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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Main Index (text only)
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Maison de Stuff
- Recent Entries:
Greenwich and Blackheath
The Heath in the Dark
Two Trips to the Heath
Heath with Andrew
Radlett to Shenley
New Breaky Bottom
Tail End of the Sunset
Back from the Midlands
To the East Midlands
Canterbury to Chilham
Macarons, Cider, Disco
Sushi and Malaysian Food
Dalston and Chambolle Musigny
Instant Macaroni Cheese
Picnic on the Heath
Wine Tasting on the Heath
Lunch with Friends
Lunch on Ditchling Beacon
Sunset on the Heath
Breaky Bottom and Jagariko
The Surprise Eruption of Mount Hampstead
Heath and Pineapple
Wednesday in Devon
London to Devon
Bank Holiday Monday
Girls Back from Japan
Lebanese Food on the Heath
Avoiding Being at Home
Beyond Meat Pizza
Fungi and Foxes
Wessex Ridgeway - Tisbury to Maiden Newton - Day Two
Rainbows on the Heath
Trolley and St. James's
Dentist and Dinner at Olivo
Wessex Ridgeway - Westbury to Tisbury - Day Two
Wessex Ridgeway - Westbury to Tisbury - Day One
Haircut and the Heath
Chinese Takeaway on the Heath
Moving the Fridge
- [Friday 26th November 2021]
Finished work early and went to enjoy the sunset on the heath - quite a nice one today I thought.
Erika had gone to a friend's house after school, so I picked her up on the way back. Dinner was a snacky affair as Erika had already eaten at her friend's house, and I'd had quite a big lunch of assorted leftovers.
- Greenwich and Blackheath
- [Thursday 25th November 2021]
I took the day off work today, and had planned to visit a friend down in Blackheath, but somehow we got our wires crossed a bit and ultimately didn't end up meeting. I took the train down to Blackfriars, then the boat from there (or Bankside Pier to be precise) to Greenwich, which is always nice. I walked through Greenwich Park to get to Blackheath. Have to admit I think Greenwich Park is a much nicer green space than Blackheath itself, which is a bit flat, and even with today's blue skies looked a bit bleak.
Picked up some pie and mash on my way through Greenwich which I had for lunch sat on a park bench on Blackheath, waiting to hear back from my friend who it seems didn't get any of my messages until much later in the day. Oh well.
Got the train back home after lunch, and made a lasagne for dinner. I thought it came out rather well, but Erika protested about the fact I'd used the type of fake mince she doesn't like. Ho, hum.
- [Wednesday 24th November 2021]
Yet again the heath around sunset, this time with some Gavignet in hand.
- The Heath in the Dark
- [Tuesday 23rd November 2021]
Went and sat on the heath in the dark for a bit while Erika was at her woodworking class, having ferried not only her but this time two of her friends there and back. I was in an oddly pensive mood today, there was a bit of a strange atmosphere on the heath, or maybe it was just me.
Indian food from the Tiffin Tin for dinner, our old stalwart, which was a significant improvement on yesterday's disappointment.
- Disappointing Dumplings
- [Monday 22nd November 2021]
Ordered some delivery food for dinner, but it was really disappointing. I thought we could try dim sum / dumplings for a change, but this seems to be the sort of food you really have to eat freshly made at a restaurant.
- Two Trips to the Heath
- [Sunday 21st November 2021]
Chie and Erika were still away for the weekend, and I made two trips to the heath today - one just before lunch and one late afternoon / early evening. In between a quick Sunday roast at a nearby pub.
- Heath with Andrew
- [Friday 19th November 2021]
Andrew was in my neck of the woods, so came and joined me for wine on the heath this evening. We also slightly oddly had a couple of dehydrated camping meals while there.
- [Wednesday 17th November 2021]
Chie and Erika played indoor badminton this evening.
- [Tuesday 16th November 2021]
Some Pommard on the heath while Erika was at her woodworking class. I can't say I'm really a fan of Pommard.
