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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Main Index (text only)
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Maison de Stuff
- Recent Entries:
Marks and Spencers and Jabberwocky
Lazy Day and Tropical Night
All By Myself...
Curry with Kev
Walk Along the Canal
London and Richard's Stag Do
Simon and Susannah
Beer by the River and Curry
Greyhound and Chinese Food
Pick Your Own and Roast Meal
Woodcote and Dinner with Nozaki
Cous Cous and Kiki
The Simple Things in Life...
Beer and More Revision
Leon and Yukari's Wedding
First Few Days of Chie Being Back
- [Wednesday 28th July] Went for a quick pint after work with Kev, but literally just the one for a change. Then wnet home and had a pasta based dinner with Chie, and then just spent the rest of the evening wasting away in front of the TV. Watched some drama about a sociology teacher and an East-end gangster, which was surpisingly watchable.
After that watched The Ninth Gate. I'm a bit unsure what my opinion of it is. I think I must have enjoyed it to a certain extent as I was compelled to watch it to the end. Having had a read around on the web a bit, I suspect my understanding of it was slightly hampered by having missed the beginning, it seems to be one of those big twist type of films, which, now I think I've worked out what is going on, is actually pretty clever. I won't spoil it for anyone who hasn't seen it!
- [Tuesday 27th July] Had more or less ran out of food and couldn't be bothered to go shopping or attempt to cook anything with what we had left. So we decided to go for Indian takeaway. I really enjoyed it actually - the last time I'd had curry it was way too hot despite being a fairly safe sounding madras. This time I opted for the even safer rogan, and it was just right. On the downside, I did feel really unhealthy, especially as "You are what you eat" was on the TV in the takeaway while we were waiting.
- Marks and Spencers and Jabberwocky
- [Monday 26th July] Had a Marks and Spencers dinner tonight. Started with a mozarella and tomato salad, and then had fresh pasta (tortelloni filled with pesto). All very nice.
Watched Jabberwocky after dinner, which I'd bought on DVD a while ago as it was cheap! To be honest it wasn't as good as I'd remembered it, to the point where I thought I'd actually watched a different film first time round. Although I did strangely quite enjoy the line "I saw a gliding hogfish once, but not flying. Never actually flying."
- Mixed Bag
- [Sunday 25th July] Today was something of a mixed bag. We hadn't really planned anything in particular, and just decided what to do as we went along. I've had a bit of a hankering for a while to go on a boat trip on the Thames, so in the morning I'd started trying to arrange this, but we eventually decided to put it off for another time. Instead we did a bit of shopping, Chie bought a wedding gift for her cousin, and then had a little drive in the country, with a sort of picnic in the woods. We got back and decided to watch a DVD - Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil - which I'd got Chie for her birthday (because it's got Jude Law, her favourite actor in). It's a pretty unusual film actually, I think I liked it, but couldn't help but wonder if it was too long - a lot of the scenes seemed to have no real bearing on the plot. Anyway, after that we had a sort of Japanese-ish dinner, and then spent the rest of the evening watching Japanese TV which Chie had earlier videoed (presumably in Japan).
- Lazy Day and Tropical Night
- [Saturday 24th July] Chie was still out during the daytime, so I stayed in by myself, and didn't do very much. Chie got back around 7, and we had a quick dinner (spaghetti I think), then went out for the evening. I'd quite wanted to go to the "Tropical Night" at the Cross Keys, and for a change we went the long way round, over the fields, for a bit of a walk to get there. Only stayed at the pub for one drink, but it was quite fun nonetheless.
- All By Myself...
- [Friday 23rd July] Chie has gone away for part of the weekend, to be in the audience for a Japanese TV show or something, so I found myself home alone. Well, clearly being a Friday I'd been to the pub first for a bit, but when I got back the flat was empty. Felt a bit odd.
- [Thursday 22nd July] Was absolutely knackered in the evening. Not realy sure why exactly, possibly down to having had quite a hard day at the office. As a consequence, did very little whatsoever.
- Curry with Kev
- [Wednesday 21st July] Went for a few beers after work with Kev, with then spilled out into my local Indian restaurant.
