John Hawkins



Dr John Hawkins

Welcome to my bit of the Maison de Stuff, home to a huge load of pictures, and my daily blog.

My email address is as above - I've put it in an image in a vein attempt to reduce the amount of spam I get.

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Recent Entries:
Back to London
Last Full Day
Phoenician Meal
Coastal Path and Polperro Pubs
Fowey
Sunday at Landaviddy
Saturday at Landaviddy
Arriving
Day Before Holiday
Grey
Sylvanian Families
Front Garden
Amersham
Briggs
Andrew's Keys
Tuesday
Monday
Erin
Snails, Ice Cream, Lego
Leon
Middle Temple and the Savoy
Masala Zone
Proms
Day After the Garden Tap Party
New Garden Tap Party
Old and New Garden Taps
Old Garden Tap
Garden, Bike, Wahaca
Chap Olympiad
Face Painting, GevCham, Projector
Avocado on Toast
Not Kensington
Erika's New Bike
In The Garden
Kensington and the Garden Centre
ESW by the Canal
Thursday
Barbecue
Sports Day
Whiststable
School Summer Fair
Sketches
Kerb
The Constitution
Ali
Elephant, Frank's, Ralph's Birthday
Jackfruit
Royal Ascot
Andy's Greek Taverna
Board Games
Margate
Tatami and the Wrong Rabbit
Lunch at Oliveto
An Unexpected and Very Short Visit to St. Albans
Fukuoka to Helsinki to London
Fukuoka
Beach, Kure and Kura Sushi
Thursday in Hiroshima
Okonomiyaki and Shopping
Miyajima
Monday in Tokyo, and Then Off to Hiroshima
Sunday in Tokyo
Saturday in Tokyo
Off to Japan
Park Chinois
Wednesday
Tuesday
Sitges to Barcelona to Paris to London
Sunday in Sitges
Saturday in Sitges
Paris to Sitges
Paris
Lubricating Locks
Royal Ascot Badges
Burgh Island to Starcross
Saturday on Burgh Island
Ciao Bella
Gev Chap
Wine Deliveries
Oliveto and The Angel
Zoo
ESW and Sabrage
Gerry the Giraffe Diary
Damp Proofing
Tip and Tent
Cellar Beams and Aoki-san
Clearing out the Cellar
Gerry the Girafe goes to Guildford
Goat, Sketch, Princi
Chie's Birthday
Rhubarb
More Face Painting
May Day
Highgate Woods
Shopping, Dim Sum, BBQ
Ye Old Mitre, Whisky Society, and San Carlo Cicchetti
Thursday WFH
Mitford and Waugh
Lunch at the Pineapple
Work From Home

Pictures:
Cornwall August 2017: A big family gathering for a week's stay in Polperro in Cornwall to celebrate various milestone birthdays including belatedly my 40th.Cornwall August 2017
Friday 11th - Friday 18th August 2017
A big family gathering for a week's stay in Polperro in Cornwall to celebrate various milestone birthdays including belatedly my 40th.
London August 2017: Pictures from London in August 2017.London August 2017
August 2017
Pictures from London in August 2017.
London July 2017: Pictures from London in July 2017, including a day trip to Whitstable, Erika's sports day and the Chap Olympiad.London July 2017
July 2017
Pictures from London in July 2017, including a day trip to Whitstable, Erika's sports day and the Chap Olympiad.
Japan June 2017: A couple of nights in Tokyo followed by the rest of the week in Hiroshima to see Chie and Erika at the end of their longer trip to Japan.Japan June 2017
Saturday 3rd to Sunday 11th June 2017
A couple of nights in Tokyo followed by the rest of the week in Hiroshima to see Chie and Erika at the end of their longer trip to Japan.
London June 2017: Pictures from London in June 2017.London June 2017
June 2017
Pictures from London in June 2017.
Blog:
- Back to London
    [Friday 18th August 2017]
- Last Full Day
    [Thursday 17th August 2017]
- Phoenician Meal
    [Wednesday 16th August 2017]
- Coastal Path and Polperro Pubs
    [Tuesday 15th August 2017]
- Fowey
    [Monday 14th August 2017]
- Sunday at Landaviddy
    [Sunday 13th August 2017]
- Saturday at Landaviddy
    [Saturday 12th August 2017]
- Arriving
    [Friday 11th August 2017]
- Day Before Holiday
    [Thursday 10th August 2017]
- Grey
    [Wednesday 9th August 2017]

