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
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Exif.org
Chiesan
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Recent Entries:
Shoots
Bleak Heath
Vegan Junk Food
More Lego
Wood Carving
Lego and Heath
Halloumi and Chips and Breaky Bottom
Bushcraft Knife
Wednesday
Wassail
Sunday
Saturday
New Year's Day
New Year's Eve
Wine by the Thames
GevCham on the Heath
Monday
The Day After Boxing Day
Boxing Day
Christmas Day
Christmas Eve
Home Haircut and Hampstead Heath
Day After The Winter Solstice
Actually the Winter Solstice
Almost the Winter Solstice
Saturday
Day Off
Wine on the Heath
Temaki Sushi
Goodbye The Pineapple
Sunday
Curry on the Heath
Mist and Fire
Davenport on the Heath
Wedding Anniversary
Heath with Erika
Forty Hall
Christmas Tree
Rainy Wine on The Heath
East Meon on the Heath
Wreath
Adventure on the Heath
Drawing
Wine on the Heath with Christian
Trouble with Dreams 2015
Goodbye Vera
Pink Sky at Night
ESW Tasting with Ben
Drinks on the Beach
Saturday
Outside
Davenport Diamond Fields 2019
GevCham Rainbow
Grey, Albourne, Papier Mache Cat
Sunrise, Chips, Exercise, ESW
Wednesday
Dehumidifer and Sunset on the Heath
Pizza
Cleaning
Shopping and Hampstead Heath with Erika
Takeaway Drinks
Vera
Wine on the Heath with Christian and Cardo
Breaky Bottom Delivery
The Heath Again
Pumpkin Soup and Wine on the Heath
Halloween
Another Haircut Accident and White Truffles
Hampstead Heath Yet Again
Ashling Park Rose
Lunch in a Shed
Sunset on the Heath
Canterbury
Sunrise on Hampstead Heath
Smokeless Coal Round Two
Smokeless Coal
Cross Country Run and Cardo's Birthday
Platform 9 3/4, Hampstead Heath and Fairy Lights
Sneaky Pint, Yard Sale, Lebanese Food and Butterbeer
Cider
Pie and Mash
Wednesday
Autumnal
Picnic on the Heath and Drinks by the Thames
Hampstead Heath Yet Again
Wild Life and Pubs
Outdoor Cooking
Frying pan
Tuesday
Undrinable Homemade Wine
Autumn
Friday
October
Ashling Park Estate
Tuesday
First Apple and Winemaking
Harvest
Pewsey to Avebury
Pineapple and Pillow
Thursday

Pictures:
London December 2020: Pictures from London in December 2020.London December 2020
December 2020
Pictures from London in December 2020.
London November 2020: Pictures from London in November 2020.London November 2020
November 2020
Pictures from London in November 2020.
London October 2020: Autumnal pictures from London in October 2020, including a day trip to Canterbury and many walks to Hampstead Heath.London October 2020
October 2020
Autumnal pictures from London in October 2020, including a day trip to Canterbury and many walks to Hampstead Heath.
London September 2020: Pictures from London in September 2020 including a visit to the Warner Bros Harry Potter Studios for Erika's birthday.
London September 2020
September 2020
Pictures from London in September 2020 including a visit to the Warner Bros Harry Potter Studios for Erika's birthday.
Cambridge August 2020: A short trip to Cambridge for August Bank Holiday.Cambridge August 2020
Sunday 30th - Monday 31st August 2020
A short trip to Cambridge for August Bank Holiday.
Blog:
- Shoots ( 1)
    [Thursday 14th January 2021]
- Bleak Heath
    [Wednesday 13th January 2021]
- Vegan Junk Food
    [Tuesday 12th January 2021]
- More Lego
    [Monday 11th January 2021]
- Wood Carving
    [Sunday 10th January 2021]
- Lego and Heath
    [Saturday 9th January 2021]
- Halloumi and Chips and Breaky Bottom
    [Friday 8th January 2021]
- Bushcraft Knife
    [Thursday 7th January 2021]
- Wednesday
    [Wednesday 6th January 2021]
- Wassail
    [Tuesday 5th January 2021]

Shoots
[Thursday 14th January 2021]
The weather continued to be unrelentingly grey and miserable today which didn't help my mood at all.

