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Friday, 30 December 2011

The Joy of Christmas Presents

My wife of course needs for nothing, she is pretty, youthful, a good cook and has a wonderful husband. Shortly before Christmas I had bought her a top of the range Dyson, but apparently this was not a good ‘Christmas present’.

Christmas (I am led to understand) demands a 'special present'. In our early years together gift buying was quite easy, but fifteen years later new ideas become more of a struggle. Fortunately, I have survived the past few years by my wife telling me what she wants and I give her the money. I’m happy, she’s happy and it is the perfect solution for us simple men. This year life got a little more complicated when she said; “I would like a bracelet”, “Which bracelet?”, “Surprise me”. That final comment struck terror into my whole being. ‘Surprise her’, the only surprise will be if I am capable of doing this.

Christmas is of course a time when I excel in being the perfect husband, I always compliment my wife on how well she get the tree from the loft and decorates it beautifully. I comment positively on all the presents she buys for everyone, and of course help out the best I can with all of the food she makes and buys. Not easy I know, but certainly worth the effort.

It was nearly Christmas Eve when I set about my Christmas present mission, only to discover Ratners had disappeared. Several online searches later I found out that this challenge may be a bridge to far. It soon became clear that I had no idea what I was looking at, the options were vast and my ability to tell the difference was nil. I became even more confused when faced with knowing what size I needed. Had it been shoes or a dress I could have raided her wardrobe to find out. But measuring her shirt cuffs did not help me much. How is any man supposed to know the wrist size of their partner?, I struggle remembering her age and birthday.

A call to my friend did not help, he could only advise me that the necklace he bought from Elizabeth Duke last year had resulted in his wife not speaking to him for a month. (Could be worth it?)  He then reminded me that they divorced a few months later, and I had no intention of spending that much!

A final attempt on Christmas Eve proved fruitless, so there was only one thing for it.

Christmas morning arrived and it was time to open our presents. My wife looked a little apprehensive as she received her plain envelope, I think she had worked out it was not a bracelet. Her ability to contain her excitement was impressive as she opened the enclosed letter with the loving words; “I owe you a bracelet. Love you xxxx”. Although not signed, somehow she knew it was from me.

To complete my wife’s surprise I took her shopping (online) just after Boxing Day, and she chose a bracelet ‘that she had wanted for ages’ (apparently). The ‘LoveLinks bracelet’ was perfect, she was happy, and my wallet had a big dent in it. Perhaps if I had known that a ‘surprise’ had actually meant ‘I want a LoveLinks Bracelet’ I may have solved this mammoth challenge a little earlier.

Roll on next Christmas.

Party on New Year’s Eve

We have heard that ‘The Raft’ is holding ‘The Shipwrecked After Party’ on New Year’s Eve. The newly opened bistro and bar will have a ‘shipwrecked theme’ and will be serving canapés. Doors open at 10pm and it is £10 to get in and party past midnight.

The Marine and Westover Hall both have celebration dinners with entertainment, La Perle has a six course French menu, Zaika & Britannia Thai are providing an Asian option to see the new year in, and of course all of our local pubs have events happening. So, if you haven’t made your plans for your New Year’s Eve yet, there are still plenty of options to party the night away in Milford on Sea village.

Doctors Advice

I watched a doctor on television this evening who said that, we all could use more calm in our lives; and in order to achieve inner peace, we should always try to finish the things we start.

So, I looked around my house to find the things I’d started and hadn’t finished. I finished off a bottle of Chassagne Montrachet 2004, a bottle of Chateau Pape-Clement 2008, a bodle of Jin, a butle of wum, tha mainder of Valiuminun scriptins, an a boks a chocletz.

Yu haf no idr how fablus I feel rite now.

Sned this to all who need inner piss. An telum u luvum!

Are You a Village Newcomer?

Each February a ‘Newcomers Supper’ is held at All Saints Church Hall in Milford on Sea. This year the supper will be held on Saturday 25th February 2012.

Anyone that is new to the village since February 2011 is able to apply for an invitation and the event is entirely free.

The evening consists of two parts. In the first hour or so, there is a ‘mini exhibition’, where you can wander around and informally meet representatives from the many clubs, associations & organisations in the village. They can tell you anything you want to know, and if you fancy getting involved you can. This is then followed by a sit down supper with the chance to meet new people & have a bit of fun.

Most years the event has over a hundred people attending, and it is a great way to meet new people, and to get a warm welcome to your new home. The village is full of friendly people and the ‘Newcomers Supper’ is a fast-track way of getting to know all about our village life.

The ‘Newcomers Supper’ is funded & hosted by all of the churches in the village & tirelessly organised by Ruth Bufton. The event is by invitation only, so if you are new to the village this year & would like to come along please contact: Ruth Bufton on: or 01590 641875

Saturday, 24 December 2011

Love our shops

We have had an interesting letter from Christopher Beeton, a long standing local resident.

He comments; “When I first visited Milford in 1948/49 there were about the same number of high street shops as we have now but, of course, Milford was then only a small village.  By 1984, when I moved here on retirement, there was a very wide range of shops with at least two of each of the essential ones but, by then, we had become a small town. Even Keyhaven had its Post Office & shop.

In the 1990s when I was a NFDC councillor, considerable concerns were expressed about the plans for the (then) new Tesco in Caird Avenue and, in particular, how it would affect high street shops in nearby villages.  Our own shops were already dwindling and, in a letter to the Lymington Times, I suggested to those Milford residents who used our shops only in emergency, that they make a point of buying at least something in the village every week. With some 6000 residents even if only half did this, most of our shops should remain viable.  With the increase of ladies' hairdressers and commercial businesses, the loss of a baker or greengrocer is not, at first, so noticeable.  But we cannot afford to lose many more if we are to retain any character at all.”

