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Hearty

Hearty. My Dutch friends used it when they were talking about breakfast. 
'We'll have a light breakfast and leave before 9,' said A.
T didn't agree. 'I think we'll need a hearty breakfast,' he said. 'We have a long drive ahead of us.'
'Alright, a hearty breakfast then.'

It's not a word I'd ever use for breakfast. Light, maybe. Continental (when I read aloud from hotel menus - I like to clarify and share information about what's available to eat). Big. Cooked. Fried. But never hearty. 'Hearty' has a tweed jacket, green wellingtons, kedgeree and cocked-shotgun feel about it to me.

But it sounds right for T and A, perhaps because English is their second language and while they don't have a trace of accent when they speak it, and they speak it beautifully too, they occasionally use words that mother-tongue English speakers might not. But this only adds to the richness, the colourfulness, of their conversation: you only have to read what 'hearty' suggested to me to be convinced of that.

But there's another reason why the word suits them so well: they are hearty  in the sense of their relationship being full of heart, of kindness and consideration towards each other. When I've spent time with them I am aware of the love that surrounds them like light filling a room.

I don't think I know many other couples like that. Perhaps it's partly due to them meeting later in life. T once told me that he'd prepared himself for being alone in middle and old age, hadn't expected to find this kind of happiness.

I like real love stories. Love stories that bloom in the details of ordinary life. The kind of love UA Fanthorpe talks about in her poem, 'Atlas':  There is a kind of love called maintenance,/ Which stores the WD40 and knows when to use it;/ Which checks the insurance, and doesn’t forget/ The milkman; which remembers to plant bulbs/

The kind of love that makes you a hearty breakfast when you need one:

A Sunday breakfast, with love from Tony

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