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Sunday, 30 September 2012

The Durnell ‘Secret Three’ is Out!

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Many of you will know that Pete Durnell is the nature reserve manager at Sturt Pond. Pete also looks after many of Hampshire’s other major reserves for the County Council, including the Lymington-Keyhaven Nature Reserve.
What you may not know is that Pete’s younger brother John is Head of Conservation – West Hampshire for the Hampshire & Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust.  So just when you think that having two Durnell professional conservationists in one family is pretty unique, up pop’s Pete’s wife Aimee with her own superb contribution to the local wildlife scene with her first book publication ‘Secret Marsh’.
Aimee’s book; ‘Secret Marsh’ covers a year in the life of the Lymington-Keyhaven Nature Reserve and is beautifully illustrated with over 70 of her own original watercolour paintings.  The narrative is beautifully written both from the heart and deep knowledge and understanding of the local wildlife - from Sturt Pond in the west to Lymington River in the east.
The book refers briefly to the Bird Hide at Sturt Pond (from where I know she has painted some of her illustrations) and to The Marine (café and restaurant), which for those of us who pop in for a ‘cuppa’ or an ‘all day breakfast’ knows, offer respite from cold blustery winter days!
Signed copies of ‘Secret Marsh’ are available direct from:
  • Aimee Durnell at ‘Normandy Farm’ Normandy Lane, Lymington, SO41 8AE at £9.95 each
or unsigned copies (also at £9.95) from:
  • Braxton Gardens, Lymore Lane
  • Inger Lise’s Café, High Street, Milford on Sea
  • St Barbe’s Museum
  • Nick Cox Chandlery, Lymington
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Wildlife Watercolour Course with Aimee Durnell
Sunday October 7th 1.30 to 4.00pm and Thursday October 18th 10am to 12.30pm
Your chance to create a watercolour or artwork in the field with local artist Aimee Durnell, author of ‘Secret Marsh’.
Discover the wildlife and flora of Lymington-Keyhaven Nature Reserve and how to approach painting wildlife and landscapes in the great outdoors!
Meet at: Normandy Farm, Normandy Lane, Lymington, SO41 8AE | Tel: 01590 610021 or Mobile: 07851 387542
Bring: Sketch pad/watercolour paper and either paints, pastels, charcoal or pencils, water, something to sit on, binoculars if you have any and please dress very warmly!  You may want to bring a flask and snack if it’s chilly.
Bookings: Places should be booked in advance as there will be limited numbers. Contact Aimee on 01590 610021
Cost: £10 per person per session also payable in advance.  For further information, contact Aimee on the telephone numbers above.


A Good Old Evening at Hurst Castle

Barton on Sea’s Olde Tyme Players put on a wonderful Music Hall show on the evening of 14th September in The Garrison Theatre at Hurst Castle.
The journey over on Solent Rose was undertaken in reasonable weather, if a little windy, and the audience took their seats for two hours of well known sing-along songs (words provided but not everybody needed them) interspersed with comedy from the ‘Maxes Miller and Wall’ and guest appearances by some of the residents of the small village of Thicker Dicker who passed on their thoughts on village life, which were very amusing.
The whole show was very professional with numerous changes of wonderful costumes, spot on timing and great singing. It finished with a rousing chorus of Down at The Old Bull and Bush.
The Players thoroughly enjoyed performing in the historic theatre and said the Castle Café’s egg mayonnaise sandwiches were the best they had ever had. We hope to have the Players back again with a different show some time in the near future. It was a very enjoyable evening finished off with a clear sky for some stargazing on the trip home.
The next Friends of Hurst Castle event will be the Winter Barbeque – date to be arranged.
If you fancy finding out more about, or joining in with, the Friends', you can find more information on their website:

Cape Wine Tasting

Local wine importer, Dann Coetzee of Cape Wine Cellars is running a couple of wine tasting sessions nearby. 

It is hard to resist the opportunity to taste some excellent wines, so if you fancy going along, the details are below.