Who can argue with that.  Christopher goes on to suggest; “Since the demise of Milford's Traders Association there does not appear to be much co-ordination and this is likely to increase pressure on some of our smaller, but very useful, shops.  How about a series of short articles on each of our shops (in addition to eating places of course!).”

Writing an article on each shop would be a bit of a ‘Forth Road’ job, however we would love any of our shops to write a comment about what they offer for all to see.  Alternatively, if you have anything to say about any of the great things you can get in the village, why not post a comment below to give them a plug?

PS: That reminds me, if you want a plug, (or anything DIY for that matter), Milford Hardware is your place to go!

Carnival Parade Back!

Many of you are aware and saddened that the carnival procession did not take place in 2011. However, we are delighted to announce that a sub-committee of volunteers has been formed to assist the Milford on Sea Village Community Committee to organise and run the procession in 2012.

The new team are in the process of organising and fundraising for the 2012 procession and are getting great support from the local community which is very encouraging.

The first fundraising event is the January First Friday Charity Lunch held at Milford Community Centre. Some of you may know all about the First Friday Lunches, which are organised by dedicated team of volunteers and raise money to support many charities.

Everyone is invited to come along on Friday 6th January 2012 at 1pm where you can feast on a main course and dessert for only £4.50 per person. You would be made very welcome and no booking is necessary, - just show up, have a tasty meal and support a local community event.

If you would like further details about the First Friday Lunch Club or helping to support the carnival procession please do not hesitate in contacting Sean Reeves of Hugh Whitlock Solicitors at:

Boxing Day Left-overs

Zaika have come up with a novel way to enjoy your left-overs on Boxing Day.  Fortunately this does not interfere with the traditional ‘bubble & squeak’.  On Boxing Day, if you have any left-over drinks, Kalam has said everyone can feel free to take them with you to enjoy a curry.

Zaika is open for lunch and for dinner from 6pm on Boxing Day, - and your drink is as welcome as you!

Zaika Indian Restaurant
01590 643084

Friday, 9 December 2011

Onward and upward for Total Voice!

Many of you will have heard our very own community choir, Total Voice, performing in an around Milford over the last couple of years.  The choir’s leader, Christine Mulgrew, and one of its founder members, Victoria Hopkins, are now joining forces to take Total Voice to new heights with a programme of workshops and events to complement its choral performances. 

Christine and Victoria have many years of singing and performing experience between them and are passionate about spreading the joys and benefits of singing for everyone.

The first event Total Voice has planned for the new year is “January Tune-up”, a Saturday afternoon workshop to banish the post-Christmas blues with some rousing group singing.  Participants will learn techniques to build their confidence and improve their voices. 

Please visit the Total Voice website at for more information.

Fancy Running an Event at Food Week?

Our calendar for Food Week is now filling up fast, but it is not too late if you want to join in.  We love to see Clubs, Charities & Community Organisations and individuals getting involved.  Almost anything can fit in, as long as it is related to food in some way.

If you have any ideas on anything that you would like organise or be involved in for Food Week, please just drop me an e-mail at:

Food Week runs from 9th April to 15th April 2012 and we love for as many of the community to get involved as they can.

Concert raises over £3000

Milford’s very own Total Voice Contemporary Choir are delighted to have raised £3.390.03 for the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at Princess Anne Hospital, Southampton following their ‘All You Need Is Love’ concert and appeal.  The choir put on a concert featuring songs about love and friendship in October at the Milford Community Centre and also organised many other events themselves including coffee mornings, an after show party and a vintage cream tea!

Christine Mulgrew and Victoria Hopkins of Total Voice along with choir members presented the cheque last week to Suzie Simmons Fundraising Officer for Southampton Hospital Charity.  The group also visited the unit where their money will go towards a new suite of parental accommodation for those with babies being treated there.  This will make a real difference for parents in what is a very difficult time.

The hospital provides specialist care to around 600 sick term and pre term (premature) new born babies a year from Southampton, Bournemouth, Poole, Chichester, Dorchester, Basingstoke, Isle of Wight, Salisbury, Winchester and the Channel Islands - with such a wide-spread 'catchment' many parents do not have the option to go home.

The target funding needed for the parental suites is £100,000 and staff at the hospital climbed Kilimanjaro last year for the cause.  With our contribution they have now raised nearly £90,000 of that target.

The fundraising was very personal to Choir leader Christine Mulgrew and her husband Jonathan as their baby son Archie was looked after on the unit when he was born earlier this year.  Christine said; “the care which Archie received and which we received as a family from the Neonatal staff was amazing and I have heard many similar stories from choir members and local people during the course of our fundraising.   It has been fantastic to get the support of the choir and local community to raise such an amazing amount as a thank you.”

We would like to thank everyone who supported us by coming along to our concert and to all the local businesses who donated such wonderful raffle prizes.

New Workshops at the Library

The recently saved Milford on Sea Library in Park Road is busy planning a number of future events for the new year, these will include Art Workshops, Jewellery Workshop and The Very Hungry Caterpillar is coming to entertain the kids during Food Week.   These will be in addition to the regular Toddlertime and Library Club.   

The team at the library have asked that if there is anything you would like to see happening in your Library please pop in and tell them, and say a big thank you for all the support they have had throughout the year.

