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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Maison de Stuff
- Recent Entries:
- The Oldest Pub in London
Lunch at the Regency Cafe
Lunch at Quilon
Somewhere in Westminster
Airport Adventures with Andy
Back to London
Sunday in North Wales - St. Mary's Well
Saturday in North Wales - Garn Fadryn
Lunch at Noura
- The Oldest Pub in London
- [Saturday 21st August 2010]
Spent most of the day indoors at the flat. I decided to set about the task of finally deciding once and for all which was the oldest pub in London, an exercise which was helped tremendously by some excellent resources on a site called Dead Pubs (which also has lots of information about pubs which are still very much alive and well).
The conclusions of my research are published here. I am pretty convinced the oldest pub, by my definition, is the Seven Stars on Carey Street.
- Padron Peppers
- [Friday 20th August 2010]
Padron peppers for dinner.
- Entertaining Visitors
- [Thursday 19th August 2010]
An evening out entertaining visitors from the US, starting with dinner at the Regency Cafe, then a pub crawl through Westminster and Whitehall.
- Lunch at the Regency Cafe
- [Wednesday 18th August 2010]
Lunch at the Regency - the usual mushroom omelette and chips.
- [Tuesday 17th August]
- [Monday 16th August]
- Lunch at Quilon
- [Sunday 15th August 2010]
Lunch at Quilon, a Michelin starred Indian restaurant near St. James's Park.
- [Saturday 14th August 2010]
Day trip to Canterbury to have lunch with Leon and Yukari-san, and meet their new baby for the first time.
- [Friday 13th August]
- [Thursday 12th August 2010]
- Somewhere in Westminster
- [Wednesday 11th August 2010]
A random picture of a church taken on a wander around Westminster.
- [Tuesday 10th August]
- [Monday 9th August]
- Vienna Blend
- [Sunday 8th August 2010]
The coffee we bought yesterday in H R Higgins.
- [Saturday 7th August 2010]
Quite a varied day out - went to Portobello market in the morning, and bought a pair of antique cufflinks. Had lunch at a vegetarian Japanese place near King's Cross called Itadaki Zen, then coffee at H R Higgins, and champagne at Fortnum and Mason (this month Taittinger - tasting notes here), before returning home to examine the hallmarks on the cufflinks.
The chap in the market had said the cufflinks were Victorian, and were one of a kind - they had been made specially for the gentleman whose initials were on it - GK. He pointed out the hallmarks - although of course I had no idea what these meant - so when I got home I did a bit of research on the web to try and decipher these.
The first mark is the standard English silver hallmark - a lion passant gardant. Apparently without this it isn't English silver. The next mark is the city mark for Chester - three wheatsheafs and a sword. It seems there have only ever been about 9 or 10 "assay offices" in the UK, so this doesn't necessarily mean it was made in Chester - this office would have covered a large swathe of the North of England. The third mark is the date mark. It seems these go in cycles, and a subtly different font is used for each cycle. I spent some time poring over charts (see here for example) but it was hard to be 100% sure of the year. It seems most likely from the style of the letter it is in the 1901-1925 cycle. Although this looks more like a 'J' it seems these weren't typically used in each cycle so it is more likely an 'F' (1906) or an 'I' (1909). So it's more likely Edwardian than Victorian, but close enough!
On the other cufflink just two of the three hallmarks appear (no city mark) - looking at pictures of hallmarks on cufflinks on the web this seems pretty common.
This is the maker's mark, which I think is the earlier of two marks used by Charles Horner of Halifax. The original Charles Horner died in 1896, after which the business was carried on by his sons (one of which was also a Charles) - so it seems likely to have been made while Charles Jr. and his brother James were running the business.
- [Friday 6th August]
- [Thursday 5th August]
- Airport Adventures with Andy
- [Wednesday 4th August]
Just within the last couple of days I had heard from my friend Andy (who had moved to Japan back in February) that he'd be passing through Heathrow en route from Tokyo to visit his family in the South of France. He hadn't been able to fit in an actual stop off in the UK, but he did have a few hours between flights, so I jumped at the chance to go and meet him for a drink or two.
We met in Terminal 5, and proceeded directly to the only bar in Terminal 5 outside of security - the Five Tuns. Unsurprisingly it was pretty soulless - as you'd expect from an airport "pub" - and so our thoughts soon turned to trying to escape the airport to somewhere a bit more pleasant.
So after a quick search on Google Maps I determined the nearest pub with some character was the London Apprentice in Isleworth. This turned out to be rather good - although I think some of the modernisation of the interior is a little regrettable, the exterior of the building is still rather handsome (and hasn't changed much from a 1930s picture of it I'd seen), the beer seemed to satisfy Andy's craving for real ale, and the food was very good too. I particularly enjoyed the "veggie 'fish' and chips" - they'd taken slices of halloumi and coated it in the same batter usually used for fish - a fantastic idea.
I've really missed the guy since he buggered off to Japan, and so it was nothing short of heavenly to sit in a decent pub with Andy, mulling over life, the universe and everything, even if it was only for a couple of hours.
Eventually though, time came for Andy to head back to the airport, and for me to head back into central London. We hadn't really thought this part through particularly well, and it took quite a while to find a taxi (it turns out they're somewhat less common in TW7 than they are in SW1). By the time I did successfully hail a cab, Andy only had about 45 minutes to make his flight! He didn't have a phone that could make outgoing calls with him, so I didn't actually hear whether he made it or not - I assume so... or maybe he just ended up going back to the awful Five Tuns.
I then headed back into the centre of London to meet up with Chie, who had arranged for us to have dinner with her former university tutor (Nozaki-sensei) and his wife Kaori-san, who were visiting Europe for a few days. We'd decided to play it safe and took them to Oliveto, which I think went down rather well. Chie had also taken them to a couple of pubs in Belgravia beforehand (of course following my recommendations). Nozaki-sensei and Kaori-san are both wine buffs, and we'd got onto the conversation of Champagne during the evening. I was rather pleased that when I mentioned there was a bar round the corner with a good selection of champagnes Kaori-san pretty much immediately said "let's go!" - so we rounded off the evening with a bottle of Perrier Jouet at the Ebury Wine Bar.
- [Tuesday 3rd August]
- Back to London
- [Monday 2nd August 2010]
Travelling back to London on Monday morning.
- Sunday in North Wales - St. Mary's Well
- [Sunday 1st August 2010]
An afternoon stroll near Aberdaron, down to St. Mary's well, whilst enjoying the views across the sea to Bardsey. Also an early evening stroll to Porth Colman, and dinner at the Lion.
- Saturday in North Wales - Garn Fadryn
- [Saturday 31st July 2010]
An afternoon stroll up Garn Fadryn - the mountain Dad is custodian of, on the Llyn peninsula in North Wales.
- [Friday 30th July]
- Lunch at Noura
- [Thursday 29th July 2010]
A couple of pictures from my lunch at Noura.
- [Wednesday 28th July]
- [Tuesday 27th July 2010]
A couple of pointless pictures of me laughing at the telly.
- [Monday 26th July]
- [Sunday 25th July]