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Wednesday, 30 October 2013

Bomb Washed Up on Hurst Spit

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Whilst walking the dogs along Hurst Spit this afternoon, my wife spotted a Royal Logistic Corps Bomb Disposal Unit alongside Sturt Pond.
 
It is not often you get the excitement of flashing blue lights charging through Milford on Sea village, so plenty of people must have wondered what was happening.
 
Yesterday, the country had of course suffered from a major storm, with 99mph winds recorded at The Needles may well have contributed to arrival of the
 
Sean Crane at Hurst Castle told us that they had called the bomb disposal team out, as there were a number of shells exposed by the Sunday night storm. He also told us; "You may remember that when the beach was rebuilt some years ago shingle was brought ashore from the shingle bank between Hurst Castle and The Needles. This was the area that was used for practise firing of the guns during WW1 and WW11 and had never been dredged before, so a great number of the practise shells were pumped ashore by the dredger and then bulldozed to form the spit that we know. After a bit of a blow these can be exposed and create a panic but as far as I am aware no really dangerous ones have been found."
 
In a sensible manoeuvre, and to ensure things were safe, Sean drove his tractor and Jason walked the newly exposed area. All came back in one piece, so the spit remained explosionless.
 
Living in Milford on Sea, we of course face this type of danger on a daily basis, but being a stoic bunch we never let it affect our daily lives!
 
That evening my wife & I were having a quiet drink in the village, and we were chatting about the days bomb events with our friendly blond barmaid (who I will not name, but she knows who she is!), when she said; "Was the bomb a new one?". Ah bless! Sometimes we all speak before engaging our brain!
 
February 2013: On 14th February 2013 the shell in the picture below was found by the Lymington Coastguard on Hurst Castle Spit. 
Picture by Lymington Coastguard
click image to enlarge
That particular bomb was dug out and removed by the bomb disposal unit from Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD). The device was later identified as from WW1 and inside was found remains of explosive and ball bearings.

 
click image to enlarge
January 2011: You can also read a ridiculous story about how another bomb found in 2011 disrupted my pleasant Sunday afternoon. click here to read.
 
 
 
 
 
 
Hurst Castle
Hurst Spit
Milford on Sea
Tel: 01590 642344
 
Hurst Castle can be reached by a 1.5 mile walk along the shingle spit, or by a sensible & comfortable ferry ride from Keyhaven harbour!
 
Opening Hours
The Castle is currently open weekends only till 31st March when they are open daily | Daily from April to September 10.30 am to 5.30 pm | October Daily: 10.30 am to 4 pm. 
Entry: Adult £4.50 : Child £2.50 : Senior £4.00 - Friendly dogs on leads welcome. 
 

 
 
 

Monday, 28 October 2013

A Pretty Big Storm

Sunday TV and radio spent most of the day warning the UK population of a night of doom to come, and the approaching potentially disastrous storm had been given the charming name of 'St Jude'.

My wife being ever resourceful decided to continue her new found (& very welcomed) baking skills and was soon underway making delicious cheese & bacon straws as emergency rations. I think she has got her baking inspiration from our friend Nikki, The Great British Bake Off and my uncanny likeness to Paul Hollywood. (or was it his older overweight brown eyed brother.)

Milford on Sea Storm-28.10.13
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Eighty mile an hour winds and thirty foot waves were forecast for Milford on Sea, and we were being told that we were all about to face the worst storm since the Great Storm of 1987. The result of that fateful night was that Sevenoaks lost six of their seven famous oak trees, the country was in chaos and destruction, and I arrived at work to find an entire wall of our warehouse missing.
 
Michael Fish the veteran weatherman was even bought out of retirement to comment. This time he decided to go with the flow and not allay anyone concerns.
 
National announcements were already being made that Monday morning trains and ferries were cancelled, roads closed and people advised not to travel unless necessary.
 
Milford on Sea Storm-15.11.09
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My wife suggested that tonight I may want to sleep on the beach and do some fishing, but I wasn't falling for that one, ...I knew it was not yet fishing season.
 
Things were blustery as we went to bed, but it takes more than Armageddon to stop us sleeping.
 
At 4am my bladder alarm clock woke me as normal and I blearily made my way to the little boys room. The storm was swirling around outside but there was no immediate evidence of mass destruction.
 
Returning to bed, my wife was looking the picture of sweetness & innocence, she was gently purring and only dribbling a little bit.
 
At 5am things were still merrily blowing outside, then at 5.15am I heard something like a dustbin fly into someones garage door.
 
Milford on Sea Storm-15.11.09
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Laying listening, I was also half dreaming that I couldn't fit through a serving hatch. (Bit of a weird dream I admit, but no great surprise as there are few serving hatches I could fit through.)
 
At 5.30am it was time to face the world. Things all looked in place as I surveyed from the window with a cup of coffee. Even when I went outside for a cigarette (I know, I should give up!) their was no immediate evidence of destruction, just fences wobbling and bushes dancing in the wind. Well, that was until I noticed our neighbours had lost a couple of fence panels in their drive.
 
The TV was reporting 99 mile an hour winds at The Needles on the Isle of Wight. Across the country reports were coming in of power lines down affecting ten's of thousands of homes, trees down, scaffolding collapses, roads closed and train lines blocked. The storm was quickly moving northwards creating havoc as it went. Brockenhurst now had a tree down causing traffic disruption.
 
Milford on Sea Storm-15.11.09
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Around 8am I decided to put on my shorts and tee shirt to go along the seafront to discover the state of affairs for myself. The wind was gusting but not too extreme.
 
