John Hawkins



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:
Post Eurovision
Eurovision Party
Burritos in St. James's Park
Asahi
Aviations
Regency Cafe
Plov
Sunday
Devil's Punchbowl
Friday
Dim Sum
Celebrity
Horse and Groom with Ben
Oliveto
Wellington Arch and Apsley House
Flat Viewing and Islington
The Antelope
Port Ellen
Wednesday
Pizza on the Balcony
Richmond and Ham House
Baumkuchen and Belgravia
Scotney Castle
Chie's Birthday
Birthday Present Shopping
Booking Office Bar
St. James's
Working Late
Sunday Lunch at the Holly Bush
Jermyn Street and Beau Brummel
Buckingham Arms
Rusty Floor
Wednesday
Tuesday
Savile Row Protest
Bitter Tomatoes
Brighton
Pizza with Strangers
Regency Cafe
Wednesday
Tuesday
Lebanese Food
Battersea

Post Eurovision
[Sunday 27th May 2012]
I awoke with a fractional hangover (really not that bad at all) but strangely most of all I felt really hungry. So before Chie had even woken up I mustered together a kind of pre-breakfast from various leftovers (loubieh and foul medames) and then started to do some work. The launch of my project was just a few days away and I had a lot to do.

Spent most of the day indoors, a mix of working with occasional "breaks" to address the mountain of washing up we had from last night.
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Eurovision Party
[Saturday 26th May 2012]
I decided to hold a Eurovision Song Contest Party this year - the first time I've done this, and invited some of the usual suspects. I was rather pleased by how enthusiastically everybody had responded to the invitation. It seems it's not just me who not-very-secretly rather likes Eurovision.

As Azerbaijan was the host country this year I'd considered trying to make Azerbaijani food for the party, but following our visit to the Azerbaijani restaurant on Monday I was left a bit confused as to what that would actually entail. So instead we went for kind of generic Middle Eastern food. This worked out rather well.

Between extended bursts of tidying the flat we made a couple of forays out in the daytime for buying the necessary ingredients. First, to the rather good Middle Eastern convenience store near where we live (where we bought a huge basket full of interesting Middle Eastern foodstuffs). It's at the base of a block of council flats, so I decided I should probably dress down a bit for this outing, and went in a pair of trainers and a T-shirt. Whilst there we also had a bag of chips from the very downmarket (and therefore very good) chip shop, which we ate standing in the shade of a tree, on a sunny street corner, whilst across the road a group of hoodies playfully beat each other up. It was rather idyllic.

We also popped into the Italian deli near there to buy olive oil, and have a quick coffee and some ice cream.

The second shopping excursion was a somewhat more upmarket affair (so naturally off with the trainers and T-shirt, and on with the shirt, antique cufflinks and brogues). We bought a few more things in the Waitrose in Belgravia, but couldn't find all the drinks I wanted there, so also headed to the Noura Deli in Knightsbridge. There I got talking to the Lebanese chap behind the counter, and tried a couple of the wines before buying, as well as providing extensive assistance in choosing a bottle of Arak. I think he was rather pleased to see an English person express that level of interest in Lebanese wines ans spirits - but I can't be alone in that, wines like Chateau Musar are really just outstanding. (As an aside this was the one Lebanese wine the chap there didn't particularly like!).

I also managed to fit some work in between all the tidying and shopping, so overall the daytime today felt satistfyingly full and productive.

The evening's festivities kicked off around 7, when, as it was a rather lovely day, we headed down to the gardens for some pre Eurovision Champagne and (vegetarian) caviar. I had seen caviar on the menu at the Azerbainjani restaurant we went on Monday, so assumed this to be appropriate. This was quite possibly the nicest part of the whole evening, sitting on the grass, out Champagne flutes parked on an F&M hamper used as an impromptu table - it finally felt like summer had well and truly arrived.

