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Friday, 30 March 2012

Drama at Comedy Club

As another sell out audience flowed into the ‘Fifth Thursday Comedy Club’ in Milford on Sea Community Centre last night, they were greeted by the news that headline act, Miles Jupp, had pulled out only 24 hours before. Miles is currently all over our television screens having just performed in ‘Dance for Sport Relief’, ‘The Apprentice: Your Fired’ and even in a new panel game show with Paul Merton this very evening.

A delicious Cumberland Pie was soon being enjoyed with drinks from the bar, and in spite of our missing star for the night, all were in high spirits. A handout told us that we now had a new headline act, Mike Gunn. What it did not mention was the trauma Sue Whitlock, (the Comedy Club organiser) must have gone through to find replacement performers in the few hours available after Miles withdrawal.

Soon the evenings compare had laughter flowing with a couple of jokes, and he then started the ‘Open Mic’ session, where local audience members were encouraged to tell a joke as he wandered through the amassed throng. The tone was soon set with some rib tickling jokes, most of which confirmed the warning on the posters about ‘adult only’ entertainment!

Our new support act, Iszi Lawrence, was then on stage. Iszi is a young female comic from Bristol, and she was soon in her stride with an engaging personality and sharp funny stories. Although young, she obviously knew how to handle our evening’s hecklers with some nice put downs and a warning that ‘Mike would not be so gentle.’

As we recharged our glasses during the interval, the handout told us more about Mike Gunn. Early in his career Mike was supporting the likes of Jo Brand and Alan Davies. He now headlines at all the top comedy venues in the UK and he has also recently entertained the troops in the Falkland Islands. Mike has also taken two solo shows to the Edinburgh Festival. His television appearances include Michael McIntyre’s Comedy Roadshow (BBC1), Harry Hill’s TV Burp (ITV), Al Murray’s sit-com ‘Time Gentlemen Please’ (Sky), to name but a few.

Our main act soon took to the stage looking sharp in a smart jacket, crisp jeans and tee shirt. Within minutes he had everyone in fits of laughter, as he pointed out many of the differences between men and women. His observations were spot on, and hilarious. Some acts just want to do their prepared show, but Mike obviously liked a bit of banter and happily went off script to interact with the crowd. As our evenings hecklers reemerged, he simply cut them down like felling a small tree using a giant humour chain saw. As he got to know the audience, and little bits about Milford on Sea, his act evolved to focus on things relating to the people in the village.

His anecdotes were quick fire and painted pictures in your mind that could only create laughter, in particular, his set relating to age had the audience almost wetting themselves. (Possibly, some even did.) Mike’s style was warm, likeable and he had the ability to ensure everyone was hanging on his every word in fear of missing something. Sometimes you know the comedian is enjoying it just as much as you, and this was one of those nights. This guy was without doubt a ‘top draw’ comedian, and he certainly dispelled any disappointment for Miles Jupp’s no show. Indeed, everyone went home very, very happy.

Congratulation and thanks must go the Sue Whitlock for pulling this amazing show out of the bag, and to her fellow cooks, Marguerite and their team of helpers, who cooked a great meal and served behind the bar.

Comedy Club Nights are always a sellout, so if you want to make the next one, starring ‘The Idiot of Ants’ on Thursday 31st May, book early. There with also be a special ‘Comedy Club Night' on the Thursday between Christmas and New Year. Sounds a long way off, but tickets will be sold as soon as they go on sale, so keep an eye out!

Thursday, 29 March 2012

Playground finds a good samaritan

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Some recent stories about the poor play park surface has resulted in an amazing reaction by a very generous Milford on Sea resident.

The condition of the play surface in the Children’s Play Area on Milford on Sea seafront was raised by a concerned local resident, and holiday business owner, in the middle of this month. Her concerns mainly focused on the large holes, which are water filled and become very muddy.

Quite rightly, she point out that; "the current state of the playground is unacceptable. She also made an extremely relevant point that; ‘the play area is of great benefit &a pleasure not just local families, but also visitors to the area, who generate much needed revenue for village businesses and the council."

It was also clear that with the holiday season fast approaching, and the many ‘Milford on Sea events' drawing visitors from far & wide, the current playground is certainly not creating a great impression on anyone.

In response to this story, a anonymous member of the community came forward and offered to pay the full £21,985 to cover the cost of the works. You can imagine how astounded I was that someone could show such generosity.

