One of the main happy things to happen this week was the very straightforward run down to the big, really quite remarkably big, out in the fields down a road of its own, with bags of easy parking, polyclinique outside Pontivy. A very lively ophthalmology department (it was Wednesday afternoon and full of families of bespectacled children) shunted us through fairly efficiently, confirmed the cataract diagnosis and the imminent necessity of surgery, gave us outpatients dates for the right eye in January and the left in February, and a pile of paperwork, prescriptions and instructions (two Betadine showers in the preceding twelve hours and don't-forget-to-wash-your-belly-button seemed a bit like overkill but we accepted it, after all you don't want belly button fluff finding its way into your vitreous humours, do you?). Nothing to it, seemed to be the general attitude. Tom was much cheered, until he made the mistake of too much googling and learning rather more than he wanted to about the exact nature of the procedure. Serves you right for looking, was my attitude. But the rapid deterioration of his vision really more than outweighs any trepidation, and we are much relieved.
So then on to my birthday. As I say, it rained most of the day, but I went about my usual Friday morning errands and then we went up to the big supermarket near the big town, to carry out a plan hatched a while back and which we have been very much looking forward to realising. In the last couple of years perhaps, sushi, indeed much Japanese food, though I've yet to come across tempura, has become popular here. There are a couple of little restaurants in St Brieuc, and a small enterprise has also set up within the supermarket preparing it sur place. They are right next to the fish counter, and simply transfer pieces of salmon, tuna and bream across directly and stand there with their sharp knives and rolling mats making the stuff. It's very good, but expensive, not much cheaper than going down town to the restaurant for it, so we've only ever tended to buy very small amounts and take it home and eat it slowly with some ceremony, but I decided for my birthday I'd like to have a sushi blow-out, and with going out in the evenings getting a bit problematical with dodgy night vision etc (Tom's is failing, and mine's never been great, and if I drove I couldn't drink anyway), it seemed like a good solution.
The lady serving was very friendly and encouraging, and happy to be photographed,
and we really did buy rather a lot, though we turned down the special Christmas packs designed for French tastes with a blob of foie gras stuck onto one or two of the maki.
and yes, we did eat it all. There were two pieces of sushi and one of maki left, but I made short work of them at lunchtime the next day (there's also a tub of pickled ginger left but that keeps and goes with anything, or indeed with nothing, I just eat it on its own, sneakily, straight from the 'fridge). We have our own chopsticks, mine are smaller and round and more polished, Tom's are matt bamboo with the partial square cross section. I put spoons out too, just in case.
We also got Japanese beer, which we enjoyed; it was quite frothy. I got out some of our best hand-thrown ceramics, the little dipping saucers and the pottery tumblers, which are the most heavenly things to drink anything out of, we ought to use them all the time, but I can't get past keeping some things for best.
All quite delicious, worth looking forward to.