Once again I inspected the green shoots of the bulbs in the back garden this morning, hoping for some sign spring is on the way, but still no hint of any snowdrops, or anything else about to flower. By this time last year the first snowdrop was flowering.

January is a tough month at the best of times - the depths of winter and all that - but this year with the misery of 2020 seemingly spilling over into the start of 2021 I am really struggling more than ever to keep my spirits up.

I decided to rid myself of all Facebook products once and for all today. I'd only ever briefly had a Facebook profile, a long time ago (possibly around 2007? I can't remember when it was exactly), but quickly decided it wasn't for me, and deleted it. I've never really liked the company and its whole ethos on a number of levels. Since then I had inadvertently become a user of its products though - I joined both WhatsApp and Instagram just before they were acquired by Facebook. I had rationalised it with myself in that they were ran as quite separate ecosystems - I didn't require a Facebook account to login to either - but I still felt a bit uneasy about it. So today I finally decided to be free of both things, and therefore have an entirely Facebook free phone. Gratifyingly I actually managed to persuade a few people to join Signal in the process.

Spanish food / tapas for dinner today.
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Bleak Heath
[Wednesday 13th January 2021]
Went for a rather bleak walk to the heath after amidst several days of urelentingly glum weather. I hoped I might find some early signs that spring was on the way - perhaps a snowdrop or two. Alas nothing was to be found. The only thing I saw flowering was a bit of gorse around the barrow, but I think that flowers pretty much all year round doesn't it?

I made a shepherds pie / cottage pie (whatever you call it when it's some kind of vegetarian mince) for dinner, which looked like it was going to be a bit of a disaster during cooking, but somehow turned out surprisingly well.

The meal was largely chosen to try and clear out some odds and ends to make space in the fridge / freezer for an Ocado delivery which arrived later on this evening. I ordered quite a lot of food in this delivery, and was pleased to see pretty much everything we wanted available as usual - the doom mongering predictions of food supply chain chaos post Brexit were obviously a little overblown.
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Vegan Junk Food
[Tuesday 12th January 2021]
Couldn't bring myself to cook this evening and thought we should order something in. I initially had noble plans to go and pick dinner up from a local eatery, because that way they get 100% of the takings, rather than up to 30% of what you think you're paying to the restaurant actually being taken by Deliveroo (ho also then have the nerve to charge you, the customer, a delivery fee and an admin fee, and then make you feel guilty about the restaurant / delivery driver getting a raw deal so you end up tipping them as well).

Disappointingly though I just gave in and used Deliveroo as having actually gone to pick up takeaway in person on Friday turned out to be a fairly unpleasant experience and I reluctantly had to admit on this occasion I would just rather pay for somebody else to do it. It's not like there's even the reward of being able to have a cheeky pint at a nearby pub while waiting for the food to cook.

Somehow we had decided we wanted burgers, but this is often problematic as it can end up with us ordering from two different places (the girls like Five Guys, but their "vegetarian option" is just a bun with the toppings but no burger - which is a bit of a joke). Still thinking I ought to try and support a local business I ordered some vegan junk food from a nearby American themed restaurant which Chie and I had dined in at some time last year when such wild hedonism was allowed by the powers that be. I had thought it was quite good first time round, but burgers don't always travel well, plus I went overboard and ordered some side dishes I later regretted.

So not very successfull all in all, but at least the girls seemed to like their burgers.
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More Lego
[Monday 11th January 2021]
Second week of homeschooling and living under the new set of Draconian regulations, and to add to the misery the weather had taken a turn for the worse this week. Whereas last week I had made a concerted effort to get outside and get some exercise almost every day of the week (I think I managed five days out of seven in the end) by this week whatever motivation I had was definitely fading fast. Maybe it was a lot to do with the weather. Or maybe it was just the depressing Groundhog Day routine of life at the moment.

The one upbeat part of an otherwise fairly miserable day was building more shops out of Lego with Erika in the evening. I've been focusing on the exteriors, and Erika has been focusing on the interiors and staffing. I had thought Erika was starting to go off Lego a few months ago, and worried she was getting to an age where she was only really interested in devices with screens.

