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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Other Related Sites:
Maison de Stuff
Stuffware
Exif.org
Chiesan
Celtlands

Recent Entries:
Solar Panel Again
Solar Panel and Fairy House
Hampstead Heath
Tonic
Biscuits
Birthday
Garden Centre
Axe Sabrage
Flowers
Biolite Stove
The Ridgeway: Goring to Wantage
GevCham, Rob and Mark, and Goring
World Book Day and Jeremy's Art Exhibition
Pizza and ESW
Kodomo no Hi
Hampstead Heath
Leap Day
Friday
Garden and Primrose Hill
New Secateurs
Sunday
Corrie and Jarrod's Wedding
Zurich to London
Thursday in Flumserberg
Wednesday in Flumserberg - Skiing Lesson
Tuesday in Flumserberg
Paris to Zurich
Paris
Saturday
Friday
Nando's
Hedge and Wolseley
Tuesday
Storm Ciara
The Ridgeway: Lewknor to Goring
Friday
East Meon Berrygarden 2010
Parchment
Garden
Setsubun
Sunday
The Ridgeway: Princes Risborough to Lewknor
East Meon Berrygarden 2013
Bingo and Ski Helmets
East Meon and the Moon and Venus Again
Daws Hill and the Moon and Venus
Garden Check
Lazy Sunday
Ridgeway: Wendover to Princes Risborough and Burns Night
Cash in the Pocket
Cider and Cakes
Indoor Picnic
Tuesday
The Ridgeway: Ivinghoe Beacon to Wendover
Blackfriars to Bermondsey
Garden and Fire
Garden Check
Office
This Isn't Bacon Etc
Harrow Inn Pictures
Fridge, Laksamania, Bulbs
Highgate Cemetery and Hampstead Heath
Laksadaisical
Chateau Musar White
Lunch at the Pineapple
Evening Walk
Gomshall Mill
Wassail
Friday
Winter Wonderland
New Year's Day
New Year's Eve
Ashdown Forest
Camp Stove
Vera and Robin
Boat Inn
Boxing Day in Cheddar and Clevedon
Christmas Day in Devon
Christmas Eve in Devon
London to Devon
Winter Solstice at Avebury
Saturday before Christmas
Truffle
Carol Concert
More Green Shoots
Monday
Serpent Trail: Haslemere to Northchapel
Bear and Wolf
Pie and mash
Wednesday
Office
Lego
Anniversary
Sussex Ouse Valley Way: Balcombe to Lindfield
Christmas Tree
Gymnastics
Green Shoots
Cakes and Ale
Frozen 2
Local Friends

Pictures:
London March 2020: Pictures from London in March 2020.London March 2020
March 2020
Pictures from London in March 2020.
Switzerland February 2020: Half term trip to Flumserberg in the Swiss Alps to have a go at skiing, taking in Paris and Zurich along the way.Switzerland February 2020
Sunday 16th - Friday 21st February 2020
Half term trip to Flumserberg in the Swiss Alps to have a go at skiing, taking in Paris and Zurich along the way.
London February 2020: Pictures from London in February 2020.
London February 2020
February 2020
Pictures from London in February 2020.
London January 2020: Pictures from London at the start of a new decade.London January 2020
January 2020
Pictures from London at the start of a new decade.
Devon and South Wales Christmas 2019: A Christmas trip to see family taking in Devon and South Wales, with an in-between day in Somerset.Devon and South Wales Christmas 2019
Monday 23rd - Saturday 28th December 2019
A Christmas trip to see family taking in Devon and South Wales, with an in-between day in Somerset.
Blog:
- Solar Panel Again
    [Friday 20th March 2020]
- Solar Panel and Fairy House
    [Thursday 19th March 2020]
- Hampstead Heath
    [Wednesday 18th March 2020]
- Tonic
    [Tuesday 17th March 2020]
- Biscuits
    [Monday 16th March 2020]
- Birthday
    [Sunday 15th March 2020]
- Garden Centre
    [Saturday 14th March 2020]
- Axe Sabrage
    [Thursday 12th March 2020]
- Flowers
    [Wednesday 11th March 2020]
- Biolite Stove
    [Sunday 8th March 2020]

