Brunch – it’s one of those words I’ve grown to hate. Not quite, breakfast, not quite lunch, ooh let’s skip down to the Northern Quarter and spend our house deposits on avo on toast.
It’s not that I don’t do brunch. It’s become a necessity when seeing friends who’ve procreated. It takes the pressure off me to baby-proof my house (it never will be). For my friends, they don’t need to feel they have to make food AND settle into parenthood.
I do, however, have an issue with brunch. I didn’t used to, so maybe it’s a symptom of my march into middle age. Or maybe it’s something to do with living in West Didsbury*. The tiny streets overflowing with badly parked cars come Saturday and Sunday morning as (younger) millennials insta every which way of their chi-chi smoothie bowl (just eat whole fruit and veg, they’re better for you).
And yes, my car is often blocked into those tiny little streets. I have resorted to writing notes. I’m turning into my grandmother.
Finding oneself at brunch
However, yesterday morning I found myself well and truly in brunch territory. Having agreed to making a homemade American breakfast with my housemate, our slow enjoyment of the morning meant we didn’t sit down to until gone 11am. And, after such a feast would require nothing more until our evening meal.
We didn’t initially set out to have brunch. In fact, we’d planned a reasonably early breakfast – but lack of sleep on my part, and being a late riser on his, meant the morning was almost gone by the time we sat down. We had nothing else planned bar marmalade making and dog walking, so why rush?
With our mix of sweet blueberry pancakes drowned in golden syrup, smokey bacon, crisp potato rosti, soft sunny side up eggs and hand squeezed orange juice, we both agreed on one thing; this was definitely brunch.
Getting set for brunch
Usually, as housemates, we don’t sit and eat together – we have different schedules and food tastes. But every now and then we take time to come together, break bread and catch up. Usually it’s sharing fish fingers in front of Jane MacDonald, but this time we did something different. We made space in our day, and our house.
Making space for eating is not something we do unless we have guests. But, treating ourselves as if we would someone special, we cleared our home office off the dining room table and set out plates, cups and cutlery. I’d bought new coffee for the French press, he spent time hand squeezing oranges (a thankless task if ever there was one). I hadn’t even thought of putting a tablecloth down, yet during the week I’d been sorting/procrastinating and there was one next to the table. But using it tied everything together.
And then we sat. And we talked. And there were no phones (bar the initial photo – because if there’s no photo, it don’t happen right?), no timeframes and no guilt in that we’d actually joined the brunch crowd.
Life is so damned fast. If I’m not working, I’m sorting the house, walking the dog, doing admin or generally just pushing through every day until suddenly I sit up and the whole year has passed.
I’m not the first to say it, but modern life isn’t built for appreciating the slow movement of moments. We’re so conditioned by this everything on, fast-paced lifestyle that we have endless apps to help us keep track, post, do, organise and then calm us down when we try to find a modicum of rest – invariably worrying ourselves awake as we feel guilty for the few snatched moments of downtime. I know, I’m one of those people.
Which got me thinking. I’m not a resolution setter, but I’m going to change how I view my life. I’m going to adopt a ‘brunch-kinda thinking’ and make space to enjoy the slow moments. Like setting the table for me, not just for guests. And for taking time to make things with no tether to phones or time.
I’m a realist, this isn’t going to happen every day. I have a busy job and do need to make sure I have clean pants and the dog is walked. But at least once a month I will ‘set the table’ and make space for myself. Why don’t we all try it?
*BTW If you’re coming to West Didsbury for brunch, or any other reason, please park on the hospital car park. It’s cheap at the weekend and you’ll avoid angering every single resident with your inability to park on pavements or reverse down an entire road. Thank you.