That said it's easy to vilify those things a bit too much, and her Nintendo Switch has actually provided some much needed escapism for her in recent weeks. Especially with it hooked up to the big TV screen, so some of the time we can join in or at least sit and watch her play and make it a bit more sociable. She has been really enjoying Animal Crossing, and it's a nice gentle game which evolves over time, with new things being added every few days - I actually feel really grateful that Erika has something to look forward to from that, and something she can get excited, given how much has been cruelly taken away from her with all the restrictions, and particularly school being closed.

Of course, there has to be some balance though - with homeschooling Erika is already spending more time than she would normally be staring at a screen, so it doesn't seem healthy for her to also spend all of her leisure time doing so. Which is why it has been great these past few days to have the Lego project to break the screen time up a bit.
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Wood Carving
[Sunday 10th January 2021]
Had a go at wood carving with my new bushcraft knife then later on with a more specialised carving tool.
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Lego and Heath
[Saturday 9th January 2021]
Chie went out for a walk and to do some shopping for a while in the daytime, and Erika and I started work on a new Lego shopping centre. Later on in the afternoon I went for yet another walk to Hampstead Heath.
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Halloumi and Chips and Breaky Bottom
[Friday 8th January 2021]
Another walk to Hampstead Heath towards the end of the afternoon, although a very short one today as it was a bit grey and gloomy. In the evening tried a local place for fish and chips for the first time (halloumi and chips in my case) with some Breaky Bottom. Was very nice.
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Bushcraft Knife
[Thursday 7th January 2021]
Received a bushcraft knife in the post today. An early evening walk to the heath. Then practiced making feather sticks with the knife in the evening.
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Wednesday
[Wednesday 6th January 2021]
A tumeric accident and a short stroll to the heath in the afternoon.
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Wassail
[Tuesday 5th January 2021]
Held a wassail in the back garden for my one apple tree.
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Sunday
[Sunday 3rd January 2021]
Went out with Erika so she could ride her scooter a bit in the afternoon.
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Saturday
[Saturday 2nd January 2021]
Day after New Year's Day. Inspected the garden in the morning, then a walk to Hampstead Heath in the afternoon.
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New Year's Day
[Friday 1st January 2021]
Quiet day at home with some Japanese food.
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New Year's Eve
[Thursday 31st December 2020]
Marking the end of 2020. Good riddance.
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Wine by the Thames
[Wednesday 30th December 2020]
Went down to an old favourite spot - the Angel in Bermondsey - to meet Andrew for a glass of wine by the Thames (another outing for Dermot Sugrue's Storrington Priory). The pub of course is closed, but the outdoor space next to it which would normally be its de facto beer garden is public land, so amenable to BYOB.
[1 comment]

