All this week I have been regaling you breathlessly with my reports from last Friday’s EU conference on AML/CFT and the Fourth Money Laundering Directive. And a few of you have been in touch to ask why I haven’t talked about anything important – like the food.
Well, we had coffee, juice, pastries and chocolate biscuits on arrival – quite nice biscuits, but not a patch on M&S Extremely Chocolatey Dark Chocolate Rounds (my decadent choice) or McVitie’s Dark Chocolate Digestives (for when I’m being healthy – all that fibre in the digestive part). During the half-hour morning break there were NO BISCUITS – I’m seriously considering writing to Señor Barrosa about this, as there must be human rights implications in there somewhere. Lunch was a rather nice buffet, but with very small plates and nowhere to sit down, so it was the usual juggling of plate, glass, fork, business cards and hand-shakes. Being greedy, I went back three times, but I don’t think anyone noticed. And I had a nice conversation with an Scotsman over the mini-éclairs. (Which sounds like a euphemism, but isn’t.)
I should mention that the loo facilities were rather odd. There was one door leading to both gents’ and ladies’ facilities, and with only six cubicles for the girls and about a hundred women in attendance, and lots of coffee on offer, the queue quickly built. So the gents had to squeeze past the queuing ladies, and we had to make sure that we didn’t peer into the gents’ area, so to speak – perhaps it’s the Continental way of doing things.
And I can now confidently report that I am the only person left in Europe without a smartphone. You know of my dislike for the mobile phone; I prefer to discuss business in a quiet, secure environment with my notes in front of me. But all through the conference people were checking emails and writing texts, which made me grateful for the luxury that I had – that of being able to concentrate 100% on the experience of attending this conference. Roll on MLD5 so that I can go again!