Dr John Hawkins
Welcome to my bit of the Maison de Stuff,
home to a huge load of pictures,
and my daily blog.
My email address is as above - I've put it in an image in a vein attempt to reduce the amount of spam I get.
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Maison de Stuff
- Recent Entries:
- Monaco to London
Sunday in Monaco
Saturday in Nice and Monaco
London to Nice
Ashford and Peckham
Sell Sell Sell
Bank Holiday Monday
Sunday in Devon
Saturday in Devon
Off to Devon
- Monaco to London
- [Monday 8th September 2014]
After another lovely breakfast at our hotel, we somewhat reluctantly checked out, got a train back to Nice, and from there on to Paris and London.
- Sunday in Monaco
- [Sunday 7th September 2014]
Visited the Oceanographic museum in the morning, followed by lunch at the surprisingly good restaurant on their rooftop terrace. Then the Palais Princier in the early afternoon, before heading back to the hotel for a swim. In the evening we went to the very lively Brasserie de Monaco for dinner.
- Saturday in Nice and Monaco
- [Saturday 6th September 2014]
Spent the morning in Nice, visited the market, and had some Nicoise specialities for lunch at Rene Socca. Got the train to Monaco in the afternoon, had an early evening swim in the hotel pool, then out for pizza and Champagne on the beach in the evening.
- London to Nice
- [Friday 5th September 2014]
Eurostar from London to Paris in the morning, lunch at an Alsatian brasserie next to Gare de Lyon, then TGV on to Nice in the afternoon.
- [Thursday 4th September 2014]
Day before our trip to Nice and Monaco. Despite only being off work for two days I felt quite pressured, and ended up working late from home in the evening to try and get some things finished off.
- [Wednesday 3rd September 2014]
Went to the new Little Waitrose in Pimlico. That's about it really.
- [Tuesday 2nd September 2014]
Worked late at the office today. Not much else to report.
- [Monday 1st September 2014]
Made vaguely Lebanese food for dinner, including some cous cous, fatoush, and fried halloumi.
- Ashford and Peckham
- [Sunday 31st August 2014]
Went to Ashford (the one in Surrey) in the afternoon to visit some of Chie's friends. In the evening I went for one last visit to Frank's in Peckham.
- Loose Change
- [Saturday 30th August 2014]
For the past few years I've developed a bad habit of just emptying out my pockets onto the window sill at the end of the day, and can seldom be bothered to pick up loose change again the next morning. Consequently I'd developed a fairly unwieldy pile of coins which Chie had often suggested I do something about. Spurred on in part by the temporary cash crunch as a result of our potential flat purchase, today I decided to finally sort it out - so this morning we gathered up all the coins, sorted it into the different denominations, and took it to the bank. It was a tad embarrassing to be honest, as there were lots of other people in the branch on Kings Road doing proper modern / grown-up type transactions involving debit cards and filling in forms, whilst I was busily asking to pay in the contents of my piggy bank.
The grand total was about 77 quid.
After that we went to Peter Jones to buy Erika a new pair of shoes, as we had the impression the current ones were getting a bit small for her (and we were right). Then Chie had planned to meet up with a friend, so I took Erika off for a bit in an attempt to get her to doze off in her buggy and have her afternoon nap, which proved quite hard work.
Eventually we ended up at the Waitrose in Belgravia, and I bought things for dinner. The person in front of me at the checkout spent £755. Particularly in light of having earlier in the day gone to the bank to pay in a bag full of pennies, I really felt like a pauper.
Walking around Sloane Square and Belgravia today was a little bittersweet, given the distinct possibility that we could be moving away from the area by the end of the year.
Made a moussaka for dinner which came out particularly well.
- Sell Sell Sell
- [Friday 29th August 2014]
Actually quite a momentous day, although perhaps not very interesting to write about. As a result of our potential flat purchase I would need to sell a bunch of the company stock which makes up part of my income, and as this was the last day before the trading window closed (and at least in theory we might be in a positon to complete on the purchase of the flat before it reopened), it probably had to be today. In fact this would be the biggest stock sale I've done to date - and therefore the single biggest financial transaction of any kind of my life so far. I ultimately hit "sell" just a minute or two before leaving the office at 5pm, with a beer in hand (from my very brief attendance of TGIF today). It's best not to take these things too seriously, I find.