Solar Panel Again
[Friday 20th March 2020]
More time out in the garden trying out my solar panel.
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Solar Panel and Fairy House
[Thursday 19th March 2020]
My Biolite solar panel arrived today. n Also made a "fairy house" out in the garden with Erika.
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Hampstead Heath
[Wednesday 18th March 2020]
Chie and I went for a lunchtime stroll to Hampstead Heath.
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Tonic
[Tuesday 17th March 2020]
Tonic water with frozen blueberries.
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Biscuits
[Monday 16th March 2020]
Another layer of biscuits demonstrating the dubious sense of humour of my friends.
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Birthday
[Sunday 15th March 2020]
Birthday outing, which turned out to be one final hurrah in terms of restaurants and pubs for the foreseeable future - lunch at Oliveto followed by some time at the Pineapple in the afternoon.
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Garden Centre
[Saturday 14th March 2020]
Went to the garden centre to get a new pot and some potting compost to repot the rosebush. Stopped off at the Pineapple on the way back for an al fresco pint.
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Axe Sabrage
[Thursday 12th March 2020]
Tried out sabrage with my new axe. It seemed to work pretty well.
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Flowers
[Wednesday 11th March 2020]
Was cheered up by seeing the periwinkle flowering in the front garden, which prompted a survey of all the various blooms front and back.
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Biolite Stove
[Sunday 8th March 2020]
Spent some of the early evening out in the garden with my Biolite stove. I'd got some proper firewood and wanted to try it out.
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The Ridgeway: Goring to Wantage
[Saturday 7th March 2020]
Had an early start this morning, having stayed overnight in Goring, so I could do the next section of the Ridgeway: from Goring to Wantage.

I'd quite liked my cosy room, up in the roof of the Miller of Mansfield, although I often find it a bit difficult sleeping in a different bed for the first night - just adjusting to the different sounds of the room etc. So I didn't get a perfect night's sleep, but it was good enough. Breakfast wasn't officially served until 8am but I was keen to get going as early as possible, so I went down a bit before that and just helped myself to the cold buffet stuff. Thus I was on the way by 8am.

Like many stretches of the Ridgeway, today's walk generally didn't deliver the most scintillating scenery. The countryside surrounding much of the Ridgeway is generally agricultural in nature, and despite the elevation of much of the route (frequently over 200m) the landscape either side often feels a bit, well, flat.

Still, I did enjoy two bits of the walk in particular today:

First, near the start of the walk, the long country lane leading out of Streatley which the Ridgeway follows, and then the track beyond there. Once I had got onto the track I think I walked for about 2 or 3 miles before I saw another human. That was a wonderful feeling of solitude and as I write this now, several weeks later, I realise how precious that was.

Second, towards the end of the walk, I passed Scutchamer Knob, and paused there for a while to take it in. I enjoyed this spot both because it was one of the first signs of ancient man I'd passed on the Ridgeway so far (beyond Wantage there will be many more of course!) and also because I remembered having been there once before, on a short walk with Dad over 20 years ago. This was a very evocative spot today, and I stood atop it despite the wind, eating the stem ginger biscuit I'd been given on the train yesterday, and felt something or other which I couldn't really put my finger on.

