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.
- John's Journal / Blog
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Main Index (text only)
- John's Travel
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Maison de Stuff
- Recent Entries:
- Lazy Saturday
The Resumption of Tweed Season
Joseph Drouhin Tasting
Tuesday in Monaco
Monday in Monaco
Sunday in Monaco
London to Monaco
Dimsum and Lego
Zoo and Mheat
Back to London
Last Full Day
Coastal Path and Polperro Pubs
Sunday at Landaviddy
Saturday at Landaviddy
Day Before Holiday
Snails, Ice Cream, Lego
Middle Temple and the Savoy
Day After the Garden Tap Party
New Garden Tap Party
Old and New Garden Taps
Old Garden Tap
Garden, Bike, Wahaca
Face Painting, GevCham, Projector
Avocado on Toast
Erika's New Bike
In The Garden
Kensington and the Garden Centre
ESW by the Canal
School Summer Fair
Elephant, Frank's, Ralph's Birthday
Andy's Greek Taverna
Tatami and the Wrong Rabbit
Lunch at Oliveto
An Unexpected and Very Short Visit to St. Albans
Fukuoka to Helsinki to London
Beach, Kure and Kura Sushi
Thursday in Hiroshima
Okonomiyaki and Shopping
Monday in Tokyo, and Then Off to Hiroshima
Sunday in Tokyo
Saturday in Tokyo
Off to Japan
Sitges to Barcelona to Paris to London
Sunday in Sitges
Saturday in Sitges
Paris to Sitges
Royal Ascot Badges
Burgh Island to Starcross
Saturday on Burgh Island
- Lazy Saturday
- [Saturday 16th September 2017]
Had no plans for today, and ended up just passing the time either at home or nearby. Breakfast at Bear and Wolf, then pottered arounf the garden for a bit in the morning. Tried the "Moonlight Cafe" (a nearby greasy spoon) for lunch, then back home in the afternoon, passing the time with a combination of marble run and baking scones. Made nabe for dinner in the evening.
- Marble Run
- [Thursday 14th September 2017]
Played with the new Marble Run set Erika had been given for her birthday in the evening.
- [Wednesday 13th September 2017]
Night out with the usual suspects, cocktails at Disrepute then dinner at Mele e Pere.
- [Tuesday 12th September 2017]
Was surprised when I attived home by Chie and Erika wearing masks.
- The Resumption of Tweed Season
- [Monday 11th September 2017]
I decided this morning it was an appropriate juncture (helped by the grim weather) to official call an end to summer, and resume wearing tweed.
Also Erika's first day in reception!
- Erika's Birthday
- [Sunday 10th September 2017]
A fairly low key event for Erika's 5th birthday, the afternoon spent at the Pineapple with friends.
- Joseph Drouhin Tasting
- [Thursday 7th September 2017]
Went along to a Joseph Drouhin Burgundy tasting at Fortnum and Mason, conducted by the fascinating Veronique Drouhin. Dinner at the Wolselely afterwards.
- [Wednesday 6th September 2017]
Last breakfast at our hotel, out on the terrace, before chekcing out, and being shuttled to Monaco Heliport to leave Monaco in style - by helicopter! Then a slightly less glamorous flight on a regular airplane from Nice back to London.
- Tuesday in Monaco
- [Tuesday 5th September 2017]
I ventured out for a bit in the morning to see the Riviera Palace, but other than that we mostly stayed in and around the hotel all day, enjoying the beach and the swimming pool. Dinner at Lo Sfizio in the evening.
- Monday in Monaco
- [Monday 4th September 2017]
Went to the Oceanographic Museum (aquarium) towards the end of the morning, and also had lunch there. I failed in an attempt to go to a bar right on the end of the harbour arm in Fontvielle in the afternoon, while the girls transferred to our new hotel at the Eastern end of Monaco. Spent the remainder of the afternoon on the private beach and in the swimming pool at our new hotel, then in the evening went for pizza on the beach at Miami Plage, and were rather spell bound by the full moon.
