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Monday, 27 September 2010

New Community Calendar

A new Milford on Sea Community Calendar has just been launched which contains details of local events & village activities everyone can join in with. Using the ‘drop down’ list at the top of the calendar will reveal further calendars, such as ‘Clubs & Classes’ showing all the activities you may be interested in, a ‘Church Services’ calendar, a ‘Farmers Market’ calendar, and even a ‘Dining Offer’ calendar, where you can see the special offers available in our local eateries.

If it is happening in Milford on Sea it will be in the Community Calendar, so no one should miss a thing now! If you know of anything happening that you would like to be added please just let me know.

To take a look at the Community Calendar please visit:

Petrol Station lost

You may find it disappointing to hear that we have lost our petrol station in the village. I guess that this is no great surprise knowing the current state of the economy. It’s sad, but understandable, that providing such a service for a small community is not really viable.

The good news is, that we hear the Hardware Store, already in the shop area on the garage forecourt at Milford Motors, may have plans to expand. If you have never ventured inside it is certainly worth a look. Do you remember those old hardware stores that had things you never heard of, or expected, well it is a bit like that. So, before you run off to B&Q for some DIY bits, our own Milford on Sea village Hardware Store may be worth a look.

Friday, 17 September 2010

Ravenhurst Development Charade

There is still no decision on the appeal relating to the redevelopment of the Ravenhurst site, adjacent to the White House. Following the three day public enquiry this week at Lymington Town Hall, the hearing has been adjourned to the 29th September for closing statements. We understand that a decision will then not be announced for six weeks. It warms my heart to see bureaucracy is still operating at its very best. Even my wife can’t talk for that long on a subject without coming to a conclusion. I bet it didn’t take this long for Erno Rubik to invent his cube.

Whilst plenty of people are being well paid through this lengthy process, & many others are wasting time hanging around awaiting the outcome of the whole event, how about public enquiries are done away with for planning issues? Then, simply give all of the many thousands of pounds spent on the public enquiry’s to the applicants. They can then offset this windfall against designing a building project that can please everyone, without this endless rigmarole.

Better still, base the result of the enquiry on who can eat the most cream crackers without having a drink.

Snobbiest Town in the UK!

Throughout the BBC news bulletins last Tuesday there was a feature story about Lymington. This was not just on the local news, but the story was apparently important enough to warrant national coverage. So, what major national story had taken place? Had an international drugs ring been busted on the Isle of Wight ferry? Nope. Had the pope refused to visit Lymington town centre because it has a Pound Shop? Hmm, nope. Was it because an 80 year old lady had skateboarded from the top to the bottom of the High Street naked? Err, nope. Actually, it was because a Wetherspoons pub had been refused planning permission to open in the old C.Ford & Co shop at the top of the town centre! A real national crisis of course needed to be reported thoroughly. So, Graham Satchell from the BBC carried out in depth interviews with unsuspecting locals passing by, then the producers decided to select the most fun ones to air on the TV. Amusingly it seems the whole purpose of the TV news bulletins was to declare Lymington the ‘Snootiest Town in Britain’.

If only they had found the time to come across to Milford on Sea, we could then have had a great time winding ‘dear old Graham’ up. I know I could pick some interviewee’s for him in the village that would make great TV. Not sure what ‘national title’ we would win, but it would be good to find out. Come on Wetherspoons, apply to get a pub in our village.

If you missed this great bit of crucial journalism you can watch it on this link:

Rosie & Poppy Visit Hurst Castle

It seems like writing children’s books is a popular pastime in Milford on Sea. One of our local artists, Shaun Stevens, has just published her first book. The title is 'Rosie & Poppy Visit Hurst Castle' and it is available for sale at Hurst Castle, St Barbe Museum, and has been in a special display at Lymington Library all summer.

We also have Christine Calder (Rix), who is another author of children’s books in the village. Christine has written a series of books about the adventures ‘Bradley the New Forest Bear’.

One for the Wine Buffs

The Community Centre has a new Wine Course local wine lovers can attend. The ‘Discover a World of Wine’ Course allows you to experience the wines of the world & learn how to detect any faults the wines may have. The course also features: Basic wine tasting techniques and how to match wines with food. If you think this may be something for you the course starts on the 4th October & runs until the 25th October. The Course Fee is £45 which includes wine, tasting glasses and work file.

