John Hawkins



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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Recent Entries:
Glastonbury
Dad's Birthday
Wednesday in Devon
London to Devon
Bank Holiday Monday
Girls Back from Japan
Cleaning
Lebanese Food on the Heath
Thursday
Avoiding Being at Home
Electricians
Sunday
Beyond Meat Pizza
Gemma
Heath Again
Fungi and Foxes
Wessex Ridgeway - Tisbury to Maiden Newton - Day Two
Friday
Whitstable
Vera's Birthday
Beech Nuts
Rainbows on the Heath
Trolley and St. James's
Rain
Dentist and Dinner at Olivo
Umbrella
Wessex Ridgeway - Westbury to Tisbury - Day Two
Wessex Ridgeway - Westbury to Tisbury - Day One
Haircut and the Heath
Wine Deliveries
Chinese Takeaway on the Heath
Sunday
Moving the Fridge
Wessex Ridgeway - Avebury to Westbury - Day Two
Wessex Ridgeway - Avebury to Westbury - Day One
Girls Off to Japan
Pineapple and Paddling Pool
Walk and Lebanese Food
What a Difference Two Days Make
Wednesday
Blueberries
Escaping the Kickety Balling
Epping Forest
Jeremy
Thursday
Outdoors stuff
Erika's Sports Day and Walking the River Fleet
Sunday
Raspberries
Blue Peter Badge
Out of Sorts
Quick Walk to the Heath
Lunch at Christian's
Rollright Stones
Marble Run
Thursday
Moonlight on the Heath
Summer Solstice
Eve of the Summer Solstice
Canidae
Wine
Rain
Summer Rain
Legoland
Sunday afternoon on the heath
Potato Salad
Pineapple
Eclipse
In The Woods
Heath
Dim sum
Sunday
Mum's Garden
Friday Evening on the Heath
Picnic on the Heath
Lunch at the Pineapple
Fyfield Down
Canterbury
Chips on the Heath and Karaoke
Day Off
Regent's Park
I Almost Bought a Woodland
Tuesday
Hair Cut
Saturday
Friday
Rainbow
Tree Identification
Sunday
Deptford
Friday on the Heath
Pizza and Burgundy on the Heath
Vacqueryas
Late Evening Walk to the Heath
Erika's Presentation
Runnymede
Saturday
Friday
Mixed Case
Chie's Birthday

Pictures:
Devon September 2021: Three nights in Devon to visit Dad, coinciding with his birthday.Devon September 2021
Tuesday 31st August - Friday 3rd September 2021
Three nights in Devon to visit Dad, coinciding with his birthday.
London August 2021: Pictures from London in August 2021, spent mostly by myself while the girls were in Japan, including further forays along the Wessex Ridgeway and a trip to Whitstable.London August 2021
August 2021
Pictures from London in August 2021, spent mostly by myself while the girls were in Japan, including further forays along the Wessex Ridgeway and a trip to Whitstable.
London July 2021: Pictures from London in July 2021 including day trips to Epping Forest, and then towards the end of the month the first few days of my walk along the Wessex Ridgeway.London July 2021
July 2021
Pictures from London in July 2021 including day trips to Epping Forest, and then towards the end of the month the first few days of my walk along the Wessex Ridgeway.
London June 2021: Pictures from London in June 2021, including a day trip to the Midlands to visit Mum, as well as forays to Avebury for the summer solstice, and the Rollright Stones.London June 2021
June 2021
Pictures from London in June 2021, including a day trip to the Midlands to visit Mum, as well as forays to Avebury for the summer solstice, and the Rollright Stones.
London May 2021: Pictures from London in May including day trips to Rye, Runnymede, Canterbury and Fyfield Down.London May 2021
May 2021
Pictures from London in May including day trips to Rye, Runnymede, Canterbury and Fyfield Down.
Blog:
- Glastonbury ( 1)
    [Friday 3rd September 2021]
- Dad's Birthday
    [Thursday 2nd September 2021]
- Wednesday in Devon
    [Wednesday 1st September 2021]
- London to Devon
    [Tuesday 31st August 2021]
- Bank Holiday Monday
    [Monday 30th August 2021]
- Girls Back from Japan ( 1)
    [Sunday 29th August 2021]
- Cleaning
    [Saturday 28th August 2021]
- Lebanese Food on the Heath
    [Friday 27th August 2021]
- Thursday
    [Thursday 26th August 2021]
- Avoiding Being at Home
    [Wednesday 25th August 2021]

