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Friday, 29 April 2011

Our MP hits HSBC brick wall

Our local MP, Desmond Swayne has done his best to save our banking facilities in Milford on Sea village.  Like all other attempts, it appears to me that he has now experienced the HSBC attitude problems first hand. Desmond met with Mr Lester Wynne-Jones the South West Regional Director of HSBC. His main effort was to persuade him to engage in a public meeting with the community in Milford on Sea. Mr Lester Wynne-Jones was not persuaded. Apparently sensitive little HSBC believe that they have already incurred significant adverse publicity and that such an event would inevitably lead to more. With a bit of luck he is referring to the ranting on these pages. What HSBC obviously doesn’t get is that they have gone about this whole episode appallingly, and then they expect us to lay down reverently, being grateful that they are still happy to look after our money miles away. They just don’t get it, do they.

Desmond rightly argued forcefully that if people felt that they had been properly listened to and had had the opportunity to have their say. this would be to the bank's credit. Having also failed with this argument, Desmond then sought to persuade him to - at least - engage in a meeting with a smaller number of, say, half a dozen activists leading the campaign. He could not persuade him to do this either. Apparently, Mr Wynne-Jones was emphatic that the bank much prefers to work with ‘individual customers’ and would give one to one time to those customers who wish to have it, in order to assist them with the arrangements that they will need to make for their banking needs when the branch closes. Nice to know HSBC are willing to talk to their individual customers.

Not giving up, & changing tack, Desmond then drew to his attention the results of the survey of the branch usage carried out by members of our community; the evidence that the branch was significantly better used than others; that strategies for increasing the level of business had not been explored, and that no indication had been given that the branch was under threat until the announcement was made out of the blue.

Mr Wynne-Jones found these arguments compelling and immediately apologised for not having any consultation process. He then agreed that the branch should indeed stay open. Oh no, my mistake, he actually replied with the still unsubstantiated corporate line that ‘the Milford branch had been among the least cost effective… ya, de, ya, de ya’.

Mr Wynne-Jones was emphatic that HSBC were making every effort to secure a permanent cash dispensing facility in the village. (The joint venture with BT, which removes our red telephone box.) Should they fail to do so, they would retain the existing facility until a convenient alternative was available. The ATM cash machine will of course continue to generate revenue for HSBC from an empty building they have to pay rent on anyway.

Desmond came to conclusion, that despite his best efforts, that it was clear that the decision to close the branch had been taken and was not going to be reviewed.

Desmond also contacted RBS, from which he got a reasoned and polite reply. Whilst they did not see opening a branch in Milford on Sea as viable, it was interesting to read their statement that; ‘We appreciate how valued local branches can be, particularly in smaller rural communities, which is why our Customer Charter includes a promise never to close a branch where we are the last branch in town.’ What a shame we never had an RBS Branch in our village.

One good thing to come out of this, is to discover that we have an MP willing to fight shoulder to shoulder with us on a worthy cause. He has also been a generous supporter of Milford on Sea Food Week. I care little what party he is from, but do appreciate that he seems to be a good guy to have around.

Whilst it appears to me the battle to save our local banking branch is over, I am sure there are many people in the village who are rightly aggrieved at the way HSBC has treated them. I suspect the war is not over, as we will remember what has happened and should an opportunity arise to leave HSBC on mass I am sure many will. I wonder if the ‘HSBC grey suits’ have heard the phrase ‘what goes around, comes around’.

Annual Parish Meeting next Tuesday

PUBLIC NOTICE. Annual Parish Meeting - Tuesday 3rd May 2011 at 7.30pm - All Saints’ Church Hall

The Annual Parish Meeting is for Local Government electors and to receive update reports from Parish, District and County Councillors on matters affecting Milford on Sea parish.

This is your opportunity to come along to the meeting to express opinion, ask questions or simply raise concerns.

Everyone welcome, just come along.

Fancy being a Volunteer for Food Week 2012?

Having all enjoy Milford on Sea Food Week a couple of weeks ago plans are now being made for 2012.

We were very fortunate this year in having a band of energetic & enthusiastic volunteers. They took on tasks from helping out in the Cookery Theatre, to being ‘offical photographers’, helping at the Food Market  and of course our intrepid raffle ticket sales team.

Next year's Food Week will be from Easter Monday 9th April until 15th April, and it would be great to have more volunteers joining our list now, especially as we will have a 'Food Week Information Centre' on the green next year.  Any time you can spare is gratefully receive, and you can pick & choose what you would like to help out with.