At the seafront shelter I chatted with an intrepid group of birdwatchers keeping a keen eye out for any unusual and unsuspecting birds being blown in to somewhere they should not be. They had not had any luck with their twitching so far. For some reason they didn't believe me when I told them that I had seen an Emu down by The White House.
 
A guy in a NFDC fluorescent yellow jacket was already on the scene surveying what needed sorting, which was good to see. The promenade was scattered with pebbles blown up from the beach and a group of kerbing along the path edge had been lifted a foot or so away. Apart from that, much was as normal.
 
Milford on Sea Storm-15.11.09
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Strangely, it appeared we had missed the worst of things whilst other parts of the country was still feeling the full force. By now our sky was blue with just a few dark clouds.
 
Indeed, the storm in Milford on Sea on 15th November 2009 feels to have been worse than the storm on 28th Octoer 2013.
 
On that occasion the sea was wild in the extreme and determined to get over the beach huts and as far inland as possible, everything that was not securely upright was soon on its side and our patio door kept threatening to unhinge itself and relocate to inside the lounge. Two beach huts even disappeared through the concrete bases.
 
I also recall (with a big smile) when my wife walked the dogs. She was kitted out a little like Chris Bonnington without a beard, and looked to be having a great time as she battled against the fierce wind with two furry kites flying behind her.
 
Milford on Sea Storm-The Sun 15.11.09
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A little later my wife arose from her fairy slumberland. As she came into the room she said; "Its a bit windy, isn't it? I can't see much out of those windows". "Righto then, I'll get my bucket" I mumbled.
 
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Milford on Sea Storm 2013 Makes Sky News
 
Sky's Senior Correspondent David Bowden reported from Milford on Sea on the Hampshire coast as storm St Jude approaches the UK.
 
To see report on Sky News (It is the video on the right)  Please click here
 
Gwen Peden, formerly of Gwen's Ladies Fashion on Milford on Sea High Street, dropped us a line to say; "Our daughter Carole was listening to a Toronto radio station on Monday 28th Oct, when a news item came on reporting on the great storm along the South coast of England. To her utter surprise the report was coming from Milford, by a Sky news reporter. She was amazed to hear the latest news from her village. They called it Milford-on-the-Sea, but it was nearly Milford-under-the-Sea!".
 
Sky New's intrepid reporter David Bowden also interviewed Mark Clayson from The Bay Trees B&B and Guy Roche from The Smugglers Inn, Like any reporter worth their salt, I think he hoped for some form of disaster, but  we all survived fine!  Click here to view - after the adverts of course!
 

Sunday, 27 October 2013

SkySkimmer above The Marine

The Marine Café Restaurant & Bar on Milford on Sea seafront has had a short film made to show the magnificence of their amazing location.
 
click here to view video
The film show the crisp lines of this 'modern Art Deco' building, great shots of the roof terrace and views across Sturt Pond to Hurst Castle and out to The Needles.
 
 
The film has bees made by a new village based company, Sky Skimmer Ltd. As I understand it, the film was made using a hand-controlled 'mini helicopter' with a mini camera attached.

The Marine
Hurst Road, Milford on Sea, SO41 0PY
Tel: 01590 644369
www.themarinemos.co.uk

SkySkimmer Ltd
Tel: 07973 102256
simon@skyskimmer.com
www.skyskimmer.com

 

Saturday, 26 October 2013

Heaven comes to The Retreat

We have heard from Lola at The Retreat Beauty Salon in Milford on Sea High Street, who tells me that they have now taken on a new natural and organic British skincare range called 'Heaven'.
 
Their signature facial The Bee Sting Facial sounds scary but is actually a very relaxing, lifting facial. Apparently, the facial does include Bee Venom in two of the products, that trick the skin into thinking it has been stung, the skin immediately tends to the area resulting in a more toned and plumped appearance.
 
To give everyone an opportunity to experience the new Heaven Range, and to see all of the other Beauty & Spa Treatments available, you are invited to:
 
Heaven Launch Evening at The Retreat on Thursday 7th November from 6pm to 9.30pm.
 
On the evening there will be demonstrations of the Bee Sting Facial, with the opportunity to lay back and indulge in a 'taster' facial and gain insight into Heavens' signature product the Bee Venom Mask.

Also on hand will be St Tropez, demonstrating many ways to give you that 'back from holiday' look or how to gain a festive high octane sheen!

The Retreat's ever popular Individual Lash Extensions by Sophie shall be demonstrated throughout the evening, whilst in reception you can enjoy canapés and refreshments while previewing the Christmas gift selection. Just some of the products available are; Iredale Mineral Cosmetics, Guinot, Environ, OPI, Heaven Skincare, The Milford Collection, Culture Mix and Espree Jewellery and Gentlemans cufflinks.

10% off Purchases / Gift Vouchers / Treatments on the night.

Please call The Retreat reception on 01590 645151 to book your place.

Thinking about it, if bee sting added to some quality lotion can make an excellent facial product, how how good could the venom of a riled woman be? Just off to poke my wife in the ribs and to see if I can capture any of her response in a test tube. You are cordially invited to the launch of our new skin care range
 
 
The Retreat Beauty Salon
76 High Street, Milford on Sea, SO41 0QD
‎01590 645151
info@retreat-milford.co.uk
www.retreat-milford.co.uk
 

Food Week is Back in April!

If you don't want to miss any of Milford on Sea Food Week 2014, now is the time to get out your diary and block out Monday 7th to Sunday 13th April 2014! Milford on Sea is a true Foodie Destination and Food Week is a chance to show just how we appreciate and love food!

