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Sunday, 29 August 2010

Clowning at the Carnival

After a glorious August week of storms & gale force winds, Milford on Sea Carnival Day arrived. My wife concealed her excitement by sleeping late with an occasional snore & regular dribble. I however, was keen to get into the spirit of things, so I considered how we could join in the celebrations later in the day. We had no float or costumes, but having made a go cart when I was seven years old I felt I was evidently qualified. A quick search for suitable materials drew a blank. No pram wheels, no bunting & no lorry, so my float plans were looking a bit forlorn. Unperturbed, I turned my attention to our costumes. Clowns, I thought to myself. Yes, we could go dressed as clowns. Our costumes would be fine as my colourful wardrobe could provide for us both & a pair of my sizes thirteen’s on my wife’s size six feet would look just the part. The key to being a good clown I decided was actually all in the makeup. This however is not my area of expertise, but my wife has plenty of tubes & coloured stuff she gracefully applies to herself, so I was sure we had all we needed. I checked to see if the excitement had yet got the better of her, but her slumbers were still winning.

Wanting to be on the village green in plenty of time, I decided there was only one thing for it as I gathered together arm full’s of strange beauty enhancing cosmetics. As my wife slept, I commenced her reconstruction into a clown. Things went well at first, as I applied the exaggerated red lips, a big red nose, white circles around the eyes & giant black eyebrows. I even had time to stand back & admire my creation. As I noticed her ‘clown like eyes’ start to flicker I realised she was at last awaking from her beauty sleep. Her very large red lips then curled as she asked; ‘what are you doing this time you idiot?’ Now, as my wife regularly spends hours on her appearance, I thought she would appreciate my helping hand. However, I soon realised that she lacked any appreciation in my efforts, as before I could even answer her question her alarm clock came crashing down on the top of my head. I thought to myself this might not be a good time to ask her where we could get some wigs.

As my wife drank her second cup of tea & was slowly stopping calling me names, and I was really struggling not to call her ‘Co-Co’, I thought I would explain what I had been planning. This did not help, it simply increased the name calling to a new level. The rest of the day then took a move towards normality as we strolled to the Carnival to enjoy the delights of a traditional village experience. The Unlimited Swing Big Band and Total Voice Choir were great to listen to & the village green was alive with interesting stalls, hot food & fun for the kids. It was really quite a pleasure to sit in Bon Appetite with a coffee, slice of cake watching the Milford world go by.

We were invited by our friends to watch the evening carnival procession from their balcony. There we were joined by a throng of neighbours, a few of which enquired about the strange lump on my head. As we watched the beginning of the parade my earlier plans were still ringing in my head, so I decided to slip away & metamorphosise into a clown. On completion of my impressive transformation I attempted to discretely join the parade, but rather than being warmly welcomed, I was almost immediately wrestled to the ground by a bunch of majorette’s. As I waddled away, I was unable to identify which one left her baton in a particularly delicate place. My plan had not gone well. Thankfully, as I returned to the balcony in pain, no friends or neighbours recognised that I had been the ‘pathetic clown’ they were all discussing, however, my wife gave me one of her ‘knowing looks’. Ah well, perhaps next year I need a slightly better plan.

Smarter Working Centre coming to Community Centre

Your new Community Centre is planning to provide a ‘Smarter Working Centre’ (SWC) in October. The SWC will provide a professional & flexible work space for start-up, home-based and fledgling businesses & not for profit organisations. Smarter Working Centre ‘work hubs’ offer a new, flexible and an affordable pay-as-you use new way to work, meet and learn. The local, low-cost, no-commitment ‘work-hubs’ provide high-speed broadband and office equipment, plus easy access to business advice from Business Link, Enterprise First, Hampshire Chamber and Job Centre Plus. The Milford on Sea Community Centre can also provide meeting or training room space for local business.

The aim is to encourage more local business start-ups, to better support the needs of existing fledgling and micro home-based businesses or community organisations, as well as provide a local work-hub for those that currently endure the daily commute out of the area and either do not wish to or find it isolating/difficult to work from home.

The proposal is that desk space will be available from £12 per day (or £4 per hour). Meeting room space will typically be £40 per day with equipment such as data projector and flip chart available, as well as refreshments and catering. Regular usage of the facilities will attract rate reductions and not for profit organisations will automatically receive a 10% reduction.