Milford on Sea Library | Opening times: 
Monday 2.30 - 5.30 pm;  Tuesday 2.30 - 4.30pm
Wednesday 10.00 - 12.30pm;  Friday 10.00 - 12.30pm

Tuesday, 6 December 2011

Comedy & Cake with Jo Caulfield

click image to enlarge
Jo Caulfield, star of Michael McIntyre’s Comedy Roadshow, Mock the Week and Have I Got News For You, is the Sunday headline act at Milford on Sea Food Week.

Jo brings her all new ‘Cruel to be Kind’ touring show to the Milford on Sea Community Centre on the evening of Sunday 15th April 2012. She was nominated as “Funniest Woman 2010” in the LAFTA Awards, and “Best Female Stand-Up” in the Chortle Awards. Described by The Observer newspaper as “Wonderfully sharp and bitchy. One of the finest female comedians at work.” A night not to be missed!

A slice of cake on the night, baked by Nicola of Yum, is included in every ticket purchased. We expect this event to sell out early, so why not book now to make sure you are not disappointed!

Comedy & Cake with Jo Caulfield: Sunday 15th April 2012

Tickets £17.50 | Now on sale at:

(*An Evening with Tom Kerridge: Tickets also now on sale in online ticket office.) |


Milford on Sea Food Week
Monday 9th April until Sunday 15th April 2012

Food Week Christmas Pressy

Are you looking for a great gift idea or nice stocking filler for loved ones, family or friends? Well, how about treating them to tickets to either (or both!) of our headline shows at Milford on Sea Food Week.

Tickets are just £17.50 and we expect them to sell out quickly when the official box office opens in the early new year. But as a special friend of mine, I can let you have tickets for the show below now!

An Evening with Tom Kerridge: Saturday 14th April 2012 | Ticket £17.50.
Comedy & Cake with Jo Caulfield: Sunday 15th April 2012 | Ticket £17.50

To buy your tickets please just just go to:

Go on, treat them and support Food Week at the same time!

click image to enlarge

Back from Deauville

Having hung up my beret and whilst trying to get used to speaking English again, we returned to Milford on Sea. I am even ignoring the constant e-mails from the mayor of Deauville, asking me when we were coming back (apparently he wants to plan his holidays in advance) as I now have more important things in hand.

Of course the first thing we had to do when back in the village was go and eat. So we were off to Verveine for Saturday lunch. The hake was superb, homemade bread delicious, pudding very naughty and the complimentary petit fours with our coffee were weird and wonderful. My French brothers think they are good at cooking, but I challenge them to beat the exquisite & imaginative food created by Dave Wykes.

Naturally we next needed to have a great Sunday lunch, so the next day we went to Westover Hall. My first turkey meal of the forthcoming Christmas period was delicious, and my wife tucked into pork belly as if she had just returned from a desert island that only had fruit. Can’t remember the name of my pudding, but I do recall it was creamy, nutty and beauty on a plate. All was washed down with a bottle of smooth Beaujolais nouveau. As always, I was wearing shorts, the welcome was as warm as ever and the meal great value for money.

Tuesday night we were off to La Perle, pretending it was my birthday. We started the evening by enjoying a couple of finely served pints in The Red Lion. On arrival at La Perle we were greeted with a friendly smile and a champagne aperitif, I of course felt very special, until my wife & friends pointed out all of the other diners were given the same. I chose the ‘seven hour lamb’ for my main course. The dish melted in the mouth and the gravy, sauce, jus, or whatever it is called, was to die for. At the end of service Leo visits each table, we (I) told him about my birthday and he poured us each a glass of ‘Marc Du Champagne’ (a Champagne brandy), it really was my lucky day, Colin was driving, Trish doesn’t drink and my wife doesn’t like brandy. Two beers, a few glasses of wine, and four Marc du Champagne’s later, we (I) made our way home in a sort of giggly wobbly way.

Last Friday we dined for the first time at The Raft in Milford on Sea. Having only opened a few weeks ago, (and having missed the opening party as we were still in France) this was our first opportunity to visit. Having yet again press-ganged our friends to eat out, off we went. The quirky interior of the old ‘Belle Epoque’ was gone, and the restaurant had now been transformed into a fresh ‘shabby chic’ environment. It is clear that the new owners, Deny & Jan, have a great eye for design and detail. The restaurant is described as ‘Bistro Chic’, which felt right. It was great to see a real buzz as we arrived, all tables looked full and plenty of smiling faces. We had a table at the back near the open kitchen. Having all chosen different things from the extensive and unusual menu, I was soon tucking into chilli prawns, goats cheese, onion marmalade & fresh tomato pizza, followed by pistachio brownie. Hmmm, yummy. My wife and friends were all equally impressed by their own dishes and the generous portions. When our charming waitress bought the bill we all felt the value for money was great. We will certainly be back soon.

The Raft is open from 10am to 10pm Wednesday to Sunday, so it is easy to pop in for a snack, meal, or just a coffee, beer or just a nose around.

Disappointingly we had not found time this week to visit Zaika, The Marine, Britannia Thai, the pubs, or any of the cafés for breakfast, lunch or afternoon tea, ….. fortunately there is always next week!

To see The Raft’s new website, please visit:

Friday, 2 December 2011

Tom Kerridge Headlines Food Week

We are thrilled to announce that two Michelin star chef, Tom Kerridge is to headline Milford on Sea Food Week 2012. ‘An Evening with Tom Kerridge’ will take place on Saturday evening 14th April. During the show Tom will be cooking three spectacular dishes, whilst explaining his menu and cooking processes, he will also be sharing stories of his experiences in the food world and on TV.

Tom Kerridge is the incredibly popular and loveable chef patron at the extraordinary two Michelin-starred Hand & Flowers pub in Marlow, which he opened with wife Beth in Spring 2005. It was quite a moment for Michelin when the second star was awarded, and some say quite controversial. The world’s culinary press descended on Marlow following the announcement and discovered a special venue, team and chef there.