There is something everyone can get involved with, and it is a great way to have some fun, meet new people & make friends.  So, if you fancy being a volunteer next year please just drop me a line & join our team.

David Battie to visit Lymington

David Battie, who appears regularly on The Antiques Roadshow, is to visit the Lymington based Decorative and Fine Arts Society on May 11th. David Battie is a specialist in ceramics and oriental works of art and is often seen assessing fine porcelain on the television show. He will be talking to the New Forest Evening Decorative and Fine Arts Society about The Antiques Roadshow and some of the splendid items he has seen over the years.

Visitors to the Lecture will be welcome, a fee of £7.00 for visitors is charged at the door.

Doors open at 7pm and the lecture begins at 7.30 and lasts about an hour, followed by questions.

Venue: Lymington Community Centre.

Further information from Pam Le Gassick on 01590 676839 or

Bank Holiday Monday Mayhem

Visiting tourists and locals on Milford on Sea beach saw lifeboat activity on a hot and busy Easter Monday afternoon. The Lymington RNLI were called out three times in quick succession. The first call at 1.13 p.m. turned out to be a false alarm. The Lymington RNLI lifeboat Victor ‘Danny’ Lovelock , having been recovered, refuelled and re-housed, and some of the crew had not yet left the boathouse, when pagers alerted then to the second call.

The second call at 1:55pm resulted from public awareness of a situation developing half a mile off Milford on Sea beach where with a North Easterly Force 5 blowing offshore and deceptive flat seas two young adults in a rubber inflatable dinghy without oars had no chance of returning to the shore without assistance. Quick thinking by a passing yacht (the Stren) prevented the dinghy from being swept further offshore and the Lymington RNLI lifeboat was tasked to recover the occupants to the safety of Milford on Sea beach, where the rescued appeared more concerned with having their photographs taken with the lifeboat as a backdrop and not losing their can of drink than the danger they had been in.

Refuelled and with the crew just departed to continue their Easter Monday family time, pagers sounded again at 4.08pm for another call to the same dinghy as previously rescued that had been swept out to sea again. This time though a local speed boat was first on the scene and able to assist thus the lifeboat call was cancelled just as the crew where passing the wave-screen and only a quarter of a mile from the station. How is it that some people never learn!

The inshore lifeboat at Lymington has covered an area of the western Solent for 40 years, and six awards have been presented to members of the lifeboat crew for gallantry.

All Saints’ Church Flower Festival

If you found time to visit the All Saints Church Flower Festival in mid-April, I am sure you were, like many others, extremely impressed.

The Flower Festival coincided with Milford on Sea Food Week and contained spectacular displays of works depicting ‘Food from the Bible’. Church goer or not, you could not help but be warmed by the delightful arrangements, which were a testimony to hours of hard work by a small band of dedicated volunteers. To add to the spectacle, our village Norman church provided a spectacular backdrop to the colours of spring.

The few pictures below give a flavour of the many flower displays. (*Click on images to enlarge)

*Click on images to enlarge

Saturday, 23 April 2011

Enjoy Food Week Again!

Dates for next year's Milford on Sea Food Week have already been set, so please make sure you are around to join in the fun from Bank Holiday Monday 9th April to Sunday 15th April 2012.

Before we start preparing for next year, why not enjoy this year's event all over again but taking a look at some of our snapshots below. (Just click on the image to view a larger version.)

This year’s Milford on Sea Food Week has been amazing! The whole of the village got enthusiastically involved in organising over one hundred events, including the village eateries, shops, local producers, the Girl Guides, WI, clubs, schools, local charities, church and lots of individual food producers, experts & specialists.

We estimate that around 12,000 to 15,000 people attended the numerous food events, dining experiences, demonstrations, talks, wine tastings, Co-op Cookery Theatre, CakeFest! & celebrity shows during Food Week. The Sunday Food Market also had a carnival feel, with live music and 46 stalls selling delicious local produce.  It felt like the whole village attended the many events, along with holidaymakers and many people from neighbouring towns as far afield as Poole & Southampton.  The whole week has been a joy, particularly when seeing thousands of people being fed and entertained all across the village.

All of the celebrity shows and themed dining events had enthusiastic support & great feedback. The numerous activities throughout Food Week raised over £9000 for local charities and really celebrated the benefits of local food. Best of all, it was great to see the smiling faces on the many kids, family groups, thirtysomethings & our lively older generation all enjoying everything that our special village has to offer.