Up until now, the Parish Council had been trying to find the funds to complete the Play Park resurfacing and they had applied for a grant from the Veolia Environmental Trust.  However, the grants are selected from many community applications, so nothing was guaranteed, also there was no timescale on when a decision would be made. Our anonymous donor took the view that they would like the work completed as soon as possible, and in with withdrawing the current grant application they were happy in the knowledge that children in a community elsewhere would benefit from the grant.

In Milford on Sea so many people find way to contribute to our community, many cannot show the level of financial generosity of our anonymous donor, however by volunteering their time and effort all makes Milford on Sea the very special place that it is.

The Survey Date for the play park resurfacing is planned to take place at 11am on Tuesday 3rd April 2012, and then all being well, the Start Date for the work will take place from Monday 16th April 2012, all thanks to a kind soul in the village.  The donation is going to make so many children and parents happy, and it certainly made my day.  So, on behalf of everyone, I say thank you for your kindness.

Wednesday, 28 March 2012

Milford to Island Bridge Approved

The long awaited first bridge to connect the Isle of Wight with the mainland is expected to be approved by Hampshire County Council at their next planning meeting.

The new four lane suspension bridge will run from Hurst Castle to Totland Bay on the Isle of Wight. To enable sufficient access, the ground work on the previously approved dual carriageway along the top of Hurst Spit commences on Monday 9th April.  Objections that is clashes with the start of Food Week appear to be falling on deaf ears.

The chair lift at Alum Bay is also to be extended to create a new terminus at the entrance to Hurst Castle. This will provide visitors to ‘The Needles Old Battery’ with direct access to the bridge, a rope slide will also come into operation in the Autumn. New Forest District Council have already met and decided that due to the significant tourists expected to be attracted, that the bridge will be designated a national monument within the New Forest National Park, and that all ponies will be provided with free passes.

The name of the bridge remains undecided. Residents of Milford on Sea wish it to be called ‘The Milford Carbuncle’, however, Island inhabitants favour the name: ‘The Escape Bridge’.

Future plans for a tunnel between Milford on Sea and Cherbourg are also expected to be approved at the next planning meeting on 1st April 2012. Plans are already afoot for a French Market to be held each weekend on Milford on Sea village green.  Being a honorary Frenchman, and having emigrated twice to Deauville in recent years, I will be providing a translation service for anyone that requires a clear and accurate understanding of our gallic guest stallholders.

A reciprocal ‘English Market’ will be held on Cherbourg’s pétanque pitch at the same times. The Parish Council will be providing striped tops, berets and strings of onions for anyone wishing to attend. Cherbourg’s mayor, Monsieur Le Cock, refused to comment, mainly due to him not wishing to over-excite the French nation about the delights of the forthcoming English Market.

When asked about the bridge, a local village resident commented; "Get out of my way and stop asking me stupid questions."

Due the increase in commercial traffic for these building projects, work is expected to commence shortly on the re-development of Keyhaven Quay into a international freight cargo terminal.

For more information please contact:

New Owners at Pet Shop

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The Jaws, Paws & Claws pet shop in Milford on Sea village centre has changed hands. (or should that be paws?)

This week, Peter Murphy and his friend Simone Graham, have become the new owners of the village pet shop, and they are now welcoming all of the village furry friends & their owners!

I popped in on Tuesday, and Simone was very friendly and helpful. The variety and quality of range options was impressive and the prices looked pretty competitive. Whilst there, I took a look at the behavioural training books. Apparently the techniques are unlikely to work on my wife, ….. worth a try though.

Having been opened in February 2011, the village Pet Shop provide a full range of pet supplies. They stock all manner of essential supplies, toys and goodies for whatever you pet might be. They are also the only stockist of the Symply range of natural dog food in the area, and now also have a new food range for dogs and cats called Barking Heads / Meowing Heads which is doing well.

The shop was originally a new venture by Nici & Lionel Illgner. Lionel also still owns, and runs, the successful and very useful hardware shop, 'Hardware@Milford' in Keyhaven Road. Now, Simone and Peter are looking forward to giving a warm welcome to all the customers who have been so supportive in the past.

If you need anything at all for your pets it is great to know that there is no need to leave the village. So if you are looking for anything relating to your dog, cat, fish, rabbit or horse why not pop down & take a look.

Jaws, Paws & Claws, 4 Church Hill, Milford on Sea, SO41 0QH
Tel: 01590 643837

Hardware@Milford, 20 Keyhaven Road, Milford on Sea, SO41 0QY
Tel: 01590 641684

Monday, 26 March 2012

Food Week on Radio Solent

Last Sunday your editor appeared on the Nick Girdler morning radio show, extolling the virtues of Milford on Sea, our Food Week, and for some obscure reason reviewing the Sunday newspapers. 