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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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Fowey
[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.
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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.
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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!
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Arriving
[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.
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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.
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Grey
[Wednesday 9th August 2017]
Very wet, grey and miserable weather today.
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Sylvanian Families
[Tuesday 8th August 2017]
Played Sylvanian Families with Erika in the evening. They had a large dinner party.
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Front Garden
[Sunday 6th August 2017]
Spent quite a lot of today cutting the hedge and generally tidying up the front garden.
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Amersham
[Saturday 5th August 2017]
Went to Amersham (quite a trek to get there) for a party with Chie's former colleague.
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Briggs
[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.
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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.
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Tuesday
[Tuesday 1st August 2017]
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Monday
[Monday 31st July 2017]
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Erin
[Sunday 30th July 2017]
Went to lunch at Al and Charlotte's to meet their new baby Erin.
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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.
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Leon
[Friday 28th July 2017]
Saw Leon briefly in the evening as he was passing through London en route to Mexico.
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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.
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Masala Zone
[Monday 24th July 2017]
Dinner at Masala Zone in Camden in the evening.
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Proms
[Sunday 23rd July 2017]
Took Erika to the Proms in the evening.
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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.
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New Garden Tap Party
[Friday 21st July 2017]
Had the new garden tap fitted today, and a party in its honour in the evening.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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Chap Olympiad
[Saturday 15th July 2017]
Pictures from this year's Chap Olympiad.
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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.
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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.
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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...
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Erika's New Bike
[Monday 10th July 2017]
Erika's new bike arrived today, and she took it out for an early evening spin.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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Thursday
[Thursday 6th July 2017]
A couple of random pictures.
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Barbecue
[Wednesday 5th July 2017]
Decided to have a barbecue in our back garden.
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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.
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Whiststable
[Sunday 2nd July 2017]
Spent the day in Whitstable. Hardly took any pictures!
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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.
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Sketches
[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.
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Kerb
[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.
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The Constitution
[Monday 26th June 2017]
Monday evening drinks at the Constitution by the canal with some of the usual suspects.
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Ali
[Sunday 25th June 2017]
Went to visit Ali in Welwyn Garden City.
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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.
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Jackfruit
[Thursday 22nd June 2017]
First time to try Jackfruit, a novel meat substitute.
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Royal Ascot
[Wednesday 21st June 2017]
Second time in the Royal Enclosure at Royal Ascot.
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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.
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Board Games
[Sunday 18th June 2017]
A few pictures of me and Erika in the Pineapple playing board games.
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Margate
[Saturday 17th June 2017]
Took Erika to Margate for the day, spent most of the time at Dreamland, the retro theme park.
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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.
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Lunch at Oliveto
[Thursday 15th June 2017]
Went to the dentist. Which meant lunch at Oliveto.
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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.
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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._
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Fukuoka
[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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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Miyajima
[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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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Off to Japan
[Friday 2nd June 2017]

