wood now, I could chop it all up with my trusty new axe and have it all stacked neatly (neatly being the key word here) so that by next winter, it would be dead dry and ready for when I crank up the fires again.  When it arrived (the ton of leña), I wasn’t home (cleverly), so Tomeu just chucked over the wall at the front of Sol y Mar.  That was really okay with me as if he would have stacked it up, I would have had to unstack it during my orgy of chopping.  I am not sure exactly how Tomeu calculates the weight of all this wood, because this ‘ton’ sure seemed a lot heavier than previous deliveries.  This may have something to do with all the carry-wood-from-the-pile-to-my-chopping-block-and-split-it-and-then-stack-it activity.  Regardless, I now have five nicely organised rows of wood ready for this winter.  I wont’ even get into the condition of my back if that is okay with you.

This morning I went on one of my semi-occasional visits to see my doctor.  Toni has become more of a friend than a medical advisor for me.  He is the one who saved my life when I contracted the GBS, and my frequent check-ups to make sure that the evil bastard virus doesn’t somehow return to plague me have been not only good for my health, but have ended up in long conversations about just about anything good friends talk about.  When I arrived at his office this morning, they had just opened the doors so I filtered into one of his sala’s (waiting rooms) with the other people who had also arrived a bit too early.  After a few minutes, one of Toni’s staff came into the sala with a clipboard and went to each person, asking them who they were, and what they were there for.  After asking the other four people, she came up to me.  I was already to dazzle everyone in the room with my Spanish – ‘Me llamo James Rieley y estoy aqui para pruebas de sangre' – but before I could utter a word of my well practised statement, Antonia said, ‘Hola señor James’ and walked away.  Everyone else in the waiting room just looked over, probably wondering how many times you have to come to get recognised.  The answer in my case is, of course, way too many. 

After one of Toni’s phlebotomist’s sucked some blood from my arm, Toni and I went out for coffee, and in my case, tea.  I was dead hungry as the blood test required that I didn’t eat anything after midnight and I typically eat shortly after I wake up in the morning.  We talked for a while about building alignment around initiatives in organisations – no, really, this is what he wanted to talk about – and then back to his offices for a ‘nerve conduction’ test.  I was ushered into an examination room that had more computer kit in it than I even own and after a few moments, had electrodes attached to my elbow and the fleshy bit at the bottom of my thumb.  Then his nurse placed yet another electrode on my wrist and said I shouldn’t worry.  Then she pressed a button on one of the computers.  I was going to ask the nurse if Toni had bought the machine at the (hopefully upcoming) Guantanamo electrical apparatus sale because the electric pulse wasn’t all that fun.  She then switched the electrodes to my other arm.  I was ready this time for the blast of current and when it came, I was so tensed up that I barely noticed it.  Then she hit the button again, and looked at me with a smile that roughly translated into ‘gotcha.’  Cute.  I did find out that electrical current flows through nerve bundles at 45 meters a second.  I also learnt that trusting attractive nurses is not always a good thing to do. 



dinner plates anyone?  the latest ceramica project



what I see a lot of in Geneve




more of what I am almost run over by in Geneve



Andorra - through the falling snow, it was quite pretty




a marvellous choice...if you can find it where you are



fun and games at the doctor's office


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copyright 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, James B. Rieley