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Saturday, 29 October 2011

Enfants dans le Besoin Day

England is soon to once again get involved with people doing worthy and silly things for ‘Children in Need’. Chatting to French friend, well I say ‘friend’, actually he was one of the dustmen that come every morning (I think, he thinks, I am Australian), I asked if they had ‘Children in Need’. “That’s run by the BBC vous Aussie imbecilé”; he said in poor French.

This gave me an idea, I would have an ‘Enfants dans le Besoin Day’. So next Friday, I am offering my new local community: Cricket Lessons, a talk on ‘Why it is Good to Eat Indian Food & Marmite’, and a Master Class on ‘How to Read Road Signs & Not Just Pull Out in Front of Me.’

I hear that back in the UK, Christina from Bon Appetit’s daughter, Maja, is raising funds for Children in Need. On Friday next, 4th November from 10.30am she will be on the village Green having a 'Bake a Difference Cake Sale’ until all her cakes have sold out! If you fancy popping along to either I am sure you will have a good time.

Friday, 28 October 2011

Deauville Diary – Week Four

The Gallic misadventures of a Milford village idiot abroad.

Saturday: Another lovely sunny day, blue skies and the only chill in the air was my latent fear of when I would next upset my wife. Went to a charming brocante (antiques market) today, then lunch outside in a street-side café opposite the church. Bought a rather fetching new chair for the lounge. (See picture) On the way back we stopped on the beach to visit what had become our favourite ‘ice cream parlor’. I had my usual two ‘boules’, banane et café, my wife then took both me, and mon ami le ice cream seller, by surprise when she ordered a cone with two boules. Whether she had forgotten her sensible ‘you are what you eat’ head, or she was getting into the holiday spirit, who knows. Our evening meal involved a stroll up the beach to enjoy a French style tapas as we watched the sun go down over the expansive golden sands. Earned plenty of brownie points today, planning how to use them up right now.

Sunday: Watched my adoptive homeland narrowly lose in the Rugby World Cup Final, then was off to ‘Fete de la Coquille’ which is a festival celebrating Coquille St Jaques (Scallops) & fruits de mer, only the French eh! The event in Villers Sur Mer was enormous, with what must have been a couple of hundred stalls selling every food imaginable, people walking a miniature pig on a lead and scores of people wearing traditional dress and the regalia of their own particular food speciality. Got to meet ‘Claude the King of Scallops’, after we bumped into each other and I helped picked up his basket of shellfish delights. We had a nice chat about molluscs and I established that he did not know the Mayor of Deauville, or indeed speak any of my type of French. Crevettes, French bread and a bottle of Saint-Emilion Grand Cru (Just €7!) for tea, delicious, - life is good. (Note to self: Give up smoking, packets are around €7 each and similar to home, could get lots of cases of Saint-Emilion for that.)

Monday: Called into ‘La Mairie’ again to see if I could arrange to meet the mayor today. This time it initially appeared that the receptionist spoke fluent French, however when she misunderstood my request that ‘I would like to talk to the mayor”, thinking I has said; “I would like to stalk the mayor” it became clear her French was not as good I thought. As she looked slightly panicked and was reaching for the phone, I felt like it might be a good time to leave.

Back on the seafront again for our daily evening walk on the beach with the dogs. (In fact the dogs are getting four beach walks a day, I think they are beginning to feel like camels, spending so much time on the sand.) Each early morning and early evening we can see stable lads in trotting racing carriages, and on thoroughbred racehorses from the local stables, training on the beach and running in the shallow lapping sea, quite a sight.

Later we took the dogs for a MacDonald’s. I know, - sacrilege! I do appreciate that the French like to dress their dogs, but I think my wife took it a bit too far this time.

Tuesday: Walking the dogs on the beach yet again, sun is shining and harmony is in the air. As we passed the beach bar we decided to take a seat on the beach veranda for a hot chocolate. “Do you fancy a crepé”; I lovingly asked my wife. “No thanks”; came the reply. Soon moi garcon was delivering our drinks and my ‘Crepé avec buerre caramel’. “That looks nice” my wife said. “Do you want one?”; “No thanks”. Two delicious bites into my crepé and I heard, “Can I have a bite”. Arrrgh!! For such a petite head, my wife has a massive mouth when eating my food. Why is it that when asked the answer is ‘No, I don’t want one”, - and then it is fine to just expect to eat mine! Why not just say “I won’t order one for myself, but I am more than happy to wind you up by eating most of yours - dear”. If I had wanted a fraction of a crepé, I would have ordered exactly that. Perhaps the calories don’t count if you do not order for yourself, or there is some sort of depraved satisfaction is seeing my devastating loss. Either way I end up with half of the crepé I was looking forward to. “I am going to order two next time”; I said. “That’s just greedy”; came the angelic reply.

Became a national hero this afternoon. To explain, I was waiting in the Hyper U Supermarket car park for my wife, (Yes, we were back at the supermarket again), who was now looking for a desperately needed hat and scarf (Yes, I know it was sunny) Anyway, I was approached by a harassed looking man, at first I did not understand what he was saying, then I realise he was talking in English. I should have immediately known he was English, as he & I were the only people wearing shorts in Northern France. It transpired that he had been shopping in the supermarket, leaving his wife and kids in the car. They in turn had put all the car lights on, played with the radio and other gadgets, leaving the battery totally flat. The man was in a foreign land needing a jump start, and your hero came to the rescue. After unsuccessfully searching around for a lot longer than necessary, my wife gave a huff, as only she can, and showed me in exaggerated movements how to open our car bonnet. Once the cars were aligned, we soon had his car fired up. Before he left, I asked him to call the mayor to let him know of my heroic actions. A quick treble French kiss and he was on his way ever grateful to have met such a noble fellow countryman. (When I say ‘French kiss’, I don’t mean ‘French kiss’ as the English know it, I mean ‘French kiss’ in the terms of on the cheeks. Face, that is.)

