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Wednesday, 25 November 2009

A new art gallery for the village

We have a new art gallery opening Monday 7th December in Milford on Sea village. All the works featured in Landfall Gallery are from local artists, or to be more specific artists, who Sally can reach in a cycle ride. Fortunately for Sally (& her legs) she is also featuring artisans from within our own village. This concept for product selection intrigued me, & I considered whether I could open a village shop on the same basis.

To test Sally’s concept I squeezed myself into my wife’s lycra yoga outfit, or was it spandex, I never can tell. Anyway, I found my bike & set off pedalling to see how far I would have to travel for the stock for my new shop. However, struggling to breathe & conscious of bulges which I had never noticed when my wife wore this outfit, I only reached the Pleasure Gardens before the police stopped me. They returned me home, but only after my wife promised that she would not let me out again in her attire. I wasn’t really bothered anyway, as I couldn’t see much of a market for large trees & shrubs inside a village shop. Not unusually I digress, so back to the real story.

Sally’s new gallery opens on 1st December & after having had a sneak preview, I can confirm that it is worth a visit. The new gallery will feature paintings of local scenes, pottery, cookware, hanging glass, ornaments, presents, gifts, cards & crafts. The newly renovated shop breathes new life into 98 High Street (next door to Monks), which has been empty, & in a sorry state for several years. Sally is not new to the area, as was once a pupil at Priestlands school & she is excited to also now be living in the village. Good luck Sally & thanks for choosing Milford on Sea for your new venture.

Saturday, 21 November 2009

Blimey, we're shortlisted in the Hantsweb Awards!

Following on from our recent nomination in the Hantsweb Awards 2009, we have just discovered that we have been shortlisted in the Best Tourism and Leisure website category. I am not quite sure how this has happened, as it appears that we are up against many professional organisations that do this for a living, and ours is just me, my keyboard & a regular refreshment of scotch & coke. Perhaps the judges like our quirky little village, or possibly they like the strange view we take in our news, or perhaps they simply consume more scotch & coke than me? Either way, 147 Hampshire website builders will now no longer visit Milford on Sea, as we somehow got their place in the final ten! Not really what I set out to do when starting this site, but who wants sulky people visiting the village anyway.

Ah well, as the famous Irish philosopher (Ronan Keeting) said ‘ life is a roller coaster’, and while our local community website is on this ride in the final ten we will enjoy it. I expect the ride will end here, but it’s been fun!

Thursday, 19 November 2009

Open Meeting for Food Week – Come & join us!

We would like to invite you to the launch of Milford on Sea Food Week next Wednesday at South Lawn Hotel. This is an additional meeting you can attend if you missed the initial launch last Friday. The Food Week event is new for our village & is being organised by the Milford on Sea Community Tourism Group. We are hoping that every place to eat, village shop, school, club and organisation in the village will participate in some way, hopefully by coming up with an idea for a food related event they can host, or participate in. We also want to let all of the villagers know our plans & you can join in if you wish.

Our village has twenty two places where we can eat, dozens of clubs, great shops, excellent places to stay - & we would love everyone to participate in some way. We hope that you can find the time to make the meeting, but if not, please feel free to send a representative. Also please invite anyone else you feel would be interested in participating in, promoting, sponsoring, or simply hearing about our new village event.

Time & place  |  3pm: Wednesday 25th November 2009

South Lawn Hotel, Lymington Road, Milford on Sea, SO41 0RF  |  Tel: 01590 643911
*We expect the meeting to last approximately one hour.

You may have heard that we were very pleased with the positive response we received at last Friday’s launch & we already have 32 village businesses onboard. We are now getting into full swing to get everything in place. If you would like a sneak preview of the website, you can see the initial ideas we have had for activities so far (Now we are looking for volunteers to do them!). All we need now is your help to make these ‘real events!’, and for more ideas that you may have that can be added. Throughout the Food Week we are hoping to encourage local people & visitors alike to enjoy a great choice of dining experiences, and to attend the numerous & varied food related fun & educational events we hope to create together. (There will be a variety of events for both adults & kids.) This new event, is fundamentally not a fund raising activity, it is something for all of our local community to enjoy & to boost trade within our village. Any profits made will be donated to the Community Centre.