- [Monday 15th November 2021]
I went for a morning stroll to the heath, with a coffee, largely to try and remove some dog poo from my walking boots. In the evening Chinese food for dinner.
- Three Playdates
- [Sunday 14th November 2021]
Quite a busy day - especially for Erika - who had not one but a total of three playdates today. First at ours spanning lunch with a friend from school, then over to another friend for the afternoon (and meanwhile Chie and I went for a walk on the heath) then finally an impromptu gathering back at ours again for dinner.
- Radlett to Shenley
- [Saturday 13th November 2021]
I randomly got the train to Radlett (probably the nearest bit of countryside to home, only 23 minutes on the train) in the morning, for a short walk from there to Shenley and back again. Later on a quick glass of Fourrier's new Bourgogne Rouge on the heath. Then pizza and a movie with the girls in the evening.
Read more at John Goes for a Walk.
- Coral Room
- [Friday 12th November 2021]
For the first time in a long time had a night out with the old gang, starting off at the St Pancras Champagne Bar, then onto the Coral Room in Bloomsbury.
- Rene Leclerc
- [Wednesday 10th November 2021]
Tried some Rene Leclerc Gevrey Chambertin on the heath today - a producer Keith Floyd visited in one of his TV shows.
- New Breaky Bottom
- [Tuesday 9th November 2021]
Quickly tried the newly released Breaky Bottom on the heath while Erika was at her woodworking class.
- Slavic Dinner
- [Sunday 7th November 2021]
Erika's friend's Mum invited us round for dinner to sample some Slavic cuisine. I did a bit of research on Ukranian wine, and found that Hedonism in Mayfair had quite a selection of old vintages from the Massandra winery, so I headed down there in the afternoon to pick up a bottle.
- [Saturday 6th November 2021]
Andrew happened to be in my neck of the woods, so for the first time in what seemed like forever I actually had a friend come to the flat.
- Bonfire Night
- [Friday 5th November 2021]
We were originally supposed to be all going to Parliament Hill for Bonfire Night to watch the fireworks, along with Erika's friend and her parents. As it turned out though, Erika's friend and been unwell, and as a result Erika lost interest in the idea. So I just went by myself and had a pleasant time of it regardless.
- Chateau Peyraguey
- [Thursday 4th November 2021]
Took one of the half bottles (of which I have rather a lot) of Chateau Peyragey to the heath for the sunset this evening.
- Tail End of the Sunset
- [Tuesday 2nd November 2021]
Headed to the heath just about in time to catch the tail end of the sunset (it's getting harder as the days get shorter).
- [Monday 1st November 2021]
Seems to be November then.
- [Sunday 31st October 2021]
We all got into the spirit of it a bit this year.
- Back from the Midlands
- [Saturday 30th October 2021]
Drove from the East Midlands back to London in the morning, stopping off for lunch in Hemel Hempstead of all places, and happened upon a nice pub called the Three Horseshoes by the canal. Later on in the afternoon the girls went off to do pumpkin carving with local friends, and I went and sat in the woods on the heath until it got dark.
- To the East Midlands
- [Friday 29th October 2021]
Drove up to the East Midlands this morning, to visit Mum. Took Erika to see the fair in the early evening.
- Double Pineapple
- [Thursday 28th October 2021]
Went to the Pineapple twice today - first time for lunch, second time after finishing work for a quick pint before dinner. Tried to take the same photo both times.
- [Wednesday 27th October 2021]
To the heath once again in the early evening.
- [Tuesday 26th October 2021]
Early evening visit to the heath.
- Canterbury to Chilham
- [Sunday 24th October 2021]
Went down to Canterbury to visit Leon and family today. Leon and I left the girls to their own devices this time, and we went for a walk out in the countryside surrounding Canterbury - from Canterbury to Chilham.
- [Saturday 23rd October 2021]
Quiet day at home.