- Random Pub
- [Tuesday 20th July] Chie needed to get fuel for a car, so we went out for a little drive in the evening. So as not to make it a wasted trip, we stopped off at the Roebuck, a nearby pub which we'd often driven past but never been in. Nothing hugely out of the ordinary, but it was nice to do something a bit different nonetheless.
- Walk Along the Canal
- [Monday 19th July] For a change, after dinner, Chie and I decided to go for a short walk, especially as the weather was quite nice. It was really lovely - we wandered along a nearby canal, and day dreamed about how nice it would be to have a holiday on a narrowboat.
- [Sunday 18th July] Me and Chie got up pretty late today, so by the time we'd started to think about breakfast, it was really more like lunch. Not having much food in, we opted to have a wander into the village to see what we could find to eat. We ended up at The Ditty for a cooked breakfast, which suited my breakfast/lunch ambiguity perfectly.
Later on, around 5ish, I went with Chie to her health club, for the first time, to try out the swimming pool. It was very nice, and have to admit I was slightly tempted to become a member, despite it being on the steep side. Had a very "healthy" dinner - soup and salad.
- London and Richard's Stag Do
- [Saturday 17th July]
In the daytime, me and Chie were in London doing a bit of shopping, interspersed pleasingly with some visits to bars. Took some pictures.
In the evening it was Richard's stag do, in Reading. Again, took some pictures, which probably tell the story better than text would!
- Simon and Susannah
- [Friday 16th July]
Simon and Susannah came to Pangbourne for drinks and dinner, and Kev came along with us too. Took some pictures.
- Leftover Enchiladas
- [Thursday 15th July] For dinner we had enchiladas, made from leftover chilli from the time when Nozaki Sensei came round for dinner. Quite nice. Also ate watermelon I think - one we'd bought to take to Glastonbury with us.
- Beer by the River and Curry
- [Wednesday 14th July] As the weather had improved (slightly) today, after work, me and Kev went and bought a couple of cans and sat drinking by the river. It's nice to have a change from the pub now and again, especially as the bit of grass by the river is so pleasant (for want of a better word). Not to mention the fact it works out much cheaper! Chie was late home as she had a leaving do to go to, but when she did get back I made curry - with potatoes in. It was quite nice actually, but unusually seemed very salty - probably the fault of the stock powder I put in.
- Greyhound and Chinese Food
- [Tuesday 13th July] When Chie got back from work, we wandered over into Oxfordshire for a drink at the Greyhound in Whitchurch, just for a change, really. We sat in the garden there for the first time, which felt a lot more like the back garden of somebody's house than an actual pub garden. We just had the one drink (IPA I think) and then wandered back home to make chinese food for dinner.
- [Monday 12th July] After a long period of leaving the family tree alone, in the past few days I have been spending a bit of time on it again. Last Thursday I'd put in another order at the GRO, and, sooner than I'd expected it, today I received a copy of Dorothy Milner's birth certificate in the post. She is my great grandmother - my father's father's mother. As usual the most useful bit of information on the certificate was her mother's (maiden) name - Emily Leech, which allowed me to add a few new people to the family tree.
- Pick Your Own and Roast Meal
- [Sunday 11th July] Not a great deal to report today. Towards the end of the afternoon we got around to leaving the flat. Went to the supermarket by way of a "pick your own" place. Chie had been wanting to go for quite a while, and I think this was the first time she'd been to one, in England at least. We picked raspberries. It reminded me of being a kid again. For dinner, made a kind of roast meal with toad in the hole, roast potatoes and parsnips, stuffing, chard (!) and carrots. Very nice.
- Woodcote and Dinner with Nozaki
- [Saturday 10th July]
In the daytime, me, Chie and Kev went to Woodcote Steam Rally. Didn't really see any steam engines (at least not close-up), but instead rather predictably spent the whole time in the beer tent. Bumped into Dilys, Graham and Alice. Also while we were there we met up with Simon and Susannah, who we haven't seen for a while, despite them living a mere stone's throw away - as is often the way of these things. The weather was trying very hard to spoil the day, particularly with one large downpour around 2 o' clock, but nonetheless I still rather enjoyed it, actually. There are some pictures of our day out.
