Sunday, December 14, 2014

Good things # 1: good news, sushi and beer

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.


marja-leena said...

Belated happy birthday, and on Lucia's Day of course! Your sushi dinner sounds yummy!

We used to have it often and eldest daughter even learned to make it when living in Japan. It's been a while since I've indulged (because of food sensitivities) and I'm too lazy to try making our own with substitutions.

Sabine said...

You probably have been told many stories by now but for what it's worth: There are several relatives very dear to me who had the surgery - incl. my at the time 95 yrs old granny and recently my father who is scared of anything faintly related to medicine and who generally passes out at the sight of blood (not that any blood is involved) and judging from their experiences, cataract surgery is nothing I will ever be afraid of should it so happen to be on my cards.

And very happy birthday!

Catalyst said...

SWMBO and I have both had cataracts on both eyes removed and each of us has had later laser surgery when one of the eyes began "fuzzing up" again. The initial surgeries are a piece of cake and the laser work was done as out-patients. None of it is anything to worry about. No pain, lots of gain.

I do not like sushi though SWMBO adores it. So I wouldn't have enjoyed your birthday feast though your pictures look very festive.

Happy birthday, by the way.

Les said...

Happy belated birthday, and glad for the good news. Sounds like you had a fun celebration.

Roderick Robinson said...

What the heck is Betadine? As to belly-buttons, if you wallow long enough in a bath the fluff merely floats away. Disgusting, of course. But that's another onerous task despatched by mere passivity.

I love the tendency towards minimalism. Small amounts, eaten slowly. Perhaps at a card table. Both wearing knitted kimonos. What style - you lead the pack, Luce, you really do. I notice that the bottle opener is close to what I take to be your place at table. Excellent strategic ploy. I love Japanese beer and their imitation Scotch whisky (Old Suntory) is now out-performing the indigenous product in blind tastings. Tasted OK to me, see if there's a miniature.

Away with metaphysical poets, bring on etiolated entertainment.

Marly Youmans said...

Glad you were born, Lucy. And glad you had a fun (and yummy) birthday. And used the pottery. Yes, use them every day. If they break, you'll still have all the enjoyment of them to remember.

Marly Youmans said...

p. s. I won't tell you my family's horrible cataract saga, but when I get to that surgery, I will definitely find out if they have just gotten a new machine or just re-calibrated it... Have no desire to be first after either of those.

Nimble said...

Otsukare-sama desu! (apparently it literally means 'good job today' but idiomatically means 'you deserve a drink!')

Lucy said...

Thanks all. The sushi was so delicious, I could eat it all again. The beer was very good, the frothing may perhaps have been something to do with the shape of the tumblers...

With many thanks for all the reassurances and positive sharing about the cataract op. It is, it seems, now the most frequent procedure carried out in most western countries, and even where there are any glitches, clearly improves life enormously for almost all recipients and is something to be very thankful for. As things stand, not having the correction made would render our present way of life at best extremely difficult and at worst untenable, so allowing ourselves to be discouraged by very rare intimations of vague horror would not be useful or constructive!

Soize said...

Comment ? ton anniversaire ?? aargh...j'ai raté ça :( alors, avec beaucoup de retard et de confusion, je te souhaite un bon anniversaire.
Très jolie ta table d'anniversaire, je n'ai jamais osé goûter mais je trouve ça très joli à regarder ! Bisous.

the polish chick said...

say no to errant bellybutton fluff!