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Saturday, 25 June 2011

Verveine up for prestigious awards

Something many in the village have already discovered is now being recognised across the County.  Our very own Verveine Fishmarket Restaurant in Milford on Sea has been shortlisted for 2 awards in this year’s Hampshire Food & Drink Awards. The restaurant serves spectacular fish based cuisine together with a level of service and experience of the highest standard.  Indeed dining at Verveine contains many surprises and an element of theatre.

Having only opened in February 2010 Verveine is excellent by any standards, and it is great to see them putting themselves, and the village, on the map far afield.  Verveine had been nominated, and then won through to a final shortlist of three in two categories.  Firstly the are up for the ‘Best Restaurant’ Award against Chessel Rectory in Winchester and Pebble Beach in Barton on Sea.  David Wykes has also personally made the final shortlist for the ‘Best Chef’ Award, competing against the head chefs from The Aviator in Farnborough and the Chessel Rectory in Winchester.

Verveine, and its competitors for the awards, will face their final judging in the coming weeks, with them all attending to hear the results at a black tie gala awards evening organised by Hampshire Life magazine.  The awards ceremony takes place on August 25th at the elegant Four Season’s Hotel in the Georgian manor, Dogmersfield House, near Hook.

The whole Verveine team are rightfully proud of their recognition and Stacey’s excitement I am sure could be heard from miles around.  Many fingers in the village are crossed that they bring home a trophy, or hopefully two!

The Verveine team may also have a surprise on the night, as a big bloke in the village has been bemused to discover he has made the shortlist for the ‘Hampshire Life Recognition Award’. This is apparently an award to celebrate the individual who has made the most impact on a local food community.

I suspect there can only really be three reasons for this particular nomination.  One, the award recognises someone who eats the most in restaurants across the county.  Two, they have got him confused with someone else.  Three, someone thinks it will be funny to see a big bloke being choked by a bow tie at a sweltering awards evening in August!

HSBC disappears from village

Friday was last day of our HSBC Bank Branch in Milford on Sea. A jolly HSBC senior executive in a delightful grey suit, was outside the branch handing out flowers and boxes of chocolates to thank all of the branches loyal customers. (Whoops, sorry, I made that bit up).

As the doors closed at 3pm a military operation immediately kicked into place, and a little before 4pm the HSBC facia signs has been removed and the final illuminated sign was being dismantled to join a nationwide stockpile of old HSBC village branch signs. The ATM cash machine was also attractively boarded up (with notices attached indicating that it would be working again on Sunday). Doors firmly locked, and all evidence of ever being in the village removed, HSBC were gone.

If you would like to get your hand on your money, HSBC will happily give it to you if you make the effort to get to them.  HSBC may have gone, but deserting us will not be forgotten.

Snails for lunch

Since opening its doors a few weeks ago, the new La Perle restaurant in Milford on Sea village High Street has proved a real hit.  Getting a table takes a bit of planning, and I had heard that the ‘Daily French Specials’ were well worth a try.  So, having no ability to plan, I decided to pop in at lunchtime.

Along with a number of other tasty ‘French’ choices I spotted ‘escargot’ on the special blackboard.  Being almost fluent in French, I immediately knew an opportunity had again arisen to try snails.  Just as I was planning to order them, I had the traumatic experience of watching as a waiter approached the blackboard and wrote ‘sold out’ across my chosen dish.  As he passed our table I asked if he had ‘frogs legs’, but he insisted he always walks like that. He did however tell me he had ‘bouillabaisse’.  I suggested a trip to the doctors might sort that out, but with immense patience he explained that he was referring to a traditional Provencal fish stew originating from the port city of Marseille.  As I felt my wife’s eye’s burning holes in my face, I decided that would suit me fine… and it did.  I wonder what other French delights are going to appear next!

New Youth Theatre launches in village

Milford Youth Group is now running The Milford Community Youth Theatre and Film project. Over the next 3 months the project will run weekly workshops in the Community Centre for 8 to 13 year olds. The sessions will be fun and informal gatherings where young people will be learning dramatic and technical skills and devising a performance and film screening to be shown in the autumn. There are places on the course now and anyone interested in coming along is most welcome, spaces are limited so hurry!