The ‘Smarter Working Centre’ would be in addition to the Internet CafĂ©, which is a pop in service for local people who wish to have access to the internet & e-mails.

If the ‘Smarter Working Centre’ would be of interest to you please download and complete the Smarter Questionnaire below, this will help the Community Centre team access how you feel about this new service.

Community Centre Smarter Working Centre Questionnaire:

Fancy finding out more about wine?

John James will be running a ‘Discover a World of Wine Course’ at the new Milford on Sea Community Centre. The course will run for four weeks & commences on Monday 4th October 8.00pm to 9.30pm. The course will enable you to experience the wines of the world & learn how to detect faults in wines. It also includes basic wine tasting techniques, how to match wines with food, & to gain the confidence to purchase wines you know you will enjoy. The Course Fee is £45 pounds which includes wine, tasting glasses and work file. There are limited places available, so if you fancy joining in it might be wise to book now!

The course is run by John James of Vine Associates in association with The Solent Wine Experience. To book please contact: John James at Vine Associates - Tel: 01590 642173

Vine Associates Website:

The Solent Wine Experience:

Tour the New Community Centre

The new Community Centre’s official opening is on Friday 3rd of September between 3.30 & 5.30pm. The official opening will be accompanied by music from the New Forest Dixieland Band after which everyone can tour the new facilities at their leisure. If you can’t make it on Friday, the Community Centre will also be open on Saturday 4th and Sunday 5th September for people to wander around. Members of the Community Centre team will be on hand to answer any question you may have.

Wednesday, 25 August 2010

Pssst! The Marine is Open!

The long awaited opening of The Marine took place on Tuesday with no fanfares; the doors were just quietly opened. My wife of course doesn’t miss a thing, so we were soon inside. Anyone who has been watching the development of this attractive Art Deco styled building will be intrigued to get inside. When you do you will not be disappointed, the cafe bar is a modern and inviting space, with silver & grey theme highlighted with some hi-tech lighting & subtle splashes of colour provided by what I believe the girls call ‘accessories’. At the back there is a secret ‘snug room’ where visitors can sit in a more private space, or watch the flat screen TV. Keep your eyes peeled for the wine cellar, which is set into the floor with a glass viewing panel. On the way to the ‘snug’ you will also get a glimpse of the enormous kitchen with every conceivable piece of cooking equipment known to man!

The new team have obviously had some good training, and are welcoming & efficient. You may wonder why there has not been a major launch?, & the reason was explained by owners Richard & Sue. They simply wish everyone’s experience to be a good one. So, as everything is brand new and they are trying all of the systems & service for the first time, an initial steady stream of customers will enable them to ensure everyone goes home happy. Having put their heart & soul into creating this spectacular building, they now want to ensure everyone enjoys coming to visit. This week The Marine is open & serving a limited menu from 9am to 6pm & 9am to 9pm on Saturday. As of this Saturday they will be on regular hours from 9am to late, with a full service offering breakfasts, sandwiches, coffee, cakes, afternoon cream teas and a tasty full lunch & dinner menu. The first floor al la carte restaurant will follow in the next few weeks.

The new restaurant, bar & cafe on the seafront in Hurst Road is an exciting addition to the Milford on Sea dining scene, with a location that must be one of the most spectacular in the UK. So, take a trip to see for yourself over the next few weeks, but don’t tell anyone we told you it is now open!

The Marine website:

Dick the MasterChef coming to Food Week

Dick Strawbridge will be joining us at Food Week 2011. Dick was a finalist in the 2010 BBC series of Celebrity Master Chef, and he is also a television presenter, Eco Engineer, Ex-Army Colonel & proud owner of the best moustache in showbiz! Dick’s warm & exuberant personality was energetically demonstrated in his 'Scrapheap Challenge' days, & in his popular BBC2 series 'It's not easy being green'. The series featured his family’s lifestyle changes and experiments into sustainable living and eco-technology. The programme was filmed at his family home, Newhouse Farm, which is a self-sufficient environmentally friendly smallholding in the West Country. Dick also published his latest book ‘Practical Self Sufficiency’ in 2010. His love of food is excitingly demonstrated in his hearty food and focus on flavours.

