Yesterday was one of those very rare occasions I drank quite heavily and today I am paying the consequences. It was the fault of the Finns and their Independence Day. And how was that I’m sure you want to know?
Do any of you ever bother these days to look in your pigeon hole to see if you have any written correspondence? Well, I hardly ever do because most of it’s junk mail. But yesterday I did look because I was waiting to receive some photos and lo and behold at 13.45 I opened an invitation from the Finnish Embassy in Madrid to a reception at the Ambassador’s private residence on the occasion of the Finnish day of Independence (actually today but it was celebrated yesterday) to be held that very same day at 14.30. I thought, I’d love to go but here I am dressed in jeans, not quite the right attire so I decided there and then to rush home, get changed in 5 mins (and I did it thanks to some help from Susi) and order a taxi to take me to the very posh Embassy residence in Puerta de Hierro. And, amazingly enough I actually got there, all dolled up, by 14.45.
You may wonder why I was invited to the Finnish Embassy. The answer is quite easy, the company I work for is of Finno Swedish origin.
And that’s where all the drinking started. met some old friends from my Nokia days from the Finnish Chamber of Commerce – hi there Tapani (Lankinen) and Paula (Strand). I also got to meet the very blue eyed Swedish Ambassador, Anders Rönquist and the lady Finnish Ambassador, Maija Lähteenmäki, the very young Finnish First Secretary, Teemu Turunen as well as a host of Finns whose names are equally unpronounceable. We got given things like meatballs in the cocktail and I very diplomatically asked whether they came from Ikea, but apparently they didn’t. And, then along came Pentti Tolonen, a colleague of mine from Nokia Networks and now a days, the Nokia Country Manager. He was as sweet as ever. It was funny listening to his conversation with my new boss, the former being a supplier and the latter a customer. I must say it’s a novelty for me being a customer!!
Suddenly it was about 4 o’clock and a group of Finns from the Embassy all suggested we go to Midnight rose for drinks. They said it was the “in” place to be seen at. Well I knew that didn’t I so didn’t need much persuading.
And suddenly we were there and that’s when the caiparinhos and mojitos started flowing as well as something gorgeous called “Cosmopolitan”. I think I told my life story to a delightful blonde girl called Anna Terakivi- a young internee from the Embassy who reminded me of my daughters. Anna it was lovely talking to you. Actually it was another girl called Viivi Pitkänen who organised most of the night. Viivi is obviously very much acquainted with Madrid night life and lives near Plaza Santa Ana so she knew all the places to take us. The party grew smaller and we ended up in a group of 5 with Viivi leading us on. There was also a chap called Vesku, Pentti's friend in that group of 5. I had not drunk so much in probably 10 years. But actually I was surprised to see how well I took my drink. Luckily I knew today was a national holiday so I would have time to sleep off any possible hangover.
Viivi then took us for a tapas dinner at a very recommendable place called Alberto where we had the usual: tortilla, pimientos de padrón, chorizo, all washed down with a very rich Rioja. And they were all smoking non stop and last night I was so tempted to smoke just one. BUT I DIDN’T
And from there we went dancing. Yes, Anne, if you are reading this, I did go dancing. And guess what music we danced to? To Abba of course, Dancing Queen, Mamma Mía and the lot. What fun but towards the end of the evening I began to feel a bit like Cinderella and suddenly began to feel a little guilty. As I couldn’t order a carriage, I got Yellow Taxi to send out a car. And that was the end of the evening. Short but so very intense and good fun.
Thanks you Finns and Swedes for such a great night out. And Happy Independence Day which is actually today not yesterday.
Cheers till the weekend
PS NO PHOTOS OF COURSE FOR OBVIOUS REASONS