Tom is a great character with amazing presence, obvious warmth and an infectious laugh. He’s appeared on shows such as Market Kitchen and Market Kitchen’s Big Adventure and has competed and won the main course twice on BBC2’s Great British Menu. No-one else has ever won twice!

Tom is no stranger to showbiz as in his youth he acted on various TV shows including Miss Marple and London’s Burning. These performance skills have made him a brilliant entertainer who is in big demand to demonstrate at live events – there is always a huge crowd around him and he has a great fan base.

Tom’s first catering job was a stint as commis chef at Calcot Manor in Gloucestershire. He also worked for Stephen Bull and Gary Rhodes before joining Odette’s in Primrose Hill. After a spell at Monsieur Max in Hampton he moved to Norwich to take over running the Michelin starred restaurant Adlards. He then decided it was time to find his own place taking over a run down pub in Marlow called the Hand and Flowers. The rest is history!

An Evening with Tom Kerridge: Saturday 14th April 2012

Tickets £17.50 | Now on sale at:

*We expect this event to sell out early, so why not book now to make sure you are not disappointed!

Milford on Sea Food Week:
Monday 9th April until Sunday 15th April 2012

Milford’s Outstanding School

We have received the following story from our local Milford on Sea Primary School. It is great to have such an excellent school for our children, congratulations to all of the team.

Milford school teaching is ‘Outstanding’

Staff and pupils at Milford Primary School are celebrating an ‘outstanding’ Ofsted report which awarded the rare accolade of the highest rating available to teaching. Executive Headteacher Sandra Matthews said, ‘We are delighted with Ofsted’s recognition of our school as outstanding. Milford Primary is a fantastic school that is totally focused on providing all children with great learning. Staff, governors and parents are very proud of the children and we are thrilled that Ofsted recognises all the commitment and hard work that goes into making Milford School so special.’

Chair of governors Julian Davis said, ‘I am absolutely delighted with the outcome of the inspection which reflects the hard work of an extremely committed team and I am extremely proud that the children of Milford can attend what is an outstanding school.’ The recent Church inspection reinforced these findings, saying that the School ‘has embraced its Christian character with enthusiasm and joy and firmly placed Christian principles at the heart of the school.’ ‘Children feel valued and special and are exceptionally confident and clear in expressing their views and opinions.’

Milford is a Church school and also a community school. We appreciate the support we receive from people in the village such as those who come to listen to reading, help with sewing and baking in our school and we are pleased to be able to offer ‘silver surfers’ sessions for those wishing to learn more about using computers so that they can keep in touch with relatives and friends by email and do their shopping on line. If you would like to see more of our village school you are welcome to our Christmas Fair on Friday 9th December from 2.30pm to 4pm in the school hall.

Sue Towndrow | Vice-Chair of Governors

Entertainment Galore!

The Community Centre goes from strength to strength since re-opened in the new building during the late summer of 2010. Many events have taken place to entertain us all, plus of course the classes, clubs and societies keep the building vibrant throughout every day.

Tomorrow (Sunday 4th December) will see the ‘Milford’s Three Tenors' return to Milford on Sea in ‘Tinsel, Tenors and Twangers’. It is quite amazing that the village can attract three international renowned opera singers, and they always provide a spine tingling performance. This time they are even being accompanied by a full orchestra. Tickets are still available from Gwen’s if you fancy going along, or book online using the link at the foot of this page.

Keeping us continually entertained, the Community Centre also offers Jazz/Swing, Milford Movies, Folk Club, Regular ‘Green Room’ Talks, Dancing, Play Readings, Charity Lunches and numerous other events. There is also a monthly Folk Club, which will be getting the place rocking with a Christmas Ceilidh on Thursday 8th December, and everyone is welcome to come along.

The regular ‘Fifth Thursday Comedy Club’ has proved extremely popular, with the December show already sold out. Tickets for the March event go all sale soon. This show will star Miles Jupp, who is currently co-starring in the BBC2 comedy series ‘Rev’, and he has also appeared on Have I Got News for You and Mock the Week, so book early if you don’t want to miss this one.

All of the events covered are open to all, indeed all newcomers are made very welcome. You can find out more about what is coming up on the links below, just come and join in for some guaranteed fun!

To see all of the ‘Classes & Club’ in the village please click here

Sunday, 27 November 2011

Shop while you're singing!

Friday 9th December is a special evening in Milford on Sea, and a must for anyone who loves being part of this special community. The village Christmas celebrations start with late night opening in many of the Milford on Sea village shops from 5pm, a great chance to get some Christmas presents and stocking fillers. (Ooo ah Mrs!)

The main event takes place from 6.45pm, when everyone can join in the Community Carol Singing around the Christmas tree on the village green. To give the whole singing extravaganza a bit more twinkle, Milford’s own Total Voice Contemporary Choir and Lymington Town Band will be performing. To ensure everyone is kept entertained and fed, there will also be Santas’ Grotto, Village stalls, Mulled wine, Mince pies, Hot snacks, Nativity scene and more. To delight the kids (& older ones!), at the end of the carols Father Christmas & his little helpers arrives on his sledge.

Before, after, or during, our local pubs and restaurants would all be pleased to see you, and as Milford on Sea is fast becoming a ‘Foodies Mecca’ you would enjoy the visit I am sure.

The evening is all organised by local village volunteers and is in aid of local charities, so please come along. If you have not been before, I can assure you it is quite a magical night, and worth the effort whatever the weather!  It is also a great time to support all of the shopkeepers who keep the centre of our village so vibrant, go on.... buy some Christmas presents in the village this year, and show them you love them!!

