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:
- Travelling Back
Trelissick, The Punchbowl and Ladle, St. Just Church Again and the Roseland Inn
St. Ives and the Pandora Inn
Lunch at the Nare and Veryan
St. Just Church, Boat Trip, Cider Farm and the Smuggler's Cottage
Travelling to Cornwall
London Open Garden Squares Weekend - Sunday
London Open Garden Squares Weekend - Saturday
Friday Evening in the Office
Regency Cafe and a Turning Point
Champagne, a Microwave Meal, and Death in Venice
So it's June already...
Monday in Abergavenny
Afternoon in Herefordshire
Saturday in Abergavenny
Fortnum and Mason Champagne of the Month: Laurent Perrier
Blue Posts Pub Crawl and Rocket
- Travelling Back
- [Saturday 26th June 2010]
Travelling back from Dartmoor to London by way of Exeter.
- [Friday 25th June 2010]
Left Cornwall in the morning and headed over to Dartmoor, where we'd be staying for the last night of our holiday.
- Trelissick, The Punchbowl and Ladle, St. Just Church Again and the Roseland Inn
- [Thursday 24th June 2010]
Spent the morning and early afternoon with Vera, having a wander around the gardens at Trelissick, followed by lunch there, and then a post lunch drink at the nearby Punchbowl and Ladle. Later on in the afternoon, went for another walk around St. Just Church, before in the evening heading over to the Roseland Inn for dinner.
- St. Ives and the Pandora Inn
- [Wednesday 23rd June 2010]
A day out in St. Ives with Rob and Kate, with a stop off at the Pandora Inn on the way back for dinner.
- Lunch at the Nare and Veryan
- [Tuesday 22nd June 2010]
Very nice lunch at the Nare Hotel, followed by a visit to the village of Veryan.
- St. Just Church, Boat Trip, Cider Farm and the Smuggler's Cottage
- [Monday 21st June 2010]
Really packed a lot in today (it was the longest day after all!) - started with a walk to the picturesque St. Just Church, then took a boat trip from St. Mawes to Truro. From there we picked up our hire care, and drove to Healy's Cider Farm for a look around, and then went on for a very quick visit to the North Coast of Cornwall near St. Agnes. Back from there to the Smuggler's Cottage for Afternoon Tea, before finally returning to the house for dinner.
- St. Mawes
- [Sunday 20th June 2010]
Walked into St. Mawes in the afternoon, then back to the house in the evening for drinks out on the terrace and dinner.
- Travelling to Cornwall
- [Saturday 19th June 2010]
First day of our holiday, a big chunk of it spent on the train down to Truro.
- [Friday 18th June]
- [Thursday 17th June]
- [Wednesday 16th June]
- [Tuesday 15th June]
- [Monday 14th June]
- London Open Garden Squares Weekend - Sunday
- [Sunday 13th June 2010]
Had a particularly lovely day out today thanks to London's Open Garden Squares weekend. Most of the gardens in Belgravia and Pimlico were only open today, and so I had decided we should just stay in that area today, as I was particularly keen to see inside many of these private gardens that I had walked past so many times. A few friends joined as well, and the weather stayed nice for most of the day - it really was quite lovely.
Started off late morning with a visit to the gardens at the Goring Hotel. Rather superbly they had a croquet set out on the lawn, and were welcoming visitors to the gardens to play a round. I don't think I've ever properly played croquet before, and was surprised to discover I was actually not completely rubbish at it (as I seem to be at almost every other sport) - I somehow managed to get ahead of everybody else early on in the game, and the rest of the players seemed unable to catch up. It apparently takes a fair while to play a round of croquet (especially with a group of complete amateurs) so we ended up staying in the gardens at the Goring for a about an hour. It's rather lovely there - extremely tranquil and serene, and hard to believe it's only a stone's throw away from the hustle and bustle of Victoria Station.
Next on our list were Belgrave Square Gardens - which at 4.5 acres were, I think, the largest of the gardens we visited today. However they're a lot more compartmentalised than many of the other gardens, so didn't really feel like they were the largest. I was particularly pleased to have a chance to see the bust of George Basevi, the architect who had designed some of the grander houses in Belgravia, who I had been reading about recently.
