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Friday, 30 December 2011

The Joy of Christmas Presents

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Roll on next Christmas.

Party on New Year’s Eve

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

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

Doctors Advice

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

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

Yu haf no idr how fablus I feel rite now.

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

Are You a Village Newcomer?

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

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

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

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

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

Saturday, 24 December 2011

Love our shops

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

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

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

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

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

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

Carnival Parade Back!

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

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

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

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

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

Boxing Day Left-overs

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

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

Zaika Indian Restaurant
01590 643084

Friday, 9 December 2011

Onward and upward for Total Voice!

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

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

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

Please visit the Total Voice website at for more information.

Fancy Running an Event at Food Week?

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

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

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

Concert raises over £3000

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

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

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

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

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

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

New Workshops at the Library

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

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

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

Tuesday, 6 December 2011

Comedy & Cake with Jo Caulfield

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

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

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

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

Tickets £17.50 | Now on sale at:

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


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

Food Week Christmas Pressy

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

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

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

To buy your tickets please just just go to:

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

click image to enlarge

Back from Deauville

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Friday, 2 December 2011

Tom Kerridge Headlines Food Week

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

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

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

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

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

An Evening with Tom Kerridge: Saturday 14th April 2012

Tickets £17.50 | Now on sale at:

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

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

Milford’s Outstanding School

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

Milford school teaching is ‘Outstanding’

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

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

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

Sue Towndrow | Vice-Chair of Governors

Entertainment Galore!

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

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

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

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

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

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