Wednesday: Went to Honfleur market this morning, ‘Are you sure it is on”; my wife asked. “Of course”; my confident reply. Naturally, it was not on today, so we sat outside a café and had hot chocolate and pastries, so got away with that one, apart from the ‘imbecilé’ comment under her breath of course. Beach busy this afternoon, as quite warm and it seems that it is half term for the kids. Why is it, if French people have a dog it has to fit in a handbag, or even better a small pocket. We would struggle to get our two in a set of extra large Louis Vuitton suitcases. The miniature chiens are really confusing our pair, they are convinced they are cats and just want to eat them. On returning to the seafront from our daily trip to le supermarché, I spotted about 100 people splashing in the sea further along the beach, ‘I get the urge to go and investigate what they are doing” I said. My wife was not so enthused; “I get the urge to insert this baguette where the sun doesn’t shine” she reposted. Charming. Anyway we have curry tonight so nothing can dampen my spirit. The French have of course never heard of Indian food, so we have had to improvise. We bought curry paste & mango chutney with us (learnt this from when we last emigrated), fortunately they do sell chicken breast, and pitta bread make a surprisingly good substitute for naan bread. Hoping for an *encore of another curry later in the week. (*There you go, another one the French don’t have their own word for.)
Thursday: Having the physique of Adonis, the voice of an angel and the irresistible charm of his father, Matthew, my son arrived today, along with Kayleigh, his girlfriend, who of course further enhances the brains and beauty of this duo. My wife often comments how alike we are. (Me and Matthew that is, not me & Kayleigh.) On our little afternoon guided tour we visited La Planche, and wandered amongst the beach huts with names of famous films stars on the fences. Deauville holds an annual Film Festival and records the names of featured actors for perpetuity, however I am not sure what film ‘Buzz Aldrin’ starred in. As Kayleigh read the names, a look of horror covered her face a split second after she said; “Why aren’t their names written in French.” “Please don’t put that in your blog”; she pleaded.” “Of course not”; I lied. Lobster again tonight, looks like it is going to be a good week.

Friday: Early start for visit to the D-Day Landing Beaches today. Pegasus Bridge, Juno, Sword, Gold, Omaha Beaches, Arromanches Mulberry Harbour, Long sur Mer Battery and the magnificent and serene American Cemetery. I don’t know how those guys did it, but what I do know is that I believe that every school child should be taken to the D-Day Beaches to get a true understanding of what happened to many from their grandfathers generation.

Wednesday, 26 October 2011

Aliens invaded Milford on Sea

Whilst meandering through the web I came across an article on the ‘Milford Science Fiction Writers Conference’. This annual writers' workshop was founded in 1956, and held in Milford, Pennsylvania, where several Si-Fi writers – including one of its founders, Damon Knight had lived at various times. The success of Milford event was directly responsible for the setting up of the ‘Science Fiction Writers of America’. The conference group had a balance between beginner writers and more experienced professionals and they earned the nickname ‘Milford Mafia’.

Now this is where it gets interesting, founder member James Blish and his wife, J A Lawrence, moved to the UK, where they set up a UK ‘Milford Science Fiction Writers Conference’ in 1972, coincidentally the year in which the 'US Milford' was officially pronounced dead. The ‘Milford Science Fiction Writers Conference’ was then held until 1988, out of terminological nostalgia, at Milford on Sea in Hampshire each autumn. Thereafter it was held at Cheltenham (1989-1990) and Margate (1991 onwards).

If you see anything strange in the night skies, it may be a leftover from the eighties.

Cats & Cakes

The Lymington Cat & Kitten Rescue charity shop, opposite The Smugglers Inn in 59 High Street, Milford on Sea has been open quite some time now, so it seemed a good time to find out a bit more about them.

The charity’s modest beginnings started in 1980 when founder Janette Frankland took in an odd moggy at her semi-detached home. “At first there were just one or two strays to look after and rehome,” Janette recalls. “Next there was a feral colony to trap near the Lymington ferry terminal – and it’s just grown and grown from there.” Today, Lymington Cat & Kitten Rescue is a major welfare mission whose remit extends across the New Forest and far beyond - in fact the unofficial catchment area is increasing all the time as other animal rescues and charities fall victim to recession or, sad to say, simply pass the buck.

The hub of the charity’s operations is the shelter, licensed for 50 cats, which has all but taken over Janette’s back garden. Over the years virtually every square foot has given way to immaculately-kept pens, runs and stores. Record numbers of cats and kittens have been brought in and cared for at the Lymington rescue - so much so that the shelter has been running at capacity for many months. The situation has become so acute that a number of helpers have been providing temporary accommodation for emergency cases in sheds, garages and even bedrooms until loving new homes can be found for these unfortunate felines.

Lymington Cat & Kitten Rescue gained formal charitable status in the 1990s and opened a shop in Pennington nine years ago. Last year, however, the need to generate extra revenue became acute and a second shop was opened in Milford at the premises formerly trading as Curtleas Fashions, opposite the Smugglers Inn. This shop has now been in business for nearly 15 months, and the staff - led, inevitably, by the indefatigable Janette - have been thrilled with the response from villagers and holidaymakers alike. The shop opens 10am-4pm daily except Wednesdays and Sundays and donations of good quality clothes, books and bric-a-brac are always gratefully received.

More immediately, donations of suitable items to sell at the Christmas Bazaar would be particularly welcomed - call Tonia on 01590 642921 and she will be pleased to arrange collection if necessary.

The charity certainly needs every penny it can raise as it approaches the end of the busiest and most challenging 12 months in its 31-year history.

The raise much needed funds volunteers for the charity are holding their Christmas Bazaar at Milford on Sea Community Centre on Saturday 12 November (10.30am-12.30pm). Organiser Tonia Williams and her team are promising a host of seasonal delights and bargains - from books and bric-a-brac to gifts and goodies. Home-made cakes, toys, jewellery and much more besides will be available, not forgetting a well-stocked tombola table and a raffle with some excellent prizes.

“The people of Milford are marvelous supporters of our charity shop at and we hope they will also turn out in numbers for our bazaar, our biggest single fundraising event of the year,” says Tonia.

