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:
- Bank Holiday
Poorly Chie Again
Kind of Mousaka
Back to the One Pint Limit
A Quarter of a Pint of Shandy
A Quarter of a Pint of Shandy
Oxford at Random
No More Drinking
Chie's Last Day
Ooops, More Drinking
My Picture in the Paper
Port Ellen 1979
Healthy, not Healthy
Rich and Rosie's Wedding
More Chinese Food
Supermarket and Chinese Food
- Bank Holiday
- [Monday 30th August]
We wanted to take advantage of the bank holiday and go out for the day somewhere, but predictably overslept and then decided it was too late to do anything. Instead, we decided to go to Chie's health club to use the swimming pool, sauna etc, which was quite nice. Strangely bumped into Rob and Pete after leaving the helath club, on their way to the tip...?! We had Chinese food for dinner at one of those all you can eat type places, which was actually quite nice. In the evening we watched the new Poirot film, well, I say we, Chie slept through a large part of it. To be honest I wasn't that impressed really. I think I may be turning into my Grandmother, as I spent more of the time trying to work out where it was being filmed than I did actually paying attention to what was going on.
- Staying In
- [Sunday 29th August]
Stayed in almost the entire day, with the exception of a quick wander round to my nearest supermarket just before 4. Spent more of the day than I would have wanted to clearing spam off my blog, which I found very irritating indeed. At least 150 entries had one or more comment posted to it full of links to some site called zw88 or sj55. I'm not sure if I'm being particularly targeted here or if they have some kind of mass spamming script. Either way it is extremely annoying - my website doesn't exist to give other (and I might add, far crapper) websites free advertising, especially on such a large and troublesome scale as that. While I was at it, I spent a bit of the time trying to sort out the archives for this blog, which was only partially successful, apparently it has grown to big for the server to rebuild now, and it keeps timing out part way through. Ho, hum.
- Nozaki's Birthday
- [Saturday 28th August]
Had dinner at Nozaki's house to mark his birthday, with the usual great food and great wine. As a present, we took along some bottles of beer and cider and a couple of cheeses. One of the cheeses was apparently produced locally - in Riseley. It was called Wigmore and was extremely nice indeed.
- Poorly Chie Again
- [Friday 27th August]
Chie was ill again today. On the plus side though this meant we could have lunch (spaghetti) together, which was nice. Had another quiet evening (although I did manage to fit in a quick pint after work with David and Simon). Made sort of Japanese food, with inari sushi and an omelette and some shiitake. Quite nice.
- Poorly Chie
- [Thursday 26th August]
Made our way back from the airport in the morning, so I was a bit late for work, which was compounded by about fifty thousand Reading Festival goers trying to get on our train. Chie had developed a fever, and we were both quite tired, so we had a very quiet evening, a light dinner (soup and salad) and just watched a bit of telly really.
- More Airports
- [Wednesday 25th August]
Spent the daytime at a conference in Toulouse. Didn't enjoy it a great deal to be honest. With the possible exception of lunch that is, where I met a very interesting guy from New Zealand who taught me a new phrase: "Number 8 Wire", which is apparently New Zealander speak for all things thrown together out of whatever comes to hand (Number 8 wire being the wire most commonly used in livestock fences). I plan to work it into conversations over the coming weeks as much as possible.
Left the conference immediately after the last talk and headed straight to the airport, hoping I might be able to get an earlier flight back than the one I was booked on. Predicatbly, the only other flight I could have got on left a minute before I arrived at the airport, and I subsequently had to spend five dreary hours (or so) hanging around waiting for my original flight, which was of course delayed as well. The delay meant that when I finally got back to Gatwick, I had missed my last train. All was not lost though, Chie (bless her) had come to meet me, and we decided to say sod it to the expense and check into Le Meridien, which made for a surprisingly nice end to the day.
[Click here to read more...]
- Toulouse, Airports
- [Tuesday 24th August]
A very airport themed day. As I was just about to fly off toToulouse from Gatwick, Chie was just landing at Heathrow having returned from Japan. It was pretty frustrating that we weren't going to be able to meet up somehow. Bought a bottle of Scapa at the airport, and a book on whisky to cheer myself up a bit. I arrived in Toulouse quite late, and went straight to my hotel (having finally worked out where it was). Not very exciting!
- [Monday 23rd August]
Spent the evening realising how disorganised I was for my impending trip to Toulouse. Tried and failed to find out where my hotel was, etc. Ideal, as it was the night before, and really too late to be doing that sort of thing!
