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)
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Maison de Stuff
- Recent Entries:
Laksa and Larking About
Dimsum and the Lego Shop
Grandma Mary's Christmas Visit
Booking Office Bar
Another Birthday Party
Night Out with Simon
Pub Birthday Party
Erika and Chie back from Japan
Sunset from New Office
- [Monday 12th December 2016]
I escaped work early for a sneaky pint at the Pineapple.
- Laksa and Larking About
- [Sunday 11th December 2016]
Stayed fairly close to home today. Took Erika to one of the nearby playgrounds for a bit in the morning, then went to the Laksa Kitchen for lunch, followed by ice cream at Ruby Violet. Larked about at home for the remainder of the day.
- [Saturday 10th December 2016]
Went down to Guildford to visit Adrian , Liz and the kids, coinciding with Grandad Nick visiting.
- [Friday 9th December 2016]
Just one picture of my lunch.
- Wedding Anniversary
- [Thursday 8th December 2016]
Our 10th wedding anniversary today. I worked from home in the day time (including a pub lunch at the Pineapple with Chie) then in the evening the three of us went to the new Franco Manca in Kentish Town for dinner.
- [Wednesday 7th December 2016]
Just a couple more pictures of the view from my office.
- [Wednesday 7th December]
- [Tuesday 6th December]
- Dimsum and the Lego Shop
- [Sunday 4th December 2016]
Dimsum with Grandma, then took Erika to the new Lego Shop.
- Grandma Mary's Christmas Visit
- [Saturday 3rd December 2016]
Grandma Mary came to visit, we put up our Christmas Tree.
- Impromptu Party
- [Friday 2nd December 2016]
Still in the grips of a pronounced bout of ennui at the moment. I've often found this can be heightened on Friday evenings. For some reason my little coterie of ne'er do wells never seems to be interested in going out on a Friday (I suspect as a general rule work friends have non-work friends they'd rather fraternise with at the weekend), and yet as I trudge home there always seems to be general excitement amongst other Londoners at the prospect of the fun evening which lays before them.
Erika's school was having a Christmas fair, which I headed to catch the tail end of (we were picking up our Christmas tree there for one thing) but found Chie and Erika had already gone home as it was a bit too crowded. Chie had invited some of the other families we knew from Erika's nursery to come along to the fair as well (most of the kids seemed to be destined for other schools, but we still keep in touch), and they'd all decided to come back to our flat instead. So I arrived home to quite a jolly household, with various kids running around while the grown-ups chatted. It seemed like a good opportunity to open a bottle of wine or two, and so we sat in amongst the complete mess our flat usually is when we have unexpected visitors and supped on Nyetimber followed by Nutbourne, talking about art, given my new found interest kindled by my recent visit to Langan's Brasserie. One of the Dads is in fact an artist, I mentioned I wanted to start a small collection, and he suggested painting a picture for me, which was rather exciting. A lot of the pieces Peter Langan collected were in fact painted specially for him by friends of his like David Hockey and Patrick Prockter, sometimes in lieu of payment for meals at the restaurant.
- Booking Office Bar
- [Thursday 1st December 2016]
Quick drink after work in the Booking Office Bar in St. Pancras.
- [Thursday 1st December]
- [Wednesday 30th November]
- [Tuesday 29th November]
- [Monday 28th November 2016]
- Winter Wonderland
- [Sunday 27th November 2016]
Took Erika along to Winter Wonderland with a friend.
- [Saturday 26th November 2016]
Took Erika to the zoo in the daytime.
- Dashing Tweeds
- [Friday 25th November 2016]
I took the day off work today, partly because I was a bit hungover following the previous evening's excesses, but also because I wanted to run various "errands" - if that's the right word - in St. James's, and since the office move from Victoria to King's Cross it has seemed just that bit too far away to get there and back in a lunchtime. Plus I always seem to end up being busy with other things at weekends.
I started by going to Dashing Tweeds, just off Savile Row, to be measured up for a new tweed suit. I think I've done rather well out of Walker Slater, having bought a total of 3 tweed suits from them. They're very reasonably priced, and I'm very fond of the suits I have from them, but I've got to the point now where I've run out of things to buy from them - the remaining suits they have are either just a bit too similar to what I have already or not quite to my taste. They don't seem to have updated the range for a while either. So it seemed like time to look a bit further afield. I have occasionally considered going back to Savile Row proper, where of course the world would be my oyster in terms of selection of cloth (and "my" tailor - Norton and Sons - has a particularly good range of tweeds) but the combination of the price and the lead time always puts me off. Having to wait 3 months requires more forward planning than I possess given the seasonality of tweed. Plus to add to all of that I wanted something really unique, and perhaps - gasp - even a bit of a break from the more traditional colour palette of tweeds.
So Dashing Tweeds seemed just the ticket. They weave all their own tweeds, to their own unique (and sometime very bold and unusual) designs. They then offer a made to measure service for suits, which, not being fully bespoke, and not being quite on Savile Row proper, comes in a lot cheaper (about a quarter of the price), but still hopefully results in a unique garment which fits well. I had a lovely time leafing through their swatch books, and in the end chose one of their more restrained tweeds, which happened to also be the one the owner was wearing, in a sort of grey / blue colour. It should be ready in January.
After that, I went to get my hair cut at Briggs, and as ever enjoyed a lovely chat with Philip, who is now 93 years old. I then rounded off my early afternoon foray to St. James's with a visit to D. R. Harris to stock up on toiletries etc.
- Langan's Brasserie
- [Thursday 24th November 2016]
I just happened to have stumbled across a review of Langan's Brasserie by Tom Parker Bowles earlier this month, which somehow rather piqued my interest. Mainly because of the tales of the eponymous Peter Langan and his generally reprehensible but often hilarious behaviour toward customers.
I'd been in another one of my slumps, finding life of late largely rather mired in drudgery, and so this tiny window into a place and time with altogether more, um, I don't know quite what the right word for it is... (joie de vivre? glamour? excitement?). Anyway, whatever it was I was briefly happy to find a small slice of it, even if it was an imaginary morsel, in a place which now is only a shadow of its former self.
My attempts to abate my increasingly debilitating and chronic case of ennui frequently end up being lonely endeavours. The things in which I find some hope of elevation from the banal reality of day to day existence do not always appeal to my peers. I presume in part because none of them suffer maladjustment to the degree I do. Sometimes though they'll agree to come along for the ride anyway, typically for lack of any better suggestions, and that was the case this evening. I managed to drag four of the usual suspects along for dinner at Langan's, none of them exhibiting a great deal of enthusiasm about the idea, but they came anyway.
Of course, Peter Langan has long since shuffled off this mortal coil, and what he left behind is really a place in which to remember (or, in my case, imagine) what the restaurant used to be like in its heyday. As one reviewer commented - attempting to be disparaging - hardly any of the customers are under 40. Good, I thought. I'm a bit sick of hipster restaurants pandering to twenty somethings anyway. I couldn't help but wonder how many of the other customers at the restaurant have in fact been coming for decades. Today, the service is professional, and if anything perhaps lacking personality a bit. No ankles will be bitten, and no lewd comments will be addressed to visiting European royalty... but still I thought I saw a twinkle in the eye of some of my fellow diners this evening who had perhaps witnessed some of those many tales of Mr Langan firsthand.
It is hard to put my finger on why I enjoyed Langan's so much this evening. I think perhaps in part I felt the ghost of the incorrigible former proprietor gave me carte blanche to do a bit of bon vivanting. Perhaps it was that exciting mixture of what is really quite a smart and upmarket eatery famed for - admittedly now historic - bad behaviour. Not that I, or any of my dining companions, were particularly badly behaved. We were a bit on the loud side at times, and we certainly worked our way through a sizable chunk of the Champagne section of the wine list, but that was, sadly, about the extent of it.
Maybe I just needed a bit of unfettered excess.
Anyway, the visit to Langan's proved a pivotal point in my ever changing interests in things. I had bought Peter Langan's autobiography - a Life in Food - which he'd only really started on before he died, and so to make a decent book of it a lot was added by his friend, Brian Sewell. It transpires that Langan was not just a restaurateur and generator of celebrity slurs but also quite a well respected art collector. The original collection that had hung in Langan's had been sold a few years ago and made quite a tidy sum (the replacement art which now adorns the walls was, at least in our section of the restaurant, a bit crap).
I actually found the parts Brian Sewell wrote as interesting as Peter Langan's own auto-biographical scribblings. This led to me re-evaluating Brian Sewell, somebody I was only dimly aware of. I found the fact that he seems to be widely despised very encouraging as the sort of person I might take an interest in, and ordered the DVD of his Grand Tour around Italy, which over the next 2 or 3 weeks I enjoyed rather a lot.
It also kindled a bit of an interest in art, thinking this might be another potential avenue via which to escape the banal. A modest collection, perhaps?
- [Wednesday 23rd November]
- [Tuesday 22nd November 2016]
Saw a bit of a rainbow from the office today.
- Pizza Union
- [Monday 21st November 2016]
I tried Pizza Union for lunch. It wasn't bad.
- Another Birthday Party
- [Sunday 20th November 2016]
Erika attended another birthday party in the morning, after which the two of us went for lunch at Wahaca.
- Nutty Wild
- [Saturday 19th November 2016]
One of the bottles of wine I'd picked up on my trip to Nutbourne.
- [Friday 18th November 2016]
Yet another picture of the view from the balcony of the new office.
- Night Out with Simon
- [Thursday 17th November 2016]
Out for a mini pub crawl with Simon in the evening, from Kings Cross to Paddington.
- [Wednesday 16th November]
- [Tuesday 15th November 2016]
A few random pictures from a Tuesday evening.
- [Monday 14th November]
- Pub Birthday Party
- [Sunday 13th November 2016]
Erika went to a birthday party for one of her friends in a pub in the morning.
- [Saturday 12th November]
- Erika and Chie back from Japan
- [Friday 11th November 2016]
Erika and Chie got back from Japan today.
- [Thursday 10th November]
- Dog Teapot
- [Wednesday 9th November 2016]
A replica of the teapot I'd liked at the bar in Deptford arrived.
- Walking Home
- [Tuesday 8th November 2016]
Walked back from the office today. Spotted a pub in Camden that I thought might be OK, took a picture for future reference.
- Sunset from New Office
- [Monday 7th November 2016]
A few pictures of the sunset seen from my new office.