As tempting as it was to just sod Eurovision and stay outdoors, that was what everyone was here for, so duitfully at 8pm we all headed indoors, and huddled around our embarrassingly small TV screen to watch the song contest. Inevitably I was busy in the kitchen for a lot of the first hour or so (and Chie was even more so) - and of course the smoke alarm went off at least once, but was barely distinguishable from the din of Europop which otherwise formed the soundtrack to the evening.

I think the food and drinks were a big success, and by the end of the evening pretty much everything had been eaten up - particularly the rice dish I'd decided to call plov. There are, after all, 50 varieties of plov in Azerbaijan, and nobody there had a sufficient knowledge of Azerbaijani food to say with any certainty that it wasn't one of them. Although nobody really touched the salad. Oh, and one of our guests had brought some Middle Eastern bread (khobez?) so we were left with a huge pile of that too.

So a fun and very successful evening.
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Burritos in St. James's Park
[Friday 25th May 2012]
As it was sunny again, for lunch I bought an inferior burrito in Victoria station, and went to eat it in St. James's Park with Iain and Kyle. That was nice.

Worked until about 9 in the evening (gave TGIF a miss today). Not much else to report.
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Asahi
[Thursday 24th May 2012]
Long day at work today, came home to a meal cooked by Chie and a bottle of Asahi, which was a nice way to wind down. I felt a bit like a Japanese salaryman.
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Aviations
[Wednesday 23rd May 2012]
Ben was passing back through London again today after his holiday in Cyprus. We'd arranged beforehand for me to make him one of my favourite cocktails - the Aviation - as I'd complained that it was never quite as good when I'd had it in bars. I realised however I had ran out of Maraschino, so had to dash out at lunchtime to Jerry's on Old Compton Street to buy a bottle. Had some falafel at Maoz while I was there.

The awful weather we've been beset with for most of May had finally given way to sunshine, so we ended up having our aviations on the balcony at the office, which was very nice indeed.
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Regency Cafe
[Tuesday 22nd May 2012]
Went to the Regency Cafe for lunch with Andrew today.

I ordered the same thing I normally have for breakfast - beans, "bubble", mushrooms and hash browns. It's not actually on the menu or anything, I always just have to order these four things specifically. So I was quite surprised when the Japanese woman sitting at the table next to me had exactly the same thing. I didn't hear her place her order but assume she must have just said "I'll have whatever he's having". I didn't realise people actually did that in real life!
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Plov
[Monday 21st May 2012]
We'd organised a Eurovision party for this coming Saturday, and still hadn't quite made up our minds what to do about the food. As the host country was Azerbaijan I thought it might be fun to try and make Azerbaijani food. I realised however that I had absolutely no idea what that entailed, so decided we ought to do some research. Thus this evening Chie and I went for dinner at Baku, "London's premier Azerbaijani restaurant" (yes - there are more than one!).

We arrived quite late as Chie has an evening class on Monday, and assumed it would already be winding down a bit, but in fact more people arrived after us than had been there when we arrived. I found the clientele sort of fascinating - lots of really young people (some seemed more or less teenagers), some even in hoodies, but very expensive looking hoodies. I assumed these to be the children of rich Azerbaijani oligarchs and oil barons (does Russia have the monopoly on oligarchs) and this was apparently their preferred place in London to "hang out".

On arrival we were presented with a yoghurty drink, some bread, and bizarrely a cocktail glass full of herbs - apparently this is a traditional Azerbaijani welcome. For starter I had a sort of lentil soup, which was quite nice albeit very salty. My main course was a bit of a disappointment - it's probably not a country where vegetarianism is a very well established concept. I had been quite excited by the discovery of the word "plov" on the menu - it has a very satisfying ring to it. It turns out however to be just rice essentially. My main course also included a small dish of non descript vegetables which didn't really taste of anything in particular.