- Sunday in Monaco
- [Sunday 3rd September 2017]
Breakfast at our hotel, followed by a dip in the hotel pool in the morning. Headed out after midday for a stroll up to Le Rocher and lunch at Castelroc. After lunch we headed to the Exotic Gardens to admire the tropical fauna, lovely views, and the caves. Dinner at Amici Miei in Fontvielle harbour.
- London to Monaco
- [Saturday 2nd September 2017]
I had caved in for this trip (or else it might not have happened at all) and agreed to fly rather than go by train as we always have done in the past. Managed to get business class tickets for the three of us, which helped lessen the usual unpleasantness of flying somewhat, and Erika got to both sit behind the checkin desk and in the pilot's seat!
- [Friday 1st September 2017]
- [Thursday 31st August 2017]
- [Wednesday 30th August 2017]
A couple of random pictures on a Wednesday.
- Hampstead Heath
- [Monday 28th August 2017]
Met up with a local friend of Erika's for a picnic on Hampstead Heath on the Bank Holiday Monday.
- [Sunday 27th August 2017]
Took Erika to Dreamland in Margate again, where we met Leon, Aiko and Mei.
- St Albans
- [Saturday 26th August 2017]
Chie and Erika went out for some of the daytime, my presence was not required so I decided to go and explore St Albans, and try the pub serving foraged food I had heard about. Back in London in the evening Erika and I had a barbecue in our back garden.
- New Suit
- [Friday 25th August 2017]
Picked up a new suit from Hackett today.
- [Wednesday 23rd August 2017]
A short visit to Frank's which had to be curtailed just as the sun was starting to set.
- Dimsum and Lego
- [Sunday 20th August 2017]
Lunch at our favourite dimsum place, Joy King Lau, followed by a visit to the Lego shop.
- Zoo and Mheat
- [Saturday 19th August 2017]
Took Erika to the zoo in the daytime. In the evening I had tried the new "Mheat" steak.
- Back to London
- [Friday 18th August 2017]
Said out final goodbyes at the house in the morning, drove back to Plymouth to drop off our hire car, then got the train from there back to London.
- Last Full Day
- [Thursday 17th August 2017]
Last full day of the holiday today. Did some group photos in the morning of Vera and all the children, before Bec, Dave and Jessica headed home. Didn't go too far from the house today, stayed in for the daytime, and just headed out for the last supper at the Crumplehorn Inn in the evening.
- Phoenician Meal
- [Wednesday 16th August 2017]
I'd had a ridiculous idea to make Lebanese food for dinner tonight, in honour of the ancient (and probably apocryphal) connection between Cornwall and the Phoenicians. It proved almost universally unpopular with the kids and the fussier adults, but nonetheless consumed almost my entire day, shopping in the daytime, and cooking in the afternoon / early evening. Consequently I didn't take many photos today.
- Coastal Path and Polperro Pubs
- [Tuesday 15th August 2017]
Probably my favourite day of the holiday. We decided to just leave the car in the car park (both Chie and I had been finding all the narrow country lanes and the hassle getting parked anywhere a bit stressful), and in the daytime walk along the coastal path to Talland Bay in back. There were lovely coastal views to be had along the route and even Erika managed to walk a fair bit (spurred on by the promise of ice cream). In the evening we left the grandparents to babysit, and several of us younger adults went for a bit of a pub crawl around Polperro.
- [Monday 14th August 2017]
Went to Fowey in the daytime with Bec, Dave and Jessica. Then back to the house in the evening for another big family dinner - Chinese takeaway tonight.
- Sunday at Landaviddy
- [Sunday 13th August 2017]
Chie, Erika and I went out to Talland Bay in the daytime. When we got back in the afternoon, Bec, Dave and Jessica had arrived so we were now up to our full group of 22. In the evening a Sunday roast and Vera's birthday cake to follow.
- Saturday at Landaviddy
- [Saturday 12th August 2017]
Spent most of thr day in and around Landaviddy Manor, our home for the week. Chie and I popped into Polperro briefly towards the end of the morning to have a look around, then again later on in the afternoon with Erika in tow. First big family meal in the evening with 19 of our full compliment of 22 now present!
- [Friday 11th August 2017]
Got the train from London to Plymouth in the afternoon, picked up a hire car from there, stopped off to do a bit of shopping en route, and arrived at the house early evening.
- Day Before Holiday
- [Thursday 10th August 2017]
The day before our holiday to Cornwall. Chie was out for the evening, so I took Erika to Wahaca for dinner, and later on in the evening Jeremy popped round for a drink.
- [Wednesday 9th August 2017]
Very wet, grey and miserable weather today.
- Sylvanian Families
- [Tuesday 8th August 2017]
Played Sylvanian Families with Erika in the evening. They had a large dinner party.
- Front Garden
- [Sunday 6th August 2017]
Spent quite a lot of today cutting the hedge and generally tidying up the front garden.
- [Saturday 5th August 2017]
Went to Amersham (quite a trek to get there) for a party with Chie's former colleague.
- [Friday 4th August 2017]
Went to Briggs at lunchtime in the hope of getting a hair cut, and was sad to find it had closed down, and Philip had retired. Attempted to cheer myself up with lunch at San Carlo Cichetti.
- Andrew's Keys
- [Wednesday 2nd August 2017]
Andrew left his keys at the office, and as I live much closer to the office I went to pick them up for him, and we met at a mutually convenient location (Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese) to hand them over.
- [Tuesday 1st August 2017]
- [Monday 31st July 2017]
- [Sunday 30th July 2017]
Went to lunch at Al and Charlotte's to meet their new baby Erin.
- Snails, Ice Cream, Lego
- [Saturday 29th July 2017]
Dealt with a glut of snails in the garden today, took Erika out for lunch at the Pineapple followed by ice cream, and also got some new Lego.
- [Friday 28th July 2017]
Saw Leon briefly in the evening as he was passing through London en route to Mexico.
- Middle Temple and the Savoy
- [Thursday 27th July 2017]
Was meant to go to the Middle Temple Champagne Bar but it wasn't actually there. Instead went to the Tattersall Castle for a bit then the Beuafort Bar at the Savoy.
- Masala Zone
- [Monday 24th July 2017]
Dinner at Masala Zone in Camden in the evening.
- [Sunday 23rd July 2017]
Took Erika to the Proms in the evening.
- Day After the Garden Tap Party
- [Saturday 22nd July 2017]
Surveyed the garden in the morning post party. Took Erika for lunch at our nearby pasta place.
- New Garden Tap Party
- [Friday 21st July 2017]
Had the new garden tap fitted today, and a party in its honour in the evening.
- Old and New Garden Taps
- [Thursday 20th July 2017]
Bought a new garden tap and a book about Venice for Erika, plus had veggie kara age for dinner.
- Old Garden Tap
- [Wednesday 19th July 2017]
Pictures of the old garden tap prior to replacing it, plus more garden photos and Erika on her bike again.
- Garden, Bike, Wahaca
- [Sunday 16th July 2017]
Spent some of the afternoon in the garden, went out with Erika for more bike practice, and then in the evening dinner at Wahaca with some local friends.
- Chap Olympiad
- [Saturday 15th July 2017]
Pictures from this year's Chap Olympiad.
- Face Painting, GevCham, Projector
- [Thursday 13th July 2017]
Interestingly mixed bag of an evening - I let Erika paint my face (with alarming results), had some GevCham with dinner, and Chie's new projector arrived, which we tried out.
- Avocado on Toast
- [Wednesday 12th July 2017]
Went for breakfast at Bear and Wolf, had their avocado on toast of which I am quite fond.
- Not Kensington
- [Tuesday 11th July 2017]
Having been reminded how nice Kensington was the other day, with all its antiques shops and so on, I was reminded this morning of the contrast with Kentish Town...
- Erika's New Bike
- [Monday 10th July 2017]
Erika's new bike arrived today, and she took it out for an early evening spin.
- In The Garden
- [Sunday 9th July 2017]
Looks like we stayed at home most of the day, and spent some of it out in the garden.
- Kensington and the Garden Centre
- [Saturday 8th July 2017]
Went to Kensington, thinking to buy something new (but actually old) for the Chap Olympiad, but failed to find anything. Instead bought a woodblock print for Chie. Later on popped to the garden centre.
- ESW by the Canal
- [Friday 7th July 2017]
Boycotted the usual in-office end of the week drinks and instead went and sat by the canal with a bucket of English Sparkling Wine.
- [Thursday 6th July 2017]
A couple of random pictures.
- [Wednesday 5th July 2017]
Decided to have a barbecue in our back garden.
- Sports Day
- [Tuesday 4th July 2017]
Erika's sports day in the daytime, went for a pint at Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese with some of the usual suspects in the evening.
- [Sunday 2nd July 2017]
Spent the day in Whitstable. Hardly took any pictures!
- School Summer Fair
- [Saturday 1st July 2017]
Chie and Erika wore yukata for Erika's school summer fair. In the evening dinner with some of Chie's friends from her Hiroshimakenjinkai.
- [Friday 30th June 2017]
Found the "sketches" which were meant to be the inspiration for the painting my friends commisssioned for my birthday... which are much nicer than the end result. Also end of the week drinks by the canal.
- [Thursday 29th June 2017]
Have been making much use of the KERB street food market recently, as I continue to boycott the food laid on at the office. Went slightly overboard today and bought two lunch boxes: Gyoza from the Gyoza guys and a Vietnamese noodle bowl.
Left the office slightly early at the request of Erika's friend who was at ours for a playdate and wanted me to come back and be King Triton from the Little Mermaid.
- The Constitution
- [Monday 26th June 2017]
Monday evening drinks at the Constitution by the canal with some of the usual suspects.
- [Sunday 25th June 2017]
Went to visit Ali in Welwyn Garden City.
- Elephant, Frank's, Ralph's Birthday
- [Saturday 24th June 2017]
Attended Ralph's birthday party in North Dulwich with stop offs at the Elephant and Castle and Frank's in Peckham on the way.
- [Thursday 22nd June 2017]
First time to try Jackfruit, a novel meat substitute.
- Royal Ascot
- [Wednesday 21st June 2017]
Second time in the Royal Enclosure at Royal Ascot.
- Andy's Greek Taverna
- [Tuesday 20th June 2017]
Hot weather so we wanted some appropriate food. Dinner at Andy's in Camden, a bit of a local institution.
- Board Games
- [Sunday 18th June 2017]
A few pictures of me and Erika in the Pineapple playing board games.
- [Saturday 17th June 2017]
Took Erika to Margate for the day, spent most of the time at Dreamland, the retro theme park.
- Tatami and the Wrong Rabbit
- [Friday 16th June 2017]
Tried the new tatami mat out in the lounge. Also after much effort trying to get Erika's lost rabbit returned, I received the wrong one in the post.
- Lunch at Oliveto
- [Thursday 15th June 2017]
Went to the dentist. Which meant lunch at Oliveto.
- An Unexpected and Very Short Visit to St. Albans
- [Wednesday 14th June 2017]
Accidentally got on the wrong train on the way back from the office.
- Fukuoka to Helsinki to London
- [Sunday 11th June 2017]
Flew back to London today. Chie had booked with FinnAir which meant a change at Helsinki, and also a rather amusing pair of airport codes (I shall leave it to your imagination given Fukuoka and Helsinki).