Read more on John Goes for a Walk.
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GevCham, Rob and Mark, and Goring
[Friday 6th March 2020]
Received a case of GevCham in the morning. Got the train to Reading in the evening to go aRob and meet up with Rob and Mark while Mark was in the UK. After that I headed on to Goring to check in to the Miller of Mansfield where I'd be staying tonight ahead of my walk along the Ridgeway tomorrow.
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World Book Day and Jeremy's Art Exhibition
[Thursday 5th March 2020]
Erika got dressed up for World Book Day as Hermione Granger, and in the evening I attended Jeremy's art exhibition.
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Pizza and ESW
[Wednesday 4th March 2020]
Pizza and ESW for dinner.
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Kodomo no Hi
[Tuesday 3rd March 2020]
Kodomo no hi (children's day) in Japan. Chie made Japanese food for dinner - chirashi sushi and lotus chips. Also I had a go at Japanese flower arranging. Sort of.
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Hampstead Heath
[Sunday 1st March 2020]
Breakfast at Bear and Wolf followed by a Sunday morning stroll across Hampstead Heath. Also did a bit of kite flying.
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Leap Day
[Saturday 29th February 2020]
Oddly didn't take any photos today. I'm writing this a few weeks later and if I recall correctly the weather looked pretty bad so I didn't go out for a walk (although in hindsight I wished I'd just gone anyway). Chie and Erika were off at Erika's Japanese school in the morning as usual, and looking at my Google Maps timeline it looks like I stayed in for most of the morning, then headed down to Earth, the health food shop in Kentish Town, to do some shopping just before lunchtime. Later on in the early evening I popped out to Theatre of Wine, and I think I bought some Austrian wine, although I forget what it was exactly, as I'd planned to make goulash for dinner, and thought something evoking the Austro-Hungarian Empire would be appropriate.
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Friday
[Friday 28th February 2020]
Spent more time in the garden again and had another play with my Biolite stove.
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Garden and Primrose Hill
[Thursday 27th February 2020]
Checked on the garden again in the daytime, then in the evening out to a pub in Primrose Hill with the usual suspects.
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New Secateurs
[Wednesday 26th February 2020]
Got some new secateurs today. Oh and a new trowel.
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Sunday
[Sunday 23rd February 2020]
It seems I spent as much of it as possible out of the garden. Did some pruning and managed to break my secateurs.
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Corrie and Jarrod's Wedding
[Saturday 22nd February 2020]
Ceremony at Wandsworth Town Hall followed by drinks and nibbles at Lore of the Land in the centre of London.
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Zurich to London
[Friday 21st February 2020]
Travelled back from Zurich to London via Paris today.
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Thursday in Flumserberg
[Thursday 20th February 2020]
Last day in Flumserberg. Played in the snow a bit in the morning, built a snowman and a snowduck (?). Later on did some more mountain walking, this time to Prodalp (read more here).

Later on in the afternoon we got the train back to Zurich, where we had one last fondue for dinner.
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Wednesday in Flumserberg - Skiing Lesson
[Wednesday 19th February 2020]
The main focus of today was a skiing lesson, starting at midday. I came to the conclusion skiing really wasn't for me, but Erika seemed to be pretty good at it.
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Tuesday in Flumserberg
[Tuesday 18th February 2020]
After some faff buying a ticket in Zurich which meant we had a later start than I hoped, we got a train to Unterterzern, at the foot of the mountains, then the cable car up to Flumserberg Tannenboden. Checked into our hotel, and then spent the remainder of the afternoon on various cable cars and chair lifts, with some mountain walking and taking full advantage of the many mountain refreshment stops along the way. Fondue for dinner (of course!), then back to our hotel.

Read more about today's walk on John Goes For a Walk.
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Paris to Zurich
[Monday 17th February 2020]
Took the TGV from Paris to Zurich in the morning. Arrive in Zurich at 2:30, had some macarons from Sprungli for afternoon tea, then a wander round the city. Dinner at Hiltl in the evening.
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Paris
[Sunday 16th February 2020]
Eurostar to Paris in the morning, late lunch at a creperie, then an afternoon wander round Paris, and spent the evening enjoying the night time views of the Eiffel tower from our hotel room.
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Saturday
[Saturday 15th February 2020]
Day before our half term trip to Switzerland. Wanted to do the next section of the Ridgeway but it was too stormy today, so instead I pottered about at home. In the evening I attempted to use up everything perishable from the fridge for dinner, and came up with a sort of hybrid moussaka / lasagne.
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Friday
[Friday 14th February 2020]
Couple of random pictures.
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Nando's
[Thursday 13th February 2020]
Went to Nando's after Erika's gymnastics class.
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Hedge and Wolseley
[Wednesday 12th February 2020]
Trimmed the hedge at the back of the house in the morning, then out for dinner at the Wolseley in the evening.
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Tuesday
[Tuesday 11th February 2020]
Padron pepers and Breaky Bottom Cuvee Oliver Minkley this evening.
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Storm Ciara
[Sunday 9th February 2020]
Storm Ciara made it a bit of a wet and windy Sunday and we mostly stayed indoors. Just a couple of forays out into the garden between downpours to check on the state of things.
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The Ridgeway: Lewknor to Goring
[Saturday 8th February 2020]
Quite a long walk today - 15 miles - and made it all the way to Goring, although did end up deviating somewhat from the official route of the Ridgeway National Trail to make my own way, closer to the original route of the Icknield Way.