If you missed the interview and would like a hear it, you can listen on the link below.  Start the recording at 30 minutes and you can go straight to the interview.

Please Note: The recording will only be on the BBC iPlayer until Saturday 31st March 2012.

Sunday, 25 March 2012

40 B4 40-The Marine (& Mr Pink's)

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No. 5: Bit of strange week really. My wife had spent a couple of days away working, during which she had stayed and dined at The Bell Inn in Sandwich, Kent. A debate ensued as to whether this should qualify for our 40 B4 40 Challenge, I maintained that our challenge should only include restaurants when we dine together, she insisted she much prefers dining alone.  Apparently, it is a lot less stressful and much more fun.  A good point, but not in the spirit of the challenge.

A glorious weekend at the end of March made Milford on Sea an even more special place to be than normal. Saturday evening involved a trip to Mr Pink’s Fish & Chip Shop. It was one of those nights when fish and chips was the perfect choice for dinner. The freshly cooked haddock had a delicious flavour and was ensconced in a tasty crispy batter. The chips were piping hot, crunchy on the outside and soft white on the inside, just as they should be. The addition of salt, vinegar, bread roll and a pickled onion really made this a perfect meal for a sunny evening by the seaside.

Naturally we then spent another few hours debating my argument that the meal should be included in our dining challenge. My wife won the debate when she put me down with a hard kick in the groin.

A weird start to Sunday morning was made a little weirder when I had to deal with the clocks going forward. Fortunately my wife’s organisational skills kicked in to prevent Nick Girdler sitting in his radio studio alone. As she woke me gently with a rabbit punch in the kidneys, I jumped out of bed and hurriedly showered and dressed, as I was doing this my wife explained to me that my abilities in living in the real world were somewhat lacking. My request for her to prepare my make up for my media appearance were met by the looks of complete disdain only her mother could have taught her.

I made the BBC Solent Radio studios in time, and was soon on air plugging the delights of Milford on Sea and our fabulous Food Week. Next, it was time to review stories from the Sunday papers, I had picked stories on Prince Harry’s newly found maturity, the budget smallprint adding VAT to takeaway food, and a bit of a rant about the architectural carbuncles caused by government interest free loans for house cladding, together with an impromptu moan about how solar panels are a blot on the aesthetic environment. My wife’s stern warnings had worked, and I did not swear, or get into an inane rage. It looks like next Tuesday's radio interview is still on.

On the drive back, I was unable to navigate through Lyndhurst, as my car was involuntarily drawn to the Local Producers Farmers Market.  As I was alone, I gave in, parked, and made my way straight to the cake stall.  A few minutes later, I was the proud and drooling owner of an unusual Bakewell tart cake and a scrumpious Chocolate sponge cake.  I then remembered that I had to explain how I got them when I returned home.  To eat them before getting to the door was a bridge to far even for me.  Back home, my cover story of how it was traditional to give radio guests a cake or two fell on deaf ears and a stoney face.  The lecture on why I didn't need them, was far outweighed by my delight that I was going to enjoy them all week!

It was soon time to make a decision about where to go for Sunday lunch. The glorious weather swung it for The Marine, just down the road on Milford on Sea seafront. As you might expect on calling to make a reservation, the restaurant was fully booked, but we were offered, and accepted, an outside table on the balcony. The first pint of San Miguel went down so well, as we sat and took in the fabulous views to The Needles, along Hurst Spit and across Christchurch Bay to the Purbeck Hills. Having dined on the Côte d'Azur, the Venice Waterways, alongside The Thames and on the QE2 to name but a few, it is easy to say that the location of this grand Art Deco building is just as spectacular on a warm sunny day. The complimentary home-made brown and white bread with fresh butter sprinkled with salt was a great way to get the tastebuds going. My wife’s starter was Crab and prawn cocktail with crusty bread. Her silly grin showed she had enjoyed it. I had chosen a Grilled rosary goats cheese crostini with pear, walnut and honey salad. For once the green leaves on the plate had a purpose other than just getting in the way of the real food.  The combination of goats cheese, chopped walnuts and a delicious salad dressing created a taste and texture that was a delight.