Calling All Stall Holders

The Milford on Sea Pre-School Christmas Far is looking for some stall holders.
The annual event to raise funds for local children takes place from 11am to 2pm on 17th November 2012 in All Saints Church hall.
A stall for the fair costs just £10.  They would also be very grateful if a local shopkeeper or tradesperson would be happy to donate a raffle prize.
If you would like to be involved please contact: Sarah Rix at:

Sunday, 23 September 2012

Doing Good on Fridays

The First Friday Lunch runs regularly at the Community Centre, but I wonder how many of us know what this actually is, and that everyone is welcome.  At each lunch a local charity or good cause is invited to be the hosts and beneficiaries, and over the years many thousands of pounds have been raised.
Milford on Sea is of course as good a place as you can get to live, but sadly this does not make people immune for personal tragedy.
In September, a lunch was hosted by Sonia Sewell, a stalwart volunteer for several causes and events in Milford on Sea.  The lunch was in aid of The Pink Palace, a Hampshire based breast cancer charity set up by her daughter, Julia Dingwall.  Tragically Julia was taken by this awful condition, but thankfully the good work of her charity carries on.  Sonia and her guests raised over £460 to give support to breast cancer patients.
The next First Friday Lunch on the 5th October, is being organised by Christine Quinn in aid of The MJP Cancer Care Trust.  Christine & Kevin are the delightful couple who run Inger Lises Café in the High Street.  Everyone is always guaranteed a warm welcome when they visit, not to mention hearty food and plenty of tempting treats.
The MJP Cancer Care Trust is a charity set up by a small group of parents who have all lost teenagers to a rare bone cancer, Ewings Sarcoma. The condition mainly affects children and young people.
Christine & Kevin lost their beautiful daughter, Ali to Ewings Sarcoma.  She was only 17 when she was diagnosed, and after just 6 months of gruelling treatment she tragically lost her life. Ali was a talented Art Student studying fashion design, and planning to go to University, and the Charity is in loving memory of her and all the fine young people and children who have lost their lives.
The aim of the charity is to fund research into this form of dreadful disease, as due to the rarity of the cancer there is no government funding for vital research. The charity aim to raise £10,000 per year to support research at Leeds University which is a big ask as it is such a small charity. All monies go directly to this research, no monies are taken for running costs or admin.  Survival rate is less than 40% for the young people diagnosed with this cancer, so on-going research is vital so as to help survival rates improve. Christine & Kevin are determined that one day there will be a more positive outlook for others.
Although the reason for the lunches are charity based, and with sad stories, the day itself is fun and full of laughter, and also a great opportunity to meet new people whilst doing something for a good cause.
The next First Friday Lunch starts at 1pm on 5th October, and costs just £4.50 on the door, which includes a 2 course meal.  There will also be a raffle and a Table Top Sale. If anyone is interested in going along there is no need to book but if you are not a regular to the lunch it may be useful to drop an e mail to Chris or Kev at:  just to let them know numbers for catering purposes.
Go on, give it a try, eating and doing good is just my type of charity work!

Friday, 14 September 2012

Housing Objections Continue

The issue of the proposed green belt new housing development near Milford on Sea Primary School continues to raise disagreement with New Forest District Council, from a group of local residents, supported by Milford on Sea Parish Council.

The NFDC now have to go back to public consultation again on this site and any further representations need to be made by Wednesday 19th September.

Residents have already made representations to a plan that consisted of up to 30 homes, playing fields, allotments and pick up / drop off point for the school.

We have been informed that the NFDC submitted a totally different plan to the Secretary of State.  The final plan consisted of only 20 houses but no playing fields, allotments and pick up / drop off point.  The Secretary of State’s Inspector has now made NFDC go back to public consultation on the submitted plan.

It appears that Representations can only be made on three areas.  These are:
1.   The ‘Soundness of the Plan in the context of the final version of the National Planning policy Framework (NPPF) (published in March 2012).

2.   The NFDC Proposed Changes Schedule – these are the changes that NFDC made to their original plan of 30 houses which became 20 and no playing fields included.

3.   The Errata List – this is of no significance.
If you would like to make a Representation:

Please contact Amy Cullen at, and she can provide you with a partially completed statutory (& as you may expect, tediously bureaucratic!) council form to submit before Wednesday 19th September.

Numerous representations were made earlier in the year which managed to get the Secretary of State Inspector's attention. It will be interesting to see if this continues now that a further round of consultation is in progress due to the NFDC reportedly submitting a plan different to the one they originally went to public consultation on. 