Our New Forest seaside village is fortunate to be blessed with many great places to eat and surrounded by quality local producers, so what better way to celebrate this than to have an entire week dedicated to the joys of food!

Everyone at every age is included, and Milford on Sea Food Week has over 100 activities including: Themed Dining Evenings, Professional Cookery Theatre, Celebrity Shows, Amateur Cookery Demonstrations, Educational Talks, Film Shows, Dining Offers, Wine Tastings, Kid's Events & a Sunday Food Market, all is organised by volunteers, local organisations, clubs, businesses and individuals.

As our event is truly ‘By the community, for the community’ your support is critical to us, and we thank you for getting involved by visiting and enjoying the events during Food Week.

Milford on Sea Food Week is certainly on the map for foodies, with local people enthusiastically involved and many visitors coming and discovering the delights of the village. At the last Food Week over 10,000 people enjoyed the many events taking place.

Like to Get Involved?: Food Week loves any village organisation, club, eatery or local business to take part. It is simple, you plan the event, and we publicise it!  If you are a local individual who loves food and wants to do a demonstration or talk, we can slot you in to the Cookery Theatre. However you want to get involved, just drop me a line and we can sort things from there. All ideas welcome!: david@milfordonsea.org

Become a Volunteer: Milford on Sea Food Week cannot be great without enthusiastic volunteers helping at the Information Centre, joining the Food Market team, selling raffle tickets ect. If you would like to give us a few hours as a volunteer, please drop me a line at: david@milfordonsea.org

Don't forget, get the dates in your diary, we want you at Food Week whether as a foodie visitor or participant!

Food Week is co-ordinated by a small dedicated group of volunteers supported by a generous group of sponsors & supporters. We are delighted to support local charities from all profits that are made.

Milford on Sea Food Week | Monday 7th to Sunday 13th April 2014
www.milfordonseafoodweek.org (*Please Note: The website will not be updated until January 2014)

Village Calendar Keeps You Entertained

 
Milford on Sea must be one of the most active villages in the country. Indeed, so much is happening it is hard to keep up!

The Milford on Sea Village Calendar keeps you up to date with what is going on and will give you plenty of choice of what to go along to.

Visit the calendar regularly and you won't miss a thing! click here to visit village calendar

PS: If you know of any events happening that you would like included in the calendar, please send the details to david@milfordonsea.org


Milford on Sea Village Calendar
www.milfordonseacalendar.org
 
 

Friday, 25 October 2013

Sunday Mail Recommends La Perle

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With a village full of fabulous restaurant it may come of no surprise that they are now getting regular mentions in the national press.
 
Verveine of course recently made the Michelin Guide, and Lionel and his team at La Perle had a glowing review in the Sunday Telegraph in February.
 
Now the Mail on Sunday has discovered our wonderful Milford on Sea village French Bistro. In a review about Brasserie's across the UK they list La Perle top of their list of 'Five More To Try'. Couldn't agree with them more! 
 
If you would like to try a meal at La Perle they would love to hear from you, and it is worth checking out their website, as they run some excellent offers and themed evening.
 
If you fancy trying a few of our  Milford on Sea village restaurants in one meal, you cannot beat the unique dining experience offered by The Great Dining Bus. La Perle are of course one of the restaurants regularly on the Dining Tours. click here to find out more.

La Perle
60 High St Milford on Sea SO41 0QD
01590 643557
www.laperlemilford.co.uk
 

New Seafront Houses Emerge

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The new seafront housing development immediately west of The White House is now reaching roofline level.
 
The devlopement  called 'Nautica', is in Ravens Way, Milford on Sea, and is being built by premier and local builders, Pennyfarthing Homes.
 
The houses are expected to be completed in the spring of next year.  The site will comprise of four 4 bedroom detached contemporary style houses with spectacular sea views and the very rare feature of having no road in between the houses and the beach.
 
They will have a guide price of £1,800,000,  .....so not many of us will be moving in then!
 
Penny Farthing Homes
Penny Farthing House, Fernhill Lane, New Milton, BH25 5TL
01425 613958

Tuesday, 22 October 2013

50 B4 50-The Hand & Flowers

On Tuesday my wife took me for a belated Birthday present, lunch at The Hand & Flowers in Marlow.
 
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This is now our third visit to this wonderful 2 Michelin Star pub, run by the patron chef & owner, and our favourite chef, Tom Kerridge.
 
Tom was of course the headline show at Milford on Sea Food Week 2012. Whilst well known in culinary circles then, he has now become a familiar face on many TV cookery programmes, and he currently has his own series on Monday night BBC TV called ‘Tom Kerridge’s Proper Pub Food’.
 
Anyone who met Tom at Food Week will know that he is one of life’s good guys, with a great sense of humour and wicked Laugh. He is also a big lad just turned 40. A year or so ago he must have been 30 stone plus, and it is clear he has lost around 10 stone. Good on you Tom, but don’t forget, no-one loves a skinny chef!
 
When we arrived, some serious building work was taking place and the plans showed a new bar and dining area being installed. The work did not affect the restaurant, and when we went in it was as packed as ever.  Our waitress told us they were serving 84 people over two sittings on this Tuesday lunchtime!

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The staff were like well-trained bees as they buzzed efficiently around the dining room. Our table was in a nice quiet corner, and we were soon enjoying a drink and studying the mouth-watering menu.
 
It was possible to have a set 3 course lunch for just £19.50. However, my wife was paying, so I was straight to the a la’ carte!
 