‘An Evening with Dick Strawbridge’ will be on Thursday 14th April 2011, and will feature anecdotes & stories relating to his life exploring self sufficiency and his experiences as a TV Celebrity Master Chef. Certainly a date to put in your diary now!

Dick Strawbridge website:

Handy with a brush?

As the new Village Charity Shop prepares to open they are in dire needs of some volunteers happy to do some painting. Any time you could contribute would be gratefully received. To volunteer your services with a brush please contact: Judit on 01590 644073 or

The Nearly Naked Chef is coming to town

Milford on Sea Food Week has its first new exciting event for 2011. Hardeep Singh Kohli will be performing his ‘The Nearly Naked Chef Show’ for Food Week on Saturday 16 April 2011 in the Community Centre. The Nearly Naked Chef show is a wonderfully laid back evening of entertaining stories and aromatic stir-fries. Just think Ready Steady Cook but with good cooking and great conversation. Who could wish for more from an evening’s entertainment than to arrive with your carrier bag bulging at the seams with carefully selected ingredients and a whole heap of expectations, and to leave with your taste buds bursting with the flavours of fine cooking and your mind abuzz with a mouth watering selection of pitch-perfect anecdotes? Hardeep's show has appeared at the Edinburgh fringe, & is a currently touring production.

Hardeep will be remembered as a regular reporter on the highly successful BBC1 programme The One Show. He is also a regular guest on BBC 1's Question Time, This Week with Andrew Neil and was a former Newsnight Review presenter. He has also written & presented a number of TV shows for Channel 4. His love of food was demonstrated when he was runner-up on the first BBC series of Celebrity MasterChef, which then led to two series for UKTV Food, New British Kitchen and Chefs and the City. His foodie passion is also expressed in his larger than average belly and the publication of his first book Indian Takeaway, which was nominated for an Independent Book Award. He has written about food for The Times, The Sunday Times, Olive, Observer Food Monthly, The Spectator and various other publications and was appointed as a columnist for Waitrose Food Illustrated. Hardeep is also a member of the judging panel for the Soil Association Awards 2009.

Hardeep Singh Kohli website:

Milford on Sea: UK’s Second Most Expensive Seaside Town

New research by Halifax, Britain’s biggest mortgage lender, finds a strong correlation between waterfront views and buoyant property prices. The study found that Milford on Sea is the UK’s second most expensive seaside town for property.

Despite the trend being downward elsewhere. Estate agents Knight Frank suggest that a waterfront view adds more than 30 per cent to house prices on average. Explanations include demand from boat owners, second home owners and people seeking clean air and a good quality of life.

Nine of the ten most highly priced seaside towns also feature among seaside towns with the highest quality of life. Sandbanks in Dorset is the most expensive seaside town with an average house price of £545,000 followed by Milford on Sea (£335,000) and Lyme Regis in Dorset (£308,000).

Five seaside towns in southern England also provide good value for money with relatively low property prices. These are Dover, Newhaven, Folkestone, Burnham on Sea and Weston Super Mare. Halifax claim that residents of Bexhill-on-Sea in East Sussex have the highest quality of life among Britain’s seaside towns followed by Burnham-on-Crouch in Essex and Christchurch in Dorset. All three towns have higher than average weekly earnings and an above average employment rate. Over nine out of ten adults report themselves as having good health and residents have an average life expectancy of around 80. They also have four more hours of sunshine per week than the average for seaside towns.

Oh, I do love to be beside the seaside!

Monday, 16 August 2010

Public Enquiry relating to Seafront Development

The redevelopment of the Ravenhurst site, adjacent to the White House on the seafront has become subject to a public inquiry relating to a planning appeal. We understand that the developers, Penny Farthing Homes, have applied to build thirteen new houses in place of the now defunct bungalow buildings. The old Ravenhurst buildings in Ravens Way, Milford on Sea currently consist of four unused single story buildings, which were once a NHS residential home for people with severe learning difficulties. The original development plans were refused by the council and a public inquiry relating to a planning appeal by Penny Farthing Homes is now scheduled to take place from 14th to 16th September 2010 in the Council Chamber in Lymington Town Hall. The three day public inquiry has a 10am start on the first day and will probably finish around 5pm with a break at lunch time. The second and third days may start a bit earlier, and the inspector will decide on the first day. Anyone can go for one day if they cannot make the 3 days.

