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:
- Winter Solstice at Avebury
Saturday before Christmas
More Green Shoots
Serpent Trail: Haslemere to Northchapel
Bear and Wolf
Pie and mash
Sussex Ouse Valley Way: Balcombe to Lindfield
Cakes and Ale
Royal Oak at Wineham
- Winter Solstice at Avebury
- [Sunday 22nd December 2019]
Following on from the summer solstice this year, something about Avebury had obviously got under my skin. I had pondered on and off the thought of going back for the winter solstice, largely assuming that when the time came I'd be put off by the thought of the cold and the dark and the hassle of getting there. So I had slightly surprised myself when, yesterday evening, I had come to the decision that I was definitely going to make a go of it.
Having done some research on the transport logistics I'd come to the conclusion the only way to be there for the sunrise was to travel the night before. Sunrise would be around 8am, and it being a Sunday the first train out of Paddington to Swindon didn't leave until that time.
So I had stayed in the incredibly frugal Holiday Inn Express near Swindon station the previous night, and arranged a taxi from there at 6am, which got me to Avebury a little over 20 minutes later. In hindsight that was probably a bit too early, I could have had at least another hour's sleep and wouldn't have really missed much at all. I had thought perhaps there might be people there throughout the night, perhaps performing some ancient rituals or some such, but if they were they were well hidden! As it was, around 6:30am I was pretty much the only person out and about as far as I could tell.
That said, that hour walking around the stones of Avebury in almost complete solitude - and almost complete darkness - was actually quite atmospheric. Although the skies were not entirely clear the moon poked through at times, and seeing the stones by moonlight before the dawn gave them an added other worldly quality.
Eventually, and quite reassuringly, other people did start to trickle in, and slowly gathered on the ridge to the south east of the village - the same place where we had sat to watch the sunset at the summer solstice.
The clouds lifted almost like curtains in a theatre being drawn to make the stage visible, and we were treated to a wonderful sunrise, which hopefully the photos do at least some justice to. Later on, after the sunrise was complete, the clouds moved back in again. It really did give a sense of a planned show.
See also John Goes for a Walk.
- Saturday before Christmas
- [Saturday 21st December 2019]
Took Erika Christmas present shopping in the afternoon, then on a whim, after Erika went to bed, I got a late train to Swindon so I could be up early the next morning to see the sunrise for the winter solstice at Avebury.
- [Friday 20th December]
- [Thursday 19th December 2019]
Dentist appointment in the daytime, which meant the traditional post-dentist visit to Oliveto, where they had tagliolini with white truffle as a special. In the evening went round to our local friends for dinner.
- Carol Concert
- [Wednesday 18th December 2019]
A couple of pictures of Erika's school carol concert - although you can't actually quite see Erika in any of them!
- More Green Shoots
- [Tuesday 17th December 2019]
Checking up on the state of the green shoots in the garden.
- [Monday 16th December 2019]
Just took a picture of the menu of the new Korean place near us.
- [Sunday 15th December]
- Serpent Trail: Haslemere to Northchapel
- [Saturday 14th December 2019]
Did a section of the Serpent Trail, starting out at Haselemere, then up over Tennyson's Black Down to take in the views from the Temple of the Winds, and then finally down to Northchapel to visit the Half Moon Inn.
Read more here.
- Bear and Wolf
- [Friday 13th December 2019]
Took Erika to Bear and Wolf for breakfast in the morning before school.
- Pie and mash
- [Thursday 12th December 2019]
Pie and mash for lunch.
- [Wednesday 11th December 2019]
Clocked off work a bit early for a quick pint at the Pineapple.
- [Tuesday 10th December 2019]
Erika and a couple of her friends came to visit my office after school.
- [Monday 9th December 2019]
Spent the evening making creatures from Greek mythology, then organising all of Erika's Lego.
- [Sunday 8th December 2019]
Our wedding anniversary. Went for lunch at Royal China Docklands then took a boat trip along the Thames.
- Sussex Ouse Valley Way: Balcombe to Lindfield
- [Saturday 7th December 2019]
Did another section of the Sussex Ouse Valley Way today - from Balcombe to Lindfield, taking in the Ouse Valley Viaduct.
Read more here.
- Christmas Tree
- [Friday 6th December 2019]
Received our Christmas tree today, and decorated it in the evening.
- [Thursday 5th December 2019]
Erika's gymnastics class had their end of term competition this evening.
- Green Shoots
- [Wednesday 4th December 2019]
The first green shoots from the bulbs Erika and I planted poked up through the soil in the garden today.
- Cakes and Ale
- [Tuesday 3rd December 2019]
Went to the office in the daytime. In the evening started reading Cake and Ale and had some Chambolle-Musigny.
- [Monday 2nd December]
- Frozen 2
- [Sunday 1st December 2019]
Took Erika to see Frozen 2.
- Local Friends
- [Saturday 30th November 2019]
Spent the afternoon with local friends - met in one of the nearby playgrounds, then went to the Pineapple for a little bit, then they came back to ours.
- Royal Oak at Wineham
- [Friday 29th November 2019]
Annual pre-Christmas quaint pub outing, this year to the Royal Oak at Wineham.
- [Thursday 28th November]
- [Wednesday 27th November 2019]
Leon was passing through London so we went out for a drink.
- [Tuesday 26th November 2019]
First pictures with new phone camera.