The course is run by our very own John James (Tel: 01590 642176 or Jonathan Rogers of The Solent Wine Experience (Tel: 07771867809 - I am sure that they would be happy to hear from you if you have anything else you would like to know.

Saturday, 11 September 2010

A Lymington taste of France

Last Sunday I decided that we would venture out of Milford on Sea for Sunday lunch. My plan had already been compiled, and the dining destination of Lanes Restaurant in Lymington had been chosen. I had heard good reports, but we had never been. It was the least I could do, as my wife had had a traumatic week, nothing had happened in particular, but I think she finds living with me a bit more difficult these days. I suspect the constant excitement may be getting too much for her.

Whilst she got ready & painted her face with all sorts of mystical stuff, I got the old Jag fired up & ready for our little jaunt. I suggested to my wife we shared the driving, & that I would happily drive there. For some reason I was greeted with a withering look.

On arrival we played one of my favourite games; ‘find a space to park in Lymington’. I felt quite pleased when we found a parking space where the NFDC didn’t get any more of our cash. We then made our way to ‘Lanes Restaurant’ for our Sunday treat. Wandering up the alleyway to the restaurant I was feeling quite pleased with myself for getting something right for once. My wife was even looking forward to it. That was of course until we discovered the doors locked. In my wife’s usual understanding manner, she queried ‘Do you practice being so inept?’. No answer to that one I’m afraid – other than I am a man of course.

Before I received any more abuse I suggested we had a drink in The Angel Inn to decide where to eat now. A nice pint of cider later we were still undecided, & it had started raining. (My fault again.) I then had a brainwave. My wife had quite liked me during the time when we emigrated to France. My wife insists that a six week holiday does not constitute emigration, but I am sure that I am technically correct. Anyway, on the way up the hill I had spotted ‘Brasserie Gerard’, perfect to get back into her good books I thought. (I think she has some good books, just struggles to find room for me in them these days.)

Our new dining venue agreed, we set off, with my wife containing her excitement admirably. Regular readers of the ridiculous nonsense that I scribe will know that I am fluent in my own version of French, & indeed take great pleasure in wearing berets, so a French Restaurant is a perfect choice. On entering ‘Brasserie Gerard’ we were impressed with the chic contemporary style & very soon I felt myself transported back to the cafes of Deauville on the Cote Fleurie.

As I greeted the waitress with a friendly ‘bonjour’, my wife just looked at me & said a firm ‘don’t’. Once seated it was good to see that the menu was in French with a translation in English for the other diners. A quick look warmed my heart, as I saw such French favourites as ‘pear helene’ & ‘tarte au citron’. Strangely, the French do not have their own words for ‘creme brulee’. Sweet chosen, I could now concentrate on the rest of the meal. Starters of ‘French onion soup’ & ‘champignon farci’ were soon selected by us, to be followed by ‘steak baguette et frites’ and ‘poulet burger with brie’. As our waitress took our order, I chatted away to her in French, she was charming, but did not seem to understand. I was later to discover she was actually a single language speaker from Pennington.

The food arrived promptly, just after I had explored the whole restaurant. Being narrow, they had made good use of the space & even made it feel light & airy with a glass roof section. The walled garden also offered a pleasant dining option with lots of coloured pots of flowers.

As we tucked into our meals we were approached by another waitress with a charming French accent. She asked how we were enjoying our lunch, so being polite, I responded with something like; ‘Tres bonne madame, mes compliments au chef’. The next thing I heard was a swish of air, as a 6 inch heel embedded itself in my leg. Luckily my wife could not extend her leg far enough to actually break my leg. ‘Ce mal‘ I mumbled to myself. I decided to concentrate on enjoying finishing my meal, which I have to say was not hard to do. As the French waitress reappeared to take my dessert order I had spotted a special of ‘Armandine tarte’. This time I decided to save my leg & just ordered the ‘cherry & almond tart please’. I looked to my wife for approval, but her eyes were simply staring at the ceiling as she made a funny huffing sound. Whatever it should be called, it was delicious. As our delightful French waitress brought our bill I could resist no longer, and asked her which part of France she was from. ‘Poland’ she replied. As I explained that I can’t speak Polish, but have been to Hungary, my wife was slipping under the table giggling like a five year old. I sincerely hoped she wet herself.

On our way home I mentally made a list of friends I would happily recommend ‘Brasserie Gerard’ to. Feeling nostalgic, I asked my wife if she would like to emigrate to France again. ‘Not really’ she replied, ‘but I would like you to’.