We checked out of the Grand Hyatt in Fukuoka around 7:30 and got a taxi from there to the airport. It's a very convenient airport to get to, less than 20 minutes drive from the city centre. The queues were all rather long and annoying (I think I've become too acclimatised to business class recently) but once we were through security we had a nice surprise at the gate - several of the cabin crew put on a little sow just before boarding, singing a capella "I'm leaving on a jetplane" and then the theme tune from Totoro, after which another member of the crew played accordion while we were boarding.
On board, the crew seemed to be rather taken with Erika, and gave her a crew hat and scarf to wear, and had her help out with handing out the food and drinks. She seemed to rather enjoy that. They were a lovely bunch, all smiles and singing, I've never encountered such a nice cabin crew on a flight before.
Erika didn't sleep on the flight, and despite bizarrely often saying how she likes plane food didn't each much either. I just about managed to get her to sit through one film (Trolls, which seemed fittingly Scandanavian) so Chie and I could also have a bit of quiet time. I watched Prometheus (which I was rather underwhelmed by) and Great Wall (which was as bad as I expected).
We had a short change at Helsinki, and were in the airport there for a little under 2 hours. I was actually hoping our flight might have been delayed and we could have had an overnight stay in Helsinki, it would have been nice to get out and see some of the city. Another time. Was very pleased to find some gelatin free Finnish gummy sweets and also some salted liquorice which apparently is usually quite unpopular to a non-Finnish palate but I was rather taken by.
The connecting flight from Helsinki to London wasn't nearly as nice, it felt a lot more cramped than the long haul flight (which had been half empty), and there were no movies or anything to help pass the time... but Erika fell asleep for pretty much the entire duration, which was good.
Landed at Heathrow around 5pm UK time, got the Heathrow Express back to Paddington and then a taxi from there back home, getting us home for about 7pm. I made pasta for dinner, and we all ended up going to sleep about the same time after that._
- [Saturday 10th June 2017]
Packed our bags at Chie's parents house in the morning, and Chie's Dad gave us a lift to the station. Chie's Mum was out for the day so we had already said our goodbyes to her the previous evening.
Had lunch with a friend of Chie's near the station before we got the shinkansen to Fukuoka, from where we'd be flying back to the UK the next day.
Just like the last time we stayed in Fukuoka we stayed at the Grand Hyatt, which was pleasingly familiar this time.
Had dinner with another friend of Chie's and her kids in the evening where we also enjoyed the water fountain, lights and and projection shows in Canal City.
- Beach, Kure and Kura Sushi
- [Friday 9th June 2017]
Went for a quick visit to a beach in the morning, followed by a visit to Kure for lunch and to see the Irifuneyama Western style house there. Shopping at Aeon Mall toward the end of the afternoon then Kura Sushi for dinner.
- Thursday in Hiroshima
- [Thursday 8th June 2017]
I worked in the daytime while everyone else went out for the day. Went to visit Chie's aunt Chikako-san in Nishi-Hiroshima in the evening.
- Okonomiyaki and Shopping
- [Wednesday 7th June 2017]
Spent the afternoon in the centre of Hiroshima, had okonomiyaki at Nagata-ya for lunch, then some popping candy ice cream for dessert later on.
- [Tuesday 6th June 2017]
Chie was busy with her Dad at the hospital for the day, so I took Erika to Miyajima to visit the aquarium.
- Monday in Tokyo, and Then Off to Hiroshima
- [Monday 5th June 2017]
The first night's sleep pattern was obviously two good to be true, and on my second night I think I only managed about three hours sleep. Ho, hum. Spent the day working at my office in Tokyo but was struggling to stay awake. Left early to get a shinkansen to Hiroshima so I could be there in time for Erika's bedtime.