Glastonbury
[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!
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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.
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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.
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London to Devon
[Tuesday 31st August 2021]
Drove down to Devon, stopping off at Fleet services, Woodhenge and Stonehenge en route.
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Bank Holiday Monday
[Monday 30th August 2021]
Out for a pub lunch, then a walk to Hampstead Heath.
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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.
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Cleaning
[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.
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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.
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Thursday
[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.
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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.
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Electricians
[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.
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Sunday
[Sunday 22nd August 2021]
Evening on the heath.
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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.
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Gemma
[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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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Friday
[Friday 13th August 2021]
Checking up on the garden.
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Whitstable
[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.
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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.
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Beech Nuts
[Monday 9th August 2021]
Some beech nuts I had picked up on Hampstead Heath yesterday.
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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.
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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.
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Rain
[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.
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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.
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Umbrella
[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.
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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.
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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.
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Haircut and the Heath
[Thursday 29th July 2021]
Had a hair cut in the daytime. In the evening headed off to the heath again.
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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.
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Chinese Takeaway on the Heath
[Tuesday 27th July 2021]
Picked up some Chinese takeaway for dinner, and took it to the heath to eat.
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Sunday
[Sunday 25th July 2021]
Sunday roast at a nearby pub for lunch, amid a dramatic downpour.
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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.
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Wessex Ridgeway - Avebury to Westbury - Day Two
[Friday 23rd July 2021]
Day two of my walk, a bit of a slog after a not very satisfactory night's sleep.

Read more at John Goes for a Walk.
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Wessex Ridgeway - Avebury to Westbury - Day One
[Thursday 22nd July 2021]
Day one of my two day walk covering the first section of the Wessex Ridgeway, from Avebury to Westbury.

Read more at John Goes for a Walk.
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Girls Off to Japan
[Wednesday 21st July 2021]
Chie and Erika flew off to Japan for the summer holidays today, I took them to the airport in the afternoon and waved them off there. Once back in London I headed more or less straight to the Pineapple where I spent most of the rest of the evening.
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Pineapple and Paddling Pool
[Sunday 18th July 2021]
Went for lunch at the Pineapple, then played with the paddling pool in the back garden later in the afternoon, as it was rather a hot day.
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Walk and Lebanese Food
[Saturday 17th July 2021]
Walked to Brent Cross in the morning to meet Erika after she finished her Japanese school. In the afternoon went for lunch at a friend of Chie's in the far flung reaches of North London, although I neglected to take any photos while there. In the evening Lebanese food back at home.
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What a Difference Two Days Make
[Friday 16th July 2021]
Finally some ripe blueberries in the garden! Also went for a late evening stroll to the heath after Erika went to bed.
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Wednesday
[Wednesday 14th July 2021]
A bit more time out in the garden in the early evening.
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Blueberries
[Tuesday 13th July 2021]
...except they're still not blue yet.
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Escaping the Kickety Balling
[Sunday 11th July 2021]
The whole country seemed to be obsessed with watching a bunch of grown men running round a field propelling a spherical object with their feet this evening. I wanted to get as far away from the madness as I easily could, so went to the heath.
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Epping Forest
[Saturday 10th July 2021]
Had a surprisingly nice day out, considering we didn't decide what to do until the morning. We drove to Haringey first, for Cig Kofte (a Turkish dish I had been learning about at work recently) and Gozleme for lunch. Then from there we motored to Epping Forest - the first time we'd been there - for a wander around, and a coffee / hot chocolate break in Loughton Camp, a Bronze Age hill fort.
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Jeremy
[Friday 9th July 2021]
Bumped into Jeremy this afternoon, whi I hadn't seen for a while, and we arranged to go for a late evening drink on the heath which turned out to be rather delightful.
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Thursday
[Thursday 8th July 2021]
Gevrey Chambertin on the heath, and later on set up my new camping "sleep system".
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Outdoors stuff
[Wednesday 7th July 2021]
Received a parcel of lightweight outdoors stuff today, ordered in preparation for summer walking expeditions. This included a new lighter weight / higher capacity backpack, an ultralight weight sleeping quilt (alternative to a conventional sleeping bag) and an ultra lightweight / compact insulated jacket filled with "Aerogel" - the lightest solid substance known to man, apparently.
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Erika's Sports Day and Walking the River Fleet
[Tuesday 6th July 2021]
Took the day off, to go and watch Erika's sports day in the morning, and spent the rest of the day tracing the course of the river Fleet, which runs (mostly underground) from Hampstead Heath to the Thames at Blackfriars.