- Ditchling Beacon
- [Friday 22nd October 2021]
Had the day off work today, and decided to do my now fairly standard outing of getting the train down to Hassocks, and walking up Ditchling Beacon. This time for a slight change I stopped off in Ditchling for lunch first, and then had a glass or two of Black Dog Hill atop Ditchling Beacon, overlooking the vineyard where the grapes for it were grown.
- Cross Country
- [Thursday 21st October 2021]
Two visits to the heath today - first to see Erika's cross country run in the morning, then I clocked off from work a bit early and went for a late afternoon / early evening walk with some East Meon and some Monster Munch.
- [Tuesday 19th October 2021]
Took Erika to her woodworking class and went for a short walk on the heath while she was there. Later on in the evening we fnished of the macarons, and had some Cheateau Peyraguey.
- [Monday 18th October 2021]
Christian was in the neighbourhood for a morning run, so we went for a coffee and I followed him to the top of Parliament Hill from where he continued his run again.
- Wedding Anniversary
- [Sunday 17th October 2021]
We were originally supposed to visit Grandma today, but Chie wasn't feeling well so we decided to postpone. I spent the morning scrubbing mildew off the walls, which wasn't much fun. Erika made soup for lunch, and we had a special afternoon tea as it was our wedding anniversary today. Later on the girls were otherwise engaged with Japanese homework or something and I went for a walk on the heath.
- Macarons, Cider, Disco
- [Saturday 16th October 2021]
Went down to St Pancras to buy macarons for our impending wedding anniversary. Cider festival at the Pineapple in the afternoon. In the evening Erika did some disco dancing at home
- Sushi and Malaysian Food
- [Thursday 14th October 2021]
Couldnt be bothered cooking today, nor could we agree on what to eat, so we actually ordered two takeaways - sushi for the girls, and I oddly had Malaysian food.
- Dalston and Chambolle Musigny
- [Sunday 10th October 2021]
Lunch in Dalston at a Turkish restaurant while Erika was at a friend's party nearby. Later on in the afternoon I headed to the heath for some Chambolle Musigny.
- Royal Oak
- [Saturday 9th October 2021]
Went down to Borough to meet Andrew at the Royal Oak.
- [Thursday 7th October 2021]
Drizzly time on the heath, then Lego with Erika a bit later on.
Today's wine tasting notes: Gavignet Nuit St Georges "Les Pruliers" 2011. Red/brown colour, prunes, cherries, slightly floral nose. Pleasant mouthfeel: silky but thick, fruit nicely intact but acidity quite mellow. Tannins very soft. Good (underlined).
- [Wednesday 6th October 2021]
Pleasant skies this evening.
Today's wine tasting notes: Gavignet Nuits St Georges "Les Bousselots" 2012. Cherries on nose, but slightly flat. Aged, savoury palate. That velvety vinous thing but strained tannins. I wanted a bit more fruit expression. Slightly underwhelmed by this to be honest.
- [Tuesday 5th October 2021]
Quick visit to the heath while Erika was at her woodworking class.
- Instant Macaroni Cheese
- [Monday 4th October 2021]
I wanted to experiment with trying to assemble my own "instant" (ish) macaroni cheese for camping/walking, and the ingredients arrived today.
- Picnic on the Heath
- [Sunday 3rd October 2021]
Lunchtime picnic and then a bit of a wander around on the heath with our local friends, betwen occasional rain showers.
Today's wine tasting notes: Gavignet Nuits St Georges Vielle Vignes 2017. Succulent cherries, velvety, thick mouthfeel. Really lovely actually. (Tasting notes cut short a bit as it started raining!)
- [Saturday 2nd October 2021]
Rather a rainy, dreary sort of a day. I just popped out for a bit to "wear in" my new walking boots.
Today's wine tasting notes: Gavignet Nuits St Georges "Les Pruliers" 2012. Decanted. Raining outside. Cherries on nose have broadened, more vinous. Plummy (prunes?), peppery, and Chie found hints of sandalwood on the nose. Savoury palate, not too acidic, chewy tannins: smooth initially, a little peppery later.