As our event is truly ‘By the community, for the community’ a huge thank you goes to the massive team of volunteers and raffle sellers who did so much to ensure everything ran so smoothly. Everyone from the organisers to the volunteers gave their time and expertise for free, with no expenses or fees taken. The fun throughout Food Week was sufficient reward for every involved!

Click images to enlarge

*Please feel free to share your Food Week experiences by clicking 'comments' below and then posting your comment.

Parish Council election

The Milford on Sea Parish Council election is to take place on Thursday 5th May from 7am to 10pm.  The Polling Stations are at The Village Hall in Park Road and All Saints' Church Hall in Church Hill.

This year's election has 13 candidates for 12 council positions, so someone will miss out.

The Parish Council election coincides with the referendum for at Alternative Voting (AV) System.

Click image to enlarge

A New Pearl for Milford

Anyone passing the former Piccolo Mondo restaurant in the Milford on Sea High Street will have noticed a major transformation taking place. The complete renovation of the frontage, dining areas and kitchen is being completed by new owner Lionel Sene, Emily his wife, all of the in-laws & kids! New to the village, Lionel & his young family are not only creating an exciting new dining option for us all, but he & his family are also now living near the village centre.

Lionel is to be both the owner & head chef of the soon to be named ‘La Perle’. As some readers will know my wife & I once emigrated to France & the translation to ‘The Pearl’ was not hardship pour votre r├ędacteur! Yes. Lionel is indeed a Frenchman, and a charming one at that. Originally from Hautvillers, Epernay in the beautiful Champagne area, he is now looking forward to becoming part of our village life. He has been working as a chef for 17 years and is passionate about food. Having completed his apprenticeship in the Royal Champagne Hotel & Le Grand Cerf – both acclaimed 1 Michelin star restaurants in eastern France. Lionel then moved to Paris and worked in the famous 2 Michelin Star Hotel Crillon alongside Dominique Bouchet, then Head Chef.

In the following years Lionel has combined his love of travelling & cooking moving to Switzerland to work in the famous Mandarin Hotel in Geneva, followed by his first experience of England at Chewton Glen and then Pebble Beach. He met Emily, his future English wife in Australia & has now arrived to settle in Milford on Sea.
Le Perle is Lionel’s first venture and combines his idea of fresh, tasty & locally sourced European cuisine. His focus for the restaurant is to create a cosy, friendly environment with fresh, tasty & authentic dishes at a reasonable price. I for one are looking forward to when he opens the door in early June.

Royal Wedding at Shorefield

If would like to watch the Royal Wedding on a big screen TV why not pop up to Shorefield Country Park. Coverage starts from around 9.30am.

The Cheers Bar will be open from 9am if anyone wants breakfast beforehand. It will also be open throughout the day for refreshments and lunch. In addition they are offering a buffet lunch at £5.00 a head served from 12 noon – 2pm. The fly past is at 1.30pm. Everyone welcome.

May Fayre on Monday 2nd May

Don’t miss this year May Fayre on the village green. This charming family day out on Monday 2nd May starts at 10am until 4pm. The main feature as always will be the crowning of the May Princess, Hannah Cornack and her attendant Emily Duckett at 2.00pm, both are pupils from our village school. That is followed by May Pole dancing by the children from Milford C of E primary school.

The village green will be full of stalls with something for everyone, In addition there will be lots of entertainment with an Assault course, Climbing wall, Coconut shy, Music Food from the BBQ. We also have Punch & Judy shows and a Magic show. Just come along & enjoy yourself!

HSBC dislodge Red Phone Box

Many may be nostalgic about the ‘old fashioned Red Telephone Box’ at the foot of the village green beside The Old Smithy.  Well, if you are one of them, it is possible that the village is at risk of losing it. 

To explain, whilst efforts continue to resolve our village banking issues following the withdrawal of HSBC. Our local MP Desmond Swayne, along with enthusiastic village campaigners are continuing to hold meeting in an attempt to keep a bank in our village, we wish them well, but honest expectation have to be low.