Here's a video I made of the walk, which mainly consists of staring down drains:


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Sunday
[Sunday 4th July 2021]
Fairly quiet family Sunday. Went to a local park to play catch for a bit in the afternoon, then went for ice cream.
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Raspberries
[Saturday 3rd July 2021]
Just one photo of some raspberries from our garden.
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Blue Peter Badge
[Friday 2nd July 2021]
Erika got her Blue Peter badge today! (See here for Erika's drawing which she sent in a couple of weeks ago.)
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Out of Sorts
[Wednesday 30th June 2021]
Felt a bit out of sorts today - and so finished work early and went and immersed myself in nature as best I could, on the heath.
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Quick Walk to the Heath
[Tuesday 29th June 2021]
Just one photo from a quick walk to the heath and back before dinner.
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Lunch at Christian's
[Sunday 27th June 2021]
Went to Christian's place for lunch today, then later on I headed for a rainy pint outside the Pineapple.
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Rollright Stones
[Saturday 26th June 2021]
I went for a walk today to see the Rollright Stones in the Cotswolds.

Read more on John Goes for a Walk.
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Marble Run
[Friday 25th June 2021]
We got out Erika's Marble Run set for the first time in a while, and played with that this evening.
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Thursday
[Thursday 24th June 2021]
Late afternoon walk to the heath.
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Moonlight on the Heath
[Wednesday 23rd June 2021]
Went for a late evening stroll to the heath, and enjoyed looking at the moon for a bit.
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Summer Solstice
[Monday 21st June 2021]
Today was the actual summer solstice, but initial ambitious plans to wake up at dawn and go and watch the sunrise didn't materialise, in part knowing I had the drive back to London ahead of me, but also because I could tell from the weather forecast there wouldn't be much to see. It was a 40 minute walk each way from where I was staying to Avebury, so even with a very brief attendance at dawn it was likely to mean a couple of hours of lost sleep, and I decided, boringly, to put safety first, thinking about the drive. I think next year I'll plan to just sleep rough somewhere, and/or go by train.

So this morning I after a reasonable night's sleep I had a cooked breakfast at my lodgings, checked out, and then went out for a bracing stroll on Knap Hill so it didn't seem like a complete waste being here in Wiltshire and having the day off, but somehow I wasn't really in the mood for a longer walk than that.

From there I drove to nearby Marlborough, as I felt in need of a coffee, then after that the long boring drive back to London.
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Eve of the Summer Solstice
[Sunday 20th June 2021]
It hadn't been clear whether my planned trip to Avebury for the summer solstice this year was going to be able to go ahead, and right up to the day there was messaging from the authorities which appeared to be trying to discourage people from going, although not at any point outright forbidding it. If I've learnt anything from the last year and a bit it's that when presented with this kind of situation you've really just got to grasp the nettle and get on with it, or else you'll end up never doing anything ever.

I'd decided to drive to Avebury, and was going to give Andrew a lift, and after some discussion about where I was going to pick him up we oddly settled on Belgravia. Perhaps not a very mystical / atavistic spot to set off from on a quest of this nature, but it was easy for him to get to by train, it would be easy from there to get to the M4 in the car, and had the added benefits we could have a nice lunch before we set off, and I could bring the girls along who then later on went to visit a friend nearby. All the Olivo restaurants were fully booked so we instead went to Noura, which was a bit of a disappointment for Erika who had her heart set on the Culurgiones (Sardinian pasta) at one of the Olivo restaurant, but I had been really missing Lebanese food, and everything today was just as good as I remembered it. We ordered a huge number of mezze, which seemed like far too much food to begin with, but we did our best to get through pretty much all of it, and it was probably a good thing that we had a big lunch as Andrew and I ultimately didn't have any dinner.

After lunch I dropped Chie and Erika off at their friends place nearby, and then we drove from there to Avebury. There was a diversion or two to deal with, so it was just after 5pm when I dropped Andrew off at his lodging in Compton Basset, with a plan for us to meet in Avebury.