We have been informed that a group of local residents have joined forces to fight the appeal, calling themselves PMH (Protecting Milford’s Heritage) and are led by Martin Pitt. PMH are preparing specific questions to ask, all aimed at preventing the overdevelopment of a site which is in an area of natural beauty, and in a prominent seafront position with important wildlife & next to a listed building. PMH had considered organising a petition, but they have been informed that the more villager’s that turn up to the hearing is a stronger demonstration that people feel strongly about the outcome, the inspector said that a petition would not be given as much credence.

Everyone is welcome to go along to the public inquiry to find out about the latest plans, & to listen to the discussions. There is a formal process which limits who from the public can express their own views. We suspect that not many people would object to the buildings being sympathetically replaced, and it is a course a fine balance to redevelop a disused site in keeping with natural surroundings, and not just to maximise the developers profit. Let’s hope the people making these decisions on the future of our seafront get this one right.

Alex Aitken moors up at The Jetty

Living in Milford on Sea we are of course blessed with many fine places to dine in the evening, or we can while away the afternoons with delicious cream teas. Our local eateries provide just about every dining experience you could want, fine restaurants, international cuisine, pubs, cafes & tea shops, plus of course, The Marine will soon be opening to add to our extensive list of quality dining options. For those that regularly eat out, occasional forays to restaurants further afield is also fun. Many will know of Alex Aitken, who is one of the South of England’s most respected Michelin starred chefs. Alex started his career as a trawler man and this ‘raw’ fishing experience proved invaluable to Alex during his subsequent career as a chef. Alex has had twenty five years of cooking experience within the New Forest, including many years running his own highly-acclaimed restaurant, Le Poussin in Brockenhurst, followed by a move to Parkhill, a country house hotel at Lyndhurst. Alex became a partner and director of cuisine when Parkhill was developed into the luxurious Lime Wood.

His latest venture has been created in a breathtaking glass walled environmentally-friendly waterside restaurant, which was formerly home to the Gary Rhodes restaurant, Rhodes South. Alex’s has named his new restaurant, bar & grill ‘The Jetty’, and under his direction, The Jetty will be an informal, unpretentious and relaxing place to eat. The location is right on the very edge of the water within the grounds of the Christchurch Harbour Hotel at Mudeford. The views of Christchurch Harbour, Mudeford Quay & Hengistbury Head cannot be described as anything other than breathtaking.

Anyone who has had the pleasure to taste Alex’s food in the past, will know that he is a ‘home-grown’ chef with a huge amount of food knowledge and experience, which will ensure that his menu never disappoints & that his love of local food will shine through. Alex has won many of the UK’s top food awards and is now serving fresh fish & seafood, caught and landed daily from Mudeford Quay, including local oysters, shrimps and lobster, and tasty local meat grills cooked in The Jetty’s charcoal oven. If you are planning to venture out of Milford on Sea for a dining treat, The Jetty is certainly worth putting at the top of the list.

Alex Aitken at The Jetty Restaurant Bar & Grill:

Volunteers needed for new Village Charity Shop

The new ‘Village Charity Shop’ will be opening soon & they are looking for volunteers to help out. If you have a few hours to spare & would like to spend it in a fun environment, meeting lots of people & helping a good cause at the same time, this could be just the thing for you. The shop will be sited at the old Muffins Bakery in Church Hill, Milford on Sea, next to the Co-Op. Unfortunately, the building requires over £2000 of urgent repairs to the electrics & plumbing before it can be occupied, so if anyone feels generous, any volunteers with professional trade skills, or individuals willing to make any financial donations to help out, would be warmly welcomed. Should anyone have access to any shop fittings, such as tables, display cabinets, clothing rails, mirrors etc, these would also be gratefully received. The shop will be managed by Judit Teuissen-High and run by a team of yet to be found volunteers from the village and Community Centre, with the profits being used to support the Community Centre & other local charities.