By this time stomachs were definitely rumbling, and so we headed for a pub lunch at the Grenadier. This turned out to be rather a good choice - we sat in the bar and enjoyed some simple but tasty pub food in the wonderfully tranquil surrounds of this lovely little gem of a mews pub.
After lunch, we very briefly popped in to the little herb garden at the back of the Rococo chocolate shop, before then moving on to the next on our list, Eaton Square. This is where, apparently, both Roger Moore and Sean Connery have houses (I like to imagine them sitting in the gardens enjoying a Dry Martini together) as well as Nigella Lawson and Charles Saatchi, and the Duke of Westminster himself (No. 100 is, perhaps unsurpisingly, probably the grandest of all the houses in Belgravia). Inside Eaton Square Gardens were really quite charming - they had an entertainingly belligerent Punch and Judy show on, and I believe earlier there had been a brass brand playing. There was the air of a village fete about it. Tom Tom, the superb local coffee shop, also had a stall there, and despite the warm whether we enjoyed an excellent coffee whilst strolling around enjoying the flora.
Next up was Chester Square, where Margaret Thatcher lives, which was nonetheless very pleasant indeed, a somewhat more low key affair than Eaton Square, although apparently Chester Square is actually the more expensive of the two. In fact, this is the street that really ought to be where Mayfair is on the Monopoly board - it is officially the most expensive street in Britain - the average house costing £6.6 million. It's a wonderfully English thing that this, the pinnacle of the country's wealth, is such a demure and understated address, with delightful but tasteful gardens to match.
At this point we left Belgravia, and headed into Pimlico, where our next garden was Eccleston Square. Having thought we might be a bit underwhelmed in Pimlico after the grandeur of Belgravia, we were very pleasantly surprised with Eccleston Square, it has a wonderfully spacious feeling inside, and is clearly very well cared for by a gardener who I understand to be a bit of a local celebrity. It certainly trumped all the other gardens today in terms of the variety of flora with an impressive array of fragrances - a real assault to the senses.
After this we headed further South to Warwick Square, which, whilst it perhaps didn't have as much attention lavished on it as Eccleston Square, still had it's own charms, particularly the very nice vista to St. Gabriel's Church to the West.
We rounded off the day with Pimm's in the gardens of Dolphin Square, where the rosebeds were in full bloom, and was comfortably holding it's own amongst all the other splendid gardens we had seen today.
- London Open Garden Squares Weekend - Saturday
- [Saturday 12th June 2010]
Went to see a couple of gardens today as part of the Open Garden Squares Weekend: Marlborough House and Carlton House Terrace. Also had some excellent dim sum at Joy King Lau, and then back home in the evening for a Japanese meal.
- Friday Evening in the Office
- [Friday 11th June 2010]
Like last week, I was quite late going along to the usual end-of-the-week-beer-and-pizza thing today, having a few things I was trying to get finished off - it was almost 7 by the time I left my desk. Fortunately it was quite a pleasant evening, and so I headed for the balcony, where I spent a while with a couple of friends from the office.
Around 9 we were shepherded indoors by security guards, who wanted to look the doors, and whilst the plan was to go home, somehow a few of us ended up hanging around the office - sitting around where are desks are - and from somewhere a bottle of whisky emerged. This was surprisingly quite a pleasant way to wind down at the end of what had been, for the first half at least, quite a stressful week.
- Regency Cafe and a Turning Point
- [Thursday 10th June 2010]
Since the middle of last week I had been going into overdrive at work, trying to get a major piece of my project up and running, which had proved somewhat more difficult than I had first thought. There are quite a lot of other people involved in the project now, and we were at a point where the parts I was working on were blocking other people - they needed me to be finished before they could make progress, and before the project as a whole could get to the next major milestone. I don't think I have ever cared about a project more in my career - there have been other projects which have been more stressful or involved bigger sums of money or whatever, but in terms of how much this matters to me personally it is pretty unique - this is exactly the thing I wanted to work on, and I was one of a small handful of people who started the project, which now involves about 30 people. So I had put in lots of late evenings and had been working at the weekend, every day thinking I was just a day away from getting over this current hurdle, but then every day finding some other unexpected obstacle (an obstacle, like, um, another hurdle).
Probably as a result of this I woke up very early this morning - not long after 6 - and as soon as I was awake my head was filled with thoughts of work. I couldn't get back to sleep so decided to get up, and was determined that I was really going to fix the bloody thing at work today. To set myself up for the task, I headed to the Regency Cafe for a hearty breakfast, and then was at my desk shortly after 8.
Whilst I would love to describe what happened as a sudden spark of inspiration, the reality was that I just put the finishing touches to some work I had been doing the previous day, but still, when I saw it all working, at barely even 10am, it was an ecstatic, almost religious experience. It's really hard to describe without explaining what I'm actually working on, but I'd spent the last week-and-a-bit feeling constantly stressed, and pretty much all of a sudden that burden vanished.
In the evening I headed to Southwark where I had arranged to meet up with Al. After a burrito at a Mexican fast food place called Tortilla which I rather like, I headed over to the Founders Arms to meet Al. It's not a very attractive pub in itself, but it does have a rather nice view across to St. Paul's. From there we had initially planned to wander over the river, but ended up wandering all the way to the Whisky Society instead.
- [Wednesday 9th June]
- [Tuesday 8th June]
- [Monday 7th June]
- [Sunday 6th June]
- [Saturday 5th June]
A day out in Brighton with Chie and Gav, primarily so that I could buy some new shoes from the ever reliable Vegetarian Shoes. Once there we decided it might be rather nice to explore some of Brighton's rather fine old pubs.
View Brighton Pub Crawl in a larger map
- Champagne, a Microwave Meal, and Death in Venice
- [Friday 4th June]
Worked quite late for a Friday - until nearly 7 - then popped to the usual end-of-the-week-beer-and-pizza thing for a quick drink. It was lovely weather today, so we were able to go out on the balcony, which was rather nice.
Headed back home after that, and as the weather was sitll rather lovely, Chie and I decided to go out for a stroll over to the Tate Britain, which opens late on the first Friday of the month. Once we got there we realised we weren't really in the mood for art, so pretty much just turned round and headed back home.
Back at the flat, tonight's dinner consisted rather paradoxically of a microwaved frozen Quorn cottage pie and a bottle of Veuve Clicqout. We had dinner sat on the floor in the lounge, whilst wathcing Visconti's Death in Venice. Can't pretend I particularly enjoyed the film, but the wonderfully conflicted indoor picnic was very nice.
- [Thursday 3rd June]
- [Wednesday 2nd June 2010]
- So it's June already...
- [Tuesday 1st June 2010]
Back at work after the long bank holiday weekend.
I made a decision to try and not eat any cheese this week - I think I had been overdoing it a bit recently.
- Monday in Abergavenny
- [Sunday 31st May 2010]
Had lunch at Vera and Robin's house, with Robert and Louise and Ian - sort of a preview of our upcoming holiday next month.
Got the train back from Abergavenny at 3 o' clock.
- Afternoon in Herefordshire
- [Sunday 30th May 2010]
Spent Sunday afternoon out in Herefordhsire, starting with lunch at the Cottage of Content, and later on a wander around How Caple Court Gardens.
- Saturday in Abergavenny
- [Saturday 29th May 2010]
Got the train to Abergavenny in the morning, and spent the rest of the day relaxing with Vera and Robin.
- Fortnum and Mason Champagne of the Month: Laurent Perrier
- [Friday 28th May]
Went to Fortnum and Mason to try their Champagne of the month this evening; this month it is Laurent Perrier.
The Brut Millésimé 2000: deep, complex, hard to define. Some bitter notes; hint of Campari perhaps? More of a winter Champagne?
The Cuvée Rosé Brut had the dark berry fruit notes you'd expect in a rosé, but also an interesting woody aspect: burnt bark?
The Brut NV has a rich, refined buttery aroma - like ghee perhaps. Beneath that citrus notes. Elegant yet substantial.
- [Thursday 27th May]
- [Wednesday 26th May]
Some sort of work night out which ended with a late visit to Oliveto.
- [Tuesday 25th May]
- Blue Posts Pub Crawl and Rocket
- [Monday 24th May]
Went for a pub crawl with Al consisting solely of pubs called the Blue Posts. Managed three of these, before throwing in the towel and getting some pizza at a place called Rocket.
- Nag's Head
- [Sunday 23rd May]
Went for a Sunday afternoon pint at the Nag's Head after shopping.