Sunday, 22 January 2017

Read o'er this And after, this, and then to brunch with What appetite you have.

A bitter sweet brunch this weekend. (And not like that time I stubbed my toe on the table leg as I sat down and thus enjoyed honey and tears on toast for my first course.) Sweet because this brunch was spent with some of my oldest friends - and even though they've spent the years since we were all students together having gorgeous children whilst I have mostly been having gin and tonics, I can't help but feel nineteen again when we all hang out. Bitter because obviously the world changed on Friday and even bacon is slightly less tasty now we find ourselves in the new order... one where 'grabbing pussy' no longer means scooping up one's feline companion for a quick cuddle.

Under the circumstances, grabbing a muffin or two (the baked variety obviously) can start to seem a little bit empty, and I was feeling doubly guilty not to be on the Women's March in London. But it turns out that one of the best ways to deal with global horror is to embrace comfort and joy on a smaller scale. These are friends with whom I once sat in mouldy lounges with ceiling tiles into which pornographic sketches had been etched so we're pretty good at accepting the background scenery and just getting things done. We talked politics - obviously. Not talking about politics at the moment would be not just ignoring the elephant in the room, but ignoring the elephant sat on your lap, brushing your hair with its trunk. But we also talked about what we could do about politics which helped.

So much love and support for the Women's March by the way...

Appropriately enough, the location for this particular brunch was the Stratford Upon Avon branch of Boston Tea Party - and in Stratford the town's Shakespeare connection means that you're surrounded by constant reminders that fictional and historical characters have messed things up just as badly in the past. Boston Tea Party itself is a chain of cafes, mostly found in the South West and boasting its own ethical, sustainable back story. There's something about cafe culture that seems to encourage this sort of thing - maybe its the optimism of breakfast - a fresh meal, fresh start sort of thing. Either way, it's nice to be enjoying a brunch that is doing its level best not to be making the world any worse.

Stratford BTP occupies a rather lovely, red-brick once upon a time school house and we found an upstairs table for our catch up...

Menu - Just what you'd expect, except breakfast, brunch and lunch are all served all day and thus all tend to merge into one anarchic selection. There's a general sourdough theme though, along with porridge and granola for the virtuous.

Staff - Friendly and laid back.

Put it in my face - I've been informed recently that in the States brunch is closer to lunch than breakfast so I had a club sandwich in homage. Or I just really fancied a club sandwich. You decide. Others went for more traditional smoked salmon and scrambled eggs. And one particularly avant garde young lady had a burger. (You can get away with it when you're under the age of ten...)

It has bacon so it totally counts as brunch... Right? RIGHT?

Crimes against eggs? - No poaching this week, but the scrambled eggs met the standard.

Atmosphere - Busy and family friendly. Colouring sheets were provided for the young and young at heart...

Topical talk - The addictive, relationship-threatening game that is Hive - it's like a fun version of Chess only with insects... How to eat avocados ethically. (The short version is buy them Fairtrade or avoid entirely. I was resistant to this plan until someone used the expression 'blood guacamole.') How to get involved in politics. The difference between the University of Warwick circa 1999 and 2017.

The tall, blond one says - "Hurray for free tea re-fills. Get your hands off my scrambled eggs, wife."

Verdict - All is not lost in the world when you can still enjoy lovely food like this with your friends. BTP is the brunch equivalent of a comfy blanket and a cup of tea. Only with actual tea.

Also featuring, green drink with every vegetable you ever refused to eat as a child.

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