endimanché, adjective: in one’s Sunday best.
Of course the French have an adjective just for Sundays. I discovered this gem while reading Proust’s À La Recherche du Temps Perdu in my third year of university. God knows that experience taught me countless absolutely useless pieces of vocabulary (if you need someone to come up with fifteen synonyms for hawthorn flowers, I’m your man), but endimanché has always stuck with me. Not perhaps the most useful word, but I’ve always found it satisfying. The little pre-emptory “en,” the casual flourish of the acute accent – it speaks to me of Sunday’s quiet extravagance. The French certainly do know how to do Sundays in style: while living in Paris on my year abroad, I was surprised to find out that supermarkets and even the boulangeries do actually close for most of the day. I found this out the hard way, waking up at 1pm one Sunday morning, a little worse for wear, and being unable to procure any food beyond the radishes in my fridge. That story doesn’t end well and I haven’t eaten a radish since. Anyway, it all meant we had the perfect excuse to sample the many different brunch offerings that abound in Paris. One of our staples was Eggs & Co (http://www.eggsandco.fr/) – overpriced and we often had to wait until 3pm to get a table, but serving up the best eggs benedict I have ever eaten. Breakfast in America (http://www.breakfast-in-america.com/main/) hit the same kind of spot.
Eggs Benedict at Eggs & Co., circa 2010
Sunday is the first day of my weekend now (I work Saturdays) so it feels even more special. I have to admit my day started a little slower than usual, paracetamol and a pint of water for breakfast to counteract last night’s red wine. But after a sluggish start I managed to put together this little brunch feast for one:
I actually woke up craving yoghurt (unconventional hangover cure?) so a strawberry Danio was the star of this show, topped with frozen cherries. Crumpets are my new best friend since starting Weight Watchers – a pudding that is Filling & Healthy? Almost too good to be true. Can’t say the same about the Nutella unfortunately but hey, they say you never forget your first love – I used to eat that stuff out of the jar off a spoon when I spent my first summer in France as an au pair. It is a very effective cure for home-sickness and has helped me out of some tight corners in the years since.
Right now I am sitting in a very bare bedroom surrounded by boxes and pictures wrapped in newspaper. Tomorrow I am starting the process of moving house. I am leaving Aldershot and moving to London, and I am unbelievably excited to be moving in with two of my friends from university. Before I leave swap the suburbs for the big city, I have been trying to squeeze the most out of the beautiful scenery that surrounds us here. Last night after work I went for a bike ride in Caesar’s Camp, a military test ground just down the road from my house. The entrance is a little ominous:
But once you’re inside, it’s absolutely beautiful. I have been running here a few times but haven’t managed to climb the biggest hill. Of course my housemate and I decided that yesterday was the day – we must have looked like total lunatics, pushing our bikes up a near-vertical gravel track, through nettles, brambles and gorse. But the views from the top were more than worth it. I think I’m going to miss Aldershot more than I expected.