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Wednesday, 31 March 2010

Only a few days to go!

It all starts next Monday down on the beach front, so I hope everyone is ready for a week of non stop eating! In the final preparations I can report that I have been doing my duty over the last week or so, by judging the Best Breakfast Competition. I know, it is a tough job, but someone has to do it! As I have visited our local hotels & B&B’s it has been great to discover how many of our village hostelries use local produce from our village butchers. All of the Food Week PR is now done & we estimate that over half a million people will have read about Milford on Sea Food Week before we kick off. We have advertised in numerous publications from Bournemouth, up to Fordingbridge, across to Southampton & everywhere in between! We have also had editorial articles in many newspapers & magazines, including Hampshire Life, Lymington Times, Daily Echo, Christchurch Advertiser, New Forest Post & the New Forest Today, - which goes to 77,000 homes across the New Forest. We are also appearing in around 80 different food & event related websites, and you may have also noticed a few advertising signs around the village!

Hopefully you now have a programme, which is available in many of the village shops. All of the events are of course also on the website. So far there are no last minute panics & it certainly seems that we have a lot of people looking forward to the week. If you are planning to attend any of the Themed Evening’s in the restaurants, be quick in booking, as I hear a number of them are already selling out.

When the concept of Food Week was created our aim was to boost trade for every trader in the village, to help ensure we kept a vibrant village for us all. We are also looking to put Milford on Sea on the map for food. But, perhaps most importantly, we hope that everybody has a great time!

PS: Just planning another event that we may all soon need: Milford on Sea Crash Diet Week!

PPS: More good news, my wife is still here, which is a result, as I wouldn’t want to go hungry before Food Week.

Milford on Sea Food Week Website:

Fancy a pint?

I recently heard more about Menmeet, which is an informal local gathering for the men of the village. I had heard of Menmeet before, but knew nothing about what it actually was. Not sure if I am disappointed, but it is not the secret meeting of Ex-MI6 Spy’s that I had imagined. In fact it is a regular monthly get together open to all local men, where they meet to chat & for a bit of local entertainment. Menmeet was set up by a group of guys from All Saints and Everton churches. Now, don’t be scared, it is not a religious group, but it is simply designed to get the men in village together, indeed non church goers are particularly welcomed. Our local church simply want to enable the men in the village to get together, whether they attend church or not. In fact, you will be pleased to hear how most events involve beer! Menmeet sounds like a great way to get to know more local people in an informal way.

Menmeet hold a variety of activities, in the winter most meetings are held in a room at the White Horse pub, where they invite locally based speakers to do illustrated talks. Other activities include evening walks, finishing at a local pub, outside games evenings. (probably near a pub), and a BBQ on Hordle cliff beach, where they have access to a beach hut (presumably with beer?!) The only cost is the price of a pint, and the occasional meal together. They also have an evening meal around Christmas at the Needles Eye Cafe on Milford on Sea seafront. The groups numbers are constantly increasing, & at a recent meeting at the pub they had some 23 people. There is no formal set up, just a 'secretary' to keep a note of things. (& I guess extra bar staff wherever they visit!)

In the next week or so, we plan to have a full list of Menmeet events in out What’s On Diary, so please keep an eye out for the events & join in if you are interested.

Just a thought: It would be good if they could get one of our local butchers to do a talk, then I could write an article with a title: The men at the Menmeet meeting meet the men who sell meat!

Jamie at Home joins Food Week

A team from a Jamie Oliver company have joined Milford on Sea Food Week at the last minute. They will be offering a selection of ‘Jamie at Home’ kitchen items for you to buy at South Lawn Hotel between 11am & 3pm on Saturday 10th April. There is also an opportunity to find out how you can hold a ‘Jamie At Home’ Party in your own home if you want to. The Jamie Oliver team can tell you more if you pop down to see them on Food Week Saturday.
Jamie At Home Website:

Sunday, 21 March 2010

Danes ‘Stream' or 'River’?

You may recall that a few months ago I had a debate on these pages (mainly with myself), as to which was correct ‘Danes Stream’, Danestream’, or even ‘Dane Stream’.

That research was inconclusive & as you may recall that I put several ridiculous arguments to ensure the confusion continued. Anyway, my friend Dan (who ludicrously claimed the stream was named after him!), wanted to know whether it was a stream, or as he suspected, was it actually a river? Naturally, I had no idea, & Dan is normally wrong about most things, but I felt that it was another excuse to do some more inane research. I thought it might be best to start with a definition of a river. "A river is a natural stream of water, usually freshwater, flowing toward the ocean, a lake, or another stream. Usually larger streams are called rivers while smaller streams are called creeks, brooks, rivulets, rills, and many other terms, but there is no general rule that defines what can be called a river.” Blimey, we may have a ‘Creek’?! I had been hoping that my research would have ended with the definition & I could then go down to the The Smugglers, but a statement like ‘no general rule that defines what can be called a river’ really doesn’t help.

To steel myself for the next phase of this challenge I did what all self respecting sudo-geographers do, I asked my wife to get me a beer from the fridge. A couple of minutes later I was back, having been to the fridge myself as my darling had gently suggested this was a better option.

Back to work, my next discovery was a New Forest District Council planning application which contained ‘an advisory comment from the Environment Agency, that no development should take place within 8 metres of the Danestream River.’ River?, it’s a river!

Next, I found on the web the Parish Council News from October 2003, which referred to the ‘Footpath & Danes Stream River Revetment Work’. Oh no, Why is my life so complicated? I now have to find out what ‘Revetment’ means. Hang on a second. Ah, right, Revetment means ‘a facing of stones, sandbags, etc., to protect a wall, embankment, or earthworks’ or ‘A barricade against explosives’. My guess is that they were referring to the first definition.

The Department of Geography at the University of Portsmouth, have a record of the ‘Hampshire Olim Pars Belgarum County Map’ by John Norden in 1595, on this our little waterway is indexed as Danes Stream & it also shows two tributaries that flow into it upstream. (Just like a river?)

By now I was getting bored reading maps with silly names, & my wife’s legs still had no intention of going anywhere near the fridge, so I used my own to pop down to The Smugglers. A couple of pints later I was on my way home when my quest returned to haunt me. Walking down Sea Road & over Danes Stream, I spotted a road name sign saying ‘River Gardens’, now even more fuel was added to the fire. My final investigation found that our very own Parish Vision 2020 refers to the ‘Danestream River.’ So there you have it, our stream may well be a river.

Unfortunately, Eastenders had now finished & my wife had decided to take an interest in what I was up to, rather than Pete Beale or whoever else shouts in that daft soap. I suddenly wished that it had been an hour long episode when she said “I'd say that any water that flows could be considered a stream, but a large stream is a river, & boats go on rivers not streams” Great, just when I thought that I had sorted it for all mankind.

Only one answer to solve it then. If you see a large man in shorts, with a canoe on his back heading towards the river/stream’s mouth at Sturt Pond, don’t stop me, I will be on a mission to see if I can get from one end to the other!

15 Days to Go!

In just about two weeks time Milford on Sea Food Week will be well underway, starting on the seafront on Bank Holiday Monday. All of the participants running events are eagerly awaiting the start, & hopefully there will be lots of empty stomachs to feed! As of next Wednesday, Programme’s will be on sale for one pound in a number of the village shops, & with a bit of luck you will bump into a 'Scrummy Food Raffle Ticket' seller soon, - & feel a need to be generous! We are really hoping that you will attend as many events as you can & that we can put Milford on Sea on the map for fun & food!  |

Friday, 19 March 2010

Gordon Ramsay’s coming to our village

Michelin starred chef & TV culinary star Gordon Ramsay is coming to our village, well, actually he’s not, at least not yet. To explain, I have been contacted by the company representing the producers of Gordon Ramsay’s TV hit show, The F Word. They are now looking for nominations for ‘Ramsay’s Best Restaurant’ for the next series. The nominations are now underway & it would be great if you could nominate one or more of our local establishments. We are blessed with great places to eat like Westover Hall, Zaika, Britannia Thai, & now, Verveine, and it would be great fun to see them on national TV. If we could get any selected, it would also be great publicity for Milford on Sea as a village & of course well deserved recognition for our restaurants. I have already made my nominations online, so why not vote for your favourite local restaurants, & join me in getting Gordon Ramsay to our village – he would love it!
‘Ramsay’s Best Restaurant’ website:

Saturday, 13 March 2010

Milford on Sea Food Week Volunteer Appeal

Just thought I would keep you up to date with the progress of Milford on Sea Food Week. The great news is; my wife hasn’t left me yet. I have also been thrilled with the genuine support we have been getting from local traders & lots of village residents. Over 100 events are now planned & you can of course view these all on the Milford on Sea Food Week website. We have now ordered 1000 printed programmes for the Food Week, and have also now had the Raffle Tickets delivered. We have a first prize of a Spa Day & Lunch for 2 at Chewton Glen, second is a Gourmet Dining Meal for 2 at the Westover Hall Hotel, plus another 19 great prizes from Food Hampers to Dining Vouchers.