- [Friday 1st October 2021]
Short early evening visit to the heath.
Today's wine tasting notes - a break from the Gavignet/Burgundy today, as I was in the mood for English sparkling to celebrate the end of the working week (and I had just completed a several month long project on Turkey, which I wanted to mark somehow).
Breaky Bottom 2014 Cuvee Michelle Moreau. I've had this a few times before, and previously remember it being vivacious, zesty and interestingly slightly orangey. Today though it showed a little differently: really bold, vibrant citrus/apple, less orange than previous outings. A little more autolytic character on the nose now: brioche?
- Wine Tasting on the Heath
- [Thursday 30th September 2021]
Another early evening stroll to the heath. I took my little notebook with me to record wine tasting notes.
Today's notes. Gavignet Nuits St Georges "Les Bousselots" 2014. Colour ruby-brown, nose more cherry liqueur than fresh cherries - a bit reminiscent of Ginjinha actually. Condensed, slightly savoury, still good acidity. Broadly silky on tongue, but some subtle other texture. Tannins noticeable but in proportion.
- Mellow Fruitfulness
- [Wednesday 29th September 2021]
Surveyed the state of the fruit bearing flora in the garden this afternoon - surprisingly we actually seem to have a couple of tomatoes!
Also today a delivery of Gavignet wines from Tom, another really interesting selection of wines not currently advertised on the wine list on his website. I decided it might be good to start writing down tasting notes for these, and Erika kindly let me have a little notebook of hers to do so in.
Today's tasting notes: Gavignet Bourgogne Hautes Cote de Nuits "Clos de Dames Huguettes" 2016. Sweet / candied / morello cherry on nose. Nice fresh acidity, juicy very soft tannins. Youthful, lovely, light. Not sure it went with tapas though.
- [Tuesday 28th September 2021]
Quick walk to the heath, went to pick Erika up from her woodwork class, then candles in the garden again later on.
- Lunch with Friends
- [Sunday 26th September 2021]
Sunday lunch with our local friends, then a tour of a local yard sale in the afternoon.
- Lunch on Ditchling Beacon
- [Saturday 25th September 2021]
Took the train down to Hassocks, and repeated a circular walk from last summer, up to Ditchling Beacon and back again.
- [Friday 24th September 2021]
Candles in the garden once again.
- Autumn Equinox
- [Wednesday 22nd September 2021]
Today was the autumn equinox, so I got up early today to go and watch the sunrise from Hampstead Heath. Then went back later to catch the sunset as well.
- [Tuesday 21st September 2021]
Erika has started a woodworking class, and I went to pick her up from it in the early evening.
- [Monday 20th September 2021]
Had some churros after dinner.
- [Sunday 19th September 2021]
Once more lit the big stick candle in the garden this evening.
- [Saturday 18th September 2021]
Went to Frank's for the first and last time this year.
- Sunset on the Heath
- [Friday 17th September 2021]
Headed to the heath for the sunset - not quite as dramatic as the volcanic eruption earlier this week, but still quite a nice one nonetheless.
- Breaky Bottom and Jagariko
- [Wednesday 15th September 2021]
After work drinks and nibbles in the garden: Breaky Bottom and Jagariko (a kind of Japanese crisps which are very moreish).
- The Surprise Eruption of Mount Hampstead
- [Tuesday 14th September 2021]
Strange conditions on the heath this evening: an evening mist, couple with the pink skies of sunset, somehow combined to make it look as though a volcano was erupted over in Hampstead.
- Go Ape
- [Sunday 12th September 2021]
As a birthday treat we took Erika and her friend to Go Ape in Alexandra Palace for some swinging about in the treetops.
- [Saturday 11th September 2021]
Nice warm day - had watermelon in the afternoon.
- Erika's Birthday
- [Friday 10th September 2021]
Rather a quiet one this year - we somehow didn't really get our act together to organise anything. So it was just the three of us - present opening in the morning, cake after Erika got back from school, and sushi for dinner in the evening.
- [Thursday 9th September 2021]
Went to the dentist again this morning, which meant lunch at Oliveto afterwards.
- [Tuesday 7th September 2021]
Had a Negroni out in the garden at aperitivo hour.
- [Monday 6th September 2021]
An apple on the tree was looking particularly red already, so we decided to have the first of the season today.
- Heath and Pineapple
- [Sunday 5th September 2021]
Afternoon stroll to the heath followed by a visit to the Pineapple.
- [Saturday 4th September 2021]
Made butterbeer with Erika in the evening.
- [Friday 3rd September 2021]
We left Devon in the morning to drive back to London, and on a bit of a whim - Chie's suggestion - we took a detour to stop off in Glastonbury on the way back. After a quick dash up Glastobury Tor to admire the view we went into the town centre for a browse around all the weird and wonderful shops there, and to have lunch (in a vegetarian cafe of course). It occurred to me while we were there that Glastonbury high street is probably the closest thing that exists in real life to Diagon Alley in Harry Potter - there are essentially shops selling ingredients for making potions - all sorts of strange and unusual things you certainly can't buy in our local Sainsbury's. This made for a very nice way to wile away a couple of hours, and a nice distraction from the drudgery of the driving. Although rather frustratingly when we got back in the car again Google Maps told us we still had four hours driving ahead of us - pretty much the same as it had been when we'd departed Devon in the morning, and we'd been driving for an hour and a half to get to Glastonbury!
- Dad's Birthday
- [Thursday 2nd September 2021]
Took the ferry over to Exmouth in the daytime, then a multi stage feast in the evening, with seafoody starters and English sparkling at Dad's house, then a main course at the pub down the road, then back home again for birthday cake afterwards.
- Wednesday in Devon
- [Wednesday 1st September 2021]
Alas rather grey weather today, as pretty much our entire stay in Devon was. We pretty much stayed in and around Dad's house, just making a couple of forays out on foot, towards the end of the morning to go to the local coffee place, then to see Dad's allotment, then later on in the afternoon Chie and I went to the Anchor at Cockwood for a quick pint.
- London to Devon
- [Tuesday 31st August 2021]
Drove down to Devon, stopping off at Fleet services, Woodhenge and Stonehenge en route.
- Bank Holiday Monday
- [Monday 30th August 2021]
Out for a pub lunch, then a walk to Hampstead Heath.
- Girls Back from Japan
- [Sunday 29th August 2021]
I got up very early this morning to go and pick the girls up from Japan. Mostly had a quiet day at home catching up, and I made a Sunday roast of sorts in the evening.
- [Saturday 28th August 2021]
Spent most of the morning and some of the afternoon engaged in various cleaning and household maintenance tasks - got the new fridge freezer installed, had the old one taken away, and also disposed of the cupboard at the local tip.
- Lebanese Food on the Heath
- [Friday 27th August 2021]
I fancied Lebanese food for dinner this evening, so went down to Phoenicia, our local Middle Eastern food shop, picked up an assortment of things, and took them along with some Chateau Musar to dine on the heath. That was rather nice.
- [Thursday 26th August 2021]
Removed and dismantled the cupboard the old fridge freezer had been housed in, which was quite satisfying. In the evening another foray to the heath.
- Avoiding Being at Home
- [Wednesday 25th August 2021]
Second day of the electrical works today, and once the electricians had finished I did my best to avoid being at home, as the place was a complete tip.
- [Tuesday 24th August 2021]
Had to clear out some bits of the flat today to make way for the electricians to come and do some rewiring.
- [Sunday 22nd August 2021]
Evening on the heath.
- Beyond Meat Pizza
- [Friday 20th August 2021]
For the first time in probably over a decade I had a pizza from Pizza Hut, intrigued because they had some vegan meat toppings from Beyond Meat.