Read more on John Goes for a Walk.

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Friday
[Friday 7th February 2020]
Couple of random photos.
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East Meon Berrygarden 2010
[Thursday 6th February 2020]
Tried the 2010 this evening - much more successful than the previous two bottles (the 2013 and 2014) I'd tried previously!
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Parchment
[Wednesday 5th February 2020]
Made some pretend old paper with Erika using the lemon juice trick. Was quite pleased with the results.
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Garden
[Tuesday 4th February 2020]
Further checks on the state of flowering in the garden, then more futile attempts to take pictures of the night sky later on.
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Setsubun
[Monday 3rd February 2020]
The day in the Japanese calendar marking the end of winter (or is it the start of spring?) where somebody has to dress up as an "oni" (devil?) and be pelted with dried soy beans.
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Sunday
[Sunday 2nd February 2020]
Stayed in for the morning. For lunch we went to try the Lady Hamilton (sister pub of the Pineapple) followed by gelato at the new gelateria in Kentish Town.
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The Ridgeway: Princes Risborough to Lewknor
[Saturday 1st February 2020]
Completed the section I was planning to complete last weekend (but wasn't quite in the mood before) with much nicer weather today. Albeit still a bit odd to culminate a walk at Junction 6 of the M40!

Read more on John Goes for a Walk.

Later on, back in London, I went to catch the sunset from the Angel in Bermondsey.
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East Meon Berrygarden 2013
[Friday 31st January 2020]
Tried one of the East Meon Berrygarden wines this evening. A bit of a false start I think.
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Bingo and Ski Helmets
[Thursday 30th January 2020]
A couple of pictures of Erika's school bingo night, and later on Chie trying on her new ski helmet.
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East Meon and the Moon and Venus Again
[Wednesday 29th January 2020]
A case of East Meon Berrygarden English sparkling arrived today. In the evening more unsuccessful attempts to take photos of the night sky as the moon and Venus were visible, including in my desperation to get away from the light pollution and obstacles a night time stroll across Hampstead Heath, which was a bit scary if I'm honest.
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Daws Hill and the Moon and Venus
[Tuesday 28th January 2020]
Tried the Daws Hill English sparkling wine which I'd picked up in Princes Risborough. Also attempted unsuccessfully to take pictures of the moon while Venus was quite visible nearby.
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Garden Check
[Monday 27th January 2020]
Another check on the state of the garden.
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Lazy Sunday
[Sunday 26th January 2020]
I think we stayed in most of the day. Erika and I built her a little house from cushions in the lounge.
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Ridgeway: Wendover to Princes Risborough and Burns Night
[Saturday 25th January 2020]
I had originally planned to try and complete a longer section of the Ridgeway today, from Wendover to Watlington (or at least Lewknor, where there are some public transport options) but wasn't really feeling it with the slightly glum weather and cut short at Princes Risborough.

Read more on John Goes For a Walk.

Back at home in the evening we had a mini Burns Night, just the three of us.
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Cash in the Pocket
[Friday 24th January 2020]
Put on a jacket I hadn't worn for a while, found some cash stuffed in the pocket.
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Cider and Cakes
[Thursday 23rd January 2020]
Was in the mood for cider so I went to the Southampton Arms to buy a flagon of cider to take home. Erika decorated some cakes for the school cake sale.
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Indoor Picnic
[Wednesday 22nd January 2020]
Ordred Indian food for dinner (and Chie made Japanese food for Erika) which we ate sitting on the picnic blanket on the floor of the lounge.
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Tuesday
[Tuesday 21st January 2020]
Couple of random pictures.
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The Ridgeway: Ivinghoe Beacon to Wendover
[Sunday 19th January 2020]
Embarked on a new walking project today - The Ridgeway - starting at Ivinghoe Beacon and hoping to walk all 87 miles over the coming few weeks to arrive at Avebury in time for the Spring Equinox.

Read more on John Goes For a Walk.
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Blackfriars to Bermondsey
[Saturday 18th January 2020]
Being a bit too time constrained to do a proper countryside walk today, I instead decided to go for an urban stroll in the morning, along the Thames from Blackfriars to Bermondsey. In the afternoon went to visit my old boss to see his new house.
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Garden and Fire
[Friday 17th January 2020]
Clocked off work a bit early as it was a Friday and spent some time in the garden. Tried out the Biolite stove again.
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Garden Check
[Thursday 16th January 2020]
Another check on the garden at lunchtime.
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Office
[Wednesday 15th January 2020]
Went to the office today. In the evening attempted some astrophotography.
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This Isn't Bacon Etc
[Tuesday 14th January 2020]
Tried some new mock meats today.
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Harrow Inn Pictures
[Monday 13th January 2020]
Rediscovered my Harrow Inn pictures today, and thought about putting them up on the wall, but didn't.
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Fridge, Laksamania, Bulbs
[Sunday 12th January 2020]
Yet another unsuccessful attempt to buy a fridge, took Chie and Erika to try Laksamania (not so successful second time round) and went to the garden centre to buy more bulbs.
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Highgate Cemetery and Hampstead Heath
[Saturday 11th January 2020]
I went for an urban walk this morning while Erika was at her Japanese school - took in Highgate Cemetery and Hampstead Heath.
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Laksadaisical
[Friday 10th January 2020]
Night out with the usual suspects, involving laksa.
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Chateau Musar White
[Thursday 9th January 2020]
Had Lebanese food for dinner and tried Chateau Musar's white wine for the first time.
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Lunch at the Pineapple
[Wednesday 8th January 2020]
Went with Chie for lunch at the Pineapple.
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Evening Walk
[Tuesday 7th January 2020]
Went out for an evening walk to get some exercise.
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Gomshall Mill
[Sunday 5th January 2020]
Went down to Gomshall for lunch at the Gomshall Mill with Adrian, Liz and the kids.
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Wassail
[Saturday 4th January 2020]
I'd been pleased to discover that wassailing was not something purely confined to the West Midlands and West Country, and that a few of the morris sides in the home counties organised an event, particularly in Sussex where there was also something of a cider industry. I think ideally I would have liked to go back to the wonderful Leominster Morris wassail in Herefordshire again this year, which I had attended two years ago. It had felt incredibly atavistic, and had in a way been the catalyst for my new found desure to spend more time in the countryside over the past couple of years, in part manifested through a lot of country walks.

However, the Leominster Morris always holds their wassail on Twelfth Night, the 6th of January, regardless of which day of the week that falls on. That would have been a Monday this year, and would probably have required taking at least a half day off work either side to get there and back. So it seemed eminently more sensible to go to the Chanctonbury Morris wassail in Sussex, not far from Haywards Heath, today, it being a Saturday evening.

The event was scheduled to start at 6pm, but I aimed to get there slightly earlier so I could visit the cider bar/shop at the location where the wassail was being held beforehand. The bar had apparently only opened in the last year, and although I was delighted to discover a bar solely dedicated to cider (such a rare commodity!) I did slightly worry how it would work out as a business proposition - it's a surprisingly remote spot, and there's pretty much no way to get there other than by car. I had got a taxi from Haywards Heath, which admittedly is pretty well served for taxis, but I wondered how many other people might do the same.

Anyway, at least this evening there was a fairly impressive turnout, which suggests people can manage it! Quite possibly around a hundred people were there...?

As billed, with impressive punctuality, the proceedings did indeed start around 6pm, and the gentleman I assumed to be the squire of the Chanctonbury Ring Morris Men gave an address to the assembled crowd. The attendees then collected flaming torches and processed along the track from the main cluster of farm buildings to the orchard. There had also been a torch lit procession in Herefordshire two years ago, and this really does add an edge of drama to an event like this, and gives it a really primal and magical feel. Particularly given that once we got away from the farm buildings there were no other light sources in the immediate vicinity. I hope the pictures convey some sense of the atmosphere at this point.

I decided not to take a torch in hand myself, partly because I got the sense they were in short supply and partly because I wanted to keep my hands free to take pictures (and drink cider!).

When we arrived at the orchard we formed a large circle and the ceremony began. There were verses read, songs sung, later on dances danced, but the most fun part was the part where all present were invited to make loud noises to wake up the apple trees. I had brought with me a slightly ridiculous slide whistle to contribute (see this video for the cacophony).