In the evening we went to have dinner with Chie's old university tutor, Nozaki Sensei, and I learnt a valuable lesson about not trying to plan two social engagements in one day (especially ones involving alcohol!). We didn't leave particularly late - maybe around 11, but towards the end of the evening I was practically falling asleep. Still, sleepiness aside, I had a very nice time, and was treated to some really great wines, accompanied by equally great food.
- Late Dinner
- [Friday 9th July] Sank the usual few pints after work, and then wandered a bit unsteadily back home around 9ish. Not long after arriving at home, and having thought I could hang up my boots for the night, I got a call from Chie saying she was coming back from the gym, and bringing a friend (Hiroko) round for dinner. There then ensued an hour or so of semi-drunken attempts to tidy up the flat and cook something, resulting in a number of spillages and minor accidents. In the end we had a very unstructured and laissez faire kind of Japanese meal, including inari sushi, my favourite broad beans with soy and butter, miso soup, and a few other bits and pieces. Actually despite my seeming drunkenness, it all turned out fairly well.
- Cous Cous and Kiki
- [Thursday 8th July] Today we had a dinner with a distinctly middle eastern / mediterranean feel - cous cous, halloumi, olives, salad, and a dish I sometimes make with broad beans, tomato, and lots of olive oil. Following my recent purchase of a couple more DVDs, we decided to watch Kiki's Delivery Service, a Miyazaki film. Both of our DVD players seemed to be playing up a bit (if you'll pardon the pun), so it took us a while to get it to actually play, but when we did it was well worth all the hassle. A truly lovely film.
- [Wednesday 7th July] Was at a conference (of the academic variety) in London all day, and didn't get home until nearly midnight. Not much else to report.
- [Tuesday 6th July] Couldn't be bothered to cook any dinner tonight, so after Chie got back from the gym we went out and got Indian takeaway. Don't remember doing much else, we probably just watched the telly.
- [Monday 5th July] Poor old Mum seems to have been beset by a virus again, so I spent the evening trying to fix it for her over the phone. As anyone who has attempted this kind of operation will know it is extremely difficult! I ended up getting very angry about viruses in general. It's one thing when they affect me, but it's quite another thing when they waste my Mum's time and stop her using her computer properly. I had in the past considered the prison sentences given to virus writers a little too harsh, but now to be honest I'm all for locking them up and throwing away the key. By wasting someone's time in this way you are actually stealing away bits of their life, and people who delight in doing so really have no place in my society.
- [Sunday 4th July] Nothing much to report in the daytime. In the evening though, Chie's university tutor and his wife came round for dinner. We'd decided to do Mexican for a change, and I made what I think are called enchiladas - where you wrap some kind of filling in a tortilla, top it with cheese, then bake it. Anyway, whatever it was called, I was rather pleased with it.
- The Simple Things in Life...
- [Saturday 3rd July] Things were looking pretty bad at the start of the day (well lunchtime), as we'd planned to go for a bike ride, and making the usual checks before heading out we realised Chie's brakes weren't working. A few failed attempts to fix them later, and we were feeling really demoralised and generally fed up. Eventually as a plan B, we decided to go for a walk instead. Our goal, albeit a pointless one, was to walk over a motorway footbridge we'd seen several times before in the car. It turned out to be a really nice walk actually, through lots of fields and farming country.
Without really planning it, we ended up on the road where Tom and Sarah live, so thought we'd knock on their door and say hello. As it happened, they were just about to head out as well, so we joined them. Tom had recently bought a kite, and wanted to give it a test drive. We spent at least an hour in a big field near their house flying the kite, and it was so much fun. I really can't quite explain why I enjoyed it so much, maybe it's one of those things that lets you feel like a child again, I don't know.
Afterwards, Tom and Sarah very kindly invited us round for dinner, and we spent most of the evening there as well. All in all a really nice day, especially given that it was all totally unplanned and unexpected.