In past years there has been Free Parking from 12.00 midday, and we are pleased to confirm that the Parish Council have once again arranged for cars to park free in the Sea Road car park.

Organised by Milford on Sea Village Community Committee.

The Ladies at The Marine

The ‘Ladies Who Lunch’ visited The Marine last week and it sounds like their experience was a very good one.

To explain, the ‘Ladies Who Lunch’ are four women from Hampshire who enjoy great food (and the odd glass of wine or two!). Having met a few of them, they are an extremely nice bunch, and I understand they are occasionally sober. The ladies like nothing more than trying out fantastic restaurants incognito and then sharing their experiences on their website. They do not claim to be either gourmets nor wine experts, they just enjoy sensibly priced good food and superb service. They also assess the quality of the food, the variety of food on offer, the staff and the service, the ambience and the location, and the overall value for money.

On their visit to The Marine they reported that the first impression was being impressed both the Art Deco building and with the views from the upstairs restaurant across to the Isle of Wight and the Needles. They also enjoyed the Wine Cellar lounge. The wine cellar is in the basement, and accessed via a spiral staircase from a glass panel in the floor, a must see for anyone who enjoys a glass of wine, indeed, every home should have one.

The ladies made positive comments about all of the team they met, and in particular Dale, the maître d’ and John, the sommelier. The menus they tried sound quite mouthwatering, and you can read all of the details about the meals they enjoyed on their website. (Link below)

At the end of their visit to The Marine, the ladies were sufficiently impressed to score the total experience at 24 out of 25, which also qualifies them for a LWL Gold Award. They also commented: “Sam Hughes is a very talented chef, all of us thoroughly enjoyed all our choices and everything tasted delicious. The dishes were beautifully presented and generous portions; there were a lot of appreciative sighs around the table! It was a very special lunch and we highly recommend The Marine.”

At the end of their review ‘The Ladies Who Lunch’ concluded: “Milford on Sea is fast becoming the Mecca for foodies!”. I couldn’t agree more!

Over many years of dining across Hampshire ‘The Ladies’ have created a very informative and comprehensive website incorporating hundreds of dining venues across the County. The link to their website is below, and well worth a look.

Foodie Christmas

Do you fancy getting someone else to cook Christmas Day Dinner, or perhaps you are looking for somewhere to go with friends on New Year’s Eve?

If you are, it would be worth taking a look at the online Milford on Sea Calendar, which shows you all that is happening in the village over the yuletide.

Milford on Sea is now a Foodie Heaven by the Sea, what better time to delight the taste buds than Christmas!

Sunday, 20 November 2011

Food Week is coming!

Plans are now underway for Milford on Sea Food Week on 9th to 15th April 2012. 

This is a great chance to enjoy the many eating pleasures we have in the village and an excellent opportunity for all of the community to get involved with the many other activities and events during the week.

The entire week’s programme needs to be confirmed before Christmas to enable everything to fall into place. So, if you would like to get involved in running an event, or be a ‘volunteer’ please let me know.

My Dad told me he learned in the army to ‘Never volunteer for anything!’.  This time I think volunteering can be good thing, it is a bit of fun, and you can be part of this great celebration.

If you would like to be involved with Food Week in anyway please drop me an e-mail at:

New Kids Party Venue

A new business venture has started up in the village. Chris Quinn, of Inger Lise’s Coffee Bar in the Keyhaven end of the High Street, has teamed up with Mandy Bran of village cake maker Emsleigh Cakes, to provide children’s parties in Inger Lise’s.

For mum’s that would like a party for their little one’s without the hassle, this could be just the thing!

Inger Lise’s can cater for up to 15 children any evening after 5pm, on Saturdays from 3pm or for exclusive use on Sundays.  The menu  includes a selection of finger food and yummy treats, or you can bring your own.  Chris and Mandy can also arrange all aspects of the party, from a novelty birthday cake, party bags or a children’s entertainer.  The room hire is free when ordering food, or £15 for 2 hours if you bring your own.

To find out more, or to make a booking, please call: Chris on 07961247731 | 01590 643518, or Mandy on 07914 586441

Katie One Step From The O2!

Katie Gates from Milford on Sea, has made it through the Open Mic UK Area Showcase, and she is now just one step away from performing at The O2 in London!

Thousands of acts entered Open Mic UK 2011 and the best unsigned singers from across the country were chosen to perform at the live Regional Final shows. Katie performed in front of a live audience and professional judging panel on 30th October in Aldershot.  She is now set to perform at the Area Final for the chance to progress to the National Grand Final at The O2 in London as part of Live Fest, London’s biggest indoor festival on 21st January 2012.

Katie Gates is a local girl, born & bred in from Milford on Sea (and also daughter of our Village butcher, David Gates from The Butchers Shop).

Good luck Katie, it would be great to have a new recording star from Milford on Sea!

Open Mic UK 2011 is an exciting national talent competition which searches for the UKs best singers, singer/songwriters, rappers and vocalists of all genres who perform either covers or original material.  The overall winner of Open Mic UK 2011 will be offered a recording contract, with up to £30,000 investment! They’ll also have the opportunity to tour across the UK.
Listen to Katie on her Facebook page:

Eat Toad with the RSPCA

The RSPCA (The Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals) are holding a Charity Lunch at the Milford on Sea Village Community Centre at 1.00pm on Friday 2nd December 2011.   On reading the lunch menu I was intrigued to see they are serving ‘Toad in the Hole’.  The thought of the RSPCA eating toad did make me giggle immaturely.  I am also curious about the sweet of ‘Mince tart and cream’, I wonder if it is beef or lamb mince?

The event is being organised by local resident Margaret Boyce who has arranged for Patrick Bailey, a local RSPCA Inspector to come and give a short talk on the RSPCA's work.  There will also be a raffle held to raise funds for the RSPCA and a box will be put out for anyone wishing to make a donation of pet food for which the RSPCA is always very grateful.

Everyone is welcome to go along with tickets being available on the door for just £4.50.  I think I may just pop in to find out what toad tastes like!

Friday, 11 November 2011

Deauville Diary – Week Six

The Gallic misadventures of a Milford village idiot abroad.

Friday: Collected our friend, Viv, from the station tonight and then back for a magnificent spread of a dozen or so cheeses, cold meats, pates, dips and of course a few baguettes. As we started planning the next few days, my wife mentioned a stroll along ‘La Planches’. Viv gave a quizzical look. ‘The ironing board?’ she said. Now, what I haven’t mentioned is that Viv is a linguist (A bit like myself), speaking French, German & Spanish. Oh, and she likes a drink. Her confusion was relieved when she suddenly realised ‘Les Planches’ means both ‘Boardwalk’ and ‘Ironing board’. As previously observed, for some reason the French have not bothered to get their own words for some things, (Like: casino, croissant, foie gras or champagne), and then they have also decided it is a good idea some words that are the same, but mean different things.

As the evening progressed we shared a bottle of Bordeaux wine or two, while my wife stuck to her bucket of Bacardi & coke. We decided that tomorrow morning we would visit nearby Lisieux Basilica, which is now the second most important site of pilgrimage in France, after the town of Lourdes. As we continued our cheese-fest a litre bottle of Porto Cruz port was opened. The bottle must have had leak, as within an hour or so it was empty. As the evening drew to a close I rejoiced in being a French citizen, and wondered why things were moving around a bit. As Viv and I started singing the "La Marseillaise" French national anthem, my wife emptied her bucket, and decided it was time for bed.

Saturday: Plans for the early morning visit to Lisieux were postponed as Viv and I were feeling somewhat wobbly. I identified that our instability must have been caused by the blue cheese, my blurry eyed multi-language friend agreed, and we vowed never to eat that particular blue cheese again. My wife, continued to perfect her Gallic shrug and this time added a French sneer. Sometimes my wife has no pity on the weak. A quiet morning followed.

Late morning, the food poisoning was slowly clearing, so we trotted off to the brocante market in the next village along the coast, and then of course to the supermarket for the daily baguette pilgrimage. (And for some more port, as we seem to have run out.) Over lunch, Viv started telling a couple of stories that sounded hazily familiar, my wife subtly said; “Think you told us that last night”. (A d’ja vu moment. There you go, - another one they have no word for!) Suitably embarrassed, Viv tried to recall what she had said last night, ...... with little success.

My wife decided it might be best if she made her maiden drive on French roads this afternoon, (probably wise, due to normal drivers condition), and soon we were on our way to Lisieux Basilica. It proved a worthy visit in spite of the driving rain. The entire interior was decorated in mosaic, but we did not have the time to count how many pieces completed the impressive decoration. On our return, we took in a visit to Chateau du Breuil, a well-known Calvados distillery. I pretended that the free tastings were a surprise, and ordered a glass of the 15 year old apple brandy for all of us. I had of course ‘forgotten’ my wife was driving, so I had to have hers. Then, the biggest shock of the afternoon,.... Viv didn’t like Calvados! To find any drink Viv did not like was of course a new experience for us all. I am not sure who was most surprised, us, or Viv. Only one thing to do, so I had hers as well. I then enjoyed the 12 year old one, and was just starting the 'Fine Calvados' when my wife let me know that I apparently wanted to go home.

Sunday: This morning Honfleur was our first call, yet again another brocante market full of tat and stuffed animals, but the harbour is spectacular. I am now reaching the limits of how much shopping one man can take. Next, our traditional Sunday trip to Trouville Fish Market, this time for crevettes and sole for tonight’s dinner.

Late afternoon our mates, Alistair & Natalie, arrived to join the house party. Alistair celebrated his arrival with half a bottle of bubbly, as he told me about the magnificent firework party he had held for his family the night before. Natalie wondered why there had been no fireworks in France, my wife explained as subtly as she could about Guy Fawkes. Just then, Alistair got a text from Georgia, his ten year old daughter; “Good night dad, just been to really cool firework party, much better than yours. No offence, love you.” Crestfallen would probably be the best description for my bald friend.

Over dinner Alistair easily dismantled two bottles of Sancerre. As the evening got later, Viv got sleepier, Nat and my wife delicately consumed various types of alcohol, whilst Alistair’s face just got redder, voice louder and his stories became more boring than usual.

Monday: My red faced friend was slightly delicate in the morning, claiming to be another victim of the blue cheese food poisoning. So our now perfected guided tour of Deauville started later than expected, and concluded with lunch before Viv had to catch her train for the homeward bound journey. An afternoon of a fish market visit, pastries and hot chocolate followed. Walking this evening, my wife decided it would be funny to guide us through some particular virulent quick sand, where I promptly lost a shoe in the freezing cold water. Alistair’s head resembled a belisha beacon in his hilarity, and I think he was impressed with the compendium of French swear words I had mastered.

As night time fell we were off to Deauville Casino to give them some more of my money, the ornately fashionable O2 bar with Lalique style lamps and changing colour Romanesque busts, provided refreshments as the gaming tables emptied our wallets. Next we moved on to ‘La Flambée' restaurant, and had the finest meal of our emigration, superb. I am enjoying being French!

Spent most of the late evening drinking, whilst participating in a nonsensical debate about black lobsters and enduring fits of Alistair’s trademark maximum decibel laughter. Alistair being a self endorsed marine expert, (having been to Bridlington recently), insisted he had seen three black lobsters at Trouville Fish Market, and embellished his lack of knowledge, by claiming that they stayed black when cooked. I, also being a marine expert, (because I live by the sea in both France & in Milford) said he was wrong on both counts. I was quite confident, not that I knew the facts, but more based on many years’ experience that there was a direct correlation to the correctness of Al’s facts and his level of alcohol consumption. Google revealed that black lobsters do exist, but you only get one in every two million lobsters. Also all lobsters turn red when cooked. The more Alistair drunk the more convinced he was he had seen them, I inquired why other 5,999,997 lobsters weren’t in the market, but he did not have an answer for that one.

My wife and Natalie got bored with the conversation, so talked about handbags and pointless husbands.

Tuesday: A quiet morning meandering around the delightful harbour and medieval streets of Honfleur, followed by a lunch of croque monsieur & frites. It was then time for Alistair & Natalie to leave, and for our ears to return to normal.

Wednesday: Our guests over the past couple of weeks had excelled themselves in emptying bottles for the fledgling French recycling cause, and my wife of course maintained her impressive contribution of Bacardi bottles. So it was a trip to the bottle bank this morning, thankfully we have a large estate car. A very long beach walk with dogs this afternoon. Made it all of the way to Blonville sur Mer and back, surprisingly without the need for oxygen. My wife is most impressed that for the past six weeks I have been resplendent in shorts almost every day. My shapely calf’s have attracted numerous admiring glances from many French women, ..... and a couple of strange men.

Thursday: I got to meet the Mayor today. His mayoral chain looked very impressive as he arrived at the front door of our holiday home, accompanied by twelve gendarmes. His French was not as good as I expected, but he seemed to like my warm greeting of three kisses. After informing me that Deauville was already twinned with Cowes, he handed me an official looking document with a rather impressive embossed coat of arms. I tried to explain that he would love Milford on Sea, as it was full of people like me. For some obscure reason he was unimpressed and I am sure I saw a little tear in his eye. As I read my new friends letter, I explained to my wife that it was offering me the key to the freedom of Deauville, and welcoming me to join the town council as an honorary cultural member My wife un-ceremonially snatched the papers and read out loud; “It actually says you are a public nuisance and you are being immediately deported”. As I left with my new friends, my wife tried to contain her obvious pleasure.

On leaving the custody of my escort party from Deauville, I had a pleasant journey across the channel. When arriving at Calais I thought I better call my wife. She was surprisingly calm, in fact said she had just had the most peaceful day of her holiday.

As we arrived back in Milford on Sea little had changed, in fact little has changed since the 1950’s. I then realised I had a more immediate problem to resolve. My wife was due home tomorrow and I thought it might be a good idea to perhaps go away for a few days, France was of course not an immediate option, so I planned to hide in the hall cupboard.

Friday: My wife returned home, and headed directly to the hall cupboard. After quite a minor beating my head was a tad sore, but things soon returned to normal.

As we wandered along the Milford on Sea beach later that day I looked due south west towards our vacated French home, and I recalled stories of the fun I had had across the water. “We will have to start planning our next emigration soon”; I excitedly exclaimed. My wife just mumbled; “I was thinking more about separate holidays in future.”

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Food Week Goodies for Xmas

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One of our readers dropped us a line saying they would like to give some Food Week Goodies as Christmas presents.  Pretty good idea we think!

We have a Cooks Apron for £6, or a Shopping bag for £5, if you would like both that would be £10.  We also have Mugs for £3.

If you would like to buy any items please drop me an e-mail, saying what you would like and providing your address as well please.

Wednesday, 9 November 2011

Bistro @ The Marine Party

The Marine on the seafront at Milford on Sea have announced the opening of ‘Bistro @ The Marine’. To celebrate everyone is invited to a ‘Pre-Launch Party’ where you can sample the new concept of high quality, affordable, family dining.

The Pre-Launch Party’ is on Saturday 12th November from 6pm. Everyone is welcome and a warm welcome and a complimentary drink will be waiting for you on arrival. Head Chef, Sam Hughes, will be providing Tasting Platters of a selection of the new meals available on the new Bistro Menu, and will be pleased to discuss any aspect of the Menu, and the inspiration behind it. The normal Bar Service will operate throughout the evening.

Every visitor who attends the pre-launch event this Saturday will be given a ‘Bistro @ The Marine’ Postcard on arrival, entitling you to our Bistro Launch Offer of a ‘Free Glass of Wine or One Free Child’s (under 10 years) meal, including Ice cream dessert, with every adult meal purchased.’ The postcard will be numbered, and a Draw will take place at 8.30pm on the night, and will entitle the winner to a complimentary Meal for Two, including a Bottle of Wine, in The Bistro.

The ‘Bistro @ The Marine’ will officially open on the 16th November and will be open Wednesday to Saturday, serving from 5.00pm to 9.30pm. The Bistro, situated in the ground floor Cafe'-Bar area, offering full table service and serving a range of freshly prepared Mediterranean dishes, including a wide variety of antipasti as well as pizza, pasta, risotto, grilled meats, fresh salads and daily specials.

Wednesday 16th November is also the Launch date of The Marine’s new Winter Set Course, Great Hampshire Winter Menu, which is served in the elegant first floor restaurant. The menu celebrates the best of Hampshire produce, and the ingredients (wherever possible) are sourced from local farms by our local suppliers. The menu features a main course for just £10.50.