- Sunday in Tokyo
- [Sunday 4th June 2017]
Following yesterday's marathon a thankfully much quieter day in Tokyo. After sleeping surprisingly normal hours for local time I lazed about in my hotel room in the morning, and then for lunch went to "Ain Soph Ripple", which was conveniently nearby, for a surprisingly good veggie burger. Wandered around Shibuya for a bit after that, then met up with Tanaka-san for a drink at our old Shibuya Stalwart Ningen Kankai, then headed on to try hipster outpost Fuglen where Andrew joined us. From there we went to a random back street yakitori place and rounded off the evening at conveyer belt sushi place Uobei.
- Saturday in Tokyo
- [Saturday 3rd June 2017]
A very long sleep deprived day for me in Tokyo - landed at Haneda at 7am, then headed to Shinjuku for coffee and an early lunch while waiting for my hotel room to become available. When it was, I perhaps foolishly eschewed my usual post flight afternoon nap and instead powered through, meeting up with Andrew who was in on Japan a business trip to give him a bit of a guided tour of Tokyo. We started in Akihabara, then headed onto Asakusa, after which Andrew headed back to his hotel and I just about managed a visit to Quercus in Ikebukuro to see Watanabe-san before returning exhausted to Shinjuku to collapse at my hotel.
- Off to Japan
- [Friday 2nd June 2017]
- Park Chinois
- [Thursday 1st June 2017]
Dinner at Park Chinois wth some friends from work.
- [Wednesday 31st May 2017]
- [Tuesday 30th May 2017]
- Sitges to Barcelona to Paris to London
- [Monday 29th May 2017]
Travelled all the way back to London from Sitges in one day today.
- Sunday in Sitges
- [Sunday 28th May 2017]
I had lunch down by the harbour before heading up to the villa to join the others for one long party from the afternoon into the small hours of the morning. Oh and I finally went in the pool. In a suit.
- Saturday in Sitges
- [Saturday 27th May 2017]
Slept in late and slobbed around at my hotel in the morning. In the afternoon I went and joined the others for a tour of a cava winery. Went back to my hotel for a bit more after that and persuaded the others to come down to the harbour for dinner, where there was a really nice little street of restaurants. Back to the villa for post dinner drinks.
- Paris to Sitges
- [Friday 26th May 2017]
Breakfast at the ever spectacular Train Bleu before getting the TGV down to Barcelona. Took a local train from there down to Sitges, only about half an hour away, and then had a bit of time to myself to explore the town before meeting the others. Went to the villa for some Veuve Clicquot (sabraged of course) before heading back into town for a fittingly Spanish late dinner of paella, then a bar and finally a moonlit stroll along the shore back to my hotel.
- [Thursday 25th May 2017]
Got the Eurostar after work (so handy from my new office!) and met up with Benoit in Paris for the evening so I could get an earlier train to Barcelona the next morning.
- Lubricating Locks
- [Tuesday 23rd May 2017]
Rather unexcitingly received a can of apparently the correct substance to be used for lubricating locks.
- Royal Ascot Badges
- [Monday 22nd May 2017]
Badges for Royal Ascot arrived today. Also less excitingly I bought some WD-40.
- Burgh Island to Starcross
- [Sunday 21st May 2017]
Breakfast at the Burgh Island Hotel, then rather reluctantly checked out, got a taxi to Dartmouth, the ferry across to Kingswear, then the steam train from there to Paignton. A normal train from there to Starcross where I popped in to visit Dad and Janie for a bit before getting the train back to London.
- Saturday on Burgh Island
- [Saturday 20th May 2017]
Waved the girls off at Heathrow in the morning, then went back to Paddington to get a train down to Plymouth. From there a taxi to Bigbury and then the sea tractor across to Burgh Island! Spent a lovely afternoon wiling away the time in the idyllic Pilchard Inn and having a general wander around the island and the hotel, before dressing for dinner and lapping up the 1930s charm of the hotel in the evening.
- Ciao Bella
- [Thursday 18th May 2017]
Went for lunch at Ciao Bella.
- Gev Chap
- [Wednesday 17th May 2017]
Had a very pleasant evening with some of my new consignment of Gev Cham and the new issue of the Chap magazine.