GevCham on the Heath
[Tuesday 29th December 2020]
More wine on the heath - this time good old Rossignol Trapet Gevrey Chambertin.
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Monday
[Monday 28th December 2020]
Attempted to get some smokeless coals to light in the Fire Trough without any kindling. It wasn't very successful.
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The Day After Boxing Day
[Sunday 27th December 2020]
Whatever you call it. Did a bit of pruning of the grapevines in the back garden in the morning. Dragged the girls to Hampstead Heath for a walk in the afternoon, then they headed back home while I hung around a bit longer to meet Christian for a quick glass of wine by the barrow.
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Boxing Day
[Saturday 26th December 2020]
Not much to report. I went for a brief walk to Hampstead Heath. That's about it really.
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Christmas Day
[Friday 25th December 2020]
Christmas day at home, of course.
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Christmas Eve
[Thursday 24th December 2020]
Dragged the girls down to the Thames hoping for a festive stroll along the river, but it turned out to just be cold not much fun. So we cut our losses, headed home, and then surprisingly I managed to drag them out a second time for a walk to Hampstead Heath around sunset.
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Home Haircut and Hampstead Heath
[Wednesday 23rd December 2020]
The girls had another go at cutting my hair in the morning, then yet another walk to Hampstead Heath in the afternoon.
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Day After The Winter Solstice
[Tuesday 22nd December 2020]
Almost as though the winter solstice was turning into a three day event, today I went down to the Thames to meet Andrew again, and actually drink some of the mead I had got for the solstice itself, but hadn't fancied. I can't really reccommend it.
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Actually the Winter Solstice
[Monday 21st December 2020]
It was good in way that we'd also marked the winter solstice the day before, as the weather was much nicer then. Today it was more of a grey solitary trudge to be on the heath at dawn. Later on practiced setting up a tarp using taut line hitch knots in the garden.
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Almost the Winter Solstice
[Sunday 20th December 2020]
Another day where I did two trips to Hampstead Heath - once for sunrise, and then again later for sunset. Sort of a trial run for the winter solstice, and the weather was nicer for it today.
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Saturday
[Saturday 19th December 2020]
Two walks to Hampstead Heath today, one in the morning, one in the late afternoon / early evening. Lebanese food whilst playing Monopoly for dinner.
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Day Off
[Friday 18th December 2020]
The whole company had been given the day off today, so rarely I had a day off while Erika was still at school. Of course options for things to do are a bit limited at the moment given all the restrictions, so I just did what I always do, and headed to Hampsted Heath.
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Wine on the Heath
[Thursday 17th December 2020]
Took delivery of a Fire Trough in the daytime. Finished work for the year at lunchtime, and went and met one of the regulars from the Pineapple for some wine on the heath and a chinwag.
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Temaki Sushi
[Wednesday 16th December 2020]
Had temaki sushi for dinner (the one you assemble yourself) including umi budo (sea grapes).
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Goodbye The Pineapple
[Tuesday 15th December 2020]
One last mounrful lunchtime visit to the Pineapple on the eve of it being forced to close again. Later on an early evening walk to Hampstead Heath.
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Sunday
[Sunday 13th December 2020]
East Meon and an awkwardly eaten since of cheddar and potato pie on the heath for lunch, then a fire in the back garden later one which I partly used to cook a Sunday roast of sorts.
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Curry on the Heath
[Saturday 12th December 2020]
I made some curry in my Zebra billy can and took it to the heath to eat for lunch.
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Mist and Fire
[Friday 11th December 2020]
Went for a misty walk on the heath around sunset, then later on in the evening went and sat in Jeremy's garden for a bonfire with some wine.
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Davenport on the Heath
[Thursday 10th December 2020]
Having put in long hours Monday to Wednesday at work to get something finished off, I rewarded myself today by finishing a a bit early, and doing the only thing I ever get to do these days in terms of recreation - having some wine on the heath.