Also got the report from the survey we'd had commissioned on the flat we're hoping to buy today. A bit surprised that took a whole week to be delivered (the survey was carried out last Thursday) but I suppose it's still progress.
Chie went out for the evening, so I had a very quiet evening in looking after Erika. I sort of felt some kind of fizzy drinks ought to be involved, to mark the large sale of stock, but perhaps any such celebratory activity is best held off until when/if we actually complete on the deal for this flat.
- Vaguely Mexican
- [Thursday 28th August 2014]
For the second night in a row there was some talk at work of possible evening drinks - and approval from Chie - but it ultimately didn't come to anything. So instead I headed home by way of Sainsbury's, where I met Chie and Erika, and eventually settled on some vague interpretation of Mexican food for dinner. I think I was approximately trying to recreate a burrito, so made some roughly Mexican flavoured beans, and rice which was a round about attempt to recreate the type of rice you have in a burrito. Plus some sauteed peppers, some sliced avocado, sour cream, and wonderfully cheap and tacky "Mexicana" cheese. The end result wasn't particularly authentic but was actually reasonably tasty.
- Well Organised
- [Wednesday 27th August]
Got up early this morning and booked the TGV for our trip to Monaco. In light of our potential flat purchase we had considered cancelling the trip altogether, but I later discovered I'd actually paid in full in advance for the hotel, and besides, given the crappy weather of late and the fact Chie often gets a bit down around this time of year with the change of the seasons, it seemed like a long weekend in the sun was still a good idea.
Also sent off all the initial paperwork to our conveyancing solicitor for our embryonic flat purchase this morning. Felt satisfyingly organised.
Got a new phone today - a Moto G 4G. I'd managed to smash the screen on the previous one in Greenwich the weekend before last, and I could feel the little shards of glass making tiny cuts on my thumb. It turned out that it cost about the same to just get a brand new phone as it would have done to have the screen replaced, albeit that this is a less fancy phone than the Nexus 5 I had before.
There had been some vague talk of possibly going out in the evening amongst the usual suspects at work, but it ultimately didn't materialise. So instead I picked up Chinese takeaway on the way home - somehow I couldn't quite bring myself to cook having initially thought I'd be going out. Whilst waiting for the takeaway to be cooked I popped next door to the interesting tailors which I often look in the window of, but never go in. On impulse I bought a very reasonably priced jacket in their sale, although later on felt a bit guilty given the cash crunch we're currently experiencing as a result of the flat purchase.
Later on in the evening I booked the Eurostar for our Monaco trip, still a bit in two minds as to whether it was an unnecessary extravagance given the other demands on our cash right now, but I'm sure it'll all work out.
- Regency Cafe
- [Tuesday 26th August 2014]
Erika has quite severe nappy rash at the moment, so we decided we ought to take her to see the doctor this morning. Amusingly having got there bright and early to queue up for the walk-in clinic, it ultimately transpired that the doctor who was supposed to be doing it was in fact on holiday. So it had to be rebooked elsewhere a bit later in the morning, giving us a bit of time to kill in the vicinity of Vincent Square. Naturally we therefore decided to go for breakfast at the Regency Cafe, which was delightful as always.
We'd been given a bunch of initial paperwork to fill in by our conveyancing solicitor before the bank holiday weekend, and this evening I set about sorting it all out with a drive and sense of purpose which surprised me as much as it surprised Chie. I normally hate filling in forms, and she's the one who has to thrust them in front of me to get them done. As this also involved collecting bank statements and other documents I took the opportunity to tidy up and file away the mass of random papers on the coffee table, where the contents of envelopes inevitably get dumped. Felt very virtuous after that.
- Bank Holiday Monday
- [Monday 25th August 2014]
We'd originally planned to stay in Devon until after lunch, but the weather didn't seem particularly good again and we'd had a text from Gav, who was in London for a bit, asking if there was a possibility of meeting up today. So we decided to get an earlier train instead.
Got back to the flat some time after 1pm, and after a quick lunch the girls had a nap, which ended up lasting most of the afternoon. I was keen to get out and do something, so headed out in the direction of a distinctly sodden Soho, and holed up in the Coach of Horses to wait for Gav. They had Newtons Kingston Black Cider and Bridge Farm Perry behind the bar, both of which were very good.
Gav joined me after a little while and we had a bit of a natter about our respective employers (we've both ended up working in big Silicon Valley companies), and eventually went to meet the girls for dinner at Tibits.
- Sunday in Devon
- [Sunday 24th August 2014]
Stayed in at Dad's house for the morning (rather a busy time of the week for him!) and called Jiji/Baba (Chie's parents) on Skype. Had quite a long chat with them, including sharing our news of the potential flat purchase, to which their reaction was simply "osoroshii" (which I took to mean scary, given the sums involved etc).
I made a good old lentil and tomato soup for lunch, which was ready for when Dad got back from his morning duties. It seemed to be well received, but I ought to have made double the quantity.
After lunch we went out to Teignmouth, initially just so we could go to the Waitrose there, but once there we thought we might as well go for a walk along the seafront. Not particularly nice weather today - it stayed dry while we were out, but felt really quite chilly. Still, undeterred we sat on the beach outside the Ship Inn for a bit, and whilst the grown-ups had a drink Erika had a bit of a play in the sand. Oh and we ate some Scampi Flavoured Fries (they're vegetarian) - they're still fascinatingly horrible and yet weirdly moreish.
Back at the house in the evening Dad made toad in the hole for dinner, and we were joined by Janie's Mum Nora.
- Saturday in Devon
- [Saturday 23rd August 2014]
Visited Reddaway's Cider in the morning, which was really exciting again. The cider cellar there has a magical atmosphere, and the farmyard setting we walk through to get it is so much like you'd hope it to be (all rustic, higgledy piggledy outbuildings with free roaming chickens) that it almost feels like a parody.
Spent the afternoon on the beach at Dawlish Warren, as Dawlish air show was on today, which made for an interesting mixture of digging in the sand with occasional interludes of planes flying over head doing aerial acrobatics. Erika seeemed to quite enjoy both aspects. Dawlish Warren was always a favourite beach of our on bucket and spade holidays when I was a kid, and it's lovely to be able to go back there and have Erika enjoy it too.
After the Red Arrows had done their bit, Dad and I decided to walk back to the house, taking Erika in her buggy in the hope that she'd doze off. She did, but only for half an hour or so. We stopped off on the way back at the Ship In in Cockwood, where Dad and I had a cider, and Erika had an orange juice and some mini cheddars. She also ate a couple of the olives Dad had got for us, which rather surprised a nearby table.
Had a cream tea when we got back home, and for dinner Dad made his own take on a "nabe" (Japanese hotpot), with udon noodles and lots of vegetables from his allotment. We also made a good dent in the Reddaway's Cider.
- Off to Devon
- [Friday 22nd August 2014]
Went into work early this morning as I'd be leaving early this afternoon, by way of Victoria station where I picked up the train tickets, and got a new Family and Friends railcard. I bought a pen to fill in the form. It occurred to me it had been quite a while since I actually bought a pen (although on further thinking maybe only two years ago, in Vancouver airport).
Left work early so we could catch the latest train out of Paddington before the peak period starts, and tickets get a lot more expensive. Chie brought along some edamame for the journey, which Erika thoroughly enjoyed deshelling and eating.
On the little connecting train from Exeter onwards one of the passengers had a snake. Not in a cage or anything, he was just holding it in his hands. That was a little surprising.
Arrived at the station nearest to Dad's house at 6:42, and were met on the platform there. Headed back to Dad's house where he made an of interesting assortment of vegetable dishes for dinner, almost all of which with vegetables from his allotment.
- [Thursday 21st August 2014]
Chie had a doctors appointment in the evening, so I went to pick Erika up from nursery after work.
For dinner I made yet another batch of ribollita, partly mindful of the fact we'd be going to Devon over the bank holiday weekend and there were some vegetables which probably needed using up.
- Little Waitrose
- [Wednesday 20th August 2014]
Rumours of a Little Waitrose in Pimlico have been circulating for a while, but for the first time today as I walked along Warwick Way after leaving I saw the hoarding outside. Considering property prices in Pimlico I'd always been a baffled by the fact the best offering it had for food shopping was a Sainsbury's.
It is of course a bit ironic that just at the point Pimlico starts to get some of the things I think it's been lacking all these years (I also noticed an interesting looking coffee shop about to open the other day) we're on the brink of potentially moving away. Such is life.
Both dropped Erika off at nursery, and went to pick her up together with Chie today - we wanted to have a bit of a chat with the staff as she's moved to a different room recently, and we wanted to find out what the daily routine is, etc.