It is looking promising for the retention of an ATM Cash Machine in the village, with the news that the Coop are to have a free service in-store during their lengthy opening hours. The law of ‘unexpected consequences’ has also raised its head, as there is also another new proposal with NFDC Planning Department having received an application from BT Payphones to install a combined ‘Telephone kiosk with ATM’. The new unit is similar in size & shape to the existing Red Phone Box, but in a nice bright silver colour to blend in with our conservation area!  You will never guess the bank brand also emblazed on the pictures with the planning application?  Oh yes, our old friends HSBC.

artists impression
click image to enlarge
This installation will of course make our ‘old Red Phone Box’ obsolete. We have a choice, we can just lose it, or we can work together to keep for the village. Some unofficial discussions have identified that the village could buy it, and it is likely that the Parish Council would support a relocation to a suitable new position. The main issue will be who will be responsible for funding & physically maintaining the phone box, it is doubtful that the Parish Council will take this on.

So, if you would like to retain the Red Phone Box we need ideas on:
Who will take responsibility for maintenance? Perhaps, Milord on Sea Historical Society may be interested?

Who will fund the maintenance? Perhaps we could have a village appeal to cover costs for next five years?

Where could it be relocated? First idea, is in the raised flowerbed outside of HSBC & at top of Park Road? (See picture with the story)

What could it contain, as it would no longer be a phone?

If you have any ideas or thoughts, please feel free to share them by posting a comment below >>>

Lofty's Jive at Milford on Sea

Lofty’s Jive night is back as usual on Bank holiday Monday 2nd of May.

Kieran Loftus was one of the first people in the country to teach what is Known today as Modern Jive. He started dancing in1994, got hooked and soon became a qualified instructor. Kieran is a former UK National Jive Champion. He has appeared on BBC1 on a couple of occasions demonstrating and teaching. Among his pupils were Robson & Jerome!!! (he only taught them to dance, not sing!)

Modern Jives derives from French Jive known as Le Roc. It is one of the easiest dances to learn and is the biggest social dance at the moment. There is at least one dance class in every major city and many in smaller towns and villages. In fact just google "modern Jive" and you will be astonished how popular it is. Dances are held all over the country at weekends where lovers of the dance get together from different parts of the country. There are many "weekenders" dedicated to devotees of the dance.

The dance is for everyone, of all shapes, sizes and ages. You don't have to bring a partner and no experience is necessary. Is a great social night and ideal way to keep fit and lose those pounds. Music is played from Sinatra and Buble to Kylie and Take that. Once you have the basics you are ready to jive at weddings, parties and down the local club or pub. Once you have learnt it, you won’t forget it. In fact I hear it is addictive.

Kieran runs his popular class at Milford on Sea Community centre, every Monday night starting at 8pm. The age group is typically 40 yrs upwards. Feel free to give it a go and soon you will be impressing your friends, and making friends at the same time.

Any queries contact Kieran on 07802 815371

Tuesday, 19 April 2011

Wow, What a Food Week!

New House Venison at Food Market

This year’s Milford on Sea Food Week has been amazing! The whole of the village got enthusiastically involved in organising over one hundred events, including the village eateries, shops, local producers, the Girl Guides, WI, clubs, schools, local charities, church and lots of individual food specialists.

We estimate that around 12,000 to 15,000 people attended the numerous food events, dining experiences, demonstrations, talks, cookery theatre, CakeFest! & food market during Food Week. It felt like the whole village attended the many events, along with holidaymakers and many people from neighbouring towns as far afield as Poole & Southampton. The whole week has been a joy, particularly when seeing thousands of people being fed and entertained all across the village.

All of the celebrity shows and themed dining events had enthusiastic support & great feedback. The numerous activities throughout Food Week also raised over £9000 for local charities. Best of all, it was great to see the smiling faces on the many kids, family groups, thirtysomethings & our lively older generation all enjoying everything that our special village has to offer.

A huge thank you goes to the massive team of volunteers and raffle sellers who did so much to ensure everything ran so smoothly. Even those working at Food Week had a great time!

Give us a few days for our legs to recover and lose a bit of weight!, then we will have a few stories of what happened, along with a photo album from Food Week.

The Neary Naked Chef | Hardeep Singh Kohli

An Evening with Dick Strawbridge (& Florence!)

Sunday Food Market

Tuesday, 12 April 2011

Come & See the Moustache

The fun of Food Week is getting into full swing following a successful Monday full of activities & food!  Just thought I would let you know that we still have tickets available for the ‘big events’. If you turn up at the door, there is a good chance there will still be tickets available. The ‘CakeFest! & Village Food Fair’ is free entry for all in the All Saints’ Church Hall from 10am to 3pm on Wednesday. Wednesday afternoon at 2.30pm is ‘The BIG Cook Off’ at the Cookery Theatre in the Community Centre, tickets will be available on the door, as they will be for ‘An Evening with Dick Strawbridge at 5pm on Thursday. Dick will be cooking & recalling amusing stories from his varied TV career. The ‘famous moustache’ should really be seen in person!