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Park Chinois
[Thursday 1st June 2017]
Dinner at Park Chinois wth some friends from work.
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Wednesday
[Wednesday 31st May 2017]
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Tuesday
[Tuesday 30th May 2017]
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Sitges to Barcelona to Paris to London
[Monday 29th May 2017]
Travelled all the way back to London from Sitges in one day today.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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Paris
[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.
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Lubricating Locks
[Tuesday 23rd May 2017]
Rather unexcitingly received a can of apparently the correct substance to be used for lubricating locks.
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Royal Ascot Badges
[Monday 22nd May 2017]
Badges for Royal Ascot arrived today. Also less excitingly I bought some WD-40.
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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.
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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.
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Ciao Bella
[Thursday 18th May 2017]
Went for lunch at Ciao Bella.
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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.
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Wine Deliveries
[Tuesday 16th May 2017]
Received some wine deliveries today - a few bottles of Domaine Fourrier Gevrey Chambertin and some handy half bottles of Nyetimber.
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Oliveto and The Angel
[Sunday 14th May 2017]
Spent a large chunk of the morning cleaning my coffee machine. Then Chie, Erika and I went for lunch at Oliveto followed by gelato at Olivogelo. After that I went for a birthday pint with Andrew at the Angel in Bermondsey.
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Zoo
[Saturday 13th May 2017]
Took Erika to the zoo, and were joined there by a friend.
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ESW and Sabrage
[Friday 12th May 2017]
Bought a few bottles of ESW from Theatre of Wine then dithered over which to sabrage this evening.
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Gerry the Giraffe Diary
[Thursday 11th May 2017]
Put the finishing touches to Erika's entry in the school "pet" - Gerry the Giraffe - which she had been looking after for the last week.
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Damp Proofing
[Wednesday 10th May 2017]
Had more builders in today, this time to install new damp proof courses in some interior walls.
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Tip and Tent
[Tuesday 9th May 2017]
Chie and I took some of the things we'd cleared out of the cellar at lunchtime. In the afternoon when Erika got back from school she played with a tent we'd whilst clearing out the cellar.
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Cellar Beams and Aoki-san
[Monday 8th May 2017]
Cellar beams were replaced today. Also in the evening saw Aoki-san who was working in London this week.
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Clearing out the Cellar
[Sunday 7th May 2017]
Cleared out the cellar in the morning ahead of some maintenance work next week. Chie went out in the afternoon, so Erika and I had lunch at the Pineapple and went to a succession of local playgrounds - 3 in fact. In the evening we lazily ate out again, at Pizza East.
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Gerry the Girafe goes to Guildford
[Saturday 6th May 2017]
Erika was looking after her class "pet" this weekend, and took it with her down to Guildford to visit her cousins, to coincide with Grandad Nick also being there.
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Goat, Sketch, Princi
[Friday 5th May 2017]
Out with the usual suspects. Veggie fish and chips at the Goat Tavern, followed by cocktails at Sketch, then post cocktail snacks at Princi.
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Chie's Birthday
[Thursday 4th May 2017]
Chie and I went for lunch at Olivo (surprisingly my first time to go to the elder sister of my favourite Oliveto) for Chie's birthday.
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Rhubarb
[Wednesday 3rd May 2017]
Chie got some rhubarb today.
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More Face Painting
[Tuesday 2nd May 2017]
Erika doing some more face painting.
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May Day
[Monday 1st May 2017]
Wanted to go for ramen for lunch but were largely thwarted by places being closed and rain. Ended up at Shoryu. Later on in the afternoon a friend of Erika's came round for a play date.
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Highgate Woods
[Sunday 30th April 2017]
Went to visit Highgate Woods.
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Shopping, Dim Sum, BBQ
[Saturday 29th April 2017]
The main event for today was a barbecue at our friend's place in Brixton in the afternoon. However Erika had been saying for a few days now she wanted to go to our favourite dim sum place - and both Chie and I were delighted to hear Erika say she wants to eat something which isn't chocolate / gummies / ice cream. Knowing that afternoon barbecues can often mean eating at closer to dinner time, we thought it prudent to have a light lunch first.

Before the dim sum, Erika accompanied me to go and pick up my two new suits in and around St. James's. She waited fairly patiently outside the changing room at the first place and slightly less patiently inside the changing room at the second place, and after both fittings provided some short but broadly positive feedback ("Do you like it Erika?" - "Yes."). We went via the Burlington Arcade between the two shops, so also popped into Laduree to buy some macarons to take to our friends in the afternoon, and to Penhaligon's to sample a couple of fragrances. They gave her her own little sample bottle with which she was quite delighted (and Chie had to later wrestle off her because she kept spraying on herself). It felt wonderfully effete, flouncing around in this fashion with Erika in tow.

The dim sum at Joy King Lau was as delicious as ever.

We had a bit of time to kill before it was time to head to the barbecue after that, so initially we went and got in the queue for the Lego shop, but then Erika saw the (presumably new) Nickleodeon shop instead. Inside it was worlds apart from the gratifyingly sober menswear emporia we had been frequenting before lunch, with the rather bizarre notion that one might pay money to wear a garishly coloured article of clothing which gave free advertising to the brand you'd just paid money to. Thankfully Erika didn't actually seem to want any of these garish articles - but did like having her picture taken with "Shimmer and Shine". After leaving I then similarly had my picture taken with some Star Wars characters outside the Lego shop.

On arrival in Brixton I felt slightly self conscious as I walked past a socialist with a megaphone calling for an end to capitalism, in my tweed suit, carrying two new suit bags, a bag with a dozen macarons in, another bag with a bottle of Pol Roger, and a final bag with some fragrance from Penhaligon's. Thankfully she either didn't notice or just declined to make a comment.

At the barbecue (which turned out to be a more indoor affair as the barbecue had ran out of gas) Erika played happily with her friend, whilst I engaged in a very grown up conversation with the other parents present about tax, etc.

We left around 6, Chie and Erika had another social engagement in the evening back up North. I met Natalie for a quick glass of wine at a wine bar which was possibly the epitome of Brixton gentrification, before heading home to try on my new suits again.
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Ye Old Mitre, Whisky Society, and San Carlo Cicchetti
[Friday 28th April 2017]
Actually worked from the office today as, to to my surprise I had a meeting, at the office, with other people at the office.

Perhaps as a result I felt quite grumpy, and left early to go to Ye Old Mitre - haven't been there in ages - to cheer myself up. Was quite happy to just sit and have a solitary pint there, but Andrew came along and joined me, which was very pleasant, and we sat in the grumpy old man corner being grumpy old men. Andrew having recently been to Islay, the conversation then led to whisky, and so it being just round the corner it seemed like a good opportunity to revisit another old haunt - the Whisky Society - where I also hadn't been for quite some time (my membership had lapsed, so it must be at least a year).

Andrew didn't want to stay particularly late, so after a whisky or two at the society, he headed home, and I attempted to meet up with Ricardo, who was in Soho. By the time I got there he had already left, so instead I went for a late dinner at San Carlo Ciccheti, then headed home.
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Thursday WFH
[Thursday 27th April 2017]
Fourth day in a row working from home. It continued to be much more pleasant than working at the office.

Went to Bear and Wolf for breakfast with Chie after dropping Erika off at school, where I had their version of avocado on toast of which I am quite fond (despite it having changed on the menu thankfully they were still happy to make it the old way). As a result I didn't go out for lunch unlike the past couple of days, and instead just had a bowl of somewhat instant ramen.

In the evening after Erika's bedtime I attempted to go out for a cocktail in Kentish Town, having read in Time Out or somesuch about one of the local pubs now serving a "gunpowder gimlet", which sounded interest. On arrival at the pub in question though they told me the cocktail bar had closed early that evening due to nobody coming. I often get this feeling about Kentish Town that it occasionally teeters on the brink of becoming a buzzy, exciting part of London, and then fails at the final hurdle.

So instead I just went back home and read more of the Evelyn Waugh and Nancy Mitford letters and became increasingly at how many more orders of magnitude more glamorous and exciting their lives were than mine.
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Mitford and Waugh
[Wednesday 26th April 2017]
Worked from home again today, Chie went out for lunch with a friend, so I went and had pizza at the Franco Manca in Kentish Town for lunch. Considered then popping down to Camden to buy coffee, but had a bit of an intuition the weather was going to take a turn for the worst so went home instead. Sure enough I just got home in time to take the washing in before the rain, then hail, then later on even a bit of thunder.

Received a copy of the Letters of Nancy Mitford and Evelyn Waugh in the post today, and started reading it in the evening. The first few were actually slightly hard work to get through, as Mitford and Waugh had such a huge circle of mutual friends, about whom they gossiped constantly, many referred to by obscure nicknames, that the constant flitting back and forth to the footnotes was a bit tiring. Eventually though I got into the swing of it, was perhaps slightly mixed emotions - on the one hand they're often very witty, and it's fascinating to see behind the scenes of a handful of novels I'd read recently (The Pursuit of Love, Decline and Fall, a Handful of Dust - and of course lots of references to Brideshead Revisited). It is particularly interesting how autobiographical all of their novels seem to be, almost all the characters seem to be based at least in part on real life friends and acquaintances of theirs, and it's fun that they mix reality and fiction in the letters, often referring to the real people with the names given in the books, even outside of the context of the narratives in the novels.

All of that said though I seem to be in a bit of a social rut at the moment, nights out seem to have become a very rare commodity of late, and even when the usual suspects can be rallied into action we seem to just be largely re-treading old ground. That, and the fact the modern world feels so banal compared to Waugh and Mitford's era. So, delightful though their letters were, they reawakened a deep sense of ennui, which had perhaps been put on hold with the temporary excitement of my birthday party in March, but had certainly been very evident for the couple of months before that.
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Lunch at the Pineapple
[Tuesday 25th April 2017]
Worked from home again today. Looks like we probably need to engage in a bit of property maintenance work, so I had a contractor come round in the morning to give a quite, and it was easier then to just stay at home the rest of the day. Actually managed quite a decent day's work of it, and I've noticed I'm more likely to work later on in the evening as well when I work from home.

Went for lunch at the Pineapple with Chie. I tried a different dish to the usual 2 or 3 I generally choose from the Thai food menu - this time one called "garlic fever". It didn't taste overwhelmingly garlicky to me (Chie often questions whether my taste buds in fact work) but it was quite good.
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Work From Home
[Monday 24th April 2017]
Decided to work from home today, as I in fact ended up doing most of this week, partly spurred on by the fact we need to organise some maintenance work on the flat, and it's just much easier to make phonecalls etc from home - I don't have a phone on my desk at the office, and my mobile doesn't get a particularly good signal - plus it's a fairly cramped open plan office and I don't like disturbing my colleagues.

Chie went out for lunch, and I ate leftovers from last night's sort of Mediteranean hot pot type thing (a somewhat improvised dish designed to use up various odds and ends).
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