- Kind of Mousaka
- [Sunday 22nd August]
Had a pretty uneventful day really, punctuated at the one end with a really big cooked breakfast, and at the other end with a sort of mousaka dish I made. I basically made a sort of fake bolognese sauce, then put some slices of fried aubergine on top of that, then a cheese sauce on top of that, then some more slices of aubergine and a sprinkling of cheese. It was surprisingly very nice, although I was a little concerned about how downright fatty it must have been. Ho, hum.
- Steve's Birthday
- [Saturday 21st August]
Went to a surprise barbeque at Michelle and Steve's house to celebrate Steve's 30th. Didn't really think through the food side of things, so consequently became quite drunk. Spent a lot of money on taxis, and got home about 4AM. See also:
- Back to the One Pint Limit
- [Friday 20th August]
At the pub after work, Kev stuck to his one pint limit this time, and couldn't even be persuaded into having another under the auspices of getting something to eat. So it turned into quite a bland Friday night, I went home after the pub, made some pasta which I barely ate any of, watched a bit of TV, then went to bed.
- A Quarter of a Pint of Shandy
- [Thursday 19th August] Went for a drink after work with the all-new "low alcohol" Kev, and managed to get him to exceed his new, somewhat foolhardy, one pint limit. We then had a curry, which was washed down with more beer. We didn't go that crazy - stopped after beer number three, which seems to me a far more satisfactory limit. Three units a day? My arse.
- A Quarter of a Pint of Shandy
- [Thursday 19th August]
Went for a drink after work with the all-new "low alcohol" Kev, and managed to get him to exceed his new, somewhat foolhardy, one pint limit. We then had a curry, which was washed down with more beer. We didn't go that crazy - stopped after beer number three, which seems to me a far more satisfactory limit. Three units a day? My arse.
- Early Night
- [Wednesday 18th August]
Following the previous evening's excesses I opted for a very early night. Watched some of "Three to Tango" on the telly, and embarassed myself by how much I enjoyed it.
- Oxford at Random
- [Tuesday 17th August]
I couldn't face staying in this evening, so on a whim I decided to head off on the train to Oxford for a bit of a wander round - by myself if necessary. As it happened this didn't turn out to be necessary, as Gav at very short notice came to the rescue and assisted me in drinking far more than either of us needed to on a school night. We started off in the Antiquities Hall, then headed onto the always excellent Turf Tavern, until we were turfed out (boom boom!) at closing time. We rounded the evening off somewhat randomly in a place called the Baby Bar (I think) which was apparently having a gay night, and was surprisingly entertaining. I learnt the Portugese word for men's genitalia, which I am convinced will be vitally useful at some stage in later life (should I ever suffer a zip fastener injury whilst holidaying on the Iberian peninsula, for example). I've often maintained that unplanned nights out are frequently the best nights out, and this was a good case in point.
- [Monday 16th August]
Don't really recall doing anything today.
- [Sunday 15th August]
Woke up at a fairly respectable time, and spent the morning lounging around Vera's house. Around midday, we headed off in the car to Hereford. Had lunch in the bistro in Left Bank Village, which was very nice indeed. Had a little wander round Hereford, which is lovely, before taking a slow meandering drive back to Vera's House. On the way back we stopped off at the rather lovely Kilpeck Church, and also a place in the middle of nowhere for a spot of afternoon tea. Generally a very nice day out. Got the train back home around 7ish, which was, of course, delayed.
See some pictures of our day out.
- [Saturday 14th August]
Got the train to Abergavenny in the morning, pretty early by my standards, to meet Vera (my grandmother) and Robin (my uncle). Had lunch at a nice hotel in Abergavenny. After lunch we had a fairly relaxing afternoon, including a short walk to Raglan Castle. Beck, my cousin came to visit in the evening, who I feel like I haven't seen for absolutely ages. I made a kind of Lebanese (ish) meal for us all, with cous cous, Halloumi, etc. I think they enjoyed it.
- No More Drinking
- [Friday 13th August]
Eek Friday 13th! Actually nothing untoward happened. Was planning to go to visit my grandmother for the weekend, but decided to go Saturday morning instead to avoid the Friday night rush. Had just one pint with Kev after work who has decided, shock horror, to cut down on his drinking a bit, which has made me wonder if I ought to follow suit. Apparently that 21-units-per-week guideline was revised a while back to be more like 3 units a day, to stop people saving it up for the weekend or something. Add to that the fact that most "modern" lagers are on the strong side, and so a pint is often over 2 units these days, and basically you can only drink a pint of beer a day if you want to stay healthy. Oh well.
- [Thursday 12th August]
Spent a bit of time on the computer, but other than that didn't really do very much at all in the evening. Made a vaguely Japanese meal, which was actually quite nice, and just managed to beat my general lack of appetite.
- Chie's Gone
- [Wednesday 11th August]
Chie went back to Japan this morning, which made me a bit miserable to be honest, even though she has only gone for two weeks. In the evening Mark, Rob and Byrnie came to visit. Haven't seen the guys for quite a while, so I had a really nice night of it actually... They didn't know originally when they planned it that Chie was going to be leaving, so the timing was just a happy coincidence, but greatly appreciated nonetheless.
- Chie's Last Day
- [Tuesday 10th August] Today was Chie's last day before she went back to Japan (for a couple of weeks). We decided to go out for dinner to mark the occasion. We ate at Chili's, it was quite nice, but I think as always I ate too much. When we got back home, Chie was busy packing, and I felt a bit useless.
- Rainy Monday
- [Monday 9th August] Was very wet today. Had a quick pint after work with David and Simon and then toddled off home. For dinner Chie cooked (!) and we had a kind of kimchi hofun dish, which was a bit unusual but actually very nice. Didn't do much after that, just watched a bit of telly really.
- Ooops, More Drinking
- [Sunday 8th August] Thinking I would have a day off from drinking, I somewhat mistakenly went with Chie to do a bit of shopping in town, and then meet up with her old tutor. This clearly prompted a lot of wine drinking, which was very nice as always (particularly a Tuscan White which brought back memories of my first trip to Italy), but I really thought my liver needed a rest!
- [Saturday 7th August]
Spent the whole day in Oxford, with Gav, Leon etc. Started off at The Head of the River for lunch and a few drinks, and then in the evening went to a sort of Noodle place for dinner, followed by a trip to the Zodiac, a delightfully filthy indie club. The trip home was less than ideal however, Chie's car suddenly lost power, and we had to pull into a lay-by and phone the RAC. Looks like the head gasket may have blown. Sounds expensive.
- Gashi Gashi
- [Friday 6th August]
Went out in Oxford for Japanese food at a placed called Gashi Gashi with Gav, Leon and many of the other usual suspects. Really enjoyed it actually, and couldn't help but be quite envious of Gav having a place like this on his doorstep.
Pictures from the evening can be found here.
- My Picture in the Paper
- [Thursday 5th August] Made a kind of creamy madras for dinner. Again though the highlight of the day was an arrival in the post (thanks Jill!) - this time a copy of Saturday's Times Review including a picture I had taken of Wistman's Wood.
- Port Ellen 1979
- [Wednesday 4th August] Pizza for breakfast, pizza for lunch, and Middle-Eastern food for dinner. The real highlight of the day though was receiving my bottle of Port Ellen 1979 - see this article for more details.
- Healthy, not Healthy
- [Tuesday 3rd August] Went for a quick pint after work to welcome a new starter (like we need an excuse) which was not healthy. Then a little while later, I cycled to meet Chie, who was coming back after a spot of shopping. This was healthy. Unfortunately we me up at Pizza Hut, and had a larged Stuffed Crust, which was not healthy.
- [Monday 2nd August] Had okonomiyaki for dinner, also broad beans in soy sauce and butter, and cabbage with soy as a starter. Very cabbagey, all in all.
- [Sunday 1sty August] Didn't really do a great deal. Had fake sausage sandwiches as a sort of brunch. Went for a wander down to the Thames as it was a nice day. Had cauliflower cheese with roast potatoes for dinner.
- Rich and Rosie's Wedding
- [Saturday 31st July] A really, really lovely day, best retold by the pictures.
- More Chinese Food
- [Friday 30th July] Went out for dinner with Simon and Susannah, to one of those all you can eat chinese restaurants. It had a little label on the menu that warned you you'd have to pay for any leftover dishes, so I tried furiously hard to finish everything. In the end, there were still a few leftovers, but they didn't seem that bothered. I, however, was quite painfully full.
- Supermarket and Chinese Food
- [Thursday 29th July] Went shopping this evening, haven't done a proper shop for a while. When we got back, we had sort of chinese food. I did my usual pak choi in garlic and ginger sauce, and then we had fake crispy duck pancakes. I used a kind of vege mince stuff, and crisped it up with some molasses. Served with the usual hoi sin and chopped spring onions. It came out surprisingly well.