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.
- John's Journal / Blog
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Main Index (text only)
- John's Travel
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Maison de Stuff
- Recent Entries:
- Erika's Birthday
Erika's Birthday Party
First Apple from the Tree
L'Orangerie Liqeur and The English Country Inn
Monaco to London
Monday in Monaco
Sunday on the Cote d'Azur
Flying to Nice
Bank Holiday Monday
- Erika's Birthday
- [Monday 10th September 2018]
Erika's actual birthday fell today. The main festivities had been the day before, but she did have plenty of presents to open this morning, then we went for dinner at Wahaca in the evening.
- Erika's Birthday Party
- [Sunday 9th September 2018]
Party for Erika's 6th birthday, with a "Wacky Science" theme.
- North Downs
- [Saturday 8th September 2018]
I was keen to keep up the momentum of my new found love of country walks, not just from the point of view of getting a bit of exercise and some fresh air, but I've also been finding these forays to be quite mentally uplifting. Of all my walks over the summer, and earlier this year, the South Downs has really stood out as being the most memorable and the most elevating (in both a literal and more spiritual sense). However, being the wrong side of London, and with the added difficulty of railway engineering works in that neck of the woods this weekend, meant getting there would have been a bit time consuming today, and I felt guilty about taking too much time out to do my own thing.
Having recently been prompted by Garry Hogg's And Far Away to take a look at some geological maps of the UK, it struck me how on some level the North Downs ought to offer some roughly similar kind of terrain, and given the high speed rail link between St Pancras and Ashford ought to be a bit more accessible.
So today I planned a walk from Sandling to Wye, both stations a short hop from Ashford. The start of the walk was on the Saxon Shore Way, then a mile or two in joining the North Downs Way for the remainder (route here in case you're interested) - apparently about 20km or 12ish miles.
It was overall a pleasant enough walk, but somehow the North Downs - or at least this stretch of it - lacked the sense of adventure and surprising feeling of remoteness of the South Downs. It may of course have partly been down to the weather - most of my walk along the South Downs had been in searing heat, beneath a brilliant blue sky, whereas today was for the large part overcast... but the landscape here in Kent doesn't give quite the same illusion of having been untouched by man - the signs of modern civilisation were never as well hidden today as they had been on that walk in July, and although I was often treated to sprawling views today somehow they never had quite the same sense of drama.
I stopped for lunch at the Tiger Inn in Stowting. Although I have no particular complaints about the food and drink (other than something a bit more traditional would have been nice), the interior does seem to have been blighted with whatever you call that shade of murky green so ubiquitous in pubs of a gastro inclination. I hope society as a whole will look back on this era with the same disdain people eventually came to see the beiges of the 1970s and wonder what were they thinking?
After lunch the walk got a bit boring in places. I had thought looking at the map that by doing the walk this way round I was saving some of the best bits until last, what with the Wye Nature Reserve in the last hour or so. Somehow though that final section turned into a bit of a trudge - maybe the weather - or maybe I was just getting tired and the novelty was wearing off.
I got to Wye just after 3pm. I had originally considered an end-of-walk pint in the Tickled Trout in Wye, but by the time I got there it was only a few minutes until the next train back to Ashford, and I decided instead I should just head back to London so I could resume parenting duties. Erika had been at a friend's birthday party in the afternoon, and I thought if I headed back at this point I'd be back home not long after she got back.
- Vegan Stuff
- [Friday 7th September 2018]
Had a vegan pizza at lunch, and made a vegan steak hache in the evening.
- First Apple from the Tree
- [Thursday 6th September 2018]
Picked the first apple of the season from our apple tree this evening. Very nice it was too (although perhaps still a tad sharp).
- L'Orangerie Liqeur and The English Country Inn
- [Wednesday 5th September 2018]
Experimented with the L'Orangerie Liqeur I bought in Monaco, and received a new (old) Garry Hogg book - The English Country Inn.
- Monaco to London
- [Tuesday 4th September 2018]
Another al fresco breakfast at our hotel before leaving Monaco in style - by helicopter - then the somewhat less exciting flight on a boring old aeroplane back from Nice airport to London.
- Monday in Monaco
- [Monday 3rd September 2018]
Started the day with an al fresco breakfast at our hotel, then went for a morning wander around Monaco, taking in the Japanese Gardens and another trip on the Bateau Bus. Lunch at the excellent pasta place in La Condamine market. After lunch visited L'Orangerie de Monaco and the National Museum before heading back to the hotel to lounge around by the beach and pool for the rest of the afternoon. In the evening we went to Il Terrazzino for dinner, where Chie and I had been on one of our first trips to Monaco, and were presented with a terrifying amount of food.
- Sunday on the Cote d'Azur
- [Sunday 2nd September 2018]
Spent the first bit of the morning in Vence before getting a taxi to Monaco. Spent some of the afternoon swimming at the hotel's beach and swimming pools and then I went for a late afternoon wander around, taking in the Bateau Bus and the Brasserie de Monaco, while the girls did more lounging at the hotel. In the evening went for dinner at our usual pizzeria on the beach.
- [Saturday 1st September 2018]
Got a taxi to Vence in the morning. Th weather just about held out long enough for us to have a wander round the town and an al fresco lunch, but from 3pm the rain started and it absolutely poured down! Just about managed a foray out to the supermarket in what was left of the afternoon. The rain eventually subsided in the early evening and we managed to get out for dinner, and had a very nice meal at what seemed to be the only Provencal restaurant in the town.
- Flying to Nice
- [Friday 31st August 2018]
Flew from Gatwick to Nice in the afternoon, and stayed for our first nice in a hotel near Nice airport.
- [Thursday 30th August 2018]
Brief drink with Tim in the pub next to Euston station as he was working in London today.
- [Wednesday 29th August 2018]
Had Erika's room redecorated today after the soundproofing work. In the evening tried the new 50 Kalo for dinner.
- [Tuesday 28th August 2018]
The usual check on the apples and grapes in the garden.
- Bank Holiday Monday
- [Monday 27th August 2018]
Didn't do much with the day off - mostly stayed close to home, frequented the local playgrounds and briefly popped into the Pineapple.
- Rainy Sunday
- [Sunday 26th August 2018]
Dim sum for lunch, then attempted to make the best of the afternoon despite the rain.