I was contemplating the Green Lipped Mussels, arranged tastily in a white bowl on the table before me, and felt my mouth beginning to water.
My cruise around New Zealand was sponsored by a foreign multinational and although I would have preferred spending time in the local Marlborough vineyards, my boss had scheduled an important business meeting.
The weather had been uncertain and my local business partner, Brian, had reserved a table under the sheltered awning of a rather nondescript Hotel Restaurant, not far from Picton Harbour.
He arrived a little late and it gave me the opportunity of looking on with pleasure. He obviously took care of his physique and his white shirt was unbuttoned casually and was tucked into slim-waisted black jeans that hugged … I hurriedly lifted my gaze and smiling, gestured him to sit opposite me.
“I took the liberty of ordering earlier to save time and because we both know why we are here.” He explained.
The sommelier brought the wine, a local Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc, and I half listened as he robotically listed it’s qualities while pouring two large glasses. As he was enumerating red capsicum and gooseberries, my attention was diverted by the incoming triple fried chips and I became far too distracted to learn of the wine’s passionfruit and tropical fruit overtones.
Brian grinned and placed a thin black file on the table next to his creamy Fish Chowder. I wondered why he hadn’t ordered the same. We could have shared a bigger plate. I was glad to have them all for myself though.
The table, was black and in a faux wicker, that looked as if it had been made exclusively for the restaurant trade. It was bare of any sort of decoration and this only served to draw my attention to the mussels, which were some of the largest I had ever seen. Their green lips were so striking that they could have been dyed or painted.
I looked over the table towards Brian and he smiled back as he presented the meal with a broad gesture of both hands before reaching for his glass.
I raised mine.
“Santé.” He said. “Enjoy!”
I returned my glass to the table. It was an excellent white wine and I savoured it a moment before seizing a shell with one hand. Delicately extracting the mussel I lifted it to my mouth in keen anticipation.
While savouring the morsel I discretely admired his handsome features, his full mouth and well proportioned face. While he was busy scooping the chowder onto his spoon I couldn’t help noticing those deep blue eyes that drew my gaze further and further in. Allowing myself the shortest of reveries, I imagined running my hand over the prickly stubble of his finely curved chin. Suddenly I felt flutters of excitement in my most intimate and private parts and a mounting flush of embarrassment.
I’m sure he’d noticed, but feigning innocence, he opened his file and started to read aloud.
“… and studies have found that Perna canaliculus, the green lipped mussel, inhibits the 5-lipoxygenase pathway and has inflammation-supporting properties.”
I’d already read the studies before leaving my office last week and had even brought a small library that currently occupied some of the wardrobe that my most extravagant cocktail dresses could have been occupying.
Life was tedious sometimes, I mused, but it was certainly not without its perks.
I cited from a recent study. “Brian, you know that a review of current scientific research on the green-lipped mussel suggests a lack of compelling evidence for its use in humans with inflammation associated arthritis.”
“True.” He replied.
His eyes were piercing as he watched me from across the table and I had visions of deep blue lagoons and images of steely blue sharks, navigating in warm waters.
“But from a marketing point of view that wouldn’t constitute a problem would it?”
He had made his point, and I nodded in agreement.
Now that we had accomplished the formalities, we both knew that we were moving on to the inevitability of what was about to happen.
”Take your time.” he teased, reaching and holding both of my hands in his.
“The room’s booked until 5, and I’ll make sure you’re back on the ship before you’re due to embark.”
Somehow, I was no longer interested in the Mussels, but I couldn’t resist finishing the Sauvignon Blanc.
No challenge today. Just the pleasure of writing in an unconstrained format, with no word limits and no set photos or word or a leading sentence.
I have prepared another blog for just this sort of writing, but it’s not ready yet and I don’t wish to force you to click once more to read.
Once it’s ready I’ll let you know so you’ll have the choice to visit or not. It will be a much quieter place. Mostly text with the occasional illustrative photo.
A very stripped down and focused site that I hope you will enjoy.