Still, despite the food not being wildly exciting, it did make for quite a fun and unusual experience.
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Sunday
[Sunday 20th May 2012]
Mostly stayed indoors today, and I spent a large part of it working. Just poked our noses outdoors in the early evening to go to the little Sainsbury's next to Victoria station which opens late on Sundays, to buy some things for dinner. Not much else to report really.
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Devil's Punchbowl
[Saturday 19th May 2012]
There was a feature in the Country Life I'd picked up on a whim last weekend about the surrey countryside. Having been working quite long hours (and often at the weekends too) recently I thought a breath of fresh air and a stroll might be a good idea, so I decided we should go and take a look at the Devil's Punchbowl.

We got the train to Haslemere, and it was about a three or four mile walk from there. If anything the countryside on the way there was a bit nicer than the actual Punchbowl itself, which looks a bit scarred by human intervention to me (in particular they've only recently closed the big A road that used to go past here. Still, at least it got us out in the fresh air.

On the way back to Haslemere we got the bus - probably the most expensive bus I've ever been on. It was a whopping 3.70 each for a single, and we only spent about 15 minutes on it.

Before getting the train back to London we went for lunch and did a bit of shopping in Haslemere, a town with a bit of a family connection (Vera's parents moved here during the war) which seemed quite pleasant.

We were back in London with some of the afternoon still remaining, and I spent some of the rest of the day working.
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Friday
[Friday 18th May 2012]
Hmmm am trying to write this two weeks later, and don't remember anything happening.
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Dim Sum
[Thursday 17th May 2012]
In all the celebrity excitement last night I'd inadvertently set the scene for having a bit of a hangover this morning. Somehow I was craving dim sum, so took the unusual step of heading to Baker Street at lunchtime for dim sum at Royal China.
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Celebrity
[Wednesday 16th May 2012]
Went to the Duke of Wellington after work with Ben, George and Gemma. Ben didn't stay long, but the rest of us decided to stay behind for another drink. Across the bar I spotted Rosie Fortescue - one of the characters from Made in Chelsea (yes I've been watching this a bit - I like spotting places I know on the telly). Had a quick chat and bought a round of drinks for her table. That was all rather exciting.
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Horse and Groom with Ben
[Tuesday 15th May 2012]
Went to the Horse and Groom after work for a quick drink with Ben.
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Oliveto
[Monday 14th May 2012]
Went to Oliveto for lunch with colleague Ben, who was back in London for a few days, either side of a holiday to Cyprus.
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Wellington Arch and Apsley House
[Sunday 13th May 2012]
Bought a copy of Country Life yesterday, and leafing through found an article mentioning that the Wellington Arch had reopened to visitors. So I thought we'd go and take a look in the morning.

Not a huge amount to see inside the arch - they had a small exhibition on about Stone Henge which was quite pleasant, and then we took in the views from the two balconies at the top. Not quite high enough to see far beyond the perimeter of the Hyde Park Corner roundabout, but still it was an interesting and different perspective on a familiar landmark.

We got a combined ticket to go into Apsley House, another one of those places we'd passed a hundred times but had never given much thought about going inside. It was a surprise hit - very grand and impressive interiors and a very large collection of art.

After this we walked through Belgravia in the hope of finding somewhere for a pub lunch, but alas my favourite pubs there were closed, it being a Sunday. So we ended up buying a sandwich and eating it on the balcony of my office, where I then stayed for the remainder of afternoon and into the early evening to get some work done. With the launch of my project looming there was a lot to do.
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Flat Viewing and Islington
[Saturday 12th May 2012]
Went to look at a flat around midday, which I was really rather taken with, and for the first time we actually put an offer in (on Monday). Alas though, given that the flat was actually nice (so many of them in this crazy price range surprisingly aren't) several other people were interested and we were outbid. In hindsight I think we should have just gone higher - it's only money after all - but never mind, what's done is done.

After the flat viewing we walked to Victoria, and from there got the tube to Highbury and Islington. Islington isn't a part of the city I'm very familiar with, but Chie wanted to go and have lunch at Ottolenghi on Upper Street, and I wanted to go to visit the Victoria Miro Gallery, so it seemed like a good opportunity to combine the two.