The main courses arrived, and if you love a roast dinner, the plates were just how you would want a roast dinner to look.  My Roast chicken has loads of meat, the bread sauce was tasty, the roast vegetables as good as vegetables can be, the roast potatoes were crispy & fluffy and the gravy dark, rich and plentiful. My wife’s Roast sirloin of local beef with Yorkshire pudding, roast potatoes and gravy was just as appetising.

My wife's Yorkshire pudding looked so good.  I decided to point out a sinking yacht to her.  As she scowered the seas, I moved like a ninja, and in one fell swoop I took the Yorkshire straight to my mouth and devoured it as quickly as possible.

A few minutes later, my wife noticed her now non-existent Yorkshire pudding. Her first reaction was to blame it on me, but in turn I pointed out the ravenous looking seagulls. I don’t think she believed me, but ‘He who has the Yorkshire’ is the winner. When it was time for sweet my wife of course refused, with one eye on her figure, and the other on the remaining wine. I went for the traditional favourite, Rhubarb and apple crumble with custard. I was not disappointed.

Our Sunday lunch was good value at £17.50 for two courses, or £22.50 for three. Our drinks and wine bumped this up a bit, but it was worth every penny. It is not every day that you can sit and enjoy a fine meal, whilst looking at one of the most picturesque views in the world.


If you are wondering what the 40 B4 40 Dining Challenge is all about, please click here and all will be explained.

Saturday, 24 March 2012

The Beatles Headline Music Festival

The big news from the Milford on Sea Arts and Music Festival is that the Internationally regarded “Counterfeit Beatles” will headline Saturday Night. The guys are a very special Beatles Tribute band that provide a fantastic set, playing all the classic Beatles hits that everyone knows and loves.

The Milford on Sea Arts & Music Festival also now has a new website, with loads of information, and the organising committee are gearing up for another great event from Thursday July 12th to Sunday 15th 2012.

The free festival once again brings together the best local talent with some from further afield to provide a unique experience for locals and visitors alike.  The event is free to attend and there will be events taking place on the main stage, in the licensed marquee and at various places around the village.

The annual Arts and Music Festival has been running successfully for 11 years and celebrates and promotes the high quality and sheer number of talented local people involved in music and the arts.  As a registered charity the festivals raison d’etre is to promote art and culture in the local area, and to give an outlet for performers of all kinds to promote their art and to develop cultural understanding for all.  Any excess profit from the festival is donated to support local charities within and outside the arts.

The festival will something for all ages and tastes from Thursdays Folk and acoustic evening to the classical finale on Sunday afternoon.  Everyone is welcome so bring your family and enjoy all that is on offer this year.

As a free festival the organisers are indebted to the army of volunteers and the generous Sponsors and Friends that support the event financially.  The event only runs due to the good grace of an army of volunteers giving up their time and being prepared to get stuck into the myriad of tasks that make the festival such a success. Even buying a programme or a T-shirt really helps the cause.  If you have some time and would like to get involved, or would like to enjoy the benefits of becoming a Friend, please contact Sean Reeves at: | 01590 644777 | 07966 449826

This is a Milford on Sea event not to miss, so may be worth putting the dates in your diary now.

To take a look at the new website, please click this link:

Village Party Night for All!

If you fancy a fun night out with friends or family, look no further than the Village Party Night!

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Dorsal Fin, one of Milford on Sea’s most established and popular bands will be playing live at the Food Week Village Party Night! on Friday 13th April 2012.

The night also provides an opportunity to enjoy what is becoming another village made traditional favourite; Paella!  During the evening, Milford on Sea based ‘Authentic Paella Catering’ will be serving the healthy and delicious taste of traditional Spanish Paella for everyone to enjoy.

Dorsal Fin have regularly played at the Milford on Sea Arts and Music Festival, and are well known for getting a party going!  The 6-Piece Rock Band deliver high energy funk/soul and rock, mixing the sounds of James Brown to Donna Summer, Stevie Wonder to Eva Cassidy, Santana to Sade and Pink Floyd to Bob Marley. In fact anything they play will make you want to get on the dance floor.

The Village Party is for everyone, so come along, with a group of friends, as a girls night out, or simply bring the family.  However you choose to come, you will have a great night.

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Village Party Night! Tickets are £15 including your paella meal, or you can pay £17.50 on the door. 

You can buy your tickets now at Gwen’s in the High Street, or from the Food Week Online ticket Office at:

Watch Dorsal Fin in action on the video below:

New Railway at Milford

A new British Rail train line has been installed on Milford on Sea beach.  The exact timetable for the new scheduled service has yet to be revealed, however we are investigating whether a fully licensed buffet car will be included.