Then we eventually processed back to the farm buildings and The Cider Tap for wassail cakes, more cider, and more morris dancing. I joined in with one of the dances a bit later on, and it was a wonderful reminder of when I'd been an occasional dancer in the Penallt Morris Men, with Dad, in the late 1980s.

The plan after the wassail at Wobblegate was for the festivities to continue at the Royal Oak in Wineham. I had originally thought I might do a night time walk to get there, but ultimately the thought of a couple of miles stumbling through dark countryside after a couple of pints of cider didn't entirely appeal, so I asked around and managed to get a lift.

Although I love the Royal Oak, I had been just before Christmas, and somehow once I got there this evening I wasn't really in the mood. The morris dancers seemed to want to (quite reasonably) have a quiet time of it after their exertions at the wassail. I had heard there was going to be music there from 8pm, but by about 8:30 nothing had as yet started, and I decided instead maybe I should just head home. I did still have the uncertainty of whether or not I'd be able to get a taxi from the Royal Oak back to Wineham - as it turned out when I called them it was fine, but maybe it would have been a different story had I stayed until 10pm. So as it turned out I was back in London around 10pm, and back home by 10:30.

See also this Google Photos album, which contains the same pictures as linked to above, in addition to a few videos.
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Friday
[Friday 3rd January 2020]
Another quiet day at home. Opened a half bottle of Nyetimber in the evening.
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Winter Wonderland
[Thursday 2nd January 2020]
Took Erika to Winter Wonderland for the afternoon, then later on dinner at Oliveto.
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New Year's Day
[Wednesday 1st January 2020]
Had a quiet day at home and ate some Japanese food. Erika didn't get out of her pyjamas all day!
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New Year's Eve
[Tuesday 31st December 2019]
I went for a walk in the morning - a circular walk starting and ending at Liss, with a section of the Shipwrights Way on the way towards Petersfield, a lunch stop at the Harrow Inn at Steep, then back to Liss via part of the Hangers Way. See also John Goes For a Walk.

In the evening we had local friends over for New Year's Eve.
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Ashdown Forest
[Monday 30th December 2019]
Went for a walk in the Ashdown Forest with Chie and Erika to see the Pooh Sticks Bridge and Gills Lap.

See also John Goes For a Walk.
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Camp Stove
[Sunday 29th December 2019]
Spent the afternoon chopping up wood, assembling an improvised wood store, and trying out my new camp stove which generates electricity.
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Vera and Robin
[Saturday 28th December 2019]
Went to see Vera and Robin in Abergavenny in the daytime before heading back to London in the evening.
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Boat Inn
[Friday 27th December 2019]
Met up with Bec and family at the Boat Inn in Penallt, and stayed the night at the St. Pierre Country Park.
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Boxing Day in Cheddar and Clevedon
[Thursday 26th December 2019]
Left Starcross in the morning, and drove to Cheddar, where we went to see the caves and the Gorge. After that we drove on to Clevedon where we had dinner and stayed the night.
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Christmas Day in Devon
[Wednesday 25th December 2019]
Presents in the morning, a midday stroll to the Anchor at Cockwood, then Italian food for dinner.
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Christmas Eve in Devon
[Tuesday 24th December 2019]
The plan for today was to stock up at the big Sainsbury's in Pinhoe near Exeter, then have a lunchtime drink at the marvellous Bridge Inn in Topsham. Slightly waylaid by an unexpected trip to Kwik Fit!
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London to Devon
[Monday 23rd December 2019]
Took the train to Bristol, stopped up for lunch there, then picked up a Zipcar and drove the rest of the way down to Devon.
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Winter Solstice at Avebury
[Sunday 22nd December 2019]
Following on from the summer solstice this year, something about Avebury had obviously got under my skin. I had pondered on and off the thought of going back for the winter solstice, largely assuming that when the time came I'd be put off by the thought of the cold and the dark and the hassle of getting there. So I had slightly surprised myself when, yesterday evening, I had come to the decision that I was definitely going to make a go of it.