If you have any questions at all please e-mail me on:

We look forward to seeing you, anyone else you think might want to get involved, or those that just simply want hear what we are doing on Wednesday.

The White Horse rides again!

Our local Milford on Sea village pub not only took part in the recent New Forest Bike & Hike Charity Challenge, but they also managed to raise an amazing £10,028 for Oakhaven Hospice.

The sterling efforts of landlady Pat Ogden again represented the village admirably, as her team, plus around 25 regulars & local kids took part in the various day’s events. Jackie, who spends most of her time behind the bar, was resplendent in her shorts as she attempted to remember how to ride a bike rather than a horse. Jo kept her amused throughout their ride together, particularly when she fell off her bike twice, when actually standing still. Fortunately, they both sustained their energy to the end with copious amounts of chocolate. Chris Smith was the leading fund raiser from the pub and Sharon Parr was the first girl to reach the finish line. It probably won’t surprise you that Jackie & Jo reached the end quite a while later!

We also hear that Bob had some ‘undercarriage problems’, but we felt it was best not to investigate this further. Anyway, it seems everyone had a great time for a good cause, with the day coming to an abrupt end, when the beer tent run out of ale! - a problem you never have at the White Horse. Well done all!

The police are after you!

I was contacted by the police tonight. My first reaction was of course, that they had heard about my recent escapade investigating Monks on your behalf. Whilst I was rapidly considering how I would get out of my latest scrape, it soon became apparent that they were not after me, but they are actually looking for you.

Neil Chippindale, our local Safer Neighbourhood Sergeant, is looking for local people to join a database of community contacts, who will receive a bi-monthly e-mail bulletin relating to Milford on Sea. The bulletin would cover local beat reports, and requests for feedback of areas of concern. To register please contact the New Milton Safer Neighbourhoods Team on:

Ideally they would like your name, address (so they know to keep you informed about Milford on Sea.) All e-mail addresses will be protected. 

Fishy changes at Monks

Over the past months I suspect that we have all spotted the ongoing changes to Monks Fishmongers. Since Stacey & Dave took over ownership from Chris Monk, who of course has long been a stalwart of the village, our local Milford on Sea fishmongers has been slowly evolving. Having seen the building work progress & most recently a painting makeover take place, I decided it was time to find out exactly what was going on.

Now, I already knew that there were plans to open a restaurant at the rear of the fishmongers shop, but how this would all look cannot be seen from the front.

I then had a brilliant idea, and decided that I would carry out a ninja operation in a ‘milk tray’ style, I had a black shirt & black trousers in the wardrobe, a black briefcase, a torch & gaffer tape which I could use to stick the torch to my head. (I am not sure what I needed the briefcase for?!) To get over the back fence I decided to take our two dogs, then when in position I would stand one on the other, to create a canine ladder to scale the wooden obstacle. 
My wife had decided she wanted no part of this particular escapade, and just said she wouldn’t visit me in hospital (or prison) when it all went wrong. 

Undaunted my plan remained intact, but I decided that I had better add some gloves ‘so I left no ‘dabs’. To complete the outfit for my undercover spying raid I decided the final component was to wear a pair of my wife’s shoes to leave confusing footprints. (Which should be fun as she is a size 6, & I am a size 12). Once over the fence, I could then quickly see the results of the building work & then return the way I came. (That is as long as I didn’t break a heel). My mission complete, I would then report back to you all without anyone knowing I had even been in there.

I was proud of my meticulously thought out plan, but to carry out such an operation it was obviously necessary to ‘case the joint’ first. So, I popped in to Monks on the pretext that I wanted to buy some cockles. 

As I chatted to Stacey I inadvertently asked how the building work was going? My ‘ninja plan’ was wrecked when she asked if I wanted Dave to show me! All that planning for nothing, plus a missed opportunity to wear my wife’s shoe was destroyed. 

I managed to hide my distraught state of mind & accepted Stacey’s unexpected offer. Dave then took me on a tour of the construction site. What you might not know is that Dave is an accomplished chef & is itching to get behind a stove cooking for the good people of Milford on Sea. He showed me where the new open plan kitchen would be, and the new intimate restaurant area, describing in such detail how everything would be. Anyone who has had a conversation with Dave will recognise that this is never a short experience, but boy!, is this guy passionate. He is passionate about the food he is going to cook, passionate about service standards & passionate to ensure everyone has a great time when the restaurant opens.

The new restaurant will be at the rear of the existing fishmongers, the plan is to open to diners in the early months of next year & I for one am looking forward to tasting Dave’s creations.

Sunday, 15 November 2009

White Horse Seas

Yesterday saw the most violent storm so far this year at Milford on Sea. For the brave & for the foolhardy, a wander along the seafront promenade was a challenge to even stand up, and it seemed most dog walkers were struggling to keep any of their dog’s feet on the ground. I guess we would all expect to see the front deserted during this ferocious weather, but there was no shortage of photographers & observers lining the shore!

The sea was spectacular, with massive crashing waves & dominant white horses, and the spectators level of wetness was clear indication of that individuals adventurousness. Teletext last night reported the highest recorded wind speeds hit over 100mph at The Needles. A fallen tree near the South Lawn Hotel caused a bit of excitement as half of the road was blocked for a couple of hours, and the Isle of Wight was also cut off as all ferries were forced to stop running. Halfway through the storm, my wife decided a trip to Lyndhurst would be a good idea (apparently shopping always overcomes any form of danger), so we had great fun waiting to see if our car would be crushed on the journey. Nimble at the wheel we weaved between fallen twigs, rolling logs & the occasional remnants of trees, but much more importantly my wife got to visit the shops. Not agreeing to have gone would have been far more dangerous!

The secrets out – We are having a Food Week!

You may recall my previous story about when I went along to the Parish Council’s Community Tourism Groups meeting, & was press-ganged into a project! Well the project is now revealed – we are having a Food Week next Easter!

The Milford on Sea Food Week was officially launched at the All Saints Church Hall last night. The Concept is to create a food event for all of the village to enjoy & participate in, and to encourage visitors to the village to boost local trade. The launch last night was excellent & we now have the enthusiastic support of 32 businesses & organisations in Milford on Sea. Everyone seemed very excited about the idea & have committed to be involved. Just the small job of pulling it all together now! We already have a website which will be constantly changing as we add ideas & events (see link to website on icon below). We hope to involve all of the local eateries, businesses & shops, in addition to this we are looking for clubs and societies to run ‘food themed’ events or talks, so that everyone in the village is involved in one way or another. We are going to all we can to make the week great fun for everyone, from the kids to the ‘young at heart’! If you fancy getting involved or have any ideas for events you could run please let us know. The success of the Milford on Sea Food Week is of course totally dependent on the participation & support of everyone in village. Big or small, any help or event participation is appreciated. The organising group consists of only two people working on a voluntary basis (Jon & David), plus two dogs, Taz & Skye, (who frankly don’t help much, but are very good at sausage tastings). On our own the events would be restricted to a 'hot dog in a telephone box!', but with your help we can have a week full of varied events to be proud of.

Milford on Sea Food Week is being organised by the Milford on Sea Community Tourism Group with the project being coordinated by Jon Crouch & myself, any profits will be donated to Milford on Sea Community Centre. If you would like to be kept up to date with what is happening please go to our ‘Join Us’ page & register for our ‘News Bulletins’.