The new service is designed to take tourists and locals on trips around the beach.  There is a height limit of 3 inches for all passengers, which may be restrictive for some.

The tunnel project to extend the line under The Marine Café is expected to start on the first day of April, and when completed, the new line will eventually terminate at Lymington Station.

To view the new service please take a look at the video below:

Village musicians win awards

We would like to send our congratulations for the excellent achievements of the Milford on Sea music pupils at the New Milton Music Festival.

The pupils of Jenny Davies fared extremely well in their examinations, being awarded Certificates from Commended to Distinction, thus demonstrating their skills on wide range of instruments.  Well done everyone!

Jenny - Music Lessons in Milford on Sea |

Thursday, 22 March 2012

Big Bloke on the Radio

It will come as much as a surprise to you, as it has to me, that your editor has been invited to appear on the radio, twice!  That is of course providing my first appearance is deemed acceptable.

Naturally, I shall be taking the chance to let all of the BBC Radio Solent listeners discover about the delights of both Milford on Sea and our Food Week. 

I of course, have the perfect face and physique for radio.  My voice is currently being trained, to ensure that listeners picture me as a George Clooney lookalike sitting just in underpants.

In addition to this, the invitation includes being the ‘Guest Paper Reviewer’ on the Nick Girdler Sunday Morning Show.  I shall be reading the newspapers an hour or so before, then Nick and I will discuss my selected stories of the day.

As you may expect, I will first look for 'Food Stories', to give Food Week another plug.  Next, I will look for 'Ridiculous Stories' which appeal to my inappropriate sense of humour.  If I have to resort to 'Grown Up' stories, I will be
able to give it the slant of a natural village idiot.

On Tuesday, your editor will be on The Katie Martin Show, and once again Food Week will be our top topic of discussion.

If you fancy tuning in to witness my embarrassment, hear the nonsense we discuss for the day’s stories in the Sunday newspapers, or listen to the Tuesday appearance, please just set your radio dial to:

Sunday 25th March 2012 | The Nick Girdler Show from 09.30am until 09.45am

BBC Radio Solent: 96.1 & 103.8FM: 999 and 1039 AM: DAB:


Tuesday 27th March 2012 | The Katie Martin Show at 1.30pm
BBC Radio Solent: 96.1 & 103.8FM: 999 and 1039 AM: DAB:

PS: If I am not on the Katie Martin Show on Tuesday, you will know my appearance on The Nick Girdler Show did not go so well, and that I am banned from all BBC premises!

Milford’s Got Talent

The Marine are looking for performers, and a fun loving audience, for the ‘Milford Got Talent Night!' this coming Saturday (24th March.)  If you are a local amateur singer, musician or comedian, and fancy performing, just let The Marine know and go along. 

The evening will be free entry for all, so Richard and his team are hoping an enthusiastic audience will also come along to enjoy watching Milford's local talent.  The singers, musicians and comedians will be providing fun filled entertainment to win a £50 Dining Voucher.  Sounds like it is going to be a night to remember.

On the evening a Canapé Tray at £6 per head & Full Bistro Menu will be available for those wishing to eat.  The bar will also be open all evening for those that who fancy coming along to watch the show whilst enjoying just a drink.

On Food Week Saturday (14th April 2012) The Marine will also be holding the Milford Open Mic & Disco Night!  Providing another great opportunity to come and enjoy watching Milford's local talent on the Open Mic.

Free Entry For Everyone.

If you fancy performing, simply register your act for either or both events, by calling: 01590 644369 or e-mail:

For tickets at: Milford Open Mic & Disco Night! please visit:

Food Week Open Meeting

We are holding an Food Week Open Meeting in the Community Centre at 6pm next Wednesday (28th March.)  Please come along.

The meeting is for Food Week Volunteers and any Participants running an event.  New volunteers are also welcome.  Indeed, anyone is welcome, even oi you fancy just coming along to see what is happening.

There is no formal agenda, the purpose of the meeting is run though any questions people might have, and to give a brief overview of the things happening during Food Week.  The meeting is not expected to last longer than one hour and will be held in the Community Centre.

For those that get bored, or are looking for a better reason to come along, the bar will be open on the night!

Please feel free to just turn up!

Food Week Volunteer & Participants Open Meeting
Wednesday 27th March - 6pm to 7pm
Community Centre | Bar Open!