There are 2 sessions on every Thursday – 8 to 11 year old (Milford Primary age) 3:45pm until 5:15pm and 11 to 13 years (Priestland’s age) 5:30pm to 7pm. It costs only £1 per week!

To join in please contact Joey Owen at the Youth Club, or call 07557 658495 / 01590 644961

Wednesday, 15 June 2011

Oasis boys go Thai in Milford

It was a normal Friday night when a booking for nine arrived at the Britannia Thai restaurant in Milford on Sea. Many would have immediately recognised Liam Gallagher, formally lead singer for international super-group Oasis.

I discovered this when Nigel & Wendy got in touch to let me know. They had popped in to collect a takeaway and were told that the large table were guys from a famous rock band. Being a Milford on Sea resident Nigel of course had no idea who the band was, and was none the wiser when told ‘that’s the bloke from Oasis’.  What I found particularly impressive was that Wendy has accompanied Nigel to collect the takeaway.  In fifteen years with my wife has yet to accompany me on any takeaway collection. 

I decided to check with Suhel at Britannia Thai, and he confirmed his rock star encrusted evening, adding “They said the food was excellent and that they would be back in the future.”  He let me know that there were 9 people altogether, and that “They left a generous tip as well.” 

It crossed my mind that they may have been staying at Westover Hall, but on checking with David he advised they hadn’t stayed there, and that all of his rooms and TV’s were still intact.  I considered doing some more research on where they might have stayed, but decided I couldn’t be bothered. 

My mind did however curiously wander to why they were in the village. My first thought was they were booked to play a gig (‘show’ to our older readers) at the Community Centre, but when I asked Sue she simply turned the question by asking whether I had been drinking.  Intrepidly I made a quick visit to The White Horse, Red Lion, Smugglers Inn, The Marine & Gun Inn, which confirmed they were not booked to play there, and that each serves a good pint. I then decided to call a friend on the Milford on Sea Arts & Music Festival committee to see if they were in the village for auditions, he simply said “We already have Take That, Shirley Bassey and Engelbert Humperdinck booked, so no room I’m afraid”.  I suspect he did not take my question seriously. 

It transpires that the former Oasis frontman was with his new band ‘Beady Eye’, which is made up of several former Oasis members, and they were due to play at the Isle of Wight Festival on the Sunday Night. Liam Gallagher, was once married to Patsy Kensit, (an actress is Emmerdale apparently), and he is well known for his spikey character and still unresolved public fallout with brother Noel. 

After the festival the band moved onto Denmark where The Daily Mirror reported that Liam Gallagher and his Beady Eye band mates stayed in a spooky ex-psychiatric hospital. “The hotel we were in was a former mental home and it was haunted,” Liam told Absolute Radio at the Isle of Wight Festival. There was a lot of prank phone calls going on – but that was us.” Liam, 38, added: “They all checked out and we checked in all the movies, man.” Nope, I have no idea what they means either. |

Fabulous Friends of the Festival

We have been asked to send out a big thank you to all of the ‘Friends of the Music Festival’. The Festival Friends are wonderful people who donate £50 to support the Festival. Each year the number of Friends who are happy to show their appreciation of this amazing village event has grown and this 10th anniversary year has seen the best ever support.  Being totally self-funding, the Milford on Sea Arts & Music Festival is dependent on the generosity of its sponsors and ‘Friends’, many of whom have now been supporting the event for several years. 

Becoming a Friend costs just £50: every new friend is always warmly welcomed being invited to the Festival launch drinks party, again to be held at the Westover Hall Hotel; also receiving a complimentary programme and this year being entered into the Festival Prize Draw. Just small tokens of appreciation from the Festival Team for the very special vote of confidence in the Festival that Friends demonstrate.

Thanks to the ‘Friends of the Music Festival’ and a small group of dedicated volunteers the 10th Anniversary of the Milford on Sea Arts & Music Festival will take place from Thursday 7th July until Sunday 10th July 2011. 

If anyone reading this feels that they too would like to become a Friend of the Festival please e-mail Sue Whitlock at 
Tel: 01590 643404. 