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Wedding Anniversary
[Tuesday 8th December 2020]
Mine and Chie's wedding anniversary. So we took a flask of tea for a late morning stroll to the heath - like an elderly couple - followed by lunch outside the Pineapple.
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Heath with Erika
[Sunday 6th December 2020]
Managed to persuade Erika to come to the heath with me with the promise of an ice cream. So we sat together for a while at my favourite spot, the barrow, having ice cream / lollies (despite near freezing temperatures) followed by some more Nuit St Georges. Lovely.
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Forty Hall
[Saturday 5th December 2020]
Drove to Forty Hall in Enfield in the morning to buy a case of their newly released 2018 vintage, and then later on took a bottle to the heath to try. Unfortunately it was faulty though! So later on instead tried an excellent 2005 Nuit St Georges I'd recently ordered from Fingal Rock in Monmouth.
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Christmas Tree
[Friday 4th December 2020]
Put up our christmas tree this afternoon/evening.
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Rainy Wine on The Heath
[Thursday 3rd December 2020]
Another trip to the heath with some wine, this time the first of a case of Rossignol Trapet's 2014 Gevrey Chambertin.
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East Meon on the Heath
[Tuesday 1st December 2020]
Clocked off from work a bit early (having worked late the previous evening) to try the newly released 2015 vintage of East Meon Berrygarden around sunset. It was very nice.
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Wreath
[Monday 30th November 2020]
Erika and I made a Christmassy wreath from holly and ivy we'd gathered whilst out on the heath yesterday.
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Adventure on the Heath
[Sunday 29th November 2020]
A lovely adenturous afternoon / early evening on the heath with Erika, we stayed out until it got dark.
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Drawing
[Saturday 28th November 2020]
I went for a very brief walk to Hampstead Heath in the afternoon, but it turned out I wasn't really in the mood, so pretty much turned around and went home again as soon as I got there. Later on Erika and I did some drawing together. Lebanese food for dinner, with some Chatea Musar white.
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Wine on the Heath with Christian
[Friday 27th November 2020]
Took another afternoon off walk to meet Christian on the heath for a glass of wine and a chat.
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Trouble with Dreams 2015
[Thursday 26th November 2020]
Was struggling to get any work done today, so decided to call it a half day, and headed off to the heath a little after 3pm to try the newly released Trouble with Dreams 2015 vintage from Dermot Sugrue.
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Goodbye Vera
[Wednesday 25th November 2020]
A sad day today - we drove to South Wales to pay our final respects to Vera, who passed away earlier this month at the age of 101.
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Pink Sky at Night
[Tuesday 24th November 2020]
Just a few pictures from the back garden of what I thought was a nice early evening sky.
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ESW Tasting with Ben
[Monday 23rd November 2020]
Took the afternoon off work an did an English sparkling wine tasting on Hampstead Heath with Ben, a former colleague.
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Drinks on the Beach
[Sunday 22nd November 2020]
Went to the "beach" (i.e. the Thames foreshore) to have a drink with Andrew this afternoon.
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Saturday
[Saturday 21st November 2020]
Took Erika out for a walk to one of the local parks in the afternoon in the hope of spontaneously bumping into one of her friends, now that she's allowed to leave home again.
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Outside
[Friday 20th November 2020]
Today marked the last day of Erika having to isolate (she was officially allowed to leave home as of 3:30pm) although she wasn't actually desperate to go outside - we just managed to coax her out to get an ice cream. I do worry amongst the many negative impacts of the crazy regulations this year if it's creating a generation of agoraphobics. Anyway, I seem to be developing the opposite issue and at the end of the working day today went for a short stroll to Hampstead Heath, and sat in the rain for a bit.
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Davenport Diamond Fields 2019
[Wednesday 18th November 2020]