Tickets are selling fast for all Food events, if you still have to order yours please visit the Food Week Ticket Office here:

Hurst Castle on TV

I think this might be a bit of a secret, so if I tell you, please promise not to tell anyone else!

Last Tuesday a team from the BBC’s 'The One Show' were spotted at Hurst Castle. Presenter Larry Lamb was doing a piece on ENSA, as Hurst Castle is believed to have the last remaining Garrison Theatre in its original form. On the stage for the show was the local swing band Windmill, which is run by Penny Bishop, and includes her husband Bob, Chairman of the Community Centre and Vice chair of the Parish Council.  It could have been a day from the forties!  We hear the show is due to be broadcast early April, if we find out when, we will let you know.

The Hurst Castle team may now have their sights firmly set on stardom, as in April, the BBC TV cameras have also been to film the Hurst Castle Ferries at work at The Needles.  The rib from the ferries fleet has been transporting men and material to The Needles Lighthouse for some time now, as essential maintenance work is taking place on the rocks.  This feature is due to be shown on a future episode of the highly successful BBC Series ‘Coast’.

The future TV plans of Sean, Mary and Jason are unknown.  However, I think the castle is ideal for a costume drama starring key village figures!

Try your hand at Bowls

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Milford on Sea Bowls Club are having a Newcomers Coffee Morning on Wednesday 25th April 2012.

Beginners and all abilities are welcome.

If you are interested, simply go along at 10:30am and enjoy a bowls taster session on the green for about an hour, finishing at 12:30pm.  At the same time you can enjoy a cup of coffee and meet new people from the village.

Dress is casual/comfortable. Shoes and bowls provided by the club.

Milford on Sea Bowling Club: Hurst Road, Milford on Sea, SO41 0PY

Fancy a New Seafront House?

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Many of us will have watched as a spectacular new house emerged from the rubble  in Hurst Road, on Milford on Sea seafront.

Recent years has seen the sea front properties change considerably, and the combination of buildings now look modern and striking.  Some, I am sure, prefer the traditional homes, however, few could argue that this new house is not a massive improvement on the previous block of flats.  Indeed, it must be pretty unusual to lose flats for a house to be built!

I suspect this benefits all home owners in the village, as it increases the profile and desirability of living in Milford on Sea, and ultimately increases property prices.  This is of course not good news for all, in particular our young ones looking to get on the property ladder, or for young families wanting to move into the village.

The new house is described as a stunning, high specification new detached seafront residence, providing superb first floor living space, five double bedrooms, three bathrooms, double garaging & off-road parking.  The house even has a swimming pool in the back garden.

We understand everything is architect designed and that no expense will be spared on the fittings within the property.

As you would expect from its location, it has outstanding sea and coastal views from the Isle of Wight and the needles through to Bournemouth Bay and the Purbeck Hills.

So if you have some spare cash lying around, it could be by far the best beach hut in the world!  Ah yes, one small detail I almost forgot, it will cost the buyer in excess of £1,750,000.

See more about the property: click here

Sunday, 18 March 2012

Milford Hospital Charity Night at Zaika

On Thursday 19th April, our local Zaika Indian Restaurant is holding a charity night in association with the League of Friends, and in aid of Milford on Sea Hospital.

Ticket price is £20 - which includes a 10 item ‘eat as much as you like’ buffet.  Half of the nights total ticket sales will go to the hospital. 

First Sitting is at 6pm to 8pm
Second Sitting: 8.30pm 10.30pm

To book please call: 01590 643084

Tom Kerridge Headlines Food Week

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The headline show at Milford on Sea Food Week 2012 is two Michelin star chef, Tom Kerridge.  ‘An Evening with Tom Kerridge’ will feature Tom cooking three spectacular dishes on Saturday 14th April 2011.  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!

No stranger to showbiz, in his youth Tom 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.

His 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!

Tickets are available from the Food Week Online Ticket Office, or from Gwen's in Milford on Sea High Street.  
Milford on Sea is fast become a ‘Foodie Destination’ and now boasts around 20 different places to eat in the village.  Locals and visitors alike can enjoy anything from the delightful tearooms to the top quality dining restaurants.  In recognition of this ‘Foodie Heaven by the Sea!’, Milford on Sea Food Week is now in its third year and celebrates all that is great about local food.

Milford on Sea Food Week has all corners of the community taking part, and the event has over 100 varied activities for everyone to get involved and have fun.  The event will also create long-term sustainability for the village centre shops and its restaurants, for the benefit of local residents and visitors alike.