As you probably know this is not a fund raising event, however, we to do need to raise funds to cover venue hire, printing & advertising etc. Any cash left over will be donated to the Community Centre. We are now looking for volunteers to help us to sell raffle tickets & programmes! If you can spare a few hours to come along to any of the selected events any help would be gratefully received. If you would like to be involved please just drop me an e-mail with the rough times & days you could be free from Saturday 3rd to Sunday 11th April. It could be a good way to have a bit of fun, meet some new people & to help out a man that is feeling older by the day!
*Please E-Mail if you would like to volunteer to help.
Milford on Sea Food Week Website:

Milford Gardeners Club goes Online

The Milford on Sea Gardeners Club has launched a new website to keep their membership of over 200 local people fully informed of what is happening in the world of green fingers. The club regularly meet at The Milford on Sea Primary School, from 7pm to 9pm on the third Wednesday of every month. So why not go along & see how you can keep plants alive in our salt soaked turbulent air! If you are interested in joining, please call Jenny Spenser on 01590 644489.
Milford Gardeners Club New Website:

Milford on Sea Food Week Events Underway

Although Food Week doesn’t start for another 23 days, some events are already underway. Lesley at Sullivan Mitchell has a large selection of recipe books which have been donated by generous residents, and she can still accept anymore you may have. You can also call into her estate agent shop from now on to swap or buy any of the recipe books she has. Still on the recipe theme, our online ‘Village Recipe Book’ is growing. You can get involved by simply sending me any recipes you have. We then add them to the website, & hopefully we will be able to print our own ‘Village Recipe Book’ next year. In addition to this the Food Week Auction is now underway for ‘A tour of the Palace of Westminster & lunch for Two hosted by Desmond Swayne MP’. You could take the opportunity to ask him about the forthcoming election! Your own political persuasion is irrelevant, as Desmond says that his mission is to represent all of his constituents irrespective of how they voted or intend to vote. The current highest bid stands at £105, so why not go online & beat it!

You may have noticed that Food Week signs are now appearing around the village, these are soon to be followed by Programmes & Raffle Tickets in the village shops, and hopefully also in the hands of enthusiastic sellers at Food Week events! Food Week is on its way, so please come & enjoy it!
Milford on Sea Food Week Website:

David Danby heads up South East Tourism Group

Long time Milford on Sea resident David Danby, has recently been elected as the Chair person for the New Forest Tourist Association Self Catering Group. The self catering group meet four times a year and share information on best practices, marketing ideas, web site development, public relations activities and other related issues. They also hear at these meetings tourism initiatives being undertaken by the NFDC and South East Tourism. David then represents the self caterers at the NFDC marketing steering committee.

David retired from the hotel industry five years ago where he held senior marketing positions for international companies. He has now built up a small self catering holiday business with two places in Milford on Sea and a third in Everton.

For anyone interested in joining the New Forest Tourist Association Self Catering Group please contact David Danby on 01590 64218  |  Old Walls website:

New B&B for the village

Milford on Sea now has a new addition to its options of places for visitors to stay. Jenny Spenser has launched Little Brook B&B at her charming home in Lymore, Milford on Sea. She will also soon be opening a cosy Self Catering cottage in the grounds of the garden. So if your usual favourites are full when you have visitors, this newly available accommodation could be a nice option for you.
Valley Cottage Holiday website:

Carrington Farmhouse: We also spotted on our travels that Carrington Farmhouse B&B Is now under new management. We welcome Nici & family to the village, & wish them good luck in their new venture. They also have a new website that can be found at:

Light it up

We recently came across a local man with an interesting business. Peter Reid sells one the world's best garden lighting brands online from here in Milford on Sea. It is strange how so much can be going on around us, which we can’t even see! If you were thinking about getting some exciting lighting for your garden, I have found a man down the road that can help!
Engineering with Light website: