The pretty new checkout girl at Ecomarché looks puzzled when we ask for our Radio Times. Her colleague at the next till grins and goes and fetches it - she doesn't know the routine, I say. Then we go to the fish van in the car park, and buy sleek and fresh lemon sole fillets; no, no winkles today, I say.
The lemon sole, dusted in flour and fried in oil and butter mixed (I'm too lazy to clarify butter) is perfect, firm and golden. I enjoy our Friday morning shop in Quessoy.
Our friend D is weak and dehydrated with radiotherapy, and of course with what it is treating. His wife J is more desperate and tearful than we have ever seen her. The taxi/ambulance driver, Vèronique, when she takes him into the clinic, insists he sees the duty doctor, who admits him straight away, fearing that a hot weekend at home might be the last straw, and then requests a consultation with the chief oncologist, and by this evening he is settled in, on a drip, and already more comfortable . J is high with relief. These back-up, ancillary/para - medical people - taxi-ambulance, pharmacists etc - who are not afraid to issue directives and insist with the medics (who, in their turn, are not too proud to listen) are one of the things that make the health system good here, I think.
J and I arrange to go and pick sloes in the arboretum tomorrow, and then I'll take her on to visit D at the clinic.
Tom makes a very handsome jar of pickled vegetables: cauliflower, carrots, and shallots - to go with a meal next week. The recipe called for small pickling onions, but shallots were what was available, and they are much prettier, with their soft mauve-pink tint, and I'm sure a better flavour. There is honey in the pickling liquor, and tarragon, fennel and bay leaves. I snitch a very small floret of cauliflower as it is cooling, but don't say.
Then he goes and does final battle with a flatpack chest of drawers, which the leaflet said would take 30 minutes, but which has been ongoing since yesterday, and Tom is no slouch when it comes to assembling flatpack furniture, believe me. The drawers don't line up, and need re-jigging, it is heavy and awkward, and by the end some slightly off-colour remarks are being made about the manufacturing credentials of the PRC, but by tonight we have a completed chest whose drawers open and close properly. Then he sets about rubbing down the gesso on a canvas for a still life.
I say I don't believe anyone else has a husband who is so Good At Jobs. He shrugs modestly, and says perhaps M does, and he's sure P does...
Pshaw - I snort - they can keep them!
An on-line friend sends me a link to a beautiful short story she has written.
I weed the whole azalea bed. The camellia (sorry Dumas) we put in this year has plenty of strong green shoots on it, but also a tight ligature of bindweed. We don't - touchwood - get enormous amounts of bindweed in the garden, and I am reminded of not only its strangulating ruthlessness, but also the satisfaction of carefully unwinding its spiral from the host plant and, with a final sharp tug, removing it.
- best of the webs, and a Japanese anemone (might be worth a click or two to enlarge. B/W shows up line, as well as form).