Help our boys in the Armed Forces

This week is the 70th anniversary of the Battle of Britain and we are all reminded of how a few saved so many. The Poppy Appeal by the Royal British Legion helps all serving and ex-Service personnel and their families. Not just those who fought in the two World Wars, but also those involved in the many conflicts since 1945 and those still fighting abroad today. Milford on Sea village has a small dedicated band of collectors for the Poppy Appeal, but not enough people to really cover the whole village. Surprisingly, they don't seem to have many male volunteer collectors for some reason.

This year our local Royal British Legion W/S is aiming for every road in the village to be covered. So why not give up a few hours of your time to visit your neighbours in your road? You will be given a poppy box to collect for this years Royal British Legion Poppy Appeal, and your efforts will really make a difference. Plus you get a chance to have a chat! Although the collections do not take place until the end October/early November the team are keen to get volunteers on the list now.

Joining in is easy, simply contact: Jan England on or 01590 642291, or Freda Cheyney on 01590 642899 and you will be on the team.

Jo Caulfield headlines Comedy Club Night

Our new Community Centre is holding its first ‘Comedy Club Night’ on Thursday 30th September 2010. The headline act is Jo Caulfield, a regular face & voice from TV & Radio. Best-known for her legendary one-woman shows, Jo Caulfield is “one of the finest female comics at work” (The Observer) and has recently been nominated as “the best female Stand-Up in the country” ( She is also Graham Norton’s head writer. “She is, quite simply, a damn funny woman” (The Scotsman). Jo is in demand at all major UK comedy clubs, and has completed numerous nationwide theatre tours. Recent international performances include New York, Los Angeles, Amsterdam, Berlin, Munich, Hong Kong, Singapore, Dubai and soon to be Milford on Sea! She is also a regular guest on both Mock The Week (BBC2) and Have I Got News For You (BBC1). Jo wrote and starred in 3 series of her own critically acclaimed Radio 4 comedy show, “It’s That Jo Caulfield Again”. Jo’s quick wit has led to her being in demand as a guest on a huge variety of Radio shows.

The evening will also include an excellent curry from our local Indian restaurant, Zaika. The Community Centre plans to run four Comedy Club Nights on every month that has a ‘5th Thursday’, bringing a night of adult comedy to the village for the broadminded. Everyone is welcome, just bring your chortle glands. Tickets are now available at £12.50 each from Gwen’s. Please book early as the evening is expected to be a sell out.

Saturday, 4 September 2010

Community Centre opens to acclaim

The new Milford on Sea Community Centre opened its doors yesterday with music, celebration & over a thousand smiling faces. The new building is massively impressive & the achievement of the community a great example of what can be achieved when people pull together. The day was full of celebration & merriment. The official opening of the Milford on Sea Village Community Centre took place at 3.30pm Friday 3rd September when an esteemed group of local representatives from each of the past nine decades cut the ribbon. Margaret Richens the Community Centre chairman & Bob Bishop from the Parish Council gave short and impassioned opening speeches. As the New Forest Dixieland Band played, the local community were invited to view everything that was now available to them. Over the next two hours hundreds of happy people explored every nook & cranny, with sounds of approval everywhere. During the day a thank you was also made to all that contributed, with over 250 people attending the lunch or evening party featuring the Windmill Swing Band. Each guest invited had made a voluntary contribution to achieving our new gathering place in some way. If you missed the opening of the centre it is open between 10am to 4pm on Saturday & Sunday for people to drop in & take a look around.

Only a few months ago the Community Centre consisted of a few second hand portacabins, & today it is a welcoming eco friendly modern building. I won’t bore you with its credentials for saving the planet, mainly because I wasn’t listening when it was explained to me, but what I can tell you is that you will be impressed. The centre greets you with a light & airy entrance hall which takes you into the main corridor. From here you can access the Main Hall which has a fully functioning performance stage, lighting & sound equipment. The room also has an atrium ceiling which not only provides a light & spacious feel, but also dissipates the sound of background noise. The hall can seat around 125 diners or an anticipated 200 seated in ‘theatre style’. Across the corridor is the ‘Community Cafe’ which will be opening on a number of mornings for people to drop in & relax. The room also has computer facilities to operate as an ‘internet cafe’. When events are taking place, a magic shutter is opened to reveal a fully stocked bar. Next to this, and separated by a ‘folding wall’ is a ‘Boardroom’ which can seat around 25 people, and is available for meetings & small classes. The ‘folding wall’ unsurprisingly folds back, & when this happens a large additional function room is created. These rooms will also contain the ‘Smarter working Centre’ which will be a service to local small businesses & organisations from October. The main kitchen is substantial in size & fully equipped to cater for anyone using the centre. Modern building regulations have dictated the inclusion of four sets of toilets; a ladies & gents, one for the disabled & another unisex unit with baby changing facilities. It was slightly disappointing to find that government legislation did not stipulate that another one did not had to be provided for transsexuals or cross dressers.