Lunch at Ottolenghi was good in terms of the food (albeit their salads are quite salty) but I realised I have a kind of phobia of communal tables - I can't have a conversation with a stranger sitting either side of me. So after the first few minutes I asked to move, and we managed to get one of the tables for two. Much better.

The Victoria Miro Gallery had interested me because it's the main gallery where Grayson Perry's work is exhibited. Actually at the door one of the staff said "Are you here for Grayson Perry?" and I rather regret not having said yes - I assumed that must have been some kind of private invitation only event, as the main exhibition was by another artist. Anyway, I hear Perry will be exhibiting there again in a few weeks, so we'll be back.

Headed to Old Street from there, stopped off at the Shoreditch Grind (presumably some kind of hipster cafe) for a coffee and then headed home.
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The Antelope
[Friday 11th May 2012]
Chie was out with friends in the evening. I didn't feel like just going home, so went for a stroll through Belgravia, stopping off en route at the Horse and Groom and then the Antelope.

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Port Ellen
[Thursday 10th May 2012]
Not much to report. In the evening I suddenly fancied a wee dram, and decided to re-acquaint myself with Port Ellen, which I haven't had for quite a while. I still have about a quarter of a bottle of a Douglas Laing Old Malt Cask bottling, which is a lot like the original spectacular Fortnum and Mason bottling which had started off my love affair with this closed distillery. My interest in whisky seems to have gone on a bit of a hiatus in the last 18 months, but it was reassuring to be reminded just how fantastic this particular malt is.
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Wednesday
[Wednesday 9th May 2012]
Trying to write this almost a month later, and don't remember anything at all about today!
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Pizza on the Balcony
[Tuesday 8th May 2012]
Bought a pizza from Sainsbury's for lunch, and ate it out on the balcony at work. Not a particularly good pizza (I left about a third of it) but nonetheless this made a pleasant interlude to the day.
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Richmond and Ham House
[Monday 7th May 2012]
Whenever you visit a National Trust property these days, the people on the ticket desk always try and persuade you to join, extolling what a great saving it is. We always tell them we live in central London and don't own a car, and so we typically only go to about one National Trust place a year. Having said exactly that on Saturday, I then ending up going to two in three days (today being bank holiday Monday).

My friend Al had said he was going to walk to Ham House from Clapham Junction today, and so I jumped on the tube to Richmond and met him there. Not sure I was wildly excited by the house itself, but I suppose it was a pleasant enough distraction for an hour or so.

The highlight of the day was probably the excitement at discovering, while we were in the house, that the Thames had flooded. I think it's pretty common in Richmond at high tide, but still it was quite a surprise to find that the path we'd walked along the river to get here was now, well, part of the river. Fortunately there was an alternative path a little further back, so we weren't stranded. In the centre of Richmond too, the beer garden of the pub we went to (the White Cross - which I'd passed earlier in the day) was in danger of becoming a beer pond, and suddenly the high stools at the table made a lot of sense.

Headed back after a couple of drinks in Richmond, and made curry for dinner. It was a bit of a disappointment. I had ran out of curry paste and didn't really have the right dried spices in ether.
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Baumkuchen and Belgravia
[Sunday 6th May 2012]
I'd bought Chie some baumkuchen for her birthday which we "unboxed" this morning to have for elevenses. It's an originally German cake which has since become very popular in Japan, and I'd managed to find in the Japanese sweets shop on Piccadilly (Minamoto Kitchoan). It was very nice.

In the afternoon we took a stroll out through Belgravia. Chie wanted to go to the Waitrose there, and I wanted to take a few more pictures for Pinwheel posts, although I'm not sure any of them came out particularly well in the end.

Chie bought some fresh white asparagus in Waitrose - it's the first time we've ever cooked with the fresh stuff, and I have decided I actually prefer the taste to the green variety.
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Scotney Castle
[Saturday 5th May 2012]
I decided we ought to make a concerted effort to get out and do something at the start of the long Bank Holiday weekend, so I proposed going to visit Scotney Castle, which I'd seen a poster of a while back and had rather caught my eye.

