Candes Saint-Martin, my favourite spot in La Touraine.

Wednesday, 17 April 2013

A surprise call and a missed lunch

My Easter break ended last Sunday. So on Monday morning, it was time to return to the office after 10 days of absence. I was relieved to hear that there hadn’t been any crisis worth mentioning and that the mail with the feedback I had asked for before closing down my office laptop on April 4th was sitting in my mailbox, waiting for my return.

Monday and Tuesday were rather boring, with business as usual – except perhaps for the colourful bowl that I had placed in a strategic position on the corner of my desk for all to see. It was filled to the brim with a carefully picked selection of sweets and chocolates for all to take as a special treat to mark my birthday. The mini-packs of M&M and the mini Milky Way and Mars bars turned out to be the most popular, followed by the Chocotoffs – the sticky Belgian, remember!

When I left the office this afternoon, the bowl was as all but empty … and some of my colleagues looked slightly heavier than they did on Monday morning!

Just before noon today something totally unexpected happened, which btw had nothing to do with the sweets. I was standing in the lift with my manager and a colleague after attending an in my opinion useless meeting. We were travelling down from the fifth to the first floor where our office floor is located, when my mobile phone rang. Very few people call me on my mobile phone, and those who do, usually do so in the evening when I’m at home. When I saw the name that appeared on the little screen, I couldn’t have been more surprised: Mats! My long-time (40 years) Swedish friend.

“Hi Martine! I’m in Brussels. Would you like to have lunch with me and my business partner?” It turned out that he had a meeting this morning and was about to fly back to Stockholm when he learnt that his plane had been delayed. The flight was rescheduled for 6 p.m. He therefore had some time to kill and wanted me to join him and his business partner at the Grand’ Place in Brussels for lunch. The idea was tempting, especially as it was a nice and sunny day ... But, having another meeting at 1 p.m. and with a product launch on April, 24th, I didn’t think it wise to accept his kind invitation.

I did give him the address of my favourite restaurant near de Grand’ Place, though: La Roue d’Or. When my blog friends Bob and Pat from Georgia (US) visited in June three years ago they had dinner there. And the following year I took blog friends Veronica and Sue from the UK there too for lunch. It’s a lovely place, not a tourist trap, and the food is excellent.

Mats asked me to send him a text message with the name of the restaurant and the address. An hour later I received a message saying that they had found the place and that they had ordered mussels. Later again, there was another text message reading: “Great meal!!!!”

I’m really qorry I had to refuse his kind invitation. It would have been lovely seeing him again. In June, it will be a year since I spent a fabulous week with Mats and his wife Vera in the Loire Valley. Happy memories!

By the way: Mats sends his best regards to all the blog friends he and Vera met last year at Susan and Simon’s blogger barbecue.  


Nadege said...

It is too bad you couldn't even see each others for few minutes. I doubt very much I could find a bad meal in Belgium. The food is always wonderful

chm said...

It is my experience that meetings are 99.99% useless and a great loss of time you could have used more positively.

Nice of Matts to call you impromptu and too bad you were not able to join them. When you have a chance, give Vera and Matts my best regards.

Susan said...

Hi Mats! Good to have news of you.

VirginiaC said...

I love surprise phone's a pity you couldn't go to lunch with Mats and his business partner.
At least they enjoyed the meal at the restaurant your recommended.

Craig said...

What a shame you couldn't join them for lunch. It sounds like they enjoyed your recommendation.

Bob said...

It's a shame he didn't call you last week when you were off. Isn't that the way it always happens!!! Pat and I did enjoy our meal at La Roue d'Or. By the way, I didn't realize American chocolate was so popular in Brussels.

GaynorB said...

What a pity you weren't able to accept the lunch invitation. In my experience opportunities such as this don't come round very often!

Never mind.... Please pass on our good wishes to Mats and Vera.

Ken Broadhurst said...

Yes, my good memories to Matts and Vera as well. Hope to see them again...

ladybird said...

Nadege, We do have a very good reputation when it comes to food ... But believe me, there are some pretty awful places near the Grand'Place in Brussels.

Chm, I will - they really enjoyed our lunch in Paris! Hope you had a safe trip and have recovered from the jetlag.

Susan, Mats and Vera say 'hello and thanks'.

Virginia, I've known this restaurant for years and only had positive feedback. So I know it is 'safe' to recommend it.

Craig, If you and Clive ever stop over in Brussels, I'll gladly give you the address.

Bob, M&M are a big hype in Belgium especially with the 30-35 generation. When they visit NY, the M&M store is a must on their to-see-list. More even than the statue of Liberty.

Gaynor, I know. I was really sorry too, but it came at a really bad moment. I'll give them you regards!

Ken, I hope to visit the Loire Valley with them in 2014 or 2015 ... but you may see me much sooner than that :)!