There are also some pictures of our day out.
- [Friday 2nd July] After work went for a couple of pints at the Cross Keys, and then went for dinner at the rather nice Mia Beni in Pangbourne with Chie and Kev. Started with a very nice Crespelle Fiorentina, and then I went onto a Pizza Funghi. All washed down with a good ordinary Chianti. It feels like quite a while since me and Chie ate out actually, so I really enjoyed it.
- Theory Test
- [Thursday 1st July] Well I passed, of course. Got all 35 theory questions right, and something like 54 out of 75 on the hazard perception bit (the pass mark for this is 44). It's actually been quite a long time since I've had any kind of exam, and I was reminded how great it felt to get a good result. For dinner, had baked potatoes with cheese, plus broad beans in parsley sauce, and a kind of vegetarian kiev thing. Not a very conventional celebration meal, but very nice nonetheless.
- Beer and More Revision
- [Wednesday 30th June] Should have spent the whole night revising for my theory test, but got a bit distracted immediately after work and accidently went to the pub for a couple of pints. I think this probably made any revision that did then ensue a lot harder - particularly any questions about drink driving. I kept looking for the "get really pissed and just don't bother going home, driving or otherwise" answer, which, despite potentially being a very safe option (with the possible exception of liver damage) bizarrely didn't appear anywhere.
- [Tuesday 29th June] Spent the evening revising hard for my impending driving theory test. Couldn't help but wonder if it was all a bit back to front, that the official DSA book seems to teach you how to pass the test (i.e. it supplies you with all possible questions and their answers) rather than teaching you the theory you need to know to drive safely, which would therefore indirectly allow you to pass the test. Having said that I guess I did learn quite a lot from these questions, and maybe it is a more focused way to teach given that you have to participate all the time...
- [Thursday 24th - Monday 28th June] After work on Thursday, we put all our stuff in the car and headed of for Glastonbury. We arrived some time after 10, and pretty much just put up our tent, had a drink or two with David, Simon et al, who we were camping with, then went to bed.
Friday was the nicest day weather-wise, it was sunny and the site was mostly dry. We spent quite a lot of the day with Steve and Michelle. Watched a variety of bandswe vaguely knew.
Saturday it rained. Quite a lot. As a result we spent a fair amount of the day sheltering in the tent, but did manage to get out to watch a few bands, including Joss Stone, Jamie Cullum (who was excellent), Basement Jaxx, as well as a bit of Paul McCartney.
Sunday it rained on and off, and was still pretty muddy everywhere. We managed to resist the temptation to go home early this year, and stayed the whole night. Particular highlights bands-wise were the Divine Comedy and Belle and Sebastian.
Monday we packed up and went home. Despite making an early start, it took us ages to get off the site, and then quite a while to drive home... but I guess that's to be expected really.
There are of course plenty of pictures to look at!
- Nothing Much
- [Sunday 20th - Wednesday 23rd June] Nothing much really happened over these four days. I think we spent Wednesday night preparing for Glastonbury
- Leon and Yukari's Wedding
- [Friday 18th and Saturday 19th June] We spent Friday and Saturday down in Kent for Leon and Yukari's wedding. The registration ceremony, held in the Archbishop's palace in Maidstone, was Friday afternoon, and then the reception was held at a place called The Goods Shed, in Canterbury. It was a really lovely day all round - every feature of it seemed just perfect. Obviously I took a load of pictures of the day. We stayed Friday night in the Falstaff Hotel in Canterbury, which was surprisingly nice, and turned out by pure chance to be (A) just round the corner from where the reception was held and (B) where everyone else at the wedding was staying! On Saturday we had a bit of a wander around Canterbury, before meeting up with the wedding attendees again for a late lunch, and then heading back home later afternoon.
- First Few Days of Chie Being Back
- [Monday 14th June - Thursday 17th June] Obviously, it has been great having Chie back, but it has been hard work at times. It strikes me again how completely unprepared I am to deal with this sort of situation. I have been wondering why grief counselling is not taught in schools - surely this would be significantly more useful to the average person than trigonometry or history.