Dr John Hawkins
Welcome to my bit of the Maison de Stuff,
home to a huge load of pictures,
and my daily blog.
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Selling the Car
Saturday in Padstow
Off to Padstow
Dad and Curry
Gin and Tonic Picnic
William and Katie
- [Sunday 24th April]
Having sold the car, I thought I wasn't going to get a chance to see much of my family before I left for Japan... However, in the end a number of them made a big effort to come and see me, which was really nice. Robin and Vera drove all the way from Abergavenny just for a few hours, and at the last minute I phoned my brother to see if he wanted to come along too, and luckily enough he wasn't busy... So what with Liz and the kids as well we ended up with a pretty full house in the afternoon, which was absolutely great. Adrian, Liz and the kids headed back towards the end of the afternoon, and Robin and Vera went with us for a quick drink at the Cross Keys after that before also heading back.
In the evening Chie's friend Hiroko came to stay, and we popped out to another pub - the Swan this time, and had a curry for dinner. Lovely.
- Selling the Car
- [Saturday 23rd April]
Today was largely occupied with a really concerted effort to sell Chie's car. This was something of a mamoth effort - lots of people came to see it, lots of haggling went on, but in the end we shifted it and got a fair price I think.
- [Friday 22nd April]
Was in London again to see my supervisor. Went for dinner at Kulu Kulu afterwards with Ali, Mark, Allouch and Zena, who I haven't seen for years. This was very nice. As we ate early I managed to also fit in a quick visit to the whisky society, sampling a very lemony Glenkinchie (I think) and a fairly gentle and quite sweet Brora (or was it a Clynelish?).
- [Thursday 21st April]
Increasingly recently I haven't had the energy or enthusiasm to cook, so tonight we went to the little Italian place in the village to get some pizza to takeaway. The garlic bread (with tomato and cheese, so more of a pizza really) was actually nicer than the pizza itself. Had a few Nastro Azurro beers which seemed appropriate somehow.
- Potato Wedges
- [Wednesday 20th April]
Made some potato wedges for dinner, left the skins on and they were really quite nice. Errr, that's it really.
- [Tuesday 19th April]
Dad came to stay for the evening, and we packed up the first few of our boxes we were planning to send to Dad's house for storage. Chie knocked up a very nice Japanese/Chinese sort of dinner out of virtually nothing, which was really great. Not much else to report!
- [Monday 18th April]
Don't really remember to be honest!
- [Sunday 17th April]
Having been couped up in the house every day for the last few days (in the daytime at least), I was really determined to get out for a bit of fresh air. So I decided me and Chie should go for a bit of a drive. This ended up randomly turning into rather a long drive as we eventually found ourselves going through the New Forst and to the sea somewhere around Lymington.
- [Saturday 16th April]
In the evening went over to Simon and Susanna's house for dinner, which was very nice. Had a fair bit to drink, which was great. Gin was involved. And so was Unicum. Mmmmm.....
- Not Much
- [Friday 15th April]
Not much to report really. Made a strange sort of dinner - a potato and cheese bake (which I was recently informed isn't potatoes Dauphinois after all) and a sort of strange mediterranean stew thing, basically thrown together out of lots of odds and ends. Actually rather nice.
- [Thursday 14th April]
Went to London to see my supervisor in the daytime, which was quite a productive meeting, and things are looking relatively positive for being able to submit by the end of April. Had a while to spare before we met, so around lunchtime I went for a bit of a walk to find the George Inn, a pub I'd found out about on the web a while back and had wanted to visit. Very nice. On my return back home about 8 in the evening I was pleasantly surpised to find Chie had cooked dinner - pizza - which we had with a some wine - my favourite "ordinary red wine" - the very nice Corbieres (Chateau Serres Sainte Lucie, Portes du Moulin) from the little shop in the village.
- [Wednesday 13th April]
Spent most of the evening recording CDs into MP3, and enjoying immensely the thingy in XP that goes off and grabs album covers from somewhere on the web. It is so nice to see a view of a folder wherein each album has a little thumbnail of the cover as its icon. Good work Bill and co!
- [Tuesday 12th April]
Generally speaking a much better day than the day before. Went to the pub for a quick drink with David, Simon Rich and Kev after they finished work. Only stayed for one pint. After that went back home and made lasagne which didn't turn out that great (although I still managed to eat three fairly large pieces, so it can't have been that bad).
- [Monday 11th April]
Another pretty crappy day today, possibly born of having to get back done to work after having had a nice weekend. Didn't really eat a great deal, just nibbled half heartedly on some reheated pasta in the evening.
- Back Home
- [Sunday 11th April]
After a tremendous cooked breakfast (thanks David!) we left Padstow about midday to head off home. Rich had got a bit bored of motorways and dual carriageways on the way there, so we tried to make the journey back a little less tedious by going through Dartmoor, and I was reminded how much I love this fantastic part of the country. Eventually got back home just after five, and had a nice quiet night in with Chie. Had cous cous for dinner, followed by me watching So I Married an Axe Murderer (for about the fifth time now) whilst Chie sorted through our tapes and CDs.
- Saturday in Padstow
- [Saturday 9th April]
Woke up with a hangover - which gladly wasn't too bad in the end - and after lolling about David's house for a bit we headed into Padstow for lunch. The guys ate "meaty cow lard chips" (TM) from Rick Stein's fish and chip shop, and I obviously didn't. Spent the afternoon driving about, and visiting the very nice Bedruthan Steps, before going off to buy food for dinner. Had a barbeque extravaganza for dinner, which was very nice, and spent the rest of the evening relaxing with a few quiet drinks.
- Off to Padstow
- [Friday 8th April]
Rich and Kev finished work a bit early, and the three of us got in Rich's car and headed South West. Arrived at David's place, near Padstow, at 7 something, about the same time as David and Simon. After a quick initial beer at the house, we took the walk into the town for the evening's drinking. Got a bit to eat at the first pub, which was followed by a few more beers in the second. The walk back to the house - in the pitch black - was probably almost as fun as being in the pub, and aided greatly by my hipflask. Back at the house we rounded off the evening with some cheese and biscuits, and a couple of choice whiskies (a 15 year old Laphroaig and an SMWS Bruichladdich).
- [Thursday 7th April]
I had a strange desire in the evening to make a Spanish omelette - I don't think I've ever made one before, so I just guessed, and if I say so myself it came out rather well. This we ate with some chili (not made from scratch - it was sort of dried and in a packet). Not exactly the right country, but at least the right language! Had a couple of beers which had been knocking around in the fridge for a few days. Attempted to watch Mad Max 3: Beyond the Thunderdome later on, but found it a bit too crap to bear, so gave up half way through and went to bed.
- [Wednesday 6th April]
Had jacket potatoes for dinner. A pretty crappy day generally speaking, just general stress of everything getting on top of me I suppose. Oh well, shit happens.
- Dad and Curry
- [Tuesday 5th April]
Dad came to stay, and we got a rather good takeaway curry for dinner. Enjoyed a few whiskies after dinner - possibly almost the last time we'll get to do that - at least in my current place.
- Stir Fry
- [Monday 4th April]
Made a stir fry for dinner, with, for a change, a lemony sort of sauce. It was, errr.... interesting. Not too bad I suppose.
- [Sunday 3rd April]
Today was a very unstructured sort of day. Didn't go out, didn't particularly do anything whilst staying in. Didn't even eat properly either really - just snacked as and when we felt like it.
- [Saturday 2nd April]
Chie and I went for a day out in London for a thoroughly deserved day off. We didn't have any particular plan - Chie vaguely wanted to get her hair cut and I wanted to go to the whisky society (obviously). On arrival we headed over to Holborn, to pop in to Gendai (our favourite travel agency) to sort out our flights to Japan. Then just round the corner we found a branch of "My Old Dutch" - a pancake house. This provided us with lunch - I had a halloumi and tomato pancake, and Chie had something sweet. After that we decided totally at random to go to Greenwich, mainly because Chie wanted to go on the DLR. We didn't really stay long in Greenwich, just long enough to have a quick look at the Cutty Sark, and a quick whizz round the Royal Observatory. The merdian line thing wasn't as good as I remembered it (I'd been as a kid with my Dad and my brother). After that we headed back into the centre of London, Chie went off in the direction of Baker Street for a haircut, and I went over towards Faringdon for a couple of drinks at the Whisky Society. I had a Yamazaki (unfortunately not the one that recently one the award in Whisky Magazine) and an unusual Talisker. I left there around 7 and headed over to Green Park, where I'd arranged to meet up with Chie again. We went to a little pub I'd found out about on the web - the Red Lion on Crown Passage. This was very good, and as well as the usual points for being down an alley, it also scored very highly on its selection of single malts. The interior and atmosphere were good too. After this we vaguely planned to go and have dinner somewhere, so walked over to Picadilly Circus and Soho. In the end though we gave up on eating out, and just bought a few odds and ends in Arigato instead. We got a train back at 9 something and got back home not long after 10. See some pictures of my day out.
- [Friday 1st April]
In the evening I went over to Maidenhead to meet up with Chie who was having dinner with some of her friends from work. They all ate sashimi so I made my own - a very simple macaroni cheese. Spent most of the evening watching Black Beauty and playing games with Noriesan's little girl, Panachi, who is absolutely adorable, as ever.
- More Stress
- [Thursday 31st March]
Today again was a pretty stressful day. I overslept quite badly in the morning, as a result of not having slept well the night before, and then proceeded to have a pretty frustrating and unproductive day. Went to Waitrose in the evening to buy food (and actually spent very little thanks to my new low budget regime). Bought some fresh pasta which was reduced as it was almost out of date, and really regretted it - we had that for dinner when we got back and it was just awful. It all fell apart during cooking, and there wasn't really any taste left in it by the time we came to eat. To top it all I had difficulty sleeping again. I think part of the problem could be to do with the fact I'm not going to work any more - the flat has become both my place of work and my (supposed) place of relaxation. So I guess when I do try to sleep my brain still thinks it ought to be in work (or stress) mode. I need a holiday!
- [Wednesday 30th March]
Today was a pretty stressful day for me, for a number of reasons, and the reality of mine and Chie's impending big upheaval really began to dawn on me. We had a pretty crap dinner - rice and tinned curry - considering ourselves now too poor to go for a takeaway! The build up of stress resulted in a partially sleepless night - the first I've had in quite a while - which only served to make matters worse! Not a great day, by any accounts.
- Shepherds Pie
- [Tuesday 29th March]
Chie was back at work today, which was a bit of a shame given that we'd had four days off together, and I was just starting to get used to it! When she returned, I made a sort of shepherds pie for dinner, with broad beans in parsley sauce. This came out surpisingly well.
- Gin and Tonic Picnic
- [Monday 28th March]
Easter Monday - yet another day off (although doesn't make much difference for me at the moment!). We both got up pretty late, and in the afternoon went for a sort of picnic by the Thames. Actually I'm not sure you can call it a picnic technically - we didn't have a great deal in the way of food, just some crisps and nuts really. We did however take some gin, tonic, and even ice, so enjoyed a very nice drink or two whilst watching the world (and the river) go by. Oh and I took my hipflask with some whisky in. I took a magazine and a book to read, and Chie took her drawing set, and we had a very pleasant few hours of it, all told. Chie cooked for dinner - a Chinese/Japanese meal which I'm not really sure I can describe! It featured sort of spring rolls - but not deep fried. So basically vegetables wrapped in rice paper. Not sure what these are called. She also did little moulded rice balls flavoured with shiso, and a kind of soup with sweet potato in. All very nice!
- William and Katie
- [Sunday 27th March]
Headed over to Guildford towards the end of the morning to visit Adrian, Liz, William and Katie... and Mum and Keith were there too. Had a very nice family get together, with lunch laid on by Adrian and Liz. The highlight for me was playing with William's train set - this is really great - although the natural hazard of trying to do any kind of serious construction work with two kids around is that most of it doesn't stay standing for long. We left towards the end of the afternoon. Back at home, in the evening we had toad in the hole with roast potatoes for dinner. This came out rather well, which was very pleasing.
- [Saturday 26th March]
Attempted without much success in the daytime to get some work done whilst Chie was out shopping with her friend Junko. I gave up towards the end of the afternoon, and caught a train into town to meet up with them, remembering that I needed to buy some new batteries for my camera. I bought four 2300 mAh nickel metal hydride batteries (woohoo!). Went for a cup of tea and a scone with Chie and Junko, before Junko headed off back home. I don't think me and Chie stayed in town much longer either. On the way back we stopped off at the Cross Keys for a couple of pints, and to plan our future (!). Despite not being particularly great weather, we braved the elements and sat outside under one of those mushroom heater things. This was actually very nice. Upon finally returning home I made a very rich mediterranean vegetable pasta sauce, which we ate with linguine.