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Sunday, 30 January 2011

Milford on Sea Food Week: Seven great days for ‘Foodies’!

Milford on Sea Food Week celebrates all that is great about food. This New Forest seaside village is fortunate to be blessed with great places to eat and surrounded by quality local producers, so what better way to celebrate this, than to have an entire week dedicated to the joys of food!

Everyone at every age is included, and Milford on Sea Food Week has over 100 activities including: Themed Dining Evenings, Professional Cookery Theatre, Celebrity Shows, Cooking Demonstrations, Educational Talks, Film Shows, Cookery Competitions, Wine Tastings, Dining Offers, Kid's Events & a large Sunday Food Market, all organised by local organisations, clubs, businesses and individuals. A Programme detailing all of the events is on sale in the village shops.

Food Week is co-ordinated by a small dedicated group of volunteers who provide their expertise and time for free. They are also fortunate to have a generous group of sponsors & supporters. Any income generated by Food Week is only used to cover promotional costs, and no fees or expenses are taken by any of the Food Week organisers. Food Week is delighted to support local charities from any profits that are made.

During Food Week, Milford on Sea village will be alive with a wide variety of activities for everyone in the family. The website contains a full programme of the numerous daily events & the closing day Sunday Food Market. In addition to the many locally organised events happening across the village, this year’s Food Week also has a number of ‘celebrity events’ featuring Dick Strawbridge, Hardeep Singh Kolhi, Milford’s Three Tenors (a trio of nationally renowned opera singers) and Alex Aitken as compere at ‘The Big Cook Off’ with chefs competing from Verveine & Westover Hall verses Chewton Glen & The Jetty in Christchurch. On the Wednesday there is also a ‘CakeFest! & Village Food Fair’. Tickets for events are available from the online ‘Food Week Ticket Office’ as well as in the village.

All of the village restaurants are running themed evenings & special offers throughout the week. Some of the entertainment includes; Indian Elvis, a Spring Ball, Tapas & Spanish Guitar Night, Chocolate & Champagne Extravaganza!, Italian & Opera Dinner, a Sixties Day, Thai Dancing Night, Choir & Cake Concert, French Connoisseur Evening, Shellfish Night, a Bollywood Lunch and a party night featuring local band ‘Dorsal Fin’.

There is also a full programme of events to entertain the kid’s on half-term throughout the week. The professional Cookery Theatre is providing a varied programme of events and activities that should excited every ‘foodie’.

On the final Sunday, the Food Market takes centre stage with over 40 stalls on the village green & along the High Street. Local producers from throughout the New Forest will be selling tasty fayre, and various types of hot food will be available. You can also visit the many village shops that will be open. Last year over 6000 people attended the Food Market, and this year all visitors will be entertained by a jazz quartet as they shop.

David Long one of the organising team said “Milford on Sea is a great place to eat & fun place to visit, so we wanted to celebrate this with a series of varied food related events around the village for all locals & visitors to enjoy and learn. Why not come & join in the fun!”

To find out more please visit: 

 Any enquiries please contact:
David Long, Food Week Organiser |

*If you would like specific information on any event please let me know.

Saturday, 29 January 2011

Construction starts on Westover Island

Construction has started on the new developments on Westover Island. A piano has now been installed for the alfresco dining area of the 'Canute Restaurant'. 

click image to enlarge
Opening dates have yet to be announced.

*If this story makes no sense to you, (which is likely!) please read the 'comments' link at the foot of the 'Local’s stake a claim to ‘Westover Island’' story. All we become clear!

Wednesday, 26 January 2011

Local’s stake a claim to ‘Westover Island’

Some local villagers have identified a unique opportunity for emigration to their own paradise island. As you may know, a strange tidal activity has been occurring over the past few months which has resulted in a significant ‘shingle bank’ raising to the surface due south of Milford on Sea & north west of The Needles. To date the bank has stubbornly refused to retreat back under the waves, and added to this, the shingle bank was initially identified as ‘Dolphin Bank’, which has proved to be incorrect. This of course now means that this new ‘Island’ has no known sovereignty. Therefore, the local villagers of Milford on Sea have decided to stake a claim.

click image to enlarge
The new shifting land mass is estimated to be approximately 1.5 miles wide at low tide, and is constantly seen several feet above sea level, this prime land may even continue to increase in size. Finding the opportunity too good to miss, local residents are now planning the colonisation of the island. The initial plan is to start with the building of beach huts, a number of luxury holiday homes, four pubs, six restaurants & a watersports centre. (Health Spa’s have been banned by the interim government) Debate has raged amongst the few daft people who have come up with this idea, particularly on the subject of what name to give the new ‘Island’. Such procrastination is of course delaying the submission of planning applications. As the instigator of the habitation concept for the island, and in saner moments owner of Westover Hall Hotel on Milford on Sea cliff top, David Smith has won the naming argument, based on his theory that the ‘island’ would have once been part of his Westover Hall garden during the ice age. So, ‘Westover Island’ has been ‘officially’ declared the shingle banks new name. Discussions continue on the most suitable ‘National Anthem’ & ‘National Flag’. So far, the front runners are to create new words to the tune of ‘We’ll meet again’ or ‘Always look on the bright side of life!’. The flag is currently looking like it might be ‘A rainbow of multi-colour horizontal stripes‘, I have tried to explain to the others that whilst pretty, this colour choice may get misconstrued and that a rethink may be necessary. 