Early Christmas in New Milton

The New Milton Town Partnership launched a new event this year; The New Milton Crafts 2011 Series. The previous two fairs have been attended by an average of 1400 Visitors. Organise Alan Watson said “An indication of the success of events can be gauged by the demand for space by the Stallholders. The demand has far outstripped the capacity of The New Milton Memorial Centre in Whitefield Road which has over 70 Stalls, that we have had to add an additional venue. The second venue is the New Milton Community Association in Osborne Road, New Milton and over 60 Stalls will be located in that venue which is only 200 yards from the Memorial Centre.”

The final Event in the series; The Christmas Crafts and Gift Fair 2011 Fair is on Saturday 5th November opening at 10:30 am and close at 4:30 pm – so there should be ample time for you to get the Christmas Shopping underway well before the festive season. Refreshments will be available including Hot & Cold Snacks and Drinks. As well as plenty of ideas for Christmas Gifts, there will be Stalls offering Christmas decorations, bespoke house signs, objects made from driftwood collected along the coast, stained glass, household furnishings and pottery and wood gifts.

Friday, 21 October 2011

Cash Machines & Suits

When HSBC decided they could no longer be bothered to provide a local bank branch in Milford on Sea some months ago, we always knew the ATM cash machine would only stay for a while after they left . Well it is still here, but for how much longer?

Ever enterprising, the Co-op now have a cash machine installed in the rear of their store, and Mark at The Village News, applied to have a 24 hour ATM cash machine installed in the front of his shop. All sounded a reasonable replacement for the anticipated lost cash dispensing service, and more importantly these actions would ensure that locals and visitors alike could easily get cash to spend in the village.

All was going well, Mark had surveyors call from HSBC bank to check his security and to look at structural reinforcement for the area around the intended cash machine. All was agreed and a planning application was then submitted.

Guess what, the suits have now scuppered the plan. Apparently, the planning application for the cash machine in The Village News has been rejected by the NFDC on the grounds that it offends the aesthetics of the shop front and village. Not being rude, but have you seen the front of Mark's shop, and the sixties style shop front gloriously painted with the dye from over 10,000 bananas. It is simply a newsagents shop, a fine type of newsagents shop indeed, but and a far as my research could tell neither Christopher Wren, nor Norman Foster had a hand in the architectural design. It was also considered the cash machine location would be dangerous due to the footpath width, the concern being that people would dive directly in front of oncoming traffic should someone be using it.

Firstly, if there was a cash machine outside HSBC, how can effectively moving the service 50 yards affect the village aesthetics any differently? Also, do they have any comprehension the impact of not being able to get hold of cash will have on our village economy. Our Parish Council recommended permission and confirmed the village needs an ATM. Unfortunately their comment that they “do have concerns that the cash machine may not look very attractive’ may have inadvertently given the council support for their refusal.

Of course the Coop's effort is to be applauded and it does provide an useful in-store mini cash facility for us all The only problem is, it is only available during opening hours and being small, it is likely to run out of cash in times of high usage, with refilling taking a day or two.

On reading the Planning Application refusal on the NFDC website I was comforted to discover that; “In coming to this recommendation, consideration has been given to the rights set out in Article 8 (Right to respect for private and family life) and Article 1 of the First Protocol (Right to peaceful enjoyment of possessions) of the European Convention on Human Rights.” That’s good then. A bit of a shame that one of the NFDC’s planning criteria isn’t ‘Will this help struggling small village businesses in a difficult economic time’.

Ironically, this is the same planning department who approved the irrelevant monster signs on the seafront, and at some stage thought approving change of use from shops to housing was a good idea. As a result we now have a High Street split in two.

Mark is now speaking to HSBC to see if anything can be done under appeal. Things get quite confusing at my age, as it was only a few months ago that I was lambasting HSBC for leaving, and now I am on their side in getting the ATM into The Village News. Life’s twists and turns always keep me amused.

If you have any views you would like to express, please feel free to post a comment below.

Deauville Diary – Week Three

The Gallic misadventures of a Milford village idiot abroad.

Sunday: After the gang arrived the night before we all slowly arose with mild hangovers. Bouncing down the stairs, Joy told me that she had baked one of her famous Victoria Sponges for my wife and I, just as I was about to say ‘thank you’, she exclaimed; “But we’ve eaten it, it looked nicer than what was available in the motorway services.”

Mum, Pete, my brother & Nic, moi sister in law and two good friends, Gary & Joy fancied seeing a French Market today, so off we set in a two car convoy to the adjoining town, Trouville. Being awash with people and cars, I got out to look for a space as our UK convoy queued for the car park. On my return, no convoy. Easy, I thought, I will call them - No phone. I’ll go and have a coffee then - No wallet. Half an hour later a bemused Englishman called Gary arrived saying; “I didn’t realise you had got out of the car.”

Eventually, we all parked and went to explore Trouville’s large riverside market. An explosion of colour and sound with a traditional carousel, clothes stalls and food galore greeted us. Sausages and cold meats of every description, most I suspect filled with gizzards, tripe or random offal, all things that the French seem to delight in devouring. There was even a stall selling live hermit crabs with multicoloured hand-painted shells. (See picture) Cider and Calvados was of course plentiful and a trip to the crepe and ‘fondante au pomme’ stall was delicious.

Trouville is also famous for its Fish Market so we decided to have fresh fish for dinner. Crevettes Rose cocktail for a starter, followed by a double fish course of sole and gurnard wrapped in Parma ham, all served with sautéed potatoes, shallots and fresh vegetables. Peter cooked, as he has skills in the kitchen that would suit a fine restaurant. His nickname of ‘Perfect Pete’ is irritatingly well founded.

We rounded off the evening by once again drinking too much. It was during this time that I made a fateful mistake in informing everyone that the French do not have their own word for ‘carousel’. I then gave some other examples; ‘boutique’, ‘café’, ‘baguette’ etc. Little did I know how this would haunt me over the coming days! I then suggested we turn on the ‘French language only’ TV we have, but no-one seemed enthusiastic about my offer to translate each programme for them. At one stage someone did mention Peter’s guitar, but fortunately I moved swiftly enough to change the subject, - drinking seemed the correct and main objective of the night.