Sarah at Buckingham Palace

Sarah Walton is more used to providing houses from her Milford on Sea High Street estate agents, than spending time at a royal palace. However, on Wednesday 1st June Sarah attended a reception for The Special Boat Service Association hosted by the Duke of Edinburgh at Buckingham Palace. No, she hasn’t left Ashtons Real Estate and signed up, but her fiancĂ©e, David, is a serving member of HM Armed Forces. 

The invitation gave clear guidance as to the etiquette for the day, including when to perform a shallow curtsy & the code of dress, so with a bit of luck she behaved herself whilst wearing her best frock. 

It would be good if my wife turns out to be connected to something noteworthy, as I fancy a visit to the palace and I am quite good at curtsying.

Milford Movies Volunteer Open Meeting

There is to a Milford Movies Volunteer Open Meeting next Thursday 23rd June starting at 7.30pm.  Everyone is invited to come along to hear and discuss the plans for the 'Milford Movies' cinema that is being created in the Milford on Sea Village Community Centre.

Thanks to the success of the Village Charity Shop, the Community Centre now has cinema quality projection equipment and wish to discuss the re-launch of Milford Movies in October.  At the moment the idea is to run Milford Movies for two Thursdays a month from the beginning of October, perhaps with a matinee in addition to an evening performance.  This, and other aspects of running the films will be discussed at the meeting.

Also, James Flintoff is also now looking for a team of enthusiasts eager to help make this happen, volunteers would be welcomed to be involved with programming, marketing, front of house and the presentation and projection of the films.

So if you are interested in becoming involved (or perhaps just curious) please come along to the meeting. Everyone is invited and all voices will be listened to and welcomed.

Help For Heroes Charity Lunch

A charity Lunch for the Help for Heroes Charity is being held at the Milford on Sea Village Community Centre at 12.30pm on Friday 1st July 2011. 

Everyone is welcome to come along with tickets being available on the door for just £4.50.

The event is being organised by local residents Nikki, Margaret & Ann. She has been raising funds for Help the Heroes for the past two years which now totals over £31,000. In January Nikki held a Clothes Swap Evening which also raised £1300 and she is constantly looking at other ideas to raise funds for her chosen good cause.  Margaret is donating much of the menu and Ann & herself will also be putting their catering skills to good use in the kitchen on the day.

The menu for the lunch looks particular tasty with a Fish Ensemble with Salmon & Prawns, Salad and New Potatoes and Strawberries & Cream with a Shortbread or Walnut biscuit. There will also be a small H4H stand, plus a cake if any of you lovely mummy's fancy baking some goodies to sell in aid of Help for Heroes on the day you would be very warmly welcomed indeed!

As is the case with so many local events, our local traders and businesses have been very generous in donating raffle prizes.  Nikki has already had prizes donated by Westover Hall Hotel, Verveine, Hugh Whitlock Solicitors, Belle Epoque, Murray & Hayward, The village Co-op, Boots, Jabulani Gallery, New Seasons, The Old Smithy and Otters Nursery, Bradbeer and Morrisions.

Finally, Nikki asked if you would bring your singing voice, - as there will be singing between courses!

New life at bank

We have spotted some activity at The Old Bank House in Milford on Sea High Street (near Britannia Thai).  It appears that the building which has been empty for several years, and which once housed Lloyds Bank and then Moore Blatch Solicitors, has been undergoing redecoration.  Rumour has it that a will be opening soon as some form of ‘Beauty Centre’. 

We haven’t yet been able to meet the new owners, but once we know the full story we will let you know.

Sunday, 12 June 2011

Sea Plane visits Westover Island

One of our observant readers spotted the above sea plane as it descended on Milford on Sea on Friday. No one is quite sure why it landed and then took off again.

click image to enlarge
I however have a theory. As you may have read previously, a group of (slightly odd) locals have made a totally disorganised campaign to annexe ‘Westover Island’ to Milford on Sea. Some may think that this occasionally raised mass of pebbles is simply a massive new shingle bank north west of The Needles Lighthouse. However, some believe that this wobbly new land mass is actually an ideal extension to Milford on Sea, and as such this has now been claimed by the interim unelected government of ‘Westover Island’. Previously the interim 'Westover government' has considered applications for a ‘King of Westover’, and several grandiose development schemes. Many of the schemes have merit, such as local housing, luxury holiday homes, pubs, restaurants and various tourist activities, one of my personal favourites being a new idea for a multiplex cinema. The Westover government have yet to decide on a national anthem or flag.

Well, getting back to the sea plane, I suspect what has happened is that the British Airport Authority have already taken our future plans for an airport in hand, and slightly jumped the gun by advising sea plane pilots that the runway is now open. It must have been quite disappointing for ‘Biggles’ as he arrived to enjoy the delights of Westover Island, only to find that the airport has not even been built yet. The main development delays are due to the fact that significant parts of Westover Island disappears under the sea at various times. The interim government are currently looking to resolve this small issue.

If anyone knows who our sea plane visitors were, please let us know & we will give them a call when the airport is open.

*Original Westover Island story:

Braxton Gardens re-opens next Saturday

Simon & Sarah Relph have recently taken over Braxton Gardens and are now enthusiastically looking forward to the Grand Opening at 12 noon next Saturday 18th June 2011.

To celebrate the re-opening of Braxton Gardens everyone is welcome to meet the new Braxton Gardens team, who will be serving 'Eldershower Flampagne' and Strawberries on the lawn. You can also treat yourself to a 'naughty, but nice' cream tea.

This energetic young couple are not new to the gardening world, having run their own herb growing business for the past five years. The Happy Herbs Company has until now been based in Woodlands within the New Forest. The herbs grown all carry the New Forest Marque standard and the business is now underway to relocate to Braxton Gardens.

For all visitors there is free admission to the gardens, where you can simply sit, relax and enjoy the attractive surroundings which feature the 'David Austin' rose garden & a walled herb garden with clipped bays and box hedges. The planting has been extended over the years to include many unusual cottage garden perennials. The Rose garden has much to admire, including many old rose varieties. You can also enjoy herbaceous borders and a lily pool.

Braxton will now have a large plant & herb shop with a wide choice of herbs, roses, herbaceous shrubs & trees. There is also a welcoming tea shop to enjoy a coffee, cream tea, light lunch, sandwiches & other homemade snacks.

Braxton Gardens offers free entry to the gardens & shop every day from Tuesday to Sunday, 9am to 5pm with many of the varieties of plants in the gardens also being on sale in the shop.

Braxton Gardens & Tea Rooms: Lymore Lane, Milford on Sea, SO41 0TX
Tel: 07771 873529

Festival Wool Appeal

This year’s 10th Anniversary Milford on Sea Arts & Music Festival is planning a ‘French Knitting round the Green’ workshop. The idea is to see how far ‘visiting knitters’ can get round the green in the weekend! Everyone is welcome to have a go, with children and adults alike taking part on the festival Saturday & Sunday. Once the weekend is over, the plan is to sew all the lengths together and make it into a mat for the Toddler Group at the Community Centre.

As you may expect a lot of wool will be needed, so an appeal is being made for wool donations. If you have any wool balls, odd bits of wool, or bobbins you can support the festival by dropping these in the big blue tub in the foyer of the Community Centre. Alternatively, please contact Jackie Harriman on 07862 290958, or at: and she will be happy to collect.

All donations gratefully received!

Festival getting ready to rock!

Plans for the 10th Anniversary Milford on Sea Arts & Music Festival are now well underway. The festival will run from Thursday 7th July until Sunday 10th July. Please put the dates in your diary, this is an event not to miss, and as always there will be music for every taste.

The Festival Programme containing the full range of activities on the green and the complete programme of music on the main stage is now on sale in various village shops.

The music festival is self funding and organised by an enthusiastic group of unpaid volunteers. With no funding the event heavily relies on programme sales and the generous donations of the sponsors and ‘Friends of Music Festival’. So, please buy a programme as this is critical to keeping the festival running.

You can also lend a hand in the following ways if you wish:

1. Anyone who wishes to sell programmes for this year’s Music Festival please contact Sean at Hugh Whitlock Solicitors:

2. One of the craft workshops at the festival this year is looking for donations of knitting wool & bobbins which will be used to create something special. Everyone will be welcome to join in the ‘knitting’ fun on Saturday and Sunday at the festival if they wish. If anyone has unwanted knitting wool they would like to donate please would they drop this at the Community Centre or email Jackie Harriman at:

3. If you would like to become a ‘Friends of Music Festival’ please contact Sue Whitlock

Monday, 6 June 2011

Don't park on wall

The ‘Mysterious yellow line painter of Milford on Sea’ has been in action on the seafront. On a nightly stroll with my wife we spotted some new yellow lines on the sea wall behind The White House. (& along Milford on Sea beach) I suspect the local council had become concerned by the growing number of cars, mobile homes & mobility scooters which regularly jumped the barrier to park on the edge of the sea wall.

As yet no yellow lines have been painted on the rocks, I suspect that this is mainly due to drivers who have attempted to park there finding that it is impossible to get off.

Beach hut owners are a bit concerned that the introduction of the yellow lines could simply mean that drivers will now choose to park on their roofs instead. Perhaps a 'Do not park here' sign on each beach hut roof could resolve that potential issue.

Fortunately we are blessed with significant signage near the beach & on Hurst Spit. Some of my favourites signs are 'Dangerous Water', 'Rocks can be dangerous' and the delightful eight foot red signs telling us that there is no lifeguard.

We are also fortunate to have 32 new signs on the back of the beach huts instructing us to 'Mind the gap' and ''Not to climb on roofs'. It is great to have a sign every twenty feet or so, as if they were more spread out and we had only 24 of them, people might not see the danger and then all hell could break lose.

I suspect that there must be many like me, who when out walking often get the urge to leap on the roofs, or to jump down gaps, what a godsend health & safety is, as thanks to these signs I am now able to keep myself under control. 

Thanks to the diligent work of the 'Daft Sign Department', the hazardous walk along the seafront is now a safer activity for us all.

The Carnival Fun Day is on!

This year’s Milford on Sea Carnival takes place on 27th August and has a revised format to yet again entertain all of the family. Earlier this year the event was under threat, but we are pleased to hear that the organising committee has pulled the cat out of the bag. The Carnival is a real ‘Quintessential English event’ with traditional family entertainment from yesteryear.

The event will be called Milford on Sea Carnival Fun Day for this year, with a fancy dress competition replacing the usual Carnival Parade. The village green will be alive with activity from 10am to 8pm featuring Live Music, Climbing Wall, Assault Course, Bouncy Castle, Magic Shows, Punch & Judy, Balloon Shows, Coconut Shy, Games, Bat the Rat, Hog Roast, BBQ, Pimms and a variety of stalls.

The ‘Children’s TV characters’ themed fancy dress competition starts at 4.15pm and will be held in the High Street, hopefully attracting lots of interest from children & families. Anyone wishing to take part can pick up an entry form from Gwen’s in the High Street. There will be a great family prize for the most outstanding costume; a passport ticket for 2 Adult and 2 children to Longleat Safari and Adventure Park.

The whole event is organised by the dedicated volunteers on the Milford on Sea Village Community Committee, who are pleased to now we have a new younger group of people meeting and discussing the reintroduction of the Carnival parade for 2012.

Beach Clean and Litter Survey

The Hampshire & Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust are holding a ‘Beach Clean and Litter Survey’ at 6.30pm on Tuesday 28th June. Anyone is welcome to join the Wildlife Trust team to help clean up this beautiful stretch of coast and gather important information on the quantities and sources of beach litter.

To join in, just meet at Cut Bridge, Hurst Spit (Map ref. SZ 300 909).

To book or for further information on this free event please contact Amy Dale on or 01489 774444

Co-Op ATM now open

As HSBC prepare to desert Milford on Sea, it is apparent that ‘The World’s Local Bank’ are about to became a little less local. Although it is now certain our village branch is to close this month, the future of the HSBC ‘hole in the wall’ ATM cash machine remains unclear.

The one bit of good news is that our local village Coop has now installed an ATM cash machine in the rear of their store. It is nice to know that at least one large organisation is happy to support village life. The Co-op is open daily from 7am to 10pm - Seven days a week, so at least people can still get cash if the ‘HSBC grey suits’ decide that their customers have to travel several miles to get their own cash.