I checked in at my lodgings for the night, a bit closer to Avebury in East Kennet, and then had a very pleasant walk, despite the rather disappointing grey weather, from there to Avebury. A route I was already partially familiar with having covered this on my walk from Pewsey to Avebury last September. This took me along the stone avenue to the south of Avebury, which always feels like a great way to arrive at the stone circle.

So I was at Avebury by 6:30, in plenty of time for the sunset, not due until 9:30. It was really quiet when I first arrived, and you'd hardly have known anything was happening were it not for all the traffic cones, and the police and security guards dotted around. On my walk to Avebury I'd heard music coming from up on the Ridgeway, where a large number of vans were parked, and I suspect the real party would be there, a little away from "civilisation", where to some extent the authorities would just leave them to it.

People did start to arrive in dribs and drabs though, and there was at least one group of people dancing and doing acrobatics, twirling sticks etc down in the field below us.

Andrew had brought along a couple of new camp chairs he'd brought, which were the target of some gentle ribbing from some passing solstice attendees, who opined that it didn't seem to be in the spirit of the event, and we ought to be communing with nature and so forth. I did sort of see their point, and although I initially found the chair to be comfortable, at one point I leaned ever so slightly over to one side and ended up tipping the chair over and spilling half a glass of red wine (yes it had to be the red at that point) on my white shirt. It looked a little bit like I'd just taken part in a ritual sacrifice actually. Anyway that made up my mind about the camp chairs and next time I'll definitely just sit on the ground.

There were also a couple of comments about my tweed suit which surprised me, again one or two people seemed to think it wasn't in the spirit of the event, but I had just assumed the attendees collectively would be anarchic and unjudgemental, accepting of anything and everything. I had got into the habit of wearing that particular tweed suit for much of my walk along the Ridgeway and so somehow it seemed appropriate to be back in it again now here at Avebury. Plus the fact it was ended up quite chilly this evening, so despite it nominally being the summer solstice I was pleased to have it. I suppose for some people a suit is just symbolic of mainstream corporate life and authority, regardless of the cloth it is made from, and again I do kind of see their point. Perhaps for next time I might investigate some slightly more new age friendly attire.

Not all of the passers by had issues with our camp chairs and/or my unusual choice of clothing, and several people stopped to chat during the course of the evening, which was really nice. We had a long chat with a couple of guys called Paddy and Jim, who were very affable, and later on I shared some of the Sauternes (good old Lafaurie Peyraguey) I'd brought along with an older chap, on the basis it was a bit like mead, and therefore tenuously appropriate. Which I suppose it was actually.

I also really liked the "happy solstice!" greetings from passers by.

The actual moment of the sunset was rather a non-event, some time around 9:30 I believe, but the sky remained persistently grey throughout, and we didn't really even get a glimpse of the sun. There was a bit of half hearted cheering at some point around 9:30 - I assume people were just going by their watches / phones... but perhaps it didn't really matter in the end. It was really nice just being there, whether there was a visual spectacle to behold or not.

I had half imagined people might just start to disperse as it got dark, but probably the opposite was true, and there was a bit more of the spinning things around (including now flaming torches being twirled around on sticks / ropes) and drumming etc. So that kept the atmosphere going, which was good.

It was getting a bit cold though, and eventually we decided we should perhaps head to the pub for last orders to warm up a bit.

Some time after that Andrew headed off back to his lodgings (for a scary ride in the dark) but I lingered on a bit longer, just sat in the field enjoying the atmosphere and watching the fire twirling etc.

Then eventually, a little before midnight, I started to make my way back to my accommodation. The walk back down the stone avenue was rather magical in the dark, and I no longer felt cold once I got moving a bit.

Rather than just heading straight back to East Kennet I diverted to the Ridgeway, interested to see what the encampment of vans was like. This was hugely atmospheric and kind of other worldly. There was no big central gathering I could see, just lots of little groups in various places, then darkness between them. This felt a bit like a dream in hindsight: it was at a time I might normally have been asleep, it was so dark and I had only occasional short bursts of faint images lit by torches or firelight... But more so that it just didn't really feel like something I could easily fit into the normal boring view of modern life. It was like having a brief glimpse of some other hidden society.

I wish now I hadn't booked accommodation, and hadn't planned to drive back to London the next day - but had instead been a bit braver and just planned to sleep in a field somewhere. I'm sure nobody would have noticed, and even if I had a bad night's sleep it wouldn't matter so much. It really felt like I wasn't getting into the spirit of it (once again) by going and sleeping indoors in a proper bed in a proper house, and that also meant I ultimately didn't get up at 4am to watch the sunrise (not that there would have been much to see given the weather), whereas if I had just been sleeping in a bivvy bag in a field getting up at 4 would have seemed much less of a wrench.