- [Thursday 19th August 2021]
Old friend from work Gemma was back in the UK for a few days, so I went down to Deptford this evening to catch up with her at Andrew's house.
- Heath Again
- [Wednesday 18th August 2021]
A similar pattern to yesterday evening - a stroll on the heath earlier on in the evening followed by a visit to the Pineapple.
- Fungi and Foxes
- [Tuesday 17th August 2021]
Early evening stroll to the heath, spotted a few fungi, then later on an evening visit to the Pineapple, and spotted a fox.
- Wessex Ridgeway - Tisbury to Maiden Newton - Day Two
- [Sunday 15th August 2021]
Despite the luxury of a proper campsite, yet again I only seemed to manage a couple of hours sleep, and then fell foul of the usual wet feet issue the next morning, which made for another weary and rather sore trudge on day two. I was meant to walk all the way to Maiden Newton today, but gave up at Cerne Abbas, and got a taxi the rest of the way from there.
- [Friday 13th August 2021]
Checking up on the garden.
- [Wednesday 11th August 2021]
Headed down to Whitstable for the afternoon / evening, for some wine on the balcony of one of the Fishermen's Huts with old friends.
- Vera's Birthday
- [Tuesday 10th August 2021]
Had a family zoom call to mark what would have been Vera's 102nd birthday. Looked through some of the old postcards Vera sent to us when I was a child.
- Beech Nuts
- [Monday 9th August 2021]
Some beech nuts I had picked up on Hampstead Heath yesterday.
- Rainbows on the Heath
- [Sunday 8th August 2021]
Sunday roast at the Vine, followed by a quick visit to the Southampton Arms, then wiled away the rest of the afternoon on the heath, looking at the rainbows in between the showers.
- Trolley and St. James's
- [Saturday 7th August 2021]
Went out and bought a hand trolley (sack trolley?) to help get the fridge freezer back into place in the morning. In the afternoon I felt like dim sum for lunch, but timed it badly, and ended up having ramen instead. Then a bit of a wander round some old haunts in St. James's, followed by a quick visit to Fortnum and Mason, then back to the Pineapple.
- [Friday 6th August 2021]
Rained quite a lot this evening, but I trekked up to Archway regardless as I wanted a pizza from the pizza place there.
- Dentist and Dinner at Olivo
- [Thursday 5th August 2021]
Finally went back to the dentist for a checkup after a long hiatus this afternoon, and afterwards went for a pint at the Duke of Wellington followed by dinner at Olivo.
- [Tuesday 3rd August 2021]
Went to the Pineapple to retrieve my umbrella (which I'd left behind on a previous visit) and had some Thai food for dinner while I was there.
- Wessex Ridgeway - Westbury to Tisbury - Day Two
- [Sunday 1st August 2021]
Day two of my walk from Westbury to Tisbury.
Read more on John Goes for a Walk.
- Wessex Ridgeway - Westbury to Tisbury - Day One
- [Saturday 31st July 2021]
First day of the second chunk of the Wessex Ridgeway, from Westbury to Tisbury.
Read more on John Goes for a Walk.
- Haircut and the Heath
- [Thursday 29th July 2021]
Had a hair cut in the daytime. In the evening headed off to the heath again.
- Wine Deliveries
- [Wednesday 28th July 2021]
Some wine arrived in the daytime, between heavy rain showers. In the evening I went for a stroll to the heath to catch the sunset.
- Chinese Takeaway on the Heath
- [Tuesday 27th July 2021]
Picked up some Chinese takeaway for dinner, and took it to the heath to eat.
- [Sunday 25th July 2021]
Sunday roast at a nearby pub for lunch, amid a dramatic downpour.
- Moving the Fridge
- [Saturday 24th July 2021]
Finally pulled the fridge freezer out of its cabinet today, first step towards replacing it. Later on a stroll to the heath, then a visit to the Pineapple.