From Easter Bank Holiday Monday, Milford on Sea Food Week will run for an entire seven days.  Everyone at every age is welcome, to come and enjoy the Themed Dining Evenings, Professional Cookery Theatre, Celebrity Shows, Cooking Demonstrations, Educational Talks, Film Shows, Cookery Competitions, Wine Tastings, Dining Offers, Kid's Events & a large Sunday Food Market on the final day.  All events are organised by local organisations, clubs, businesses and individuals.

The complete list of events can be viewed on the website and Free Programmes detailing all of the events are now in the village shops.

Saturday, 17 March 2012

Playground creates a stir

The comments on the children’s playground have been coming in thick and fast, as you can read by clicking here. (Comments are at the bottom of the story.)

We have also heard from Keith, our Parish Clerk, and it looks like we are all on the same side.  Just need to find the money now!


Dear David,

I thought that I would write to update you on the Play Park.On behalf of the Parish Council and our community, I have made a bid for funds through the Veolia Environmental Trust to resurface the whole of the sea front play park.  This bid goes through a rather lengthy process and we shall not know the outcome for another couple of months.  If we are successful, then we shall have the work undertaken sometime in the early summer.  If we are not successful, then I am afraid that it will be back to the drawing board!

If the funds were to come out of council tax monies through the precept, the £20k needed to undertake the work would represent about 20% of our parish annual budget.  With financial constraints as they are and have been for the past couple of years, the Council took the decision to try to secure the necessary funding via an alternative source.

When the Council took on the liabilities for maintaining the park, we had little idea how popular the park was going to be.  Had we anticipated its huge success, I am sure that we might well have left it in the hands of the District Council.  However, we are pleased that the park has proved so popular and will try to get it back into shape as quickly as funds permit.

For the past three seasons we have carried out annual remedial works, including building the surface back up and turfing it, putting children’s play sand in the deeper holes and also using rubber chips, all of which have lasted a few weeks at best!  This time we have decided that the only long-term resolution is to use what is called ‘wet-pour’, which is a rubber solution.  We have opted for the top surface to be finished in green rather than the often used black surface, which we believe would detract from the aesthetics of the surrounding grass area upon which the park is located.

We have approached local businesses about making a contribution towards the upkeep as obviously one or two benefit enormously by bringing custom to their facilities.  So far, we have had little success with sponsorship, but we remain optimistic.

Please feel free to use any of this communication to convey to your readers and if I can in future be of help in addressing concerns such as this, please feel free to ask, it’s why I am here!

Kind regards

Keith Metcalf
Parish Clerk

Thursday, 15 March 2012

Kid’s Playground Fading

A concerned local resident, and holiday business owner, recently wrote to the Parish Council about the Children’s Play Area on Milford on Sea seafront, next to the Needles Eye Café.

She raised some relevant issues, such as:
  • The surface is dangerous with large holes which are water filled and very muddy. 
  • The equipment is very well worn and could do with being replaced or at least cleaned.
  • The play area is generally dirty.
  • The area needs landscaping.
Quite rightly, she point out that; "the current state of the playground is unacceptable. She also makes an extremely relevant point that; ‘the play area is of great benefit & pleasure not just local families, but also visitors to the area, who generate much needed revenue for village businesses and the council."

With the holiday season fast approaching, and the many ‘Milford on Sea events' drawing visitors from far & wide, the current playground is certainly not creating a great impression on anyone.

The Parish Council do their best to work in our interests, but of course they have limited funds and have to look to invest where is considered most necessary.  We understand that they are both aware and sympathetic to the problem, and are currently awaiting a response to a grant application. Attempts have been made to temporarily fill some holes with rubber chipping where equipment is heavily used, however this is Milford, and the wind has a great time taking the chippings away.  It is estimated that the necessary refurbishment would cost around £22k.

The ‘Great British Seaside’ is faded and tired in many places around the UK.  Here in Milford on Sea it is quite the opposite, however the Children’s Playground is currently a pretty poor reflection on our village as a whole.  It is unlikely in these economic times that new equipment would be feasible, but a spruce up of the equipment and play area would I am sure be appreciated by many.

Personally, I would also like to see a slide for the over 50's, but I think this is unlikely to gain the support it would require for council funding.

If the Parish Council’s grant is not forthcoming soon, does anyone has any bright ideas?  Please feel free to leave a comment below.

Wednesday, 14 March 2012

40 B4 40-The Old Vicarage

No. 4: Having been left alone to fend myself for a night, I was bravely facing the trauma of how to feed myself in the evening.