Anyway, as it was after my late night stumble in the dark I eventually made it back around 1am. Fortunately my room had its own private entrance, so I don't think I disturbed the owners or any of the other residents.

See also John Goes for a Walk, even though I didn't really do much walking.
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Canidae
[Saturday 19th June 2021]
Erika drew a picture of the Blue Peter dog in the afternoon in the hope of earning a Blue Peter badge. Later on I went for a walk to the heath and saw a fox on the way home.
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Wine
[Friday 18th June 2021]
Quite a winey sort of day.

Took delivery of a crate (yes an actual wooden crate!) of Chateau Lafaurie-Peyraguey 2001, my favourite dessert wine, conveniently in half bottles. I think this is the first time I've had wine in a crate, and it took a little while to figure out how to open it - I eventually managed with a combination of a flat headed screwdriver and the "claw peen" (yes I had to look that up) of a hammer.

Also a mixed case of Chateau Musar, of 6 different vintages from 1998 to 2019 arrived - I'd really enjoyed the previous mixed case I got from them last year, and it's impressive how some really quite old wines are still available, and comparatively very reasonably priced.

Here's a video of me opening the crate of Lafaurie Peyraguey:


In the evening I took some 2018 Louis Boillot Gevrey Chambertin to the heath to try (it was surprisingly drinkable already). It had been raining most of the day so the heath was wonderfully quiet on the heath, when I got there I pretty much had the top of Parliament Hill all to myself. The lack of people also meant there was some ornithological interest - I watched some kind of bird of prey hovering overhead, then later on a green woodpecker hopping about:



Later on back at home we had some Lafaurie Peyraguey, with strawberries of course.
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Rain
[Thursday 17th June 2021]
Rained a lot today, and felt decidedly less summery than it had the day before. Just a couple of photos of checking the state of things in the garden.


Video of the rain in the garden:

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Summer Rain
[Wednesday 16th June 2021]
Went for a later than usual outing to the heath, followed by later on a drink outside the Pineapple in the warm summer rain.
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Legoland
[Monday 14th June 2021]
Erika had the day off school (a teacher training day) we thought we'd take advantage of that opportunity and take her to Legoland, thinking it would be quiet with other kids being at school. How wrong we were.


Video I took of Miniland, the part with the actual Lego in it:

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Sunday afternoon on the heath
[Sunday 13th June 2021]
Met Andrew for a very sunny afternoon on the heath.
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Potato Salad
[Saturday 12th June 2021]
Erika made potato salad for dinner.
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Pineapple
[Friday 11th June 2021]
Went for a drink at the Pineapple after work.
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Eclipse
[Thursday 10th June 2021]
This morning there was a solar eclipse, due to be at least partly visible from London a little after 11am. Alas the skies were a bit cloudy so it was a bit challenging to see anything at all, but I persisted for a while and eventually managed to get a few glimpses of it. It was hardly a "ring of fire" as advertised, more just the sun with a chunk missing out of it.


This video probably gives a better sense of it than any of the still photos:


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In The Woods
[Wednesday 9th June 2021]
After work I went and sat in a wooded bit on the heath (it was actually a bit too hot out of the shade!).
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Heath
[Tuesday 8th June 2021]
Short late afternoon / early evening walk to the heath.
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Dim sum
[Monday 7th June 2021]
Erika had another day off school today (a teacher training day after the half term holiday) so the girls went into the centre to do some shopping, and I joined them for a little while for lunch. We finally got back to our old favourite - dim sum at Joy King Lau - after a very long absence. It was just as good as always.
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Sunday
[Sunday 6th June 2021]
Fairly quiet day mostly at home, I went for a walk to the heath in the afternoon.
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Mum's Garden
[Saturday 5th June 2021]
I walked to Brent Cross in the morning, to meet Chie and Erika as Erika finished her Japanese school a little after midday. From there we motored up the M1 to the East Midlands to visit Mum again, and spent another very pleasant afternoon / early evening out in her garden.
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Friday Evening on the Heath
[Friday 4th June 2021]
The girls were out for the evening until late, so I was left to my own devices. I decided to go and have dinner on the heath, despite the slightly inclement weather, and had a thoroughly lovely time of it.