Monday: Up early, I wanted to greet everyone with ‘Good Morning’ in French, but they do not have such a saying. So, it was simply, bonjour, then French stuff for breakfast, before a whistle-stop tour of the towns sites. This was followed by a hot chocolate whilst people watching outside a café in the town square. The weather was perfect as I guided my entourage to the Deauville-La Touques Racecourse for an afternoon of horse racing. On arriving, everything seemed a bit quiet, and once inside there was not a horse in sight. Ah, wrong racecourse. With all of the composure of ‘Brendan from Coach Trip’ I gathered my un-amused group and redirected them a mile or so down the road. Entry was free to Deauville Clairefontaine Racecourse and there were actually horses there. The course is famed for its flowers and even in October the quaint buildings and beds were bedecked with triumphant colour. We did consider betting, but even this was too confusing for a Francophile such as myself. No worries, the afternoon’s ambience was perfect entertainment alone.

Tonight was Gary’s turn to cook, and being a retired fireman he prepared enough tasty food for a watch of twenty hulking firefighters. As the evening got late we were catching up with stories about family, distant relatives and long-time friends, which if overheard would have sounded more like an episode of the Jeremy Kyle Show. Mum then grinned and told a story about a school friend we had, that none of us could remember, who had been abducted by the Moonies. As the drink flowed, life became even more surreal, when our guests then decided to play a game of ‘Words the French don’t have their own word for’. The resulting sentence; “We watched the Grand prix, then went to the boutique to buy some lingerie and a basque which will be ideal for using for burlesque, oh la la! As we entered the restaurant, run by a local entrepreneur, and just down the boulevard in a cul de sac, the sommelier offered us champagne and the hors d'oeuvres and amuse-bouche were accompanied by a linen serviette. We were then given the la carte menu which had desserts like; meringue, eclairs, gateaux or flambé bananas, with petit fours followed by liqueur. The maitre d, whose name was Philippe Flop, was wearing a cravat and was from Bordeaux. He had previously worked in a bistro next to a menagerie, which had specialised in croissant with mayonnaise, vol-au-vents, and quiche with mange tout. Philippe proved to be a bit of a raconteur, as he told how his sister had once had a liaison in a hairdressing salon with Danny La Rue……...”, I simply stood on the balcony and threatened to jump unless they stopped! As things returned to a sort of normal, in turn, each of our party swivelled to looked at the framed object in the room. My brother then said; “I wonder what the French call a French Door, … or a French kiss,… or a French letter.” I was soon on the balcony again.

Tuesday: Empty house again after guest departed following breakfast, - spent rest of day recovering.

Wednesday: Called to introduce myself to the Mayor, but receptionist at ‘La Mairie’ pretended she did not understand my French. I decided to come back when someone who spoke proper French was on duty.

Thursday: On one of our many daily beach strolls whilst walking the dogs, we today met a couple walking a fine Newfoundland. As the dogs greeted each other, in a way only dogs can, I stopped and chatted to the owners. “Le bon chien, et le grande chien” I commented. ‘Oui, merci monsieur” they replied. Obviously they wanted to chat with a fellow French person, so we then went on to have more in-depth conversation. I was a bit surprised to find out they had not heard of Charles Aznavour. Even when I sang the first four verses of ‘She’, it did not shift their memory. As they left, they wished us both ‘au revoir’, mounted their Newfoundland and rode off into the sunset, only pausing to give my wife a sympathetic smile. Meandering our way across the sand my wife told me how impressed she was with me. Sometimes she gets the words ‘embarrassed’ and ‘impressed’ mixed up, but I knew she was right this time. “What do you think you said at the end?” my wife sweetly enquired, ‘I told them our dinner was in the oven.” “You do realise” she growled; “You actually just told that couple something like ‘We must go now as I have locked my grandmother in the fridge’.” One deft kick of my heals with a pair of size 5 ladies walking boots and my face was flat in the sand.

Friday: Went to get more baguettes, now eating three two footers a day.

Thursday, 20 October 2011

Fred Dine(age)s at Verveine

A little bird spotted Fred Dineage (MBE) and his lovely wife dining at Verveine last Saturday lunchtime. Fred is of course one of the longest-serving broadcasters on ITV.  He was the front man for the coverage of two Olympic Games, and today of course is the main host of Meridian Tonight.

Many of us will remember Fred from when he presented 'HOW?', the longest- running children's programme on TV.  Fred was a host from 1966 to 1981, and responsible for me learning numerous, and mostly useless facts, during my childhood.

Quick Quiz: Do you remember the names of the other hosts on ‘HOW?’ (Answers below)

My guess is Fred was attracted to Milford on Sea, on hearing that Verveine Fishmarket Restaurant was the winner of both the Hampshire Life ‘Restaurant of the Year’, and by David Wykes being the ‘Chef of the Year.’

Ironically, last weekend David had a bit of a drama and was rushed into hospital with a septic hernia. Following his operation I sent Dave a text; "Septic Hernia?  Didn't I see you reading a recipe for that last week."  Sadly, I am unable to print his reply.  During David's recupperation, Stacey had to step in to head up the kitchen for a number of sittings, and she still managed to get a five star rating from a diner on Trip Advisor.

Anyway, back to Fred. I wonder if when Jackie told him that Verveine make their own corned beef, wouldn’t it have been lovely if Fred had simply replied: “HOW?”

Quick Quiz Answer: Jack Hargreaves, Bunty James, Jon Miller & Fred Dineage.

All change at Belle Epoque

As you may have spotted, changes are afoot at Belle Epoque in Milford on Sea. The old wine bar is currently undergoing a transformation into a Bistro which we understand will include pizza as part of the menu. We are currently contacting the new restaurateurs to get the full the inside story.

The new Milford on Sea eatery we are guessing will be called The Raft, and plans to open in the next couple of weeks. They are looking for a chef and waiting/bar staff, so if you or anyone you know are interested please give Clemie a call on: 01590 645300 or 07837 630020.

When Mike originally opened Belle Epoque a couple of years ago it was immediately clear that Mike was certainly going to do things his own way. Mike’s quirky wine bar soon became popular, and the eclectic mix of furniture and decoration was an experience in itself. Added to this, the extraordinary wine and food prices were another example of Mike’s maverick approach. We suspect the business was never about making money, but just having a good time. A visit to Belle Epoque was certainly always an experience, and we are looking forward to a new experience when the doors reopen under new management soon. We are not sure what Mike’s future plans are, but whatever he chooses, we wish him well.

This new addition to the dining scene in Milford on Sea, is yet another step towards our village becoming the hottest ‘Foodie Destination’ on the coast. Let’s keep eating I say!

One of our readers & Belle Epqoue customer, Marguerite Willcox, sent in this little ditty (I think we may have our very own Milford on Sea Poet Laureate here)

So farewell then, Belle Epoque!
Your guv'nor was whacky
But he kept a decent stock.
You were a good place to go
For a sup and a talk
And you were fondly known as
Belly Pork.......

New website for Bon Appetit

Our local Milford on Sea village creperie, Bon Appetit, has launched a new website. Being almost French now, I am able to fully appreciated the delight of the sweet or savoury crepes that Christina offers. The tasty filled baguettes could be from a fine Deauville boulangerie and the fresh English breakfasts and homemade British cakes are worth a visit alone.

In my travel’s I have discovered that the French do not have their own word for ‘creperie’, strange that.

If you would like to take a look at Bon Appetit’s new website, here is the link:

Parishioner support in difficult times

If you, or a member of your family, a friend or neighbour or someone you know in the parish needs financial help to get through a difficulty then you may wish to contact Milford United Charities. They are able to offer financial support on a once-off basis to those people who live within the ecclesiastical parish of Milford on Sea, and who need financial help to further their education or training or who face an unexpected financial demand to respond to a personal emergency.

This village charity has supported the development of individuals within the parish of Milford on Sea for over one hundred years. (Since 1906). The Welfare State has in many cases now stepped in to replace their endeavours, however there remain a number of exceptional circumstances in which they are still able to play a positive role.

In recent years they have contributed towards educational and vocational course fees, travel costs to college and exceptional costs to visit sick relatives.

If you feel that your, or anyone you knows circumstances may be helped by support from Milford United Charities please contact one of the Trustees below:

Christopher Beeton: 01590 644609
Rev Dominic Furness: 01590 643289
David Newnham: 01590 674288
Christopher Sanders: 01590 644844

Milford United Charities (Charity Commission Registered Number 234709)

Queen's Diamond Jubilee Celebrations

The Milford on Sea Village Community Committee are in the process of planning village celebrations for the Queen's Diamond Jubilee on Saturday 2nd June 2012.

The Village Hall and Green have already been booked, and a Children’s Tea Party is the first event to have been penciled in. Plenty more information on the celebrations will follow, but for now it might be worth putting the 2nd June in your diary for a fun day out.

Keep your thatch safe

The Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service has developed Thatch Information Pack for fire safety. Whilst the information pack does not appear to include specific fire safety information for gentlemen with wigs, on reading their advice it looks like the same principles apply.

There are over 800 thatched properties in the New Forest and as winter fast approaches Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service is urging owners and occupants of thatched properties to take extra care before the colder weather arrives to reduce the risk of fire. Our parish has 8 or 9 thatched buildings, so the information may be useful for them.

To read the full information pack please visit:

Friday, 14 October 2011

Deauville Diary – Week Two

The Gallic misadventures of a Milford village idiot abroad.

Sunday: My birthday! – and my wife has to be nice to me for one day. We had whole lobster in restaurant, for only £26! Amusingly, I asked if it was French lobster (I asked the waiter, not the lobster) and he said “Non, no one can afford to buy French lobsters!”

Click image to enlarge

Monday: Expecting our first guests, Tim (my wife’s Dad) and Eddie (Tim’s biker friend), we set off on a trip to the supermarket to get some food in, I was loitering & drooling around the patisserie when I was attacked like a deranged Legionnaire by my wife. “You don’t want any of that!” she exclaimed. I quickly replied; “I was looking for something for your Dad.” Top move on my part, and I was spared further pain when she replied; “Oh, that’s OK then, get him something nice.” What a Daddy’s girl!

Tim and Eddie arrived, it had been a good day for a motorcycle ride, only rained most of the way. Both were previously ‘CHIPS Style’ motorbike cops, so they had enthusiastically accepted the invitation to inspect the French road laws. Swathed in leather and looking severely bedraggled, they pulled into the drive. Not sure what the neighbours made of the two monster bikes with leather clad riders dismounting, but thankfully neither of them had their formerly large moustaches from the seventies and it wasn’t ‘Gay Pride Week’ in Deauville.

Tuesday-Wednesday: As the guys regularly do road trips, they have become a cross between a perfect married couple and The Chuckle Brothers. The boys spent their days with us exploring and playing on the ‘D-Day Beaches, as well as discovering unexpected parts of Normandy. Each evening they meticulously planned their routes, calculated journey times and discussed what to eat and where. Then, on leaving our drive promptly got lost each day.

Thursday: Before the guys set off for home the next day we decided to have a meal out in one of the many local restaurants. Eddie’s meal of ‘langoustines’ arrived, the giant prawns looked quite plump and ever so slightly vicious. Alongside Eddie’s plate the waiter had left a sachet with an image of a large lemon on. As we all tucked in, Eddie opened the sachet and started squeezing the wet wipe with what he thought was lemon juice for his prawns. My wife and her dad sat dumbstruck, and knowing it would be impolite to laugh, I simply exploded into a fit of giggles falling to the floor and writhing about uncontrollably. So as not to embarrass our guest, I quickly pretended I had just recalled a joke I had heard this morning about Paul McCartney’s first row with his new wife, apparently she is spending twice as much on shoes as his last wife.

Friday: Finished third book and twentieth baguette. Mum, brother & sister in law and two good friends arriving tomorrow. This is sure to be traumatic, hope Peter hasn’t bought his guitar!

New additions at Braxton Gardens

Since reopening Braxton Gardens in Milford on Sea during May 2011 Simon and Sarah Relph’s plans are going from strength to strength. The tea room, run by Sarah, has been renamed Muffins Galore!, and now serve homemade muffins, cream teas, plain, fruit & gluten free scones and light lunches. The latest addition is the covered canopy area with a log burner, which is now a cosy place to enjoy tea and lunch in the colder months.

The gardens themselves have now been transformed to a level of tranquility and beauty. The gardens are constantly being tended and nurtured by Simon, with a new vegetable corner with carrots, beans, rocket and lettuce growing and the new herb corner which has been planted with rosemary, angelica, mint and calendula to name a few. There are three mature fruit trees at Braxton situated in the walled garden. A Mulberry, a Fig and a Quince which we have made jam from available in the shop adjacent to the kitchen.

As well as the perfectly striped lawns there is a lily pool to explore, where the fish are illusive (but there!), Braxton’s retail nursery is now open where you can purchase your herbs for your herb garden, herbaceous perennials grown from Braxton’s mother plants and your favourite David Austin Roses.

Braxton Gardens are now open Tuesday to Sunday all year round, why not pop down and take in the ‘new look’?

Braxton Gardens, Lymore Lane, Milford on-Sea, SO41 0TX
Tel: 01590 643601

Match your colours

Louise Stewart Gillespie-Smith (Daughter of Stewart Gillespie-Smith, Assistant Warden at All Saints’ Church) has just moved into Milford on Sea from London for a few months. For the past 7 years, Louise has run her own image consultant business in London where she gives people advice on the most flattering colours and styles of clothing for them to wear to look their best and feel good about themselves. She has also worked with Gok Wan, the TV stylist on her career travels. Also a qualified life coach, enables Louise to combine her coaching skills to help people feel good about themselves and raise their self confidence.

Louise is happy to provide her services to anyone locally whilst she is in the village, so if you are interested you can contact her below:

Friday, 7 October 2011

Deauville Diary – Week One

The Gallic misadventures of a Milford village idiot abroad.

Week one of our emigration has passed with little trauma or dramatic incident. I suspect that has something to do with the fact that my wife has spent most of it sleeping and dribbling. At the same time I have been enchanting many a shop assistant with my version of their language. Indeed I now look so French that on Tuesday a driver pulled over to ask me directions, as a local I of course immediately gave him the help he needed, but for some reason he seemed a lot more confused as he drove off.

Yesterday we ventured out to a local bistro (That’s French for Café) imagine my relief when I said to my wife; “What would you like my petit pois?” and she lovingly replied; “moules et frites vous grande porc.” Phew, I had been having cold sweat that she might choose the ‘sole meuniere’ on the menu at £46, yes, forty six of your English pounds! Reckon I could get two for that price at Verveine. At lunch today we nearly made the mistake for ordering ‘bulot mayonnaise’, luckily I recognised the waiter’s mime identifying ‘sea snails’ before my English wife placed her order. What would she do without me? It looks like eating out is going to be an adventure in itself, that’s if we can continue to afford it!

New Owners at Bay Trees

Mark and Sarah Clayson are the proud new owners of the Milford on Sea’s Alastair Sawday Listed 4 Gold Star Bed & Breakfast, The Bay Trees. They moved into the village in early August from Adderbury, a village 3 miles south of Banbury in Oxfordshire.

Mark and Sarah had stayed at The Bay Trees a while ago and when they discovered it was for sale they say they felt they just had to buy it! The lovely house and garden was too good an opportunity to miss.

This meant that in addition to selling their cottage in Adderbury, Mark had to sell his computer consultancy business and Sarah had to leave the local authority, with whom she had worked for over 12 years.

For Sarah it is almost a return home – she was born in Lymington and her Grand Parents had lived in Barton on Sea and Brockenhurst. Mark also knows the area well from many family holidays spent in the New Forest, Bournemouth and Sandbanks.

Prior to this change of career, Sarah had been managing Oxfordshire County Council’s Adoption Service and Mark had been running his own Computer Consultancy business for 17 years. As a graduate of Westminster Hotel School Mark had previously spent 20 years in Hospitality Industry management with major hotel companies including Trust Houses Forte, Strand Hotels and Grand Metropolitan.

With Sarah’s skills and love of cooking and Marks hospitality and tourism experience they are confident that they can build on The Bay Trees excellent reputation and look forward to joining the local community.
01590 642186

No 20% Off for me at Zaika

I normally avoid putting special offers, or upcoming events, in this news section, as I would be inundated with typing, which in turn would restrict the time I need to irritate my wife. However, on this occasion I have made an exception, as 20% off the food bill for all tables of 4 or more at Zaika Indian Restaurant in Milford on Sea throughout the whole of October, sounds a great deal for you local people.

Now, I do like Kalam, and I know his chef and kitchen team produce great Indian food.  However, I think his sense of humour is a bit weird. Why is he choosing to run this offer whilst I have emigrated to La France?!

If you would like to see the other current dining offers currently available in the village, please click here.

For the latest village events please just go to:

Bench blockade

One of our intrepid unrewarded, yet enthusiastic reporters has spotted something quite odd. A rustic bench has appeared at the bottom of the footpath leading from Keyhaven Road (opposite Carrington Lane) to Sturt Pond. On an evening dog walk up the Sturt Pond footpath it wasn't there, the next morning, it was, and with traffic cones around it (whilst the cement to hold it in the ground dried off no doubt). Then the cones went and the bench remained, right across the bulk of the entrance to the footpath. She thought someone had done it as a joke, but as is often the case, fact is far weirder than fiction.

Of course benches are pleasant places to sit and while away the time, but I have not come across many that pretty much act as a blockade to an entire footpath. A bit of luck the kids are all grown up, I wouldn’t fancy my chances of getting a pram down there. Just a thought, the bench could really do with a table, and perhaps a matching partner facing it on the road. Would be great for picnic then.

I do however see a great opportunity for people like myself. Keeping fit is a bit of a challenge, but a swift run up, and the bench can become a great hurdle to jump. Indeed for the less able, they can simply stand on the seat and jump over the back.

Your very own village ‘Inspector Clueso’ would welcome any more information, or ridiculous comments, so if you have any thoughts please post them below.

Cash raised for Macmillan

A lot of scrummy home-made cakes were produced by ladies of the Milford Tennis & Squash Club for the recent Macmillan World's Biggest coffee morning event when just over £300 was raised. Apparently, the local Advertiser & Times when there might well be a photograph of the helpers and some of the club members. Anthony at Sullivan Mitchell was also able to raise around £100 from his coffee morning visitors.

I know a number of other events took place across the village and we hope they had equal success and a good time.

Reading Challenge winner announced

Our friendly Milford on Sea library, have announced the winners of The Circus Stars Summer Reading Challenge Prize Draw. Our congratulations go to: Alex Harmer-Manning (Age 4 -7) and Simeon Hellsten (Age 8 – 11) .  Well done guys!

I did pop along to claim a prize for myself, but apparently I was told politely, that being able to read almost fluently at 55 does not get you any awards.

Library Changes: Information about the proposals for changes to Hampshire's Library provision is now available in the Library. Please pop in and see how your library is affected.

Milford on Sea Library is open:
Monday 2.30pm - 5.30pm | Tuesday 2.30pm - 4.30pm | Wednesday 10am - 12.30pm | Friday 10am - 12.30pm

JW Opening Party

JW Health & Holistic held their Official Launch Party last Thursday in the renovated ‘Old Bank’ in the lower High Street, Milford on Sea. The event was hosted by new owner Jane Watkins and her husband Ian, and was attended by around 50 of the great and good of Milford on Sea!

The weather could well be described as “scorchio”, forcing the party to overspill outside into the street. We hear guests enjoyed plenty of bubbly, bucks fizz and more, while having personal tours of the extensive facilities. In addition, demonstrations were available of hot stone therapy, Indian Head Massage, hair care and of course the Dermalife Spa Capsule, which is the only one in the region. Apparently, power plate taster sessions were booked solid, what ever they are?

The canapés were provided by La Perle, and to Priory Wines of Lymington came along with the champagne, Although I am not sure these are available every time you visit..

You can see photos from the event at:
01590 642057

Renal service for visitors

Visitors and holiday makers to Milford on Sea in need of holiday dialysis may be interested to know that Renal Services are available at Milford on Sea War Memorial Hospital. There are only a few places in UK which provide holiday dialysis so renal patients do not have a big choice of holiday destinations. They have to choose a place close to a renal unit.

To find out more please visit: 

Or contact: Marlena Mandat at or call 077 6080 0932.

Allegro shine at The Marine

The Marine in Milford on Sea had a bevy of local talent performing for charity on Saturday night. The charity band ‘Allegro’, a contemporary Quartet headed by Jo Vesey, together with Christine Mulgrew, Musical Director of the Total Voice Choir, performed for a full house. The event was hosted by Richard and Sue, and was organised to raise money for the Children's ‘Piam Brown’ Leukemia Ward at the Southampton General Hospital.

Jo Vezey is the daughter of Keith Metcalf (our Parish Clerk and Milford Wildlife Recording Group Coordinator) and she formed ‘Allegro’ as a registered charity, following the passing of her mother. The quartet also includes Andie Fry, Jo Davies and Pam Travis, and they entertain whilst raising money for good causes. They were also joined on Saturday night by Jo Vezey`s daughter, Emily, not yet 13 until December, who is a member of the Total Voice children's choir, and gave a first class solo performance. Also supporting the “Allegro” Quartet, was Peter Hill singer, and Glyn Jones on keyboard, both from the band ’Bogart’.

Mike tells us that the people attending, also enjoyed a selection from The Marine cafe menu and also a most entertaining evening.

Our unofficial blog photographer, Mike Collison, grabbed some photos of the night, if you would like to see them please click here.

Monday, 3 October 2011

Deauville Diary – Day One

The Gallic misadventures of a Milford village idiot abroad.

Well we arrived this afternoon, weather is over 30 degrees - in October! I just love global warming! One hundred and eighty miles from channel tunnel, great motorways, but…. I had forgotten, you are in the air most of the time! Giant viaduct, after giant viaduct…. never a problem in the past, but vertigo has now appeared from somewhere to make my life a little more complicated. Just before Deauville we had to cross ‘Le Pont de Normandie’, the world's longest cable-stayed bridge when built in 1995, as we turned the corner an enormous steel edifice arose from the riverbed, not content with being high, some comedian had decided to also make it curved! As the cold sweat appeared, I hung on and drove on, up and up and round! My relief at landing on the other side was short lived, as my wife said with a giggle, “You do know that was only the ‘Pont sur le Grand Canal du Havre’ don’t you.” “Oh joy” was the only reply I could muster whilst I tried to breathe properly again. My wife’s extreme sympathy continued as we approached the next monster. She just gawped and exploded “Ahh, look at the height of that!” If she ever considered a career in nursing, someone would have to tell her it might not be the best vocation for her. Trying as ever to block her out, we arrived on the bridge, I grabbed the steering wheel with white knuckles, stared at the road and struggled to make sure I didn’t wet myself. Still not quite understanding what vertigo is, she helpfully cried; “Those boats look so tiny.” The ‘not wetting yourself’ plan was not going so well.

When we arrived in Deauville the first thing we did was buy baguette, cheese & vin rouge for tonight’s tea. Then, an almost romantic walk on the sun-kissed sandy beach. It was packed with the young, tanned and fit, and I was pleased that I had packed my thong and remembered to have a full body wax in the village before setting off.

A delightful evening was all going well as I engrossed myself in Boris Johnson’s book, and it is so hot we had all windows & doors open giving a cool breeze, - life doesn't get any better than this.

Spoke to soon, a daddy long legs has just come through the window, my wife is now screaming like a banshee, as if a tyrannosaurus has smashed through the wall looking to eat the noisiest person in the room - and now I have to remove the innocent insect or suffer a perforated ear drum. Must go now, major crisis to deal with, and sure gendarmerie are probably on the way.

Saturday, 1 October 2011

Your editor is emigrating!

Well we are all packed, the car is loaded with curry sauces and associated essentials, my wife’s in the boot, dogs in the front, and we are now emigrating to France. 

Leaving Milford on Sea will not be easy, but the delights of Deauville on the Cote de Fleurie are also hard to resist.  Having emigrated there once before we are excited about our latest adventure.  Our new French seafront home now awaits, and I suspect we may arrive to a surprise civic reception, street party and many kisses from the mayor.

Unfortunately for you, the wonders of e-mail and the internet will keep us in touch and the Milford on Sea News Bulletin will continue, although it may be a little less frequent and have a slightly French flavour.   Should anyone have any problems when I inadvertently drop my ramblings into French, I am sure Lionel at La Perle will be happy to translate for you.

Our regular readers will know that I need no improvement to my French language skills and etiquette, as these were perfected on our last emigration to France.  Whilst I am rarely understood by the French people I meet, or generally accost, I suspect this can only be a regional accent issue.  Indeed, once attired with a beret and hooped tee shirt I am often mistaken for a native Frenchman.  Mon épouse continues to insist that six weeks in France is not ‘emigration’ but simply a ‘ridiculously long holiday’, but I think she is technically incorrect.  She also insists that wearing a beret and drinking Pastis every day does not mean that I will become half French.  However my penchant for baguette, cheese & French wine (particularly wine) I think proves that I am indeed nearly French already.  I have already enquired how long it will take for us to become French citizens, so next time you see me I will be eligible for a starring role in Les Miserables.

Au revoir mes amis.

click image to enlarge

Billy in France

Just thought, when we get to France we will have no friends, so I will be ‘Billy No Mates’ with only my wife and dogs providing occasional conversation.  I shall of course be regularly conversing fluently with my new gallic neighbours, but it’s not the same as the ridiculous conversations I get involved with in Milford on Sea.

Anyway, as I shall be keeping in touch with absent friends through the ‘News Bulletin’, it occurred to me that lots of people in the village still do not get a copy. This may be because they understandably avoid me, or perhaps they don’t know about.  So, this is where you come in please.  Your lonely ‘temporary Frenchman’ would really appreciate if you could send the two links below to all of your friends and force ask them all to sign up to receive the Newsletter.  Then if anyone responds, I can sit looking overlooking The English Channel musing about home, and the new people who will be wondering why I bother to write such nonsense!

Bob on his bike!

There is likely to be quite a few guys out there who remember Bob Wilson, the ex: Arsenal and Scotland goalkeeper, and former Match of the Day host. 

He retired some years ago, and since then he has been dedicated to a charity he set up: ‘The Willow Foundation’.  This is the only charity of its kind providing special days for seriously ill 16 to 40 year olds throughout the UK.

Next Wednesday (5th October) Bob will be arriving at Milford on Sea in connection with a film being made about his recent charity bike ride.  Bob will be stopping to have a coffee and chat at The Marine on the seafront for about half an hour. Bob is scheduled to be there around 3.30pm, so just pop along if you fancy meeting him.

James Bond in Milford?

In the never ending excitement that is Milford on Sea, another mystery has raised its head.  An observant reader noticed some strange activity from the seafront yesterday.  The strange happenings involved a helicopter, which appeared to be chasing several speed boats in turn. 

Perhaps we have a James Bond adventure being filmed in the village?  On that basis, I think she may have suspected it was me in the speed boat, due to my chiselled looks, sharp dress sense and secret agent characteristics, but it wasn’t, because I was following the detailed instructions given by my wife on how I should pack a suitcase.  This had directly followed her sweetly telling me; ”I don’t care how incompetent you are at packing, I’m not doing it for you.”

As I have now been eliminated from the enquiries, someone else must have been involved.  If you have any ideas, please drop them in the comments section below.

The Ladies Lunch at La Perle

‘The Ladies Who Lunch’ have made a visit to La Perle French restaurant in the High Street, Milford on Sea.  Over the years ‘The Ladies’ have visited, and reviewed hundreds of restaurants across Hampshire.  Set up by four friends, they decided to create a fun website about their favourite occupation, lunching together.

As they enthusiastically set about their dedication to such an arduous commitment, they tucked into a mixture of delights from the ‘La Perle £10 lunch deal’ and the ‘daily specials board’.  They obviously had a good time, as they ordered an additional bottle of wine to add to the free glass of wine already included in the meals.  I am sure it was the food, not the additional wine that resulted in The Ladies awarding La Perle a ‘LWL Silver Award’. 
Chef/proprietor, Lionel Sene provides authentic French cuisine using fresh and locally sourced produce, and I have always found it a pleasure to eat there, so ‘The Ladies’ are obviously good judges! 

It was great to read ‘The Ladies Who Lunch’ saying: “Milford on Sea is fast becoming one of the eating destinations for foodies on the South coast.”  Our village master plan is slowly working, - look out Padstow!

To read the full review from ‘The Ladies Who Lunch’, please click here.

Free First Aid Courses

Seahorses Playgroup are inviting anyone who would like to attend a free St John First Aid Course at the Community Centre. The course has been specifically designed for those who look after young children but it is also relevant to everyone; parents, grandparents, babysitters… etc. The more of us who know 1st Aid, the safer all our children are.
This course is free and is being funded by a generous donation made to the playgroup by the Milford Arts & Music Festival.

Place must be pre-booked | Please contact Jan Rook now to book your place.
Contact Jan on 07801 624324 or
Facebook Page: ‘Seahorses Playgroup’

'1st Aid for Families' | 7.30pm - 9.30pm | Monday 14th November
'1st Aid for Dads' | 7.30pm - 9.30pm | Monday 21st November