The Youth Club is now situated in a large room at the back of the building providing games & entertainment for the younger members of the community, demonstrating the Community Centre has truly been built to include everyone. The building is modern & cutting edge in every aspect, from the mix of architectural gabled roofs, through to the use of sustainable timber & eco materials. Throughout the building’s interior is a clever colour scheme which achieves an effect that is both calming & striking. The choice of white as the main colour, with carefully selected accents in lime green, raspberry & deep purple, provide a mix of colours that do not work in the mind, but which become more that aesthetically pleasing when experienced in true colour. The well thought out decoration brings the building vibrantly alive & lightens the soul. (Blimey, I sound like that bloke from ‘Grand Designs!’) Finally, at the rear is an outside paved patio, a compact garden area, and the boiler house, which contains something very hi tech with lots of knobs, lights & switches, which was fascinating to some. To complete the transformation the ‘old Youth Club building’ has now become a modern dance & exercise studio with fully sprung professional dance floor & wall of mirrors. How I will look in leotards & leggings is scary, but it is tempting to give it a go.

Many have worked tirelessly to provide us all with a spectacular new village facility, and rather than leave anyone out, I am sure we would all like to say congratulations to everyone that played a part, for a job magnificently done.

Community Centre website

Carnival rides again

Following the success of last week’s Milford on Sea village carnival we have some videos for you to watch from You Tube.
Please click link below to view the videos.

Village Charity Shop now a Beach Hut

The new Milford on Sea Village Charity Shop opens on Wednesday (8th September) having gone through a major transformation. An enthusiastically willing group of volunteers have refitted the old bakery in Church Hill from a wreck to a bright ‘beach hut’ style interior, on next to no budget. Thanks to the extremely generous donation of timber from David Farwell at G Farwell Ltd, Chris Lakey's craftsmanship & Colin Holdsworth sawing abilities, they have covered the tired tiled walls with sawn wood, giving the interior a bright seaside beach hut effect. Another major donation was from Peter Sanders at Sanders Sails in Lymington, who provided numerous metres of sail cloth to cover the walls in the rear room with blue & orange fabric. Ruth Sanders even helped to hang the material! More volunteers have been at work with a paint brush, doing odd jobs and making other contributions to make everything ready for the opening. Judit sends a warm thank you to everyone already mentioned, Hugh Whitlock Solicitors, Christine Seamer, Jim Bunting, Liz & Richard Newsom, Nikki Billett, Andy Clarke, Patrick Howard, Brian Turnbull, Paul Mander, Alan Pryke, Tony & Marguerite and the ‘De La Warr’ gang.

Judit & her team are now looking for donations of items to sell. Everything will be gratefully received, but please no large items (like beds) as there is insufficient room for display.

To donate items for the shop, or to volunteer your services to help out serving for a few hours please contact: Judit on 01590 644073 or

Les rides the British Coast (Well he was!)

Since writing the story below, Les fell in the house last Thursday and has broken his shoulder in two places. (That's two places in his arm, not in the house.) Having spent months in planning the trip, and a fortune on equipment, Les now hopes to complete his epic ride next spring. Get well soon Les, your saddle awaits!
Local Milford on Sea classic motor cycle enthusiastic Les Spicer, is taking a break from his Applecrust B&B at September Cottage, to complete a motorbike ride for charity. Riding his classic 1968 Triumph Tiger, Les is planning to travel 3200 miles around the coast of Britain over the next month. His ride will also raise funds for the Hampshire & Isle of Wight Air Ambulance. His epic journey starts on Thursday 9th September from the Hants Air Ambulance base in Thruxton. During his ride Les will where possible stay with friends & relatives, at other times he has a tent in his kit to spend the night at one with nature. Enjoy the ride Les!

If you would like to support Les with a donation please visit his charity website: