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:
- Leon's Stag Do (2)
Leon's Stag Do
Beer with Mark and Kev
Beer, Curry, Lord of the Rings
First day back
A Very Sad Week
Don't Remember Much
Winchester and Spirited Away
Dinner with Michelle and Steve
Shopping and Cooking
Bank Holiday Monday
Shopping for Chie's Birthday
Two Trips to the Beer Festival
Another Hazy Bit
Mum and Grandma
Easter - Wales and Dublin
First bit of April
The Rest of March...
- Leon's Stag Do (2)
- [Sunday 30th May] As Leon's stag do was planned as an all-nighter, it consumed a significant part of Sunday as well. After leaving the club at 5AM, we spent a few of the smaller hours of the day wandering the streets of Paris like homeless people. We clambered weaily back onto the Eurostar in the morning about 10. I slept on and off for most of the return journey. At Waterloo we said our goodbyes and went our separate ways. I got back home about 1 or 2, gave Chie a call, spent a bit of time on the computer, and then went to bed around 4 in the afternoon. Had some surprisingly good quality sleep, and woke up about 7 the next morning.
- Leon's Stag Do
- [Saturday 29th May] Leon's stag do had been planned as a kick off in London, a trip on the EuroStar, and then all-nighter in Paris. Didn't exactly work out like this, as Leon became quite ill just after we got to Paris (and not even through alcohol seemingly - we'd hardly had anything by this point). So a large part of the stag night actually happened without the stag present. Of course there are some pictures which probably tell the story better.
- Beer with Mark and Kev
- [Friday 28th May] Back in my local yet again, for a few beers as well as some pub food with Mark and Kev. Was nice enough weather to sit outside. Seems like summer is just around the corner...
- Beer, Curry, Lord of the Rings
- [Thursday 27th May] Went for just one pint at the pub after work, which unsurpisingly turned into three or four. Got an Indian takeaway and went round to Mike's flat to eat it. Watched Return of the King, but left about half an hour before the end. Noted that the film seemed much better when watched without the ending.
- First day back
- [Wednesday 26th May] Today was my first day back at work following my unexpected trip to Japan. Pretty quiet really. In the evening I just stayed in by myself. It's a bit weird getting used to being in the flat without having Chie around. Decided to set up a Swiftcall account so I could keep in regular phone contact with Chie.
- A Very Sad Week
- [Saturday 15th - Tuesday 25th May] On Saturday, we received some terrible news. Kana, Chie's sister, had died. It was absolutely earth shattering. We both got on the first flight available to Japan to be with her family. There was a ceremony on the Monday in Tokyo, followed by a smaller ceremony on the Friday in Hiroshima. I came back to England on the 25th (Tuesday) to return to work, whilst Chie stayed behind to be with her family - she'll probably stay at least a month in total.
It has probably been the saddest week of my life, and must obviously have been even harder on Chie. I guess the only positive thing to say is that at least we could get to Japan quickly, and the family can be together whilst they try to come to terms with it.
- Don't Remember Much
- [Sunday 9th - Friday 14th May] Don't remember much about what happened this week - I am writing two weeks on, and the time inbetween has been so earth shattering that it really pales into insignificance.
I think on the Wednesday I went for pizza and a few beers in Reading with some of the guys from work. Friday night Kev came round for some beer and (possibly) a curry.
- Winchester and Spirited Away
- [Saturday 8th May] We were determined to go out for the day somwhere, but to start with had no real ideas of what we could do. It wasn't until gone 2pm that we finally made up our minds to go to Winchester. This seems to be a common pattern of weekends for us - wasting half the day being indecisive about where to go. Still though, Winchester is not that far, we got there pretty quickly and actually had a very nice time. Whilst there we had very nice afternoon tea in the Forte Tearooms, followed by a quick look at the famous round table in the Great Hall, and then a quick wander around the rather spectacular Winchester Cathedral. We were probably only there about two and a half hours in total, but really enjoyed it nonetheless. I made a mental note that Winchester might be a potential venue for a future pub crawl - lots of nice old buildings, which I was quietly convinced must house some lovely old pubs.
On the way back we stopped off at a supermarket - Safeway as it happens - to buy some odds and ends for dinner. We wanted to eat Chinese food, and I was surprised at just how bad Safeway was for this kind of thing.
In the evening we watched Spirited Away, I'd bought Chie the DVD for her birthday. Neither of us had seen it before. I really enjoyed it - it was a bit weird and random in places, no, in fact it was totally weird and random the whole way through... but it had a dream like quality about it that was very absorbing and made for an hour or two of brilliant escapism.
- Dinner with Michelle and Steve
- [Friday 7th May] Michelle and Steve came over for dinner. Made a kind of Italian feast for them. Started with a kind of Minestrone / Italian Housewife soup, then two pasta courses - one Dolcelatte and spinach sauce, the other a simple tomato and basil sauce. Then the pizza course - one margherita, one asaparagus pizza, and one potato and rosemary (the one without any cheese or tomato, a bit of a favourite of mine). I think it all went pretty well really.
- Shopping and Cooking
- [Thursday 6th May] Went to Sainsbury's to buy food for the following day's dinner party, and then spent most of the evening doing all the bits of cooking that could be prepared in advance - the soup and the sauces. Sainsbury's are still doing the 24 bottles of Asahi for 15 quid offer, which naturally I had to avail myself of. Had just one of them tonight as a reward for finishing cooking.
- Finding Nemo
- [Wednesday 5th May] Watched Finding Nemo, Chie had borrowed the DVD from her friend. Obviously a bit Disney-Pixar Formulaic, but good nonetheless. Particularly enjoyed the seagulls. "Mine, mine, mine, mine, mine..."
- Chie's Birthday
- [Tuesday 4th May] Had quite a hangover in the morning thanks to the previous evening's excesses, which I felt really bad about, as it was Chie's birthday, and I wanted us to have breakfast together, give her some presents to open, and so on. I think in the end by the time I had managed to get out of bed, we only had a couple of minutes before she had to go to work, and so there was only time for one or two presents...
In the evening, by which time my hangover had thankfully subsided, I'd booked us a table at the Beetle and Wedge, a restaurant by the side of the River Thames in a little village called Mouslford. When Chie got back from work, we both dressed up smart and headed over there. I thought the food was really great, and the setting is also very nice - the dining room is a kind of old fashioned conservatory over-looking the river. I'm not sure Chie enjoyed her meal quite as much as me - she had soup to start with, which apparently was very rich, and left her feeling a bit bloated for the rest of the meal (she is only little bless her!). Still though, all in all we had a very nice evening.
- Bank Holiday Monday
- [Monday 3rd May] Oh the joys of having an extra day off work! Didn't really do very much in the daytime, as far as I can remember. I think Chie may have spent some time at the health club place she recently joined. I spent a bit of time while she was out wrapping presents for her birthday, which was going to be the next day. In the evening we went over to Simon and Vanessa's for dinner and a few drinks, which turned into dinner and quite a lot of drinks, and resulted in me having quite a bad hangover the next day...
- Birthday Barbeque
- [Sunday 2nd May] Chie had arranged to have a barbeque for her birthday, with some people from work. So towards the end of the afternoon, we headed off for Maidenhead. Had a very nice time there - met some really interesting people, and the weather held out well too. Lovely.
- Shopping for Chie's Birthday
- [Saturday 1st May] As Chie's birthday was fast approaching, I thought I'd better take this opportunity to head into town and look for some presents for her. Having got very settled living in a little village, I was, as usual, a bit stunned by just how many people there are in town centres. Errr, not much more to say than that really!
- Two Trips to the Beer Festival
- [Thursday 29th and Friday 30th April] I decided to go to Reading Beer Festival twice this year - once on the Thursday, when it is more quiet, and you can guarantee nothing has yet ran out yet, and again on the Friday, when quite a big group from work were going. The beer seems to get better every year somehow, and I had some really great pints this year. Took some photos on the Friday.
- Another Hazy Bit
- [Monday 26th - Wednesday 28th April] Even though this is only last week (ish) as I write, I already can't remember what happened on these three days. Probably just stayed in.
- Mum and Grandma
- [Friday 23rd - Sunday 25th April] I decided to go up to the Midlands for the weekend to visit my Mum and Grandma. Chie very kindly drove, especially as she had a bit of a work do on the Friday night, and so we didn't even set off until gone 9. Saturday we went up from my Mum's house, to see Grandma, up near Doncaster (thankfully Chie didn't have to drive for this bit). We took Grandma out for a walk, and it was really lovely weather, which made for a very nice day. When we got back to Mum's house, we spent some time in the back garden, as it was still really nice. Whilst there, I had a life affirming Chewing Gum experience, after which we had a very nice barbecue. The next day (Sunday) we headed back to the South East, stopping off at Leicester on the way back down, which was pretty boring to be honest.
- Mid April
- [Tuesday 13th - Thursday 22nd April] Nope, don't really remember what happened.
- Easter - Wales and Dublin
- [Friday 9th - Monday 12th April] For the Easter break, me and Chie decided to go and visit my Dad in North Wales. While we were there, on the Saturday we popped across on the ferry to Dublin for the day. It was my first time to go to Ireland, and amazingly also for my Dad (he'd just been to Northern Ireland before). It was very nice, but as you can imagine, a day wasn't nearly enough.
- First bit of April
- [Thursday 1st - Thursday 8th April] A bit hazy. I think we may have gone for a drink with Rob, Mark, and Byrnie on the 8th, but I'm not sure.
- The Rest of March...
- [Thursday 25th - Wednesday 31st March] Don't really remember what happened.