Feeling abandoned and lonely, it wasn’t long before I visited our friends C & T. Far from helping, they compounded my desertion anxiety when I discovered that they had plans to go out for dinner with friends Kate & David. This of course had not been priorly cleared with me, but I took the bad news well. I had sort of planned to dine on the fine fish and chips from Mr Pink’s this evening, I even had a ‘Billy no mates’ plate in mind. However, it then occurred to me that a pathetic face, and statements about my inner fear of starvation, might bag me a dinner invitation. - It did.

Being a Tuesday evening, most of the restaurants in Milford on Sea village are closed tonight, (La Perle was open, but we had only recently been there) so we were off on an ‘out of village adventure’. Soon we all arrived at The Old Vicarage in Hinton, Christchurch. This restaurant only opened in November last year and is family owned. Mum and Dad run front of house, with son Lewis as head chef. As we entered the gravel drive, The Old Vicarage looked charming and had the feel of visiting a country house. Sprawling over 10 acres of gardens and woodland, the hotel offers six individually designed bedrooms in addition to its restaurant.

Once inside you could see someone had style and inspiration, the ‘shabby chic’ decoration had an air of quality, and the welcome was warm and informal. I was very much reminded of the very successful ‘The Pig County House Hotel & Restaurant’ in Brockenhurst. At the bar I was soon enjoying a German wheat beer, which was rather tasty and quite effective on an empty stomach.

A hurdle had to be jumped when the menus arrive, as due to my wife’s absence, I did not have access to my glasses in her handbag. Unfortunately, my wife was staying about 70 miles away, and even I considered it unreasonable to ask her to bring them over. Fortunately, Trish soon rescued me, and I think I looked quite fetching in ladies specs.

As I had already fish & chips on my mind, I immediately honed in on the beer battered haddock with mushy peas, tartar sauce & hand-cut chips. (Unbelievable, they have a current offer of Fish & Chips for 2 at £9.50 on Tuesdays.) In spite of the temptation, I only ordered one portion though. My starter choice was mushroom soup with home-made bread, and as a sweet, the banana tatin, banoffee crumble with almond ice cream.

As the conversation flowed and I was enjoying everyones company, the meals arrived. Others had chosen dishes that included, Ham hock terrine, toasted focaccia with pineapple chutney, Sea bream pomme puree, creamed spinach, salsify and pesto, Chicken ballotine, mustard mash, mushroom and broad bean cream, Deconstructed sherry trifle and warm jelly, and Cheese and biscuits. Being experienced diners, we all enthusiastically agreed that the food was superb, and my banana dessert was simply ‘to die for’. My only disappointment was that everyone else ate all of their sweets and no-one needed my help to finish any.

Before leaving, head chef, Lewis came out for a chat. A charming and passionate young man, who’s age belied his obvious kitchen skills. Lewis trained at Gordon Ramsays' Tante Marie Culinary Academy, and has subsequently worked in the kitchens at Hotel Du Vin, Poole and Westbeach, Bournemouth. His pastry chef also has an impressive CV, including working on the starters at Heston Blumenthal’s ‘Fat Duck’.

Not only could the food be described as exceptional, with quality ingredients and an obvious passion in the cooking, the prices can also be described as good value, even under priced for the quality of dishes you receive.

This is certainly a restaurant we will be back to, and the afternoon Cream tea, clotted cream & home-made jam for just £6 looks particularly tempting.

Arriving back in Milford on Sea we enjoyed a coffee and nightcap at David’s bar. I then realised that I had forgotten to call my wife earlier in the evening, I had already forgotten to take my phone out with me, and I was then was so engrossed in the evening, that it was now gone 11pm. I faced this dilemma head on, and as we were still having a nightcap I decided I had enough Dutch courage to wish her goodnight. Borrowing Colin’s phone I dialled fearlessly. As a recognised the muffled and sleep induced voice I knew she was safe, so I put on a strange voice, pretended it was a wrong number and hung up.

Another quick drink and it was time to be chauffeured home for a good nights sleep.

The Old Vicarage, Lyndhurst Road, Hinton, Christchurch, Dorset BH23 7DR
Tel: 01425 277006


Note: Some may say that this dinner should not qualify for our 40 B4 40 challenge, as my wife was not there. However as with most rules in my life, I simply make it up as I go along!

If you are wondering what the 40 B4 40 Dining Challenge is all about, please click here and all will be explained.