Up in the far north of Scotland the days are short just now. At Croftgarden you can take your breakfast by moonlight. Here in North Wales the days are short, but not quite so very short. Our kitchen faces East and on a sunny morning, even in winter, the light pours in.
Somehow a wild rose manages to grow on top of the stone wall outside the kitchen window. It is losing its remaining leaves fast but the hips still shine when the sun comes up over the hill across the valley. Yesterday a blackbird stood on the wall amongst the briars for a long time, inspecting the hips. He flew away without taking any, swooping off up into the yew tree.
I like my breakfasts solitary and slow. When the children were young I used to get up half an hour before they did specifically to have breakfast by myself before the mayhem of school lunches and sports kits and suddenly remembered homework got underway. Ian and I enjoy a cup of tea in bed together in the morning now that life is not as frantic as it was with children and work clamouring around us but we only really eat breakfast together when we are on holiday and sitting across a table in a hotel dining room. That has its own luxury but everyday breakfasts are separate affairs.
Now I have to negotiate the fact that my father in law will be in the kitchen making himself toast and tea, singing cheerily and ready for a chat about the weather, at the time I would naturally arrive to have my breakfast. Sometimes I have it with him but mostly I come early or late in the hopes of having it on my own.
I like multiple cups of thin tea in my Emma Bridgewater mug and a poached egg from one of our own hens on toast made from our own bread. Really fresh eggs made perfect poached eggs and do not suffer from the tendency for the white to swirl and spread all over the pan. With a very fresh egg you do not need any of the tricks to make a poached egg the perfect shape: no need for drops of vinegar or swirling of the water or oddities like dropping in a spent matchstick. Just break the egg into a small cup, heat the water in a small pan and just as it is breaking into a boil slip the egg from the cup swiftly into the pan. Let it begin to boil again and then turn it down to a simmer for exactly three minutes. A perfect poached egg sitting on its buttered toast on a blue and white plate is a great way to start the day.
If weight were no object I might have fruit and yoghurt beforehand and toast and home made marmalade afterwards but, as it is, these are luxuries for a special day or a holiday. At home on an ordinary day, fresh eggs are luxury enough.
How do you start your day?