A quick research on the web in the morning suggested the transport arrangements might not be entirely straightforward, but by that point my mind was made up and I convinced myself we'd just figure it out.

We initially got off the train at Tunbridge Wells, having read on the web that there was a bus service from there to Lamberhurst, the nearest village to Scotney. This turned out not to be the case, so after a quick whizz round the town (rather disappointingly discovering the Chalybeate spring was closed) we got back on the train to Wadhurst, which is apparently the closest station to Scotney Castle.

The page on their website rather unhelpfully says "By train: Wadhurst 5 miles", without any further information on how that distance might best be traversed. On arrival at Wadhurst there was again no indication of any buses or anything, and it wasn't the sort of station that had a taxi rank either. So we found a number for a local taxi firm, called them and they told us they'd have a car there "within 10 minutes". After 25 minutes waiting out in the cold the taxi finally arrived. I was definitely starting to regret having chosen to come to Scotney by this point.

Still, the actual house and castle wasn't bad I suppose - not sure it really merited all the cost and inconvenience of getting there (not to mention the extortionate 16 entrance fee - each!), and obviously it would have all been far nicer in summer, but I got a few nice pictures, and if nothing else we weren't left with the sense that we'd wasted the long weekend slobbing about the flat.

After leaving the castle we popped into a nearby pub which my friend Al (who is from the area) had recommended - the Brown Trout. Had an early dinner there, before calling the same cab firm again (there weren't any other alternatives) to take us back to Wadhurst station. They were much more prompt second time, and the driver turned out to be a bit of a character, so I almost forgave them for the long wait we'd had earlier on.

As an aside, this is the 3000th entry of my blog!
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Chie's Birthday
[Friday 4th May 2012]
Took the afternoon off work today so that we could do something together for Chie's birthday. We'd wanted to go for afternoon tea somewhere, but naively thinking as it was a weekday that places wouldn't be so busy, we'd left it until the last minute to try and book anywhere. Surprisingly just about all the famous hotels were fully booked.

So we ended up going to the Sanderson Hotel, as a picture of their Alice in Wonderland themed "Mad Hatter's Afternoon Tea" had caught my eye in a newspaper recently. The actual food wasn't bad, and was certainly very photogenic, but the service was decidedly naff, which made the whole thing rather a disappointment. Ho, hum.

After this we rather oddly both decided to go and get our hair cut. Chie went to a Japanese place, and I went to try Geo F. Trumper. I later read that this is apparently where Prince William has his hair cut (what's left of it, poor chap) - although he goes to the original Mayfair branch, rather than the one just off Jermyn Street I went to. I'm glad I tried it but not sure I'd go back - they really didn't take much time over the cut, and the barber, although a pleasant enough chap to talk to, had clearly had something very garlicky for lunch. I left with the unpleasant sensation that my hair smelled of garlic, and consequently went straight back home for a shower.

We stayed in the remainder of the evening, and I cooked a lasagne for dinner.
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Birthday Present Shopping
[Thursday 3rd May 2012]
Walked into the centre after work to do a bit of last minute additional birthday present shopping for Chie.
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Booking Office Bar
[Wednesday 2nd May 2012]
My friend Andrew at the office was promoted, which seemed like a good excuse for a celebratory drink.

So a few of us from the office headed went for a return visit to the Booking Office Bar in St. Pancras for some Champagne etcetera.

I have to admit the place itself has gone down a bit in my reckoning since our first visit - it was probably largely due to having a very long wait at the bar before we could buy our first drink (despite their being lots of staff milling about but not clearly doing anything) and then not being able to find a table to sit down at for most of the time we were there. I suppose you can't really blame a bar for being busy, but when they then also tried to add service charge onto our drinks I was decidedly miffed. I just handed over the exact amount in cash when I bought a round so there was no possible chance of a discussion about it. Charging service when you're ordering directly from the bar (and standing up to drink) is just not on.