Having done some research on the transport logistics I'd come to the conclusion the only way to be there for the sunrise was to travel the night before. Sunrise would be around 8am, and it being a Sunday the first train out of Paddington to Swindon didn't leave until that time.

So I had stayed in the incredibly frugal Holiday Inn Express near Swindon station the previous night, and arranged a taxi from there at 6am, which got me to Avebury a little over 20 minutes later. In hindsight that was probably a bit too early, I could have had at least another hour's sleep and wouldn't have really missed much at all. I had thought perhaps there might be people there throughout the night, perhaps performing some ancient rituals or some such, but if they were they were well hidden! As it was, around 6:30am I was pretty much the only person out and about as far as I could tell.

That said, that hour walking around the stones of Avebury in almost complete solitude - and almost complete darkness - was actually quite atmospheric. Although the skies were not entirely clear the moon poked through at times, and seeing the stones by moonlight before the dawn gave them an added other worldly quality.

Eventually, and quite reassuringly, other people did start to trickle in, and slowly gathered on the ridge to the south east of the village - the same place where we had sat to watch the sunset at the summer solstice.

The clouds lifted almost like curtains in a theatre being drawn to make the stage visible, and we were treated to a wonderful sunrise, which hopefully the photos do at least some justice to. Later on, after the sunrise was complete, the clouds moved back in again. It really did give a sense of a planned show.

See also John Goes for a Walk.
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Saturday before Christmas
[Saturday 21st December 2019]
Took Erika Christmas present shopping in the afternoon, then on a whim, after Erika went to bed, I got a late train to Swindon so I could be up early the next morning to see the sunrise for the winter solstice at Avebury.
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Truffle
[Thursday 19th December 2019]
Dentist appointment in the daytime, which meant the traditional post-dentist visit to Oliveto, where they had tagliolini with white truffle as a special. In the evening went round to our local friends for dinner.
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Carol Concert
[Wednesday 18th December 2019]
A couple of pictures of Erika's school carol concert - although you can't actually quite see Erika in any of them!
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More Green Shoots
[Tuesday 17th December 2019]
Checking up on the state of the green shoots in the garden.
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Monday
[Monday 16th December 2019]
Just took a picture of the menu of the new Korean place near us.
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Serpent Trail: Haslemere to Northchapel
[Saturday 14th December 2019]
Did a section of the Serpent Trail, starting out at Haselemere, then up over Tennyson's Black Down to take in the views from the Temple of the Winds, and then finally down to Northchapel to visit the Half Moon Inn.

Read more here.
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Bear and Wolf
[Friday 13th December 2019]
Took Erika to Bear and Wolf for breakfast in the morning before school.
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Pie and mash
[Thursday 12th December 2019]
Pie and mash for lunch.
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Wednesday
[Wednesday 11th December 2019]
Clocked off work a bit early for a quick pint at the Pineapple.
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Office
[Tuesday 10th December 2019]
Erika and a couple of her friends came to visit my office after school.
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Lego
[Monday 9th December 2019]
Spent the evening making creatures from Greek mythology, then organising all of Erika's Lego.
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Anniversary
[Sunday 8th December 2019]
Our wedding anniversary. Went for lunch at Royal China Docklands then took a boat trip along the Thames.
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Sussex Ouse Valley Way: Balcombe to Lindfield
[Saturday 7th December 2019]
Did another section of the Sussex Ouse Valley Way today - from Balcombe to Lindfield, taking in the Ouse Valley Viaduct.

Read more here.
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Christmas Tree
[Friday 6th December 2019]
Received our Christmas tree today, and decorated it in the evening.
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Gymnastics
[Thursday 5th December 2019]
Erika's gymnastics class had their end of term competition this evening.
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Green Shoots
[Wednesday 4th December 2019]
The first green shoots from the bulbs Erika and I planted poked up through the soil in the garden today.
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Cakes and Ale
[Tuesday 3rd December 2019]
Went to the office in the daytime. In the evening started reading Cake and Ale and had some Chambolle-Musigny.
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Frozen 2
[Sunday 1st December 2019]
Took Erika to see Frozen 2.
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Local Friends
[Saturday 30th November 2019]
Spent the afternoon with local friends - met in one of the nearby playgrounds, then went to the Pineapple for a little bit, then they came back to ours.
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