As planning permission and design concepts for the planned Island developments may take some time to complete, it has been decided to take the opportunity to celebrate part of ‘Milford on Sea Food Week’ on ‘Westover Island’ in the meantime. The village is fortunate to have numerous fisherman & leisure sailors, so the plan is to commandeer their boats to ferry out dining tables & parasols in preparation for a ‘Gala Seafood Banquet’. The menu will of course be locally caught and cooked by the Westover Hall chefs. To ensure the whole event is taken seriously, the diners must at least have a ’25 Yard Swimming Proficiency Certificate’. The dress code for the evening will be swimming costume, trunks or unisex sarongs. Any gentlemen arriving wearing a ‘mankini’ will be turned away at the temporary jetty. An ‘Oyster Diving Competition’ is also being proposed for the Food Week activities, the competition will have ‘Under 60’, ‘60 to 80’, and ‘Over 80’ categories. It is anticipated that the final two categories will attract the greater number of local entries.

The new sovereignty of ‘Westover Island’ has decided to retain UK currency, but it has chosen to be a tax haven with no duty on alcohol. Demand for building plots is expected to be significant, so only residents of Milford on Sea who can run 100 yards in under 12 seconds are able to apply at this stage. No passport will be required initially, however it has been agreed to produce a postage stamp. The image to feature on the stamp is as yet undecided, but it has been agreed to put the glue on both sides just to confuse everyone.

Suggestions of the creation of a road bridge, or tunnel from the mainland were dismissed as ridiculous nonsense. A further idea to build a tunnel entrance in Cherbourg, signposted to Westover Island was accepted with numerous immature giggles, after the proposer explained that the tunnel would be built to accept traffic, but the tunnel would come to a halt halfway across the English Channel. The idea of setting up a stall selling 'Milford on Sea Souvenirs' at the tunnel's end is still under consideration. 

Applications for the new post of ‘King of Westover Island’ are now being invited. Suitable candidates must have some previous experience of running a country or parish council. Please send your application to: ‘I want to be King’, Westover Hall, Park Lane, Milford on Sea, SO41 0PT. To ensure true equality is maintained, potential Queens may also apply. (My wife made me put that bit in!) Closing date for applications is 1st April 2011.

Food Week Ticket Sales get off to a flyer!

Since the Food Week Ticket Office opened a couple of weeks ago, ticket sales have topped £3500 with over 250 tickets sold for Food Week events. One event has even sold out already!

If you would like to see the Event Tickets on sale please click here

Laughter, Beanstalks & Pumpkins

Christmas was extended in Milford on Sea due to the Community Centre Pantomime taking place over last weekend. The local village cast gave four sell out performances of 'Beanstalks & Pumpkins', written by our local amateur impresario’s, Penny & Bob Bishop, with a helping hand from Marguerite Willcox. The village’s first pantomime was a definite smash hit with all that came along.

As tradition has it, many of girls in the cast were dressed as men, with some men dressed as women (& some of the guys seemed surprisingly comfortable in their reversed roles!) We do know that Sue & Sean were in the ‘Panto Cow’, but how Sean drew the short straw for the ‘back end’ we are not so sure! (& it is probably best not to know!) Cinderella was played with great charm by the delightful Katherine Sim. There were also many fine performances, and seeing Hugh Whitlock our village solicitor as a rather convincing ‘dodgy pedlar’ was irony at its finest. Some fine character names of ‘Hermaphrodite Hardup’ & ‘Transvestia Hardup’ were created for Maurice & John, performing as the Ugly Sisters. As you may imagine from those names there was also a smattering of hidden ‘grown up’ entertainment for the adults. In fact, on the whole, most of the adults immediately reverted to childhood as they enthusiastically cried out ‘He’s behind you’, and other random & sometimes hilarious heckles!

The village’s ability to draw keen amateurs to jump on stage and put in fine Panto performances, is a testament to both our community spirit and the abundance of local talent. It is only a shame that we cannot mention them all by name here, however everyone did a fine job! The kids from Zapp School of Dance were enthusiastic & enthralling in their roles as elves, mice & dancers, and helped make the show a great success. However, Cameron Howard, as Jack Skint was far too young, talented & good looking for my liking. It was evident that a lot of hard work was done by all involved onstage & behind the scenes, and all the effort proved worthwhile when around 600 people passed through the doors of Milford on Sea Community Centre, and then left having been thoroughly entertained. Roll on next year!