Still, irritations about the venue aside, it was a jolly evening, and we were all very pleased for Andrew.
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St. James's
[Tuesday 1st May 2012]
Met up with Chie at my office, and went for an evening stroll together from there. It wasn't exactly a balmy summer evening, but at least it wasn't raining.

Wandered past Buckingham Palace and into St. James's, where we had a quick drink at the Red Lion in Crown Passage. Also wandered through Economist Plaza, where there's currently an exhibition of three sculptures by an artist called Sean Henry.
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Working Late
[Monday 30th April 2012]
Chie had an evening class this evening, and I worked late at the office. Chie came to meet me at my office when she finished and we walked back home together.
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Sunday Lunch at the Holly Bush
[Sunday 29th April 2012]
Woke up this morning with a hankering for a roast lunch in something akin to a country pub. As it's a bit arduous to get out to the country proper from central London I decided instead we should venture to Hampstead, and in particular the Holly Bush. Despite the rather miserable weather outside it was cosy and pleasingly olde worlde inside, and I enjoyed it very much.

Got the number 24 bus most of the way back - as I've probably commented here before, we used to live at one end of the route (Hampstead Heath) and now live at the other end of the route (Pimlico). Not a particularly scenic journey today though, given the rain.
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Jermyn Street and Beau Brummel
[Saturday 28th April 2012]
Having seen it featured on The Chap's website I'd been wanting to buy a bottle of Geo F. Trumper's "Extract of Limes" cologne for a while. Today as we didn't particularly have any plan we decided to head for some gentleman-esque shopping on Jermyn Street.

Whilst there I also took a few pictures of the statue of Beau Brummel, to help write a piece on Pinwheel. As Pinwheel isn't completely open to the public yet I shall copy and paste my article here:

Beau Brummel: Inventor of the Suit

There's a statue of Beau Brummel (1778 - 1840) here, fittingly on Jermyn Street in St. James's, a street which specialises in shops selling traditional gentlemen's clothing and accessories, from shirtmakers and shoe shops to "grooming requisites".

Brummel was a style icon of his day, and helped by his friendship of the Prince Regent (who would later become George IV) effectively set the agenda for men's fashion in England during that period.

Prior to Brummel the fashion amongst men in the upper classes had been for ostentatious and flamboyant costumes. Often outlandish, brightly coloured, gaudily embroidered and sometimes bordering on the effeminate. The most extreme example could be seen in the "Macaronis" (essentially 18th Century hipsters).

Brummel advocated a more restrained and sober style, of well tailored but plain dark coloured jackets, full length trousers, white shirts and knotted cravats - the forerunner of the tie. Effectively this was the template for the modern suit as we know it today. It's amazing to think, in a way, what a specific garment a suit is, and how this one style of dress has become such a de facto standard the world over - and we largely have one man to thank for this.

Brummel is entwined with the early history of Savile Row. Although Henry Poole - the first tailor on the Row - did not move there until a few years after Brummel's death, both Brummel and the Prince Regent were customers of several of the tailors that would later relocate there. Of particular note are Meyer and Mortimer, and Jonathan Meyer likely played a key role in helping to develop Brummel's style. Meyer and Mortimer still exist today, based in Sackville Street, close to Savile Row.

Even if you never wear a suit you almost certainly wear trousers. It seems like an incredibly obvious type of garment, and yet, before Brummel, full length trousers barely existed - men wore knee length breeches.

It isn't just the invention of the suit we have Brummel to thank for. Another "fashion" he started was that of personal hygiene. He was in the habit of taking a bath every day, which at the time was considered radical - so much so that people would come to visit his house to witness his daily ablutions. Even amongst the upper classes bathing was a rare event, and bodily odours tended to be masked with powders and perfumes.

Given Brummel's huge contribution to making the modern world what it is today, it is surprising he isn't more famous really. At least on Jermyn Street everyone knows who he is.
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Buckingham Arms
[Friday 27th April 2012]
After TGIF today Chie joined us, and a few of us from the office decamped to the Buckingham Arms near St. James's Park tube for further drinks. I've only been to this pub once before, which is odd, considering it isn't that far from the office and is relatively pleasant.