Friday night is party night at South Lawn with live music from local band 'Dorsal Fin', together with Scampi & Chips included in the ticket price. The final Cookery Theatre show is on Saturday night at 7.30pm, The Nearly Naked Chef Show with Hardeep Singh Kohli will be one not to miss! The Cookery Theatre also has many free entry events, and demonstrations, so please come along and take a look. Finally, Sunday will see the Three Tenors with their ‘Food Glorious Food show’.  This spectacular show will be at performed at South Lawn Hotel at 5pm & again at 8pm. Why not find the time to come along and get a ticket on the door.

No time to write anymore just now, I need to get out and eat my way through Food Week!

PS: If you tune into Radio Solent at around 1.30pm today you will hear some big bloke being interviewed about Food Week!

Glimmer of hope for bank

The village continues to be galvanised to resolve the problems resulting from HSBC’s decision to unceremoniously dump us. Many individual and groups in the village have been writing to all and sundry looking for solutions. Jan England has been in touch with the Daily Mail ‘Money Section’ with the result that they visited the village with a photographer yesterday, villagers Nick Martin, Freda Cheyney and others were also interviewed, so hopefully our village story will appear nationally soon. Geoffrey Hinds & several others has also been very active with correspondence. The Co-op have also been contacted, but whilst friendly, they do not see that Milford on Sea would fit into their plans in the near future. Helen White & friends are also speaking to numerous people and had a meeting with our local MP, Desmond Swayne a few weeks ago. He promised to speak to some banks in the city, and he has been true to his word. Whilst he drew a blank with HSBC & Santander, it appears that he has gained sufficient interest from RBS to investigate further.

We also hear that the Co-Op & HSBC are considering installing ATM cash machines within the village.

HSBC is looking a lost cause, but we certainly sense a will in the village to activate a ‘Lets transfer our money’ campaign should any bank show interest in supporting the village.

Whether the light at the end of proves to be good news, or a train coming, we will see.

Friday, 8 April 2011

Food Week Tickets on Door

Box Office: If you haven’t booked tickets for the major Milford on Sea Food Week events yet, there will be a Food Week Box Office selling tickets on this Saturday & Sunday from 9am to 12noon in the Community Centre.

At Door: It is likely you will be also able to buy tickets on the door of the major events.  But, please arrive as early as possible to ensure of getting in.

To see everything that is happening (& there is a lot!) please get your programme in almost any of the village shops.

To be sure of a ticket please pop into Gwen’s or order online by visiting: 

Marshalls wanted

We are looking for a few Traffic Marshalls to keep an eye on the ‘No Entry’ barriers to the Food Market in the High Street on Sunday 17th April. We are really fortunate to have a large volunteer team covering all other duties at various events, but still need a hand with Traffic Marshalling.

If you could do ‘9am to 12noon’, or ‘12noon to 3.30pm’, or both, please just let me know:

Bon Appetit launch ‘Picnic on the Green’

Milford on Sea’s village creperie, Bon Appetit, has launched 'Picnic on the Green'. Christina is now offering picnic bags for families or individuals who want to eat outside, but don't have the time or desire to put together their own picnic. They have menu cards available for you to pick your picnic components (from £6.00 per person or £3.95 per child), including freshly made sandwiches, panini's, baguettes or salads, home baked cake, fruit, crisps and a drink. The pretty picnic bags also include plates, cutlery, condiments and an optional picnic mat to sit on and enjoy your outdoor feast!

You will find Bon Appetit on the High Street, opposite the Green, just pop in and pick up a picnic menu which are available inside or out. Then all you need to do, is fill it in and drop it back or give them a ring on 01590 641414 with your requirements. They will then have your picnic ready for you for any time that you choose. Looks like we all now have an option for al fresco dining on the village green or beach the easy way!

Having had lunch there yesterday I can vouch for the ‘Toasted brie & homemade red onion chutney sandwich’, my wife also enthused over the ‘Bacon, blue cheese & mushroom crepe’, all washed down with milkshakes freshly made with yummy ice cream. I would also like to tell you how delicious the Dorset apple cake and chocolate fudge cake was, but according to my wife ‘I didn’t need any’. Oh. I love how she always knows best!’. Think I will sneak back without her!

South Africa comes to Milford

Villagers now have the chance to buy South African wines from a new resident in our village. Daan Coetzee & his family moved into the village from Cape Town recently & he has set up a new business 'Cape Wine Cellars’. South Africa born Daan spent many years in the management of Franschhoek Vineyards & Doolhof Wine Estate in South Africa and is now bringing the pick of regional wines to the UK. Daan is married to a ‘Milford on Sea girl’, Rebecca, and they are the proud parents of two daughters.

Daan is already involved in Food Week and will be hosting a talk on ‘A Year in the Life of a Wine Estate’ at 7pm on Wednesday in the Community Centre. Daan will explore the complete wine production cycle from pruning, through the growing period to harvest, and the wine making process including barrel maturation & bottling. Also enjoy tasting six wines along with ideas on their ideal food pairing. If you fancy coming along entry is £5 on the door, and everyone receives a £5 Discount Voucher against 6 Bottles of Wine.

Saturday, 2 April 2011

Milford: A Dangerous Place to Live!

A couple of our observant readers have spotted an essential new sign at Sturt Pond.  Apparently the pond is full of dangerous water.  I was aware that it is wet, but thankfully I now know it has the ability to attack passers-by. 

I had also heard about a sign proclaming 'Dangerous Rocks'.  I suspect most who live in, or visit Milford on Sea would be unaware that we live in a such dangerous place.

After serving my wife tea in bed, (without early morning tea she really is dangerous) your intrepid reporter set out in search of evidence of the 'Dangerous Rocks'. My first thought was that Milford on Sea had been declared the drug capital of the UK, but as most drugs taken here are by legitimate prescription I soon realised we would not actually qualify for this disturbing title.

Perhaps the danger lurks in the village I thought, so off I set, but there did not appear to be any angry groups of ‘hoodies’ roaming the streets, & the biggest dangers I found on the street corners were the sharp edged curbs. I accept that here in Milford on Sea there is a higher percentage chance of being mown down by a mobility scooter, but I found no signs to warn us of this, so I concluded that this was not the danger I was looking for. It appeared that the village centre is pretty safe.

That being the case, I decided that the danger must lie at the seafront. My next investigations soon revealed the danger to me. (Do you think I found it so fast because I am married to a policeman’s daughter?) To my horror I discovered that we are all under threat from the seafront rocks. I stood back & calmly read the chilling sign: ‘Warning: Rocks can be dangerous’. The sign told me everything & nothing. However, now being alert to the danger I took a quick furtive look at the rocks in the immediate area.  Unfortunately, whoever had put up the sign had not been thorough enough to label each rock with ‘this one is dangerous’, this one is not’, ‘this one is dangerous’, ‘this one is not’ etc. The sign itself wasn’t really helping, as it just had an image of superman flying over some cotton wool balls, and no indication of where the 'dangerous rocks' actually were’.

I wondered if it was it just a small group of wicked rocks that were actually dangerous?, & if so, how could we tell which ones they are? More disturbingly, how would we know if they actullay roam in large vicious groups, or do they just slyly mingle in with the nice placid rocks, only revealing themselves when they attack? The sign did not actually reveal the exact nature of their danger, so I decided to keep one hand on my wallet, the other on the dogs, and at the same time kept looking behind me to ensure I was not mugged by surprise. Indeed, how daft would I have looked if I had been mugged by a rock. Can you imagine explaining the mugging to the police, & the officer asking: ‘Didn’t you see the warning sign sir?’.

Perhaps the rocks were dangerous because ten percent of them had been replaced by rubber rocks, so that when you walk on them you just bounce uncontrollably into the air towards the Needles. Could be funny to watch, and I do accept that this would qualify as dangerous. My investigations were coming to nothing, and it seemed being the husband of a policeman’s daughter was no longer helping me to solve the mystery. I therefore took the best course of action I could think of, & went home for a drink in the knowledge that the rocks may get me in an unexpected way sometime in the future.

Whilst rambling inanely about signs that are designed by people who studied ‘stating the bleeding obvious’ at university, I am now planning to add a few more to protect us all, I might start with: ‘Danger: Walking can make you tired’, ‘Warning: Pebbles can be nasty if roused’, ‘Attention: Nude bathing is prohibited, but encouraged’ and ‘Watch out, watch out there’s a Humphrey about’. If you see them, don’t tell anyone that it was me that did it. Perhaps we could even add to bottom of the village welcome sign: 'Beware: Our rocks are evil!’