Took delivery of a case of the newly released vintage of Davenport's Diamond Fields Pinot Noir.
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GevCham Rainbow
[Sunday 15th November 2020]
Took a bottle of Gevrey Chambertin to the heath and was treated to a rainbow while I was there.
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Grey, Albourne, Papier Mache Cat
[Saturday 14th November 2020]
Rather a grey walk to Hampstead Heath in the afternoon. Later on tried Albourne Estate's Pinot Noir, and did a bit more work on the papier mache cat.
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Sunrise, Chips, Exercise, ESW
[Friday 13th November 2020]
I got up early to try and catch a bit of the sunrise on the heath, but was probably a bit too late as always. As was homeschooling the three of us had fish and chips (or halloumi and chips in my case) for lunch. In the afternoon I did some "PE" with Erika in the garden, then later on I tried a new ESW - Henners Native Grace.
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Wednesday
[Wednesday 11th November 2020]
Erika's class was sent home from school today because one of her classmates has a positive PCR test, so she'd now have to stay at home until next Friday. I apparently had a glass of wine in the garden in the evening. Can't remember now what it was.
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Dehumidifer and Sunset on the Heath
[Tuesday 10th November 2020]
A dehumidifer arrived today for the back bedroom, to try and get on top of the mould problem. Towards the end of the working day I attempted to get out to catch the sunset on the heath, but was a bit too late as always, and probably the best of it was on the way there.
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Pizza
[Monday 9th November 2020]
Bought some pizza bases and Erika helped with the toppings this evening.
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Cleaning
[Sunday 8th November 2020]
Took our bedroom apart today, having noticed mould behind one of the cupboards, and spent the morning scrubbing it off the walls and re-arranging all the furniture. Later on some Breaky Bottom in the garden in the early evening, along with some butterscotch popcorn.
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Shopping and Hampstead Heath with Erika
[Saturday 7th November 2020]
Went shopping in the morning and then in the afternoon after much effort to drag her out of the house we finally persauded Erika to go for a walk on Hampstead Heath.
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Takeaway Drinks
[Friday 6th November 2020]
Woke up this morning to a very pretty pattern of clouds in the sky. Went out for takeaway coffee as a small act of defiance to the current stupid lockdown. In the late afternoon / early evening went and picked up "preordered" cider from the Southampton Arms as a further small act of rebellion, and sat on the heath with it for a bit.
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Vera
[Thursday 5th November 2020]
Sad news today, Vera passed away, at the great age of 101. I went for a short walk in the mist in the morning, then in the evening Erika and I sat out in the garden looking at the stars and watching what we could see of the fireworks.
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Wine on the Heath with Christian and Cardo
[Wednesday 4th November 2020]
Met up with Christian - who had just moved back to London - and Cardo, for some wine on the heath, for a change at the northern end of the heath, near Kenwood House.
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Breaky Bottom Delivery
[Tuesday 3rd November 2020]
Received a wine delivery from Breaky Bottom today. Nice handwritten note from Peter.
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The Heath Again
[Monday 2nd November 2020]
Went for a late afternoon / early evening stroll to the heath roughly around sunset.
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Pumpkin Soup and Wine on the Heath
[Sunday 1st November 2020]
Made pumpkin soup for lunch, then later in the afternoon I went and sat on Hampstead Heath with some wine for a bit.
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Halloween
[Saturday 31st October 2020]
We manage to carve out some sort of Halloween related frivolity for Erika's sake despite the current restrictions.
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Another Haircut Accident and White Truffles
[Friday 30th October 2020]
Took another day off work to do something fun with Erika while she was still on half term, but once again struggled to find much in the way of available activities, so we just headed down to Belgravia for lunch at Oliveto - I was very keen to have their excellent tagliolini with white truffles now the season was upon us. Before we headed off I got the girls to have a go at cutting my hair, and it went a bit awry again.
[1 comment]

Hampstead Heath Yet Again
[Thursday 29th October 2020]
Yet another stroll to the heath, again a bit bleak looking.
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Ashling Park Rose
[Wednesday 28th October 2020]
Tried the rose from Ashling Park this evening.
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Lunch in a Shed
[Tuesday 27th October 2020]
Erika was on her half term holiday this week, and today I took the day off work so that we could do something together. Unfortunately the weather was a bit grim, and many of the usual options for entertainment weren't available given the current restrictions so we ended up just having a pub lunch in one of the sheds recently constructed in the beer garden of one of our local pubs. Then we did a bit of papier mache in the afternoon.
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Sunset on the Heath
[Monday 26th October 2020]
Finished work a bit early to do some exercise, and strolled to the heath to try and catch a bit of the sunset. Again a few minutes too late really, but got some nice shots of pink evening sky anyway.
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Canterbury
[Sunday 25th October 2020]
Went down to Canterbury for the day, and sat under a tarp in Leon's back garden while he made pizza and we drank Spritzes.
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Sunrise on Hampstead Heath
[Saturday 24th October 2020]
I woke early and decided it would be good to try and watch the sunrise (or at least the tail end of it) on Hampstead Heath. Later in the day some GevCham out in the garden, and played with Cozmo with Erika.
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Smokeless Coal Round Two
[Friday 23rd October 2020]
Another attempt to make a fire in the back garden with the smokeless coals this evening and more successful second time round! Used a lot more kindling and a lot more coals and eventually got a decent burn out of it. Did some fantastic baked potatoes!
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Smokeless Coal
[Thursday 22nd October 2020]
Took delivery of some "smokeless" coal today, with the view to possibly buying a fire pit / chiminea to allow us to spend more time outdoors in the coming months. Tried it out with the barbecue this evening, but it turned out to be seemingly impossible to ignite, which rather suggested the basis on which it could legitimately claim to be smokeless.
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Cross Country Run and Cardo's Birthday
[Monday 19th October 2020]
Erika's class had a cross country run on Hampstead Heath this afternoon, and I went along to help marshal. Later on met up with Cardo on Primrose Hill for a couple of glasses of wine to celebrate his birthday.
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Platform 9 3/4, Hampstead Heath and Fairy Lights
[Sunday 18th October 2020]
Erika and I walked down to St Pancras in the morning to visit the Platform 9 3/4 shop there, so she could pick up a couple of Harry Potter items she had wanted for a while. Another perfectly timed opportunity for a pint outside the Pineapple on the way back. In the afternoon I went for another walk to the heath, then in the evening we put some fairy lights up in the garden.
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Sneaky Pint, Yard Sale, Lebanese Food and Butterbeer
[Saturday 17th October 2020]
Packed quite a lot in today in retrospect. Went to our local Middle Eastern food shop in the morning to buy things for a Lebanese dinner this evening (it being our wedding anniversary) and timed it perfectly for a sneaky pint at the one table outside the Pineapple on the way back. Went to Erika's friend's school yard sale in the neighbourhood later on, and picked up a wedding anniversary present for Chie - a Lost in Translation DVD. Lebanese food for dinner including some 1997 (!) Chatea Musar. After dinner I had a go at making Butterbeer (from Harry Potter) for Erika.
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Cider
[Friday 16th October 2020]
Cider out in the garden after work, and generally feeling very autumnal still.
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Pie and Mash
[Thursday 15th October 2020]
Ordered a Manze Pie and Mash delivery, which arrived today - making tonight's dinner an obvious choice. Also went for a quick early evening walk to the heath before dinner.
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Wednesday
[Wednesday 14th October 2020]
Glass of ESW out in the garden.
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Autumnal
[Tuesday 13th October 2020]
The garden looking damp and autumnal again.
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Picnic on the Heath and Drinks by the Thames
[Sunday 11th October 2020]
A rarely busy / social day, starting off with pizza on the heath for lunch with local friends. Then later on in the afternoon I headed down to the Thames for al fresco drinks with the usual suspects, and we were treated to some lovely views and a rainbow over the river.
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Hampstead Heath Yet Again
[Saturday 10th October 2020]
Went for a stroll to the heath while Erika was at Japanese school in the morning.
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Wild Life and Pubs
[Friday 9th October 2020]
Erika drew this picture for me, which I thought was rather lovely.
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Outdoor Cooking
[Thursday 8th October 2020]
Thought I'd give my new frying pan a go this evening, and did some al fresco cooking.
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Frying pan
[Wednesday 7th October 2020]
Received a new frying pan (for camping) in the post today.
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Tuesday
[Tuesday 6th October 2020]
Not much to report.
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Undrinable Homemade Wine
[Sunday 4th October 2020]
"Bottled" the wine I had made in 2020 so I could make use of the fermenting vessel again for this year's harvest. It doesn't look good. Takoyaki (or a vegetarian version thereof) for lunch, a stroll on the heath in the afternoon, and some more Roebuck Estates in the evening.
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Autumn
[Saturday 3rd October 2020]
Feeling very autumnal - the leaves on the blueberry bush changing colour.
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Friday
[Friday 2nd October 2020]
Fish (well, halloumi) and chips for lunch, wine from Roebuck Estate in the evening.
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October
[Thursday 1st October 2020]
So it's October then.
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Ashling Park Estate
[Wednesday 30th September 2020]
Received a case of wine from Ashling Park today.
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Tuesday
[Tuesday 29th September 2020]
Something red out in the garden. Don't recall what it was now.
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First Apple and Winemaking
[Monday 28th September 2020]
Although technically we had already taken the first apple of this season from the tree the weekend before last (to make a token contribution to the batch of cider we helped to make while visiting Dad in Devon), today we picked the first one to actually eat. It's always quite a nice turning point of the year, and this year, having left it a bit later than usual, the apples were a bit redder than they had been previously. They're not a particularly strongly flavoured apple (the variety is red falstaff) but they obviously taste extremely fresh.

In a similar autumnal theme, we also started the process of winemaking this evening with this year's grape harvest. We had about two kilos of grapes this year, which hopefully is going to translate to at least a bottle of wine, perhaps two. Chie helped out with the destemming, and Erika helped out with the pressing (done with a potato masher) so it was a nice family activity. I don't have particularly high hopes for the wine itself - I didn't even try the end result from when I attempted this the year before last - but more want to go through the process to understand it better. Who knows though, maybe I might inadvertently make something drinkable this time round.
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Harvest
[Sunday 27th September 2020]
Harvested the grapes from my vines today.
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Pewsey to Avebury
[Saturday 26th September 2020]
Went for a walk today, from Pewsey to Avebury: via Wilcot, Pewsey Downs, East Kennet, West Kennet Long Barrow and Silbury Hill.

Read more on John Goes For a Walk.
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Pineapple and Pillow
[Friday 25th September 2020]
Braved the Pineapple for lunch (at Chie's insistence I might add). Later on my new inflatable camping pillow arrived.
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Thursday
[Thursday 24th September 2020]
Not much to report, other than had some of Dad's excellent cider this evening.
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