A Family Story for Remembrance Day

I am sure that at this time of year many families recall stories of the war years & the part their own families played in the eventual victory. Our family never really had any ‘war stories’, well we didn’t until my brother Peter, did some genealogical research during 2009. Like most families I guess, the war was not discussed when we were children, & the only thing I remember was that my dad’s brother had been a WW2 prisoner of war in an horrific Japanese camp, but he never spoke about it to anyone, ever.

I also knew that my Grandad’s lungs were badly damaged during the first world war, but did not know how. I remember him as a warm & kindly man who lived with us when we were children. In fact our three bedroom home in Kingsbury, North London, housed my Grandad (Horace Hunt), my Nan, Mum & Dad, plus us three kids. He fondly told me great children’s stories as I sat on his knee, with his oxygen cylinder & mask sitting ominously next to him in the living room. He even caught me doing something I shouldn’t have, but kept it a secret from anyone forever.

My other Grandfather, Albert Long, I remember as a stern archetypal Victorian man, in a woollen suit with waistcoat & fob watch. His house was a standard semi-detached in Hendon, North London with an allotment at the bottom of the garden where he spent many hours. He was certainly of a mind that ‘children should be seen & not heard’ & the front parlour was a special treat to visit only on special Sundays. This all seems so far from the days we now live in. Having been born in the mid 1950's, I grew up with the war as being something 'old people' talked about, & in my teens & twenties I was much more interested in girls & pubs!

Sadly, when I eventually became interested in what happened during the two World Wars it was too late to ask many of those I had known that had been there. It was not until I was in my early forties that I took a trip to Ypres & the Belgian World War One Battlefields & Trenches, and the experience was unexpectedly emotional & a disturbing realisation of the scale of the slaughter. In subsequent years my interest in the war years grew, as I tried to understand & make sense of what had happened. It just felt important to know.

A visit to the World War Two D-Day Beaches of France soon followed. If these are trips you have never made, I thoroughly recommend a visit. I cannot say it will be fun, I also cannot guarantee you will not have an involuntary tear or two, but I can guarantee that the sights will put everything into perspective & steel your resolve for such a thing to never happen again. In my view, it should be on the curriculum of every school in the country to visit the battlefields & cemeteries to ensure our children never forget what happened to their own forefathers.

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Back to Peter, (my Brother), a few years ago he gave me a surprise present of two photograph frames with the most amazing contents following his research: each had a sepia photograph, name & rank panel, miniature medals & script on the back. The photographs were pictures of each of my Grandfathers in their military uniforms during WW1. The stories on the back revealed amazing things about two ordinary men during wartime.

My Grandad, Staff Sergeant Horace W Hunt, had been in the Royal Army Ordnance Corps during WW1 as a Mine Sweeper, unfortunately he was involved in an explosion which necessitated his return to Hendon Cottage Hospital, England for treatment for temporary blindness & respiratory problems. During World War Two he served as a corporal in the Southgate Home Guard. Being an engineer he invented an improved loading device for 97 round Lewis Light Machine Gun, which improved the loading efficiency by forty percent, and which he donated to the war effort. Our family now has discovered the original letter from a Major M. A Moir, congratulating him on his ingenuity.

My other Grandfather, Rifleman Albert Long, of the Rifle Brigade was one of the few to return from the atrocious battlefields of Passchendaele, Belgium. During his time in the trenches we were proud to discover that he had been awarded the Military Medal for an individual act of bravery. His Military Medal was awarded on the 18th October 1917. Unfortunately, all records of the exact event were destroyed during the bombing of the Army Records Office in London during World War 2. However, from researching family memories, Peter discovered that Albert had saved a comrade from ‘no man’s land’ during battle. His medals were bequeathed by the family to his Regimental museum, the Royal Green Jackets Museum in Winchester, when he died in 1965 & can still be seen there today.

This personal story may not be read by many, but for those that do read this, I hope it conjures up memories from your own families. Most importantly, now that I have written this story online my Grandfathers will never be forgotten, & like so many other fathers & Grandfathers who sacrificed so much, they never should.


To see how you can pay your respects on Remembrance Day or Remembrance Sunday in Milford on Sea please visit:


If you have your own Remembrance Day please feel free to share them by adding them to the ‘comments’ below:

Milford Banned in China

We heard international news from one of our readers this week. Tom, who is working in China, went to visit, only to find that our website would not open, meaning that it may be on the banned website list.

I think the ban is likely to be because someone considers the contents such ridiculous nonsense that they did not want to submit their people to it.  Quite right too.

I have been banned from plenty of places before, but never anywhere as big as China! I hope this does not mean that Milford on Sea is now banned from receiving Chinese tourists, as they are more than welcome. As is a Chinese takeaway if someone would like open one in the village!

Hurst Castle launch Xmas Card

For the first time, the Friends of Hurst Castle have produced a Christmas card to help raise urgently needed funds for the preservation and enhancement of Castle. Measuring a handy 5in x 5in, the picture has been painted by local artist Shaun Stevens, whose paintings are often displayed at Hurst's Castle Café and shown in local exhibitions including Keyhaven Sea Scout Hut.

The cards are £3.50 for a pack of ten with matching envelopes, and available from Hurst Castle at weekends, and from Gwen's in Milford on Sea village High Street. The message reads "Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year".

This great idea will raise a few much needed funds, promote Hurst Castle and give your friends and family a unique greeting this Christmas.

If you would like to lend a hand by selling a few packs of Christmas cards please contact Jonathan:

Jonathan Goodall for the Friends of Hurst Castle
01590 672068
07831 717770