The Village Charity Shop is also looking for any donations of good quality ladies and gents clothing, bric a brac, unwanted gifts & anything else saleable. It is all going to good causes, so anything bought into the shop would be very much appreciated. So, if you would like to help out in anyway please contact: Judit on 01590 644073 or

Milford on Sea Community Centre website:

Village Party in September

To celebrate the reopening of the new Milford on Sea Community Centre a Village Party has been organised & it is hoped a full house will enjoy the celebrations. The Friday (not Saturday) fun night on the 10th September will include foot tapping music & songs from the New Forest Plonkers, a hog roast by Dave Gates and a bar. Tickets are £10 & available for Gwen’s now. It might be worth booking early as the evening is expected to be a sell out.

Milford on Sea Community Centre website:

Community Directory under construction

A village project is underway to create a central directory of ‘who’s who’ in local village events, clubs, classes, charities & community activities. The Milford on Sea Community Directory will also contain a ‘Village Volunteer Register’. This will list people happy to join in events by lending a hand for a few hours, together with people who have particular expertise, knowledge or skills which they are happy to be utilised for practical support or advice to event organisers. The directory will also contain details of ‘Event Loan Equipment’, which is owned by a village organisation and made available for other event organisers to borrow.

To complete the project an Online Village Calendar is also being created where all organisers can centrally inform everyone of their activities & events. It is anticipated that the project will take some months, but once compete, the plan is to make this information available to all online. If you would like to ensure your organisation’s contact details are included, or have equipment you are happy to loan, or would like to become a invaluable ‘village volunteer’, please drop David an e-mail at

Saturday, 7 August 2010

Your new Community Centre is coming!

Its nearly here! The opening date for the new Milford on Sea Village Community Centre has now been announced as the 3rd September 2010. Anyone who has watched the transformation of the site in Sea Road, from the old portacabins (which apparently went to Beverley, no idea what she was going to do with them?), to the new sparkling eco style building cannot help but be impressed. To have such a community facility for just 5000 residents is pretty amazing. The Community Centre officially opens with an ‘Open House’ between 3.30pm to 5.30pm on Friday 3rd September. Everyone is welcome to come and take a look at the new facilities, meet the team, all accompanied by tunes from the New Forest Dixieland Band. New volunteers to help out are also always welcome, so why not join in all that is happening. The new Community Centre is going to have a ‘Community Cafe’, where anyone can visit for a coffee, chat & to use the internet for free. There will also be a ‘Smarter Working Centre’ providing services for local small businesses, plus Tourist Information for visitors. There is also a new ‘Dance Studio’ for the energetic! All of the new facilities are available for hire to anyone who would like to use them. Once the Community Centre is reopened many old favourites will return to entertain us, such as Jazz Swing Nights, Folk Club Nights, Youth Club, Youth Band Nights, In the Green Room, Out of the Hat Play Readings, Milford Movies, First Friday Lunch & the Sunday Lunch Club

There are also a lot of new exciting things happening. To launch the centre a ‘Village Party’ is being held on the 10th September, with the New Forest Plonkers & a Hog Roast provided by David Gates. On the 18th September there is a ‘Celebration Dinner & Opera Concert’. Tickets for both events are now available from Gwens. New regular events include the ‘Fifth Thursday Comedy Club’, which starts on the 30th September with guest comedienne ‘Jo Caulfield’, who is regularly seen on shows such as ‘Mock the Week’ & ‘Have I Got News For You’. The first ‘Just Dance’ evening is on the 17th September, where you can dance the night away ballroom & latin dancing to a live band. There are also some new things for the kids, as the newly formed ‘Seahorses Community Toddler Group’ joins the entre & ‘Cheeky Monkeys’ will provide sessions of inflatables for the kids to enjoy. Add to this a comprehensive list of clubs & classes, and there really is something for everyone. It would be quite a project for a corporate body to create everything that is happening, so when you discover everything is created by a dedicated band of hard working volunteers you can’t help but be impressed. Congratulations to you all.

You can find out more about all that is happening at the Village Community Centre website:

Panto Stars sought!

