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:
Shoots
Bleak Heath
Vegan Junk Food
More Lego
Wood Carving
Lego and Heath
Halloumi and Chips and Breaky Bottom
Bushcraft Knife
Wednesday
Wassail
Monday
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
Monday
Sunday
Curry on the Heath

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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Monday
[Monday 4th January]
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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.
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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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Monday
[Monday 14th December]
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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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