Whilst out on the heath I decided on a whim to make a short instructional video about the barrow. I'd had a couple of glasses of wine by this point so you'll have to excuse the fact the narration isn't exactly razor sharp:



Oh and spurred on by that first, errr, effort, I also made another video about some of the trees in my favourite wooded bit of the heath:



I don't think I'm going to become a YouTube celebrity any time soon.
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Picnic on the Heath
[Thursday 3rd June 2021]
Had a picnic on the heath for dinner with local friends.
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Lunch at the Pineapple
[Wednesday 2nd June 2021]
Chie and I went for lunch at the Pineapple. In the evening a quick walk to the heath.
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Fyfield Down
[Monday 31st May 2021]
I headed to Wiltshire today to explore Fyfield Down, the place from which the sarsen stones used to build the stone circle at nearby Avebury (as well as some of Stonehenge) are believed to have been taken from.

Read more on John Goes For a Walk.



Also I took a few short video clips during the day:

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Canterbury
[Sunday 30th May 2021]
Went down to Canterbury to visit Leon and family.
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Chips on the Heath and Karaoke
[Saturday 29th May 2021]
Halloumi and chips on Hampstead Heath for lunch. Then in the evening we went to round to some local friends for dinner and karaoke.
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Day Off
[Friday 28th May 2021]
Had the day off work today. Breakfast at a new cafe near home with Chie in the morning, then a long relaxing pub lunch at the Flask in Highgate with Christian.
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Regent's Park
[Thursday 27th May 2021]
Erika went off on a school trip this morning (including an overnight stay!!) and in the evening I met Al in Regent's Park.
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I Almost Bought a Woodland
[Wednesday 26th May 2021]
Took the afternoon off to race down to Sussex to view a wood which was for sale, but dithered slightly when I got there, and ultimately found it had been sold already.
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Tuesday
[Tuesday 25th May 2021]
Heath etc blah blah blah, the usual.
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Hair Cut
[Sunday 23rd May 2021]
Finally got a proper haircut today after nearly a year and a half. Celebrated after with a pint at the Pineapple.
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Saturday
[Saturday 22nd May 2021]
Just a few pictures from the garden.
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Friday
[Friday 21st May 2021]
Tried another wine from the mixed Burgundy case.
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Rainbow
[Wednesday 19th May 2021]
Went for the usual early evening stroll to the heath, saw a rainbow over London.
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Tree Identification
[Tuesday 18th May 2021]
Spent some time on the heath identifying trees.
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Sunday
[Sunday 16th May 2021]
Reorganised the wine racks in the morning. In the afternoon took Erika down to Camden to get her glasses adjusted.
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Deptford
[Saturday 15th May 2021]
Went down to Deptford for a rainy afternoon in a beer garden for Andrew's birthday.
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Friday on the Heath
[Friday 14th May 2021]
Yet another early evening stroll to the heath.
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Pizza and Burgundy on the Heath
[Thursday 13th May 2021]
The girls had other plans for dinner this evening, so I went and had a pizza and some Burgundy on the heath, and was kept company by a squirrel.



Here's a video of me trying to name the squirrel:

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Vacqueryas
[Wednesday 12th May 2021]
Bit of an unusual wine (for me) ths evening - a Vacqueryas, from the Rhone - a vineyard once owned by Steven Spurrier, he of "Judgement of Paris" fame.
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Late Evening Walk to the Heath
[Tuesday 11th May 2021]
Unusually late walk to the heath, taking advantage of the longer daylight hours I went after dinner for a change.
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Erika's Presentation
[Monday 10th May 2021]
Erika gave a presentation to Chie and I this evening titled "How to be more eco".
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Runnymede
[Sunday 9th May 2021]
Met up with Adrian and family at Runnymede, so we could hand over his heirloom from Vera - the musical Widdicombe Fair jug.
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Saturday
[Saturday 8th May 2021]
Headed to the heath for a bit late afternoon / early evening.
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Friday
[Friday 7th May 2021]
Tried a bottle from the mixed case of red Burgundy this evening.
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Mixed Case
[Wednesday 5th May 2021]
Tom the wine merchant delivered a mixed case of red Burgundy today, so I could broaden my horizons beyond the Cote de Nuits.
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Chie's Birthday
[Tuesday 4th May 2021]
Birthday cake and sushi for Chie's birthday.
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