It’s not Dolphin Bank

One of our more intelligent & studious readers (I know, we don’t have many that fit that description), has contacted your editor to point out that it is not in fact Dolphin Bank that is current in view west of The Needles. Apparently, accordingly to ‘Admiralty Charts’, it is in fact part of ‘Shingles Bank’. (And I didn’t even know the Admiralty made records, never seen them mentioned in my copy of ‘Smash Hits’ magazine)
Dolphin Bank is in fact further west. Fortunately, I do not pride myself on the accuracy & factual content of my ramblings, so I am happy to take his word for it! Brian has also let us know that jet skiers have now been spotted using this bank to jump off the ramp! Although I am pretty confident he was not one of them.

Settled snow was seen on the bank over Christmas, this of course means that the bank has remained permanently above sea level. Brian makes an interesting point relating to the many tons of shingle laid on Milford on Sea beaches each year, and their subsequent disappearance! Could our new ‘shingle bank’ be their new home? What is clear, is that this area of ‘Shingle Bank’ has not been seen before by long standing residents in such size or duration. Perhaps global warming is working in reverse with sea levels falling! Al Gore is welcome to visit anytime to explain what is happening.

Saturday, 22 January 2011

Milford on Sea Arts & Music Festival at risk

I guess this is not the sort of news that any of us want to hear, but the Milford on Sea Arts & Music Festival is seriously at risk. The past & present volunteer committee have all done a magnificent job in organising the Music Festival for the past nine years, but it appears that festival may not make its tenth year, as it is desperately in new of new volunteers. The current committee is so reduced in strength and numbers that the wonderful annual event may not even happen at all.

All they need is a few willing hands and they could spread the workload to make everything happen. If you feel you could lend some time as one of the organisers, or as a helper please drop me an e-mail and I will pass it on. Hopefully we can save our Music Festival somehow.

If you can help, please contact me at:

The Island is back!

The shingle bank has once again raised it's sustantial presence above sea level just west of The Needles. Dolphin Bank is rarely seen, but it just keeps popping up this year.

If you fancy finding out more, please read our previous story 'New Island off The Needles', which was published in November.

Nigel in Daily Mail

Nigel Swann, a local businessman, & reader of these ridiculous pages, had one of his astute observations published in The Daily Mail on 7th January.  Nigel wrote: ‘I think seasonal sales are over-hyped. I went to the local Pound shop and they didn’t have any reductions at all.’  I don’t think anyone can argue with that!

Food Week Calendar & Website Now Online

All of the events at Milford on Sea Food Week have now been added to the Milford on Sea Community Calendar.  Please don't let these stop you buying a programme when it comes out in a couple of weeks, as the income from the programme helps cover the costs of Food Week!

To view the Food Week Calendar please click here.

The Food Week website has undergone a ‘makeover’.  If you fancy a look there is a link at the bottom of this article.  As it now looks so pretty, I asked my wife if she would like me to do her a ‘make over’, unsurprisingly she declined, and continued searching the web for plastic surgeons who specialise in liposuction.  ‘You’re not fat’, I told her.  Mischievously she replied, ‘It’s not for me you idiot’. If you fancy a look at the Food Week site please visit:

Monday, 10 January 2011

Swimming Banana in Milford

If you wandered along the seafront on Sunday lunchtime you may have seen a banana swimming in the sea. Our fruity friend was accompanied by several other hardy souls, all in fancy dress. The sea was pretty cold, so the most suitable costume was probably the guy dressed as a penguin!

As this is not the normal swimming attire for Milford on Sea beach we decided to investigate. We discovered that they were taking part in the Portage Plunge, which was in aid of Ashurst Hospital near Southampton.

I did offer to go in, wearing just my ‘furry lounge suit’, but they said the charity was not that desperate!

You can watch the Portage Plunge here:

Get Involved in Food Week

Events: Lots of people are now well underway with planning their involvement in Food Week (11th to 17th April 2011)  If you would like to be involved in running an event, or know someone else who would like to, you will need to be quick!, as we are sending the Food Week Progamme for printing this week. 

So, please let me know if you are interested in adding any events asap please.

Food Week Volunteers: We now have a list of around 20 volunteers who are happy to be invited to help out when we need a hand at an event.  Our volunteers simply select or reject any requests they receive.  Luckily, we do not need to beg very often!  'The BIG Family Breakfast' has already had four volunteers agreeing to lend a hand on the Saturday of Food Week.

