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:
Ascot Family Day
Italian Saturday
Aviations at the Office
NCT Picnic
Rhubarb Negroni
Tuesday
Monday
Back to London
Ledbury
To Abergavenny
Thursday
Ice Cubes
Tuesday
New Washing Machine
Foodie Sunday
Chap Olympiad 2014
Friday
Cafe Nouf
Franks
Back to London
Akino and Tim's Wedding
Royal Yacht Britannia
To The Borders
Olivogelo
Sushi in the Garden
Wednesday
Monty Python Live (mostly)
Monday
Thameside Drinks and Christmas Pudding
Paddington with Andy and Ribollita
Caraffini

Ascot Family Day
[Sunday 27th July 2014]
We've recently made friends with an Italian couple who also have a daughter at Erika's nursery. They suggested today we all go along to the family day at Ascot racecourse - a slightly surprising combination of horse racing for grown ups with fairground rides and people dressed up as TV characters for the kids.

On arrival we gave Erika a go on one of the fairground rides - which predictably she almost immediately asked to get off. Later on we tried to have her picture taken with Postman Pat - she seemed to find him quite scary.

So the kids bits weren't really a great success. Surprisingly though Erika actually did seem to quite enjoy looking at the horses, from a safe distance.

I thought since we were there I might as well have a small flutter, and maintained my unbroken record of walking away from a day at the races with an overall profit, thanks to a satisfactory win in the first race.
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Italian Saturday
[Saturday 26th July 2014]
Without specifically planning it that way, it ended up being a very Italian sort of day.

Having enjoyed the experience of visiting pasticceria on our recent trip to Italy (standing at the counter and having an espresso and a few small pastries/cakes) I was keen to see if something similar existed in London. After a bit of a search of the web I found there was a place called Dolcezza, between Stockwell and Oval, so we headed there for breakfast this morning. It made for a pleasant break from the norm, but it wasn't really like the atmosphere in a pasticceria in Italy - for a start the member of staff who served us was Australian, and the general feel of the place was much like any other coffee shop in London, but just with the addition of a few small Italian pastries.

We walked back to the flat by way of Vauxhall, to pop into the little Waitrose there and buy things for lunch. I had a sudden craving for cucumber sandwiches and scones. So once back at the flat we had an afternoon tea style lunch, although rather than heading out into the gardens we lazily stayed indoors with all the windows open.

Spent most of the remainder of the afternoon slobbing around the flat - it was actually quite hot outdoors, and staying indoors with all the windows open it was just about right.

In the evening, Chie went out with a friend. I didn't really feel like just staying, so Erika and I resumed the Italian theme, heading over to the area around Sloane Square. Erika dozed off en route, so initially I had an aperitivo on the pavement outside a little Italian cafe whilst Erika napped in her buggy. I then moved to the Italian restaurant next door (Caraffini where we've been a few times with Erika now) and took a table on the terrace. I think I managed to time it just about right - Erika was still sleeping when we arrived, but I woke her up when our food arrived. It was rather lovely having our romantic al fresco dinner for two.

Rounded off the evening with a visit to Olivogelo for some gelato on the way home, to complete the Italian theme.
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Aviations at the Office
[Friday 25th July 2014]
Chie and Erika came to my office for lunch, and at the end of the day I made Aviations.
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NCT Picnic
[Thursday 24th July 2014]
Went to St. James's at lunchtime to get my hair cut, then in the early evening had a picnic with our NCT friends.
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Rhubarb Negroni
[Wednesday 23rd July 2014]
Went out with Al and Kyle this evening, including a visit to Princi to try their Rhubarb Negroni.
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Tuesday
[Tuesday 22nd July 2014]
Fared better with getting Erika to take her horrible antibiotics this morning, by employing a larger yoghurt so the flavour was more diluted.

Was originally supposed to be meeting Leon after work today, as he was passing through London, but owing to logistics it ultimately didn't work out. So not much to report really.
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Monday
[Monday 21st July 2014]
Erika is currently on a course of particularly foul tasting antibiotics for yet another chest infection. We've never had much problem in the past getting her to take medicine, but this one in particular is so foul she spat it out when we gave it to her neat, and seems to know when its mixed in with something else to disguise the taste. I spent almost an hour this morning trying to get her to eat a yoghurt which I'd mixed it in with.

In the evening I made something very vaguely approximating Chinese food - crispy duck pancakes followed by a kind of noodle soup.
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Back to London
[Sunday 20th July 2014]
Back to London in the afternoon.
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Ledbury
[Saturday 19th July 2014]
After some deliberation in the morning about what to do for the day, we eventually settled on going to Ledbury. Unfortunately the weather had taken quite a notable turn from yesterday's barmy summer weather, to quite a grey and rainy sort of day. Ledbury still managed to impress regardless - it's a very picturesque little town with a surprising array of swanky designer shops.
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To Abergavenny
[Friday 18th July 2014]
The last few times we'd been to Abergavenny to visit Vera and Robin we seemed to have fallen into a pattern of only staying Saturday night, as the prospect of travelling on a Friday evening seemed a bit daunting. The trouble is that ends up meaning we only really spend 24 hours or so there, so this time instead we decided to take Friday afternoon off work to travel (actually Chie is off work on Friday anyway).

We arrived in Abergavenny at 4pm, Robin picked us up from the station and took us back to the house, where we had a very pleasant afternoon tea out on the terrace. The weather was quite hot today but regardless (hot) tea was forthcoming and gratefully received.

We popped out to Waitrose before dinner (Robin wanted to buy an orange and a lemon, and ended up spending 30), and I bought a bottle of Dubonnet, with which I later on made what I'm dubbing a Queen Mother Negroni, swapping out the usual sweet vermouth for the Dubonnet. It made for an interestingly fruity drink.
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Thursday
[Thursday 17th July]
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Ice Cubes
[Wednesday 16th July 2014]
I bought some ice cubes.
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Tuesday
[Tuesday 15th July]
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New Washing Machine
[Monday 14th July 2014]
We got a new washing machine today.
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Foodie Sunday
[Sunday 13th July 2014]
Spent most of today eating, it seems.
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Chap Olympiad 2014
[Saturday 12th July 2014]
Tenth Anniversary of the Chap Olympiad.
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Friday
[Friday 11th July]
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Cafe Nouf
[Thursday 10th July 2014]
Lebanese food at Cafe Nouf for lunch.
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Franks
[Wednesday 9th July 2014]
Brief early evening sojourn to Franks in Peckham.
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Back to London
[Tuesday 8th July 2014]
Breakfast at the hotel with the other wedding guests before heading back to Berwick Upon Tweed to drop off our hire car and get the train back to London.
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Akino and Tim's Wedding
[Monday 7th July 2014]
Akino and Tim's wedding at Lindisfarne Castle.
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Royal Yacht Britannia
[Sunday 6th July 2014]
Drove from Lucy and Martin's house into Leith to go on a tour of the Royal Yacht Britannia.
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To The Borders
[Saturday 5th July 2014]
Took the train to Berwick Upon Tweed in the morning, then picked up a hire car there and motored over the border to visit Lucy and Martin.
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Olivogelo
[Friday 4th July 2014]
Erika having gelato at Olivogelo.
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Sushi in the Garden
[Thursday 3rd July 2014]
Sushi in the garden for dinner today.
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Wednesday
[Wednesday 2nd July 2014]
Not much to report really.
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Monty Python Live (mostly)
[Tuesday 1st July 2014]
Went to see Monty Python Live (mostly) at the O2 this evening.
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Monday
[Monday 30th June 2014]
Chie went out in the evening to see a match at Wimbledon, so I picked Erika up from nursery after work.

Um, not much else to report really.
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Thameside Drinks and Christmas Pudding
[Sunday 29th June 2014]
Chie and Erika went to see Ai-san for a couple of hours in the afternoon, so I was left up to my own devices for a bit.

I'd seen the Ploughman's at the Morpeth Arms advertised as I'd been passing there yesterday, so I thought I'd give that a go. It wasn't bad, although a classic problem of not nearly enough bread (they did bring more when I pointed this out). I sat outside which I suppose was fairly pleasant, as the pub is by the river.

Followed that with another Thameside drink at the Tamesis Dock - a boat permanently moored on the South Bank between Vauxhall and Lambeth Bridge which has been turned into a (sometimes) floating pub. It was surprisingly deserted - I suppose the weather was a tad on the grey side, but still, for a riverside venue with a nice view of the Houses of Parliament on a Sunday afternoon I was a bit surprised to be the only person there.

Went back home by way of the Little Waitrose in Vauxhall and made dinner, a sort of roast if I recall correctly - cauliflower cheese, plus kind of roast potatoes, although for a change I used new potatoes and left the skins on. Actually came out quite well.

Rather oddly, whilst looking for something else I found a Christmas pudding in the cupboard, which we hadn't got round to eating at Christmas as I'd been really rather ill. As the end of June is pretty close to being as far away from Christmas as you can possibly get, I thought it would be amusing to eat that after dinner tonight.
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Paddington with Andy and Ribollita
[Saturday 28th June 2014]
In the morning I took Erika out for a bit, while Chie had another appointment at the optician. I'd planned to go to the nice little playground by the Houses of Parliament, but on arrival was rather dismayed to find it was all fenced off and had turned into a building site. Unfortunately Erika had seen the swings though, and from that point was quite determined to have a go on a swing. So I looked at the map to see where the nearest playground might be, and decided to head over the river to one in Lambeth. On arrival, it promptly started raining. So overall our outing was not very successful.

Andy was passing through London again, on his way back to Japan, so we got together for a while this afternoon. We met at Paddington station (he'd be staying in Marlow) and went to two of the pubs in the station, before eventually mustering the enthusiasm to leave the station and go ever so slightly further afield.

Our mini crawl extended to two further pubs - the Victoria and the Windsor Castle. We were joined en route by some of Andy's friends from a Japanese course he'd done before he left London, one of whom I found a bit irritating, if I'm honest.

I headed home around 5:30 so I could help out with dinner. As we had some leftover bread which was on its way to going stale, I decided to try and make some ribollita, like the one I'd rather enjoyed in Pisa. I couldn't find cavolo nero in the supermarket so used spring greens instead, but it actually came out quite well. The bread was Gail's Sourdough which was well suited to this sort of thing, it still retained some texture in he soup and didn't just disintegrate entirely.
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Caraffini
[Friday 27th June 2014]
Chie and Erika came to my office for lunch today.

Around the end of the working day the girls had been shopping in Peter Jones at Sloane Square, so we met up around there and decided to go for dinner at Caraffini again - and ate out on the terrace like last time (although Ricky Gervais did not join us this time round). Particularly enjoyed the wine - a bottle of Masi Campofiorin 2010, from the Veneto.
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