The new Milford on Sea Village Community Centre is looking to use its impressive new facilities to stage a Village Family Pantomime in January 2011. Oh no they're not, oh yes they are! They are now looking for volunteers of any age as amateur actors, stage hands, lighting bods, or general helpers. The plan is to hold an initial meeting of everyone that would like to be involved or help, & then the project can be developed from there. The meeting will be held at 7pm at the Community Centre on the 23rd September. The actual pantomime to be performed has not yet been decided but I am putting my name down to be Snow White or perhaps a dwarf! So, If you would like to be involved on stage or behind the scenes, please drop Marguerite Willcox an e-mail at:
Village Community Centre website:

Village Artists Art Exhibition

Starting next Saturday the Keyhaven Sea Scout Hut (Opposite The Gun Inn) will be hosting an exhibition by local artists. The artist's exhibiting will be: Tony Clegg, Tessa van Hasselt, Shaun Stevens and Kate Danby. The exhibition will have free entry & be open every day from 10am to 5pm from 14th August to 30th August 2010. Tea and coffee are available for a donation to the Sea Scouts.

Two new Village Charity Shops

Next Monday a new charity shop will be opening in Milford on Sea village, which is being run by the ‘Lymington Cat and Kitten Rescue Charity’. The charity has run a shelter for unwanted & sick felines in Lymington for the past thirty years, and in these difficult economic times are in urgent need of further funds. Like most charities they are looking to put to good use all the funds they can raise. The new shop will be at 59 High Street, Milford on Sea, (formerly Curtleas Fashions) and the hours of business 10am to 4pm Monday to Friday. The shop would welcome any donation during opening hours & of course, there is a warm welcome for all visitors!

In the next few weeks ‘The Village Charity Shop’ will also be opening. They will be sited at the old Muffins Bakery in Church Hill, next to the Co-Op. This shop will be run by volunteers from the village and Community Centre with the profits being used to support the Community Centre & other local charities. Both shops are looking for any donations of good quality ladies and gents clothing, bric a brac, unwanted gifts & anything else saleable. It is all going to good causes, so anything bought into the shops would be very much appreciated.

Lymington Cat and Kitten Rescue website:

New Seahorses Community Toddler Group

A new group for the under 5s, their parents, grandparents and carers will be starting on Fridays 10am to 12 noon at the new Community Centre on Sea Road, Milford on Sea. The first session is on Friday 10th September 2010. It’s a place to play, have fun and meet new friends for the grown-ups as well as the children! The idea is to include everybody, so; if you have a new baby on the way, come & chat and compare notes with other ‘ladies-in-waiting’. New to the area, come along & meet the parents you will be seeing at the school gates in a few short years time… Dads, don’t feel left out, you are welcome too. To complete the generations, grandparents providing childcare are especially welcome. The new group hopes that everyone who is able, will take a turn helping out, but if you can’t, don’t worry - you’ll be just as welcome. The Seahorses Community Toddler Group will provide play equipment and toys, a craft activity, drinks and a snack, all for just £1.00 per child. The group would also like to provide occasional opportunities to learn new skills, perhaps an infant/toddler first aid course or a nutrition workshop? The new group are also asking for donations of toys and equipment. So, if you have anything to donate, or have any ideas on what activities you would like the group to include, or simply wish to join the group, please let Jan know by e-mailing her at:

Hospital Annual Summer Fair raises £1500

The recent Annual Summer Fair run by the ‘League of Milford on Sea Hospital, Medical Centre and Community Health Care Friends’ held on July 24th in the grounds of Milford on Sea Hospital raised the fantastic sum of £1,525.71. The event was blessed with glorious sunny weather and the crowds turned out in force to enjoy the stalls, games and excellent cream teas, eaten to the relaxing melodies of the Midas Touch Duo. The Cairo Cats Belly Dancers and the Waterside Lions Dancers were also great crowd pleasers. All in all, a wonderful day with a wonderful result for a good cause. The money will buy a much needed phlebotomy couch which will make life a lot easier for the people in the village when they have to have blood tests.

Milford on Sea Hospital League of Friends website:

New Art Classes

Shaun Stevens will be running a new Art Class: ‘Watercolour for beginners’ when the new Milford on Sea Community Centre opens. You can enjoy how to successfully paint a wide range of subjects in Watercolour. The lessons include practical demonstrations & written guidance on how to achieve successful results. The new classes form a 10 week course from Wednesday 15th September until 24th November, & cost £80. If you would like to join in please call Shaun on 01590 673515