Choices made, we were then served with some complimentary Whitebait with homemade mayonnaise, fresh breads, mixed pepper, salt and butter.
 
My wife then noticed that Chris Evans was sitting on the table next to us with some mates. Fortunately he did not recognise me and I didn’t have to find an excuse to not appear on The One Show. (Although I wouldn’t have minded a ride in his fleet of super cars.) I have to say he seemed a nice genuine chap.
 
For starters we went for things we had never tried before, and the adventure was worth it as I enjoyed; Demi “En Croute” of Whole Baby Truffle with Foie Gras and Port, my wife had; Crispy Pig’s Head with Rhubarb, Pancetta and Greek Cress.

For main course my wife had; Corn Fed Baby Chicken with Hops, Ale and Hay, Thyme Roast Celeriac and Summer Truffle, whilst I was delighted to taste (again!) one of Tom's signature dishes; Beer Battered Fish with Triple Cooked Duck Fat Chips, Home Made Tatare Sauce and a Pea Puree, which is the best side dish I can remember.

The Noble Brewery lager was still going down well as the dessert menu arrived. The Hand & Flowers certainly know how to do puddings!  On a previous visit with friends that should remain nameless, but they won't, it was Jon & Stacey. Things got very messy as the wine flowed a bit too much. So much so, that not only did we have Dessert wines, we all also shared all of the eight desserts on the menu.
 
Today was much more refined, and I loved the Pear Soufflé with Caramelised White Chocolate Ice Cream and pear puree.

On the fireplace I noticed Tom’s new book ‘Tom Kerridge’s Proper Pub Food’ was on sale, and in a flash I secretly arranged for a copy to be signed by Tom to my wife. She was thrilled when this was bought to our table, and better still she did not twig I had added it to the bill she was paying!
 
As we sat in glorious satisfaction my wife said; ‘If I ever leave you, I am going to move in with Tom’. As I thought this through I felt a little hollow, mainly because, I had already decided that if my wife ever left me, I was going to move in with Tom!
 
Tom Kerridge's Proper Pub Food
BBC2 Monday's 8.30pm
Tom's book on Amazon click here

The Hand & Flowers
126 West Street, Marlow SL7 2BP
01628 482277
www.thehandandflowers.co.uk
 
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50 B4 50-DINING CHALLENGE
Michelin Stars Collected So Far: 25

3 Michelin Star
London | Alain Ducasse at The Dorchester - www.alainducasse-dorchester.com
Berkshire-Bray | The Waterside Inn - www.waterside-inn.co.uk

2 Michelin Star
London | Hibiscus - www.hibiscusrestaurant.co.uk
London | Pied a Terre - www.pied-a-terre.co.uk
Buckinghamshire-Marlow | Hand & Flowers - www.thehandandflowers.co.uk (*3 Times!)
France | Georges V Hotel, Paris - www.fourseasons.com/paris

1 Michelin Star
London | L’Autre Pied - www.lautrepied.co.uk
London | L’Escargot - www.lescargotrestaurant.co.uk
London | The Savoy Grill - www.gordonramsay.com/thesavoygrillLondon
London | Veeraswamy - www.veeraswamy.com
London | Quilon - www.quilon.co.uk
Hampshire | Terrace Restaurant (Montague Arms) - www.montaguarmshotel.co.uk
Hampshire | Vetiver (Chewton Glen Hotel) - www.chewtonglen.com/restaurant
*To read the review on any of the above restaurants, put 'restaurant name' in this blog's search box.
 

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No Michelin Stars, but restaurants visited since July 2013 that are worth a mention:
 
Milford on Sea | Verveine Fishmarket Restaurant- www.verveine.co.uk
Amazing fish restaurant, creative dishes and flavours. A Michelin Star is surely only a matter of time.

London | Franco's - www.francoslondon.com
Smart Italian restaurant. Truffles abound and lasagne is excellent.

Milford on Sea | La Perle - www.laperlemilford.co.uk
Charming French bistro with classic dishes authenticly served, delightful desserts, good value and friendly service.

Mudeford | The Jetty - www.thejetty.co.uk/
Great restaurant in a spectacular waterside location on Christchurch Harbour. Top quality experience in the extensive menu, ingredients and service.

Yarmouth, IoW | The George - www.thegeorge.co.uk
Fine fresh crevettes & lobster dishes with delightful beachside dining on sunny days.
 
London | Dishoom - www.dishoom.co.uk
Described as a 'Bombay Café in Covent Garden. Completely different Indian dining, unexpected menu serving tasty spicy tapas style dishes.
 
London | J Sheeky Oyster Bar - www.jsheekeyoysterbar.co.uk
Excellent fish & seafood restaurant. Voted 3rd in Zagat ' Best Seafood Restaurants in London' .

Monday, 21 October 2013

Did Anyone Know Edwin Noble?

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St Barbe Museum and Gallery in Lymington are searching for anyone who remembers WWI War Artist, Edwin Noble, who was a Milford on Sea resident.
 
The museum is in the midst of researching and bringing together material for a special exhibition next year to mark the centenary of the outbreak of the World War 1. The exhibition will be entitled: ‘Home Lad Home - Hampshire's War Horses.’
 
They are hoping to include material about, Edwin Noble (Also known as John Edwin Noble), who was a popular illustrator and teacher who studied at the Slade School of Fine Art and served as a sergeant in the Royal Army Veterinary Corps during World War One, where he was employed as an official war artist, depicting horses and mules in charcoal and watercolour.
 