If you would like to be on the Food Week Volunteers List, please drop me an e-mail at:

Another Live Bomb on Hurst Spit

This is spooky! Last year, well to be exact, on a Sunday afternoon at around 3.30pm on 8th February 2010, the flashing blue lights from a Bomb Disposal Unit truck was spotted driving though Milford on Sea village. 

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Your intrepid reporter was enjoying an afternoon of relaxation after a particularly spectacular Sunday lunch with friends at Westover Hall. (Surely the pastry chef, is one of the finest masters of his craft in the country. His sweets are so amazing that we had ordered five between the four of us.) I digress, so back to the bomb disposal. I now had a duty to find out what’s going on, but couldn’t really be bothered.

I then decided to wake my sleeping wife to tell her of the excitement - this is always a dangerous manoeuvre.

Not sure why, but she wasn’t greatly impressed. Her speech is quite incoherent when unexpectedly woken, but I guessed she was trying to tell me how much she adored being with me. I quickly asked ‘Do you fancy a walk to Hurst Spit?’, ‘Grrrr, if I must’ she said as clearly as she could under the circumstances.

For some inexplicable reason, her eye’s became glazed with that ‘mass murder look’ when I replied: ‘Great, can you find out what’s going on & tell me when you get back’. I was a bit worried for my life for a few seconds, but mustered the courage to explain that I had just got comfortable & was watching the rugby. Without her saying anything, I got the impression that my wife was not the least concerned about my afternoon sporting pleasure.

Anyway, my wife soon trotted off with our two sniffer dogs, both of whom would be willing to help out if the bomb disposal guys needed a hand. At around 4pm I heard a loud explosion. Dutifully, my wife later reported back that the Bomb Disposal guys had detonated a device on the beach just along the Spit after the bridge. My wife had failed to investigate what type of bomb it was, but I thought it best not to mention her error to her, as I hear ‘strange accidents’ can happen to husbands when a wife is annoyed!

This year, it happened again on a Sunday afternoon at around 3.30pm, but this time on 2nd January 2011.  We were returning along the seafront after another delicious Sunday lunch at Westover Hall, when we could see in the distance a large crowd on Hurst Spit. This was almost immediately followed by a loud bang, and a plume of smoke. The Bomb Disposal guys had detonated yet another WW2 bomb. As I eagerly turned towards my wife, she simply said ‘If you value your manhood, don’t even think of asking me to go down there.’ I did, so I didn’t.

Wednesday, 5 January 2011

Food Week Ticket Office Now Open!

Tickets are now available online for key Milford on Sea Food Week Events!

This year we have an online Ticket Office for the ‘Major Ticketed Events’.  There will also be lots more free events during Food Week, all of which will be featured in the ‘Food Week Online Calendar’ and in the printed ‘Food Week Programme’, which is due in the village shops during early February. 

Last year many people were disappointed, due to all of events selling out early. So, this year you will not miss out if you order your tickets for your favourite events online now. There are a lot of new shows this year, so please click here to visit the ‘Ticket Office’ and take a look.

Of course, not everyone has access to the internet, so to be fair to all, the quantity of ‘online tickets’ are limited, and we shall have others available to buy at the ‘Food Week Box Office’, which will be held on advertised days before Food Week.

Tickets will also be on sale at Gwen’s for selected events from this Friday.

Food Week Calendar: We also have many ‘Free Events’ taking place during Food Week 2011. So, to view everything that will be happening please click here.


Milford on Sea Food Week is a celebration about all that is great about food. Our village is blessed with great places to eat and surrounded by quality local producers, so what better way to celebrate this than to have an entire week dedicated to the joys of food!

Everyone at every age is included, and Milford on Sea Food Week has over 100 activities including: Themed Dining Evenings, Professional Cookery Theatre, Celebrity Shows, Cooking Demonstrations, Educational Talks, Competitions, Dining Offers, Kids Events & a Sunday Food Market, all organised by local organisations, clubs, businesses and individuals.

Food Week is co-ordinated by a small dedicated group of volunteers who provide their expertise and time for free. Any income generated by Food Week is only used to cover promotional costs, and no fees or expenses are taken by any of the Food Week organisers. We are delighted to support local charities from any profits that are made.

As our event is truly ‘By the community, for the community’ your support is critical to us, and we thank you for getting involved by enjoying the events during Food Week.

Gingerbread House Results

Local brother and sister Ursula and Ben Nealon were recently announced joint winners of the ‘Gingerbread House Painting’ Competition.  The competition was run by Chris at Inger-Lise’s Coffee Bar, with many local children popping in to try there hand at creating a masterpiece, competition judge, Sally from Landfall Gallery, found choosing a winner difficult. So, she decided the only option was to have two winners!  Kev (Chris’s husband) apparently had great fun assembling the prize house, he said 'it was as technical as building a real one!'  Chris sends her thanks to everyone who entered, and hopes to see all soon for other themed competitions for the kids.