After that we got in a taxi and headed to Woodlands for some Indian food.
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Rusty Floor
[Thursday 26th April 2012]
Just took one odd picture today of the rusty marks my umbrella had left on the floor in the office. If nothing else it serves as a reminder of how thoroughly miserable the weather was this month.
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Wednesday
[Wednesday 25th April]
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Tuesday
[Tuesday 24th April]
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Savile Row Protest
[Monday 23rd April 2012]
Took the morning off work today to attend a protest organised by the Chap magazine against the opening of a new Abercrombie and Fitch store on Savile Row (there's already one just around the corner). The slogan was "Give Three-Piece a Chance". Being organised by The Chap it was of course all a bit tongue in cheek, but nonetheless I've developed a strong affection for the Row these past few years and felt it important to show my support, particularly as it also touched on the wider issue of every high street in every city in the world gradually looking more and more identical.

Besides anything else it was a good excuse to put on my suit and hat and hang around with The Chap crowd for a bit. As it was a smaller event than the Olympiad it meant I actually had the chance to talk to the editor, Gustav Temple, a bit. I was rather pleased when I mentioned to him that I live in Pimlico to hear him describe it as "the spiritual home of The Chap".

Once the protesting had been satisfactorily dealt with, we then repaired for a superbly decadent late morning snifter at the French House, before the protestors dispersed and went their separate ways. I went for a quick lunch at Cecconi's after that, then back to work.

I don't think I've ever had this much fun on a Monday morning before.
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Bitter Tomatoes
[Sunday 22nd April 2012]
We'd picked up an unusual fruit/vegetable at a market yesterday called "bitter tomatoes". I decided we should try these out this morning, oddly enough for breakfast. They turned out to be much more like aubergines than tomatoes, and they really lived up to the bitter in their name. I can't say I'm particularly a fan.
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Brighton
[Saturday 21st April 2012]
Decided to go to Brighton today, for the now traditional trip to the vegetarian shoe shop. The brogues I'd bought there last time had been much worn and were starting to look a bit tatty now. They didn't have any more of the brogues in my size, so instead I went for some other shoes which I'm not entirely sure I'm happy with.

Also whilst in Brighton we tried out a vegetarian cafe called Iydea, and in fact also had a sort of second lunch. A pasty shop had a special of the week - a cheese and Marmite pasty - which I couldn't resist trying.
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Pizza with Strangers
[Friday 20th April 2012]
Stayed quite late at TGIF, had a cocktail or two in the office.

Went to Oliveto afterwards for some late pizza with Iain, and a couple of people we didn't really know, and pretty much just invited at random - one a visitor from another office, and one working on a different project.
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Regency Cafe
[Thursday 19th April 2012]
Chie had an appointment at the clinic near the Regency Cafe in the morning, and the temptation to combine heading over there with breakfast at the Regency was too great to resist.
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Wednesday
[Wednesday 18th April]
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Tuesday
[Tuesday 17th April]
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Lebanese Food
[Monday 16th April 2012]
Used up the remainder of the ful (foul? I'm never sure) medames I'd made the weekend before last, adding some of our usual favourites including halloumi and falafel.
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Battersea
[Sunday 15th April 2012]
Partly thinking about a prospective area for buying a flat, and partly because I'd read Noel Coward had lived there for a while as a child, I thought we should go for a wander to Battersea. It turned out, probably not coincidentally, that "the nice bit" of Battersea where we might think about buying a place was also where Coward had lived - he was at number 70 Prince of Wales Mansions. They're rather nice late Victorian mansion blocks, which would probably have been fairly new when he moved in with his family. I couldn't actually see a blue plaque or anything, and wonder if the current owners know about the famous former resident.

Apart from that short section of Prince of Wales Drive, I wasn't too impressed with Battersea - just a couple of streets away and it very quickly turned rather downmarket and pretty rough around the edges.
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