In addition to Slade, he also studied at Lambeth School of Art and the Royal Academy Schools. Subsequently he became instructor at Calderon’s School of Animal Painting and a lecturer on animal drawing and anatomy at the Central and Camberwell Schools of Arts and Crafts. He was a member of the Royal Society of British Artists and a Fellow of the Zoological Society and exhibited widely from 1898 through 1930 at the Royal Academy, the Royal Scottish Academy and the Fine Art Society.

He married Beatrice Greenwood (also an artist) and lived in Milford on Sea from 1922 until his death in 1941.

Edwin also painted colourful posters for Underground Electric Railway Company Ltd (now London Underground) in 1916. click here to see his posters  He also published a children's book; 'A little book of birds and beasts' with the same company.

Interestingly, there was a book published by 'Edwin Noble' in 2002 which was entitled Animal Drawing and Anatomy. The detailed illustrations are similar to his work, however due to the late publication date, it is unknown if they were his drawing, the modern work of a relative or simply a big coincidence.

St Barbe's are interested in finding out more about Edwin Noble, and wondered if there are relatives or family friends still in the area with memories, family archives, or any local photographs?
 
If you are able to help us with any of these, please get in touch with:

St Barbe Museum
Tel: 01590 676969 - office@stbarbe-museum.org.uk

or 'Post a Comment' below.

 

Friday, 18 October 2013

Vive La France

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Being a ‘morning person’, I awoke early as usual and was enjoying having the TV on ‘too loud’, windows open, all the lights on, sitting in my dressing gown drinking a cup of tea with biscuits. Fortunately for me, my wife arose a few hours later, made me get dressed, and restored the environment to 'normal'.
 
For a couple of weeks now I had been looking forward to today. My friend was due to arrive for a night of beer and curry, followed tomorrow, by a day of eating and drinking on the Isle of Wight on another friends powerboat.

The plan had almost been immaculately made, well that was until my wife informed me on Monday that; “You have had curry once in the last week already”. Whilst I was trying to work out why this may be any kind of issue?, she decided she was coming out with us and we were going to La Perle. Apart from missing a curry, going to La Perle, our favourite French Bistro, is always a pleasure, so I was fine.
 
Then it happened, ….I opened an e-mail to discover that my friend was not coming as the powerboat had a problem with a prop shaft.
 
As I sat handling my disappointment like a man, I was concentrating on replying to a couple of business e-mails. Just then a voice mumbled something from the kitchen, and I automatically replied; “OK’.
 
“You weren’t listening were you?” came the knowing reply. “Well, actually no, as I did not know you were going to speak and that I should drop everything I was doing immediately and come into the kitchen to listen to whatever is of critical immediate importance” …I thought.
 
What I actually said was; “Of course I was”. “What did I say then?”. A good retort from my wife I thought, and in a mild panic I was trying to unscramble the dumped sounds in the far corner my mind. “You were talking about the fridge”, I said in hope. I then remembered more; “You want to sort it out”.
 
I must have been close, as “Hmmmm” was the telling reply. Followed by her favourite rhetorical statement; “I hate my husband”. By not moving too much, and keeping my head down alert for any other mumbled sounds, I got through the rest of the day unscathed.
 
As the evening arrived we strolled down to The Cave ‘without our friend’ for a pre-dinner drink. We were in good spirits and my earlier listening error had been forgotten. (Well, certainly by me at least.) Halfway there I realised that I had forgotten my wallet, “My treat” my wife said, and smiled. Ahhh, she does like me a bit really.
 
At The Cave a new gin was on offer, and my wife indulged in the ‘Boodles & Tonic’, I went for a perfectly served glass of cold Leffe Belgian beer.
 
We were first in La Perle and were greeted by our friend and patron/chef Lionel. Him being French, and me being part French from when we emigrated for two months, we kissed. Sadly he kept moving his head and I only managed to kiss him on the lips once.
 
We did not know it immediately, but in the next two hours we were going to be so full that movement was to become a supreme effort rather than a natural motion.
 
First, we each tried and enjoyed the new ‘Bellerose’ French beer. Then, the freshly baked Onion Bread with authentic French Butter arrived. …then Lionel wanted us to taste a new starter of ‘Rabbit Terrine Wrapped in Bacon with Storked Pickled Capers, Radish and Fig Compote. This was delicious.
 
By this stage we hadn’t even ordered our meal, and had we been sane we should have retired gracefully. But we are seasoned diners and knew than to experience fine gastronomy we needed to press on.
 
Ordering from a menu should of course be easy, particularly as I had decided my starter and main before arriving. However, I had forgotten that I also love French Onion Soup, especially Lionel’s sweet & savoury bowl of loveliness.
 
It has to said that to pass on the Half of Lymington Lobster & Frites for £19.95 was tough, but so was passing on so many great starters. So I didn’t, I ordered two starters and another starter for main. Kerry did not flinch, and happily accepted my weird order. My Wife simply looked at me in distain and gave a knowing look to Kelly indicating her favourite weirdly humorous “I hate my husband” retort.
 
Our first starters of French Onion Soup were as tasty as ever. This was followed by my second starter of Tartiflette Style Roblochon Souflee with Bacon and Onion Garnish, which was excellent. My wife would of course been happy to sit there gazing lovingly into my eyes, however with typical Gallic flair, Emily bought my wife a taster of the Cod Croquette, Courgette & Lime Jam with Cauliflower Puree to try. Which of course meant I could enjoy my dish in peace, so winners all round.
 
By now we were pretty stuffed and our bottle of La Loupe Grenache was still half full, with our main course yet to arrive.
 
On arrival, my wife’s Half of Corn Fed Roast Chicken & Frites was as generous as it was tasty, and my La Mouclade (Curried) Moules Marinere were fabulous, and thankfully for me only a starter portion.
 
As we sat savouring our meal, I wanted nothing more than to take my tight jeans off, but my wife rightly considered that this would be totally unacceptable in public.
 
Having decide that we had eaten more than we should, Kerry arrived with the dessert menu. In spite of my trousers telling me I shouldn’t, I could not stop myself ordering the Hazelnut & Chocolate Parfait, Poached Pear & Pistachio Puree, which when eaten was definitely the right decision.
 
As we finished our wine and paid the very reasonable bill, my wife did not think our charming waitress, Kerry, would be impressed by my amazing ‘I’ve pulled my finger off trick’. Kerry was polite but bemused & unimpressed, and my wife was right as always.
 
We were now in party mood, so we went back to The Cave. The place was buzzing with a busy Wine Tasting Evening, so we sat at the bar for a couple of nightcaps. Our spirits were high as we chatted, and my wife even laughed at a couple of my better jokes.
 
As we happily wandered home, my wife musing at the moon and clouds, and me struggling to move in a forward motion, it was clear that we may have overdone things. On that basis, it was probably a good thing that I was not putting to sea tomorrow!

La Perle
60 High St  Milford on Sea SO41 0QD
01590 643557
www.laperlemilford.co.uk

The Cave
Independent Wine Shop & Bar
2 Church Hill, Milford on Sea, SO41 0QH
01590 642195
www.thecavemos.co.uk
 

Household Glass Collection Coming

New Forest District Council is pleased to announce that they are adding a household glass collection scheme to your household waste services in January 2014. The new collection will be more convenient and make it easier for residents to recycle their glass bottles and jars -it's also good for the environment.

Glass collection boxes and information packs with full details will be delivered to most properties in Milford on Sea areas from 13th January, and collections will start from 10th February. If you have not received a box by Friday 31st January, please let NFDC know by calling: Customer Services on 023 8028 5000.

If you live in flats, above shops, in a rural area, or a hard to access location, you may receive your glass collection box a bit later on. This is because NFDC are working with landlords to ensure they can provide suitable communal bins where possible, or because they are making special arrangements for a different vehicle to serve your area - NFDC don't want anybody to be left out! You can find out when the service is coming to you by visiting: www.newforest.gov.uk/glass

There will be no changes to existing black rubbish bag and clear recycling bag collections, and bottle banks will be left in place after the scheme has started and their use will be monitored over the coming months.
 
We trust that NFDC will have lorries of sufficient size to cope with the the volume of bottles from homes like ours!!

 

Thursday, 17 October 2013

Help Out for Poppy Day


Comedian John Bishop has made a national plea for volunteers to help with this year's Poppy Appeal.
 
Sadly, we do not have a Liverpudlian comedian in the village to make a plea for our own Milford on Sea village volunteers, so you will have to do with an big bloke with a weird sense of humour.
 
Our Milford on Sea Royal British Legion (Women's Section) is run by Freda Cheyney. Freda was awarded an MBE for her services to the local Guides and other voluntary orgainsations, and now in her nineties, she is still busy helping others.
 
This year, village volunteers are proving short on the ground to do house to house and street collecting for Poppy Day. I know we are all happy to put something in the tin, but can you donate a bit of your time from around 26th October as well? - It would help so many.
 
As the nation's custodian of Remembrance, the Legion is committed to helping everyone understand the importance of Remembrance, so those sacrifices are never forgotten.
 
To lend a hand for an hour or two, please call Freda on 01590 642899, or Jan England on 01590 642291 / janengland@uk2.net
 
PS: That's John bishop in the picture, not me!
 
 

Monday, 14 October 2013

Cooking for Men Over 55

When I saw a poster for 'Men Over 55', I thought 'my waistline is getting close, but still not there yet'.
 
Then I realised, they meant 'Over 55 years of age'.
 
The advertisement was for a Free Community Cooking Skills Class, which covers simple ideas and tips on preparing heathy meals.
 
The course lasts six weeks and is held in the Milford on Sea Community Centre every Tuesday afternoon at 2pm to 3.30pm from 29th October until 3rd December 2013.
 
This event should be of great value to the sensible men in the village, my wife even thinks I should go, as I just about qualify. However, I think I will wait for the 'Lose weight with curry' and 'Chocolate for eating and bathing' courses.
 
To find out more, or book a place please call: Ann Chester on 02380 285588.

Everyone is welcome!
 
Course supported by: Hampshire County Council and New Forest District Council.

A Diamond of a Barn Dance





A lively night was had by many at the Barn Dance in the Community Centre on Saturday night.

As people enjoyed dancing to the music of the Murphys Lore,  Shelagh Richardson, one of the party goers, noticed that she had lost a diamond from her mothers treasured engagement ring.

In typical Milford on Sea style, all of the assembled throng were soon happily engaged in a search for the missing gem. With no immediate result, and as the dancing continued, a Plan B was needed.

After what was hailed as a 'fabulous fun evening', the barn dancers and some their partners who preferred the bar to the dance floor, were happy to go through 'an airport style security check' of their shoes before leaving the event. Yet again this attempt to find the elusive diamond.

Thankfully, with the aid of some torches and willing volunteers at the end of the evening, the missing diamond was eventually found.

 Shelagh sends very many thanks to everyone who so kindly helped in the search. Even the temporary loss did not stop her from having a really good evening!

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Check out the forthcoming entertainment and events:

Milford on Sea Community Centre
 


Sunday, 13 October 2013

Henry Cuts a Groove

Life is full of surprises, even after seventeen years together my wife is as unpredictable as ever.

After a pleasant uneventful morning we were deciding where to go for Sunday Lunch. “I fancy a curry”, I predictably said. This request he been rejected most Sundays for decades, so I braced myself for a swift rejection, or kick in the groin, ...but instead I heard a sweet; "OK".

This is an unheard of response, which immediately made me feel uneasy. As she left the room, I was straight to the computer to check if it was our anniversary, her birthday or even one of the dogs birthdays. Drawing a blank, I wondered if it may be because it was the last day of 'National Curry Week', but I doubted that.

I am not sure how many guys out there become unsettled when their wife is nice to them, but I sure do.

Still unclear, but pretty happy, my wife offered to drive and we trundled off for our curry, washed down by a couple of bottles of cold cobra.
 
click image to enlarge
Curry stomach full and feeling lucky, I then suggested we called in to The Cave on the way home for their 'Lazy Sunday Afternoon'. There is something nice about a Sunday afternoon drink and a bit of live music.

The welcome from Millie was warm and friendly, and Jon was playing mien-host to the happy gathering.

The music was cool and smooth from Henry Turner-Ward, a young Milford on Sea musician. Henry is only sixteen years old, but his sound was accomplished as he sang sets of his own songs together with his acoustic guitar. The music has the feel of a young Jack Johnson, and provided the perfect backdrop for a chat with the locals and some holiday makers.

The new Czech beer went down rather well, my wife joined in jollily with a civilised Baileys with ice. I was even allowed some time to choose a couple of bottles of wine to take home from the impressive stocks and just as nice prices.
 
Whilst she wasn't looking I managed to check my wife's handbag, and take a close look at her features, and was able to confirm that this was indeed my wife that I was out with.

On returning home it dawned on me why I had had the special treatment, I remembered that it had just been my birthday, ....roll on next year!

The Cave
Independent Wine Shop & Bar
2 Church Hill, Milford on Sea, SO41 0QH
Tel: 01590 642195
www.thecavemos.co.uk
 

Friday, 11 October 2013

Milford Bridge & WW2

Milford on Sea Bridge
Every week many of us must cross Milford on Sea Bridge, but do you know the name of the bridge?
 
Reading the inscriptions in the concrete topping will tell you that it is a bridge, and that it was built in 1923, but you will not find a bridge name.
 
The omission of a bridge name could have been because because the community could not agree on a suitable name for the bridge at the time of construction, ....but that is not the reason.
 
If you look closely, you will notice a chiseled out section. This was where the 'Milford on Sea' bridge name was once carved.
 
The bridge's name was removed during WW2, the idea being, that should the German's ever land, it would make it more difficult for them to know where they were. (All road signs across the south were also removed at the same time.)
 
The Needles may of course given our invaders a clue to their location, but I like to think they never landed at Milford on Sea for fear of not knowing where they were when they crossed our bridge!

 

Sunday, 6 October 2013

50 B4 50-The Waterside Inn

click image to enlarge
The months of waiting are over as Matthew's (my son) birthday arrives. 

Being 'The Big 30' deserves something special, and Matt & Kayleigh, along with me and my wife, are off to The Waterside Inn in Bray.

The Waterside Inn was opened by Michel & Albert Roux in 1972 and became the first restaurant outside France to have held three Michelin stars for 25 years. Today the Chef/Patron is Alain Roux, Michel Roux's son. (His cousin, Michel Roux jnr, son of Albert, runs Le Gavroche in London.)

As we entered the delightful 16th century Berkshire village of Bray, we were immediately charmed by the mix of timber framed buildings and Victorian architecture. It soon became clear that Bray is a gastronomic heaven.

With a population of just 8,425, the village is home to Heston Blumenthal's flagship restaurant. The Fat Duck (3 Michelin stars), Two Pub Restaurants; The Hinds Head and The Crown (Both owned by Heston, and the former has a Michelin Star) and The Waterside Inn (3 Michelin Stars). So that is; One Michelin Star per 1200 or so residents! - and two of the four '3 Michelin Star' restaurants in the entire UK!

We turned down a single track lane which led directly to a slipway straight into the River Thames, The Waterside Inn is set next to the river bank on the left. As we approached, we were greeted by a valet in a smart grey suit and peaked cap. In a matter of seconds he had taken our car and we were stepping into the restaurant to a warm welcome.

We were guided to a comfortable snug lounge, presented menus and offered aperitifs. The ladies menus had no prices, just the wonderful selection of inspirational cuisine which was unashamedly French. The deliciously decadent concoctions demonstrated Alain Roux’s passion for food, and as a Master Pâtissier his enthusiasm for desserts, which is unparallelled across the UK.

It seemed that there was no other choice for us other than to try it all!, so we opted for Le Menu Exceptionnel (Taster Menu). (A full list of the 7 course menu is below.)

A tray of delicious canapes arrived, and I was a bit surprised we were not served saucers of milk as we all sat on the sofas looking like Cheshire cats.

We were escorted through to the impressive dining room on a wave of smiles and welcomes. All of The Waterside team we dressed immaculately, in smart uniforms that reflected their role in the dining room. The red flourishes with the black suits were elegant and the sommeliers gold badges indicated their years of dedicated training.

Our table was, as you may imagine, loaded with fine china, sparkling glasses, classic cutlery and crisp white linen. We possibly had the best table in the restaurant, next to the full length glass windows with a fabulous river view.

The homemade breads were served and offered continually. With Matt & I's love of bread and real butter, this was often accepted, and the salt bowl on the table enabled us to add a pinch of naughtiness.

As our courses arrived, each one was a picture on a plate. The colours were only excelled by the great fusion of flavours and textures. A particular highlight was that my wife does not like nuts in food, so her chestnut and champagne velouté made mine into a 8 course meal!

Throughout our courses, all of the dining room staff were one step ahead of everything, they were incredibly (but subtlety) attentive and knew what we wanted before we knew we did.

The duck carved at the table was pure theatre, and we all watched the excellent knife skills attentively.

It was also a great place for people watching. The girls enjoyed working out what had bought people there. They declined my offer to go and ask them, and concluded there were family parties, romantic getaways, business meeting, ladies who lunch and a couple who had pots of money and probably came daily!

As the showery morning weather changed, and the sun came out, the doors next to our table were fully opened and we felt like we were actually sitting on the terrace whilst enjoying the stunning view of the river.

As we sat, full, enchanted and amazed, there was a lonely half a wafer petit four sitting on our tiered stand. I enquired of our waiter 'Whether they did trade-in's?' Slightly confused, he quizzically looked at me; 'What would you like to trade-in sir' he replied in charming French accent. 'How about a wafer for a chocolate truffle'. 'Certainly sir, but as you only have half left, I will replace it with a half of  a truffle'. he grinned.

Seconds later 4 chocolate truffles were on our table, (Along with our remaining half a wafer) and yet another request to ensure we wanted for nothing; 'Any more coffee, or perhaps a licquer sir?'.

As we stepped outside, our car had been driven into the road right outside and we were waved away by a smiling valet. We could not have asked for more.

Exquisite service, non-stuffy attitude, a touch of humour, fabulous location, and sublime food. Things just don't get any better than The Waterside.

Le Menu Exceptionnel (Taster Menu)


click image to enlarge
Canapé tray

Lobster salad served on a delicate citrus jelly, raspberry vinaigrette
(Salade de homard servie sur une délicate gelée aux agrumes, vinaigrette à la framboise)

Chestnut and champagne velouté, with partridge and foie gras “diablotins”
(Velouté de châtaignes au champagne et ses diablotins de perdreau au foie gras)

Breaded medallion of monkfish served on simmered coco beans with tomato, chorizo flavoured sauce (Médaillon de lotte pané, servi sur une mitonnée de haricots blancs à la tomate, sauce parfumée au chorizo) 

click image to enlarge
Roasted loin of venison in a pastry crust with wild mushrooms, garnished with florets of broccoli, Hermitage wine sauce with blackcurrant vinegar
(Mignon de chevreuil rôti en feuillantine aux saveurs de champignons sauvages, bouquets de brocolis, sauce à l’Hermitage au vinaigre de cassis)

Spit-roasted Challandais duck, butternut squash flavoured gnocchi enhanced with horseradish, red port and beetroot sauce (for 2 people)
(Caneton challandais rôti à la broche, gnocchis de courge "butternut" relevés au raifort, sauce au porto rouge et jus de betterave (pour 2 personnes)

click image to enlarge
Iced pineapple parfait surprise, served on a gingerbread struzel sablé
(Parfait à l’ananas en surprise, sur un sablé de struzel au pain d’épices)
Warm golden plum soufflé
(Soufflé chaud aux mirabelles )
Coffee & Petit Fours
(Café et mignardises)

The Waterside Inn
Ferry Road, Bray, Berkshire SL6 2AT
01628 620691
www.waterside-inn.co.uk
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50 B4 50-DINING CHALLENGE

Michelin Stars So Far: 23

3 Michelin Star
London | Alain Ducasse at The Dorchester - www.alainducasse-dorchester.com
Berkshire-Bray | The Waterside Inn - www.waterside-inn.co.uk


2 Michelin Star
London | Hibiscus - www.hibiscusrestaurant.co.uk
London | Pied a Terre - www.pied-a-terre.co.uk
Buckinghamshire-Marlow | Hand and Flowers
www.thehandandflowers.co.uk (*Twice)
France | Georges V Hotel, Paris - www.fourseasons.com/paris

1 Michelin Star
London | L’Autre Pied - www.lautrepied.co.uk
London | L’Escargot - www.lescargotrestaurant.co.uk
London | The Savoy Grill - www.gordonramsay.com/thesavoygrillLondon
London | Veeraswamy - www.veeraswamy.com
London | Quilon - www.quilon.co.uk
Hampshire | Terrace Restaurant (Montague Arms)
www.montaguarmshotel.co.uk
Hampshire | Vetiver (Chewton Glen Hotel) - www.chewtonglen.com/restaurant

*To read the review on any of the above restaurants, put 'restaurant name' in this blog's search box.
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No Michelin Stars, but restaurants visited since July 2013 that are worth a mention:
Yarmouth, IoW | The George - www.thegeorge.co.uk
Nice fresh menu, excellent crevettes & lobster dishes. Delightful beachside dining on sunny summer days.
London | Dishoom - www.dishoom.co.uk
Described as a 'Bombay Café in Convent Garden. Completely different Indian dining, unexpected menu serving tasty spicy tapas style dishes.
London | J Sheeky Oyster Bar - www.jsheekeyoysterbar.co.uk
Excellent fish & seafood restaurant. Voted 3rd in Zagat ' Best Seafood Restaurants in London' after Wiltons & Scott's.