Tuesday, 11 September 2012

Bowls Club Finals

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Sunday and Monday saw the Club Finals at Milford on Sea Bowls Club.
In spite of mixed weather, from sunny on Sunday morning to wet and windy on Monday it did not put off the finalists or the many spectators who enjoyed some exciting and close matches.
The winner of the Rose Bowl for the ladies was Judy Spooner who beat Di Goodyear (last years winner) in an exciting match.
In the men’s Presidents Cup the honour went to Howard Farmer beating Charles Rathgay. Both of these prestigious trophies date back to the formation of the club in 1933.
Details of these and all the other results will be available on

Tuesday, 4 September 2012

40 B4 40-The Beach House

No. 20: The Beach House, Milford on Sea

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As we reach the halfway point in this momentous challenge we have conquered 20 restaurant of our 40, and still have plently of time to go. The challenge is going well, can't say the same for the waistline. 

Our dining partners on this latest venture, were my son Matthew & his girlfriend Kayleigh, they had also been with us for dinner at The Raft on Saturday night.
Having eaten with pleasure in The Raft several times, it has already featured in this challenge and did not qualify for another entry, however that does not stop me reporting that the food in this funky Milford on Sea village dining spot was again excellent. Baked camembert, potted prawns, stoned baked pizza’s, brownies and home-made meringues, were just a few of the things we shared, along with a few pints of Estrella Damm beer, some smooth Pinot Noir wine.  The meal finished with a complimentary ‘Flaming Zambooka’, which ensured red and smiley faces all of the way home.
Sunday morning, and big decisions needed to be made, - ‘Where to go for breakfast?’.  First decision was that we were walking.  Our first choice was The Marine, as we already knew that they did a really tasty and varied all day breakfast menu, and the ‘full English’ has a generous 2 local pork sausages, 2 rashers of bacon, grilled tomato, field mushroom, 2 Flambard’s free range fried eggs and toast, at only £7.50.  This is fantastic value, not just for the price, but also for the quantity and quality. The Needles Eye Cafe also offer their tried and tested breakfast specials.  However, we wanted to try somewhere we hadn’t been to before in Milford on Sea.
In the village, Bon Appetit, Polly’s Pantry and Inger-Lise’s do nice fresh breakfasts, all of which we have tried and have never been disappointed.  However, none of these were open until 10am, and hunger pains could not survive this long.

We had noticed the previous evening that The Raft now served cooked breakfasts. As always, the food selection has a twist and looked tempting, however, the 10am starvation barrier was yet again in our way.
Having never tried the breakfast at The Beach House, we decided this was to be our destination. The ‘old’ Westover Hall Hotel was sadly no more, and still holds many happy memories for us.  Not least, that they had always served an excellent and coupious breakfast in a relaxed, yet formal manner.  Whilst pricey, the 'Westover style' had always made it well worth the money.
When we arrived much inside was as before, but the dining room had changed.  The room was now an eclectic mixed on odd wooden table and chairs, reflecting that change from boutique hotel, to a pub restaurant with rooms.  The spectacular sea views from the dining room were as delightful as ever.
Breakfasts were now cheaper and the menu had plenty of choice.  We went for a mixture of ‘Full English’ with pork & herb sausage, crisp streaky bacon, grilled tomato, flat mushroom, hash brown, tin loaf toast and poached egg (£7.00), Fresh fruit salad with low fat natural yoghurt (£3.50), and Bubble & squeak with flat mushroom (£6).  Beans and other additional bits were also on offer for an extra 50p per portion, so naturally these were added to our plates.
All of the ingredients were fine, although we could not work out whether the mushrooms had vinegar included somewhere. My wife particularly enjoyed her bubble & squeak, and it was nice that the butter for the toast was fresh and came in triangular knobs.

Also, the various sauces came in individual pots, and not those irritating plastic packets, most of which that take ages to work out how open, and then split, before exploding across the front of my shirt.

So, if you are looking for breakfast in Milford on Sea village you can’t really go wrong, everywhere will offer a breakfast worth having.  Probably best to try them all!

*On the Beach House website you will find their daily menu, however the breakfast menu does not appear to feature at the moment.

The Beach House Pub Restaurant
Park Lane, Milford on Sea, SO41 0PT | 01590 643044

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


40 B4 40-Egan’s

No. 19: Egan’s, Lymington
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Having never visited Egan’s in Lymington before, we and our friends, C&T, decided this would be ideal for a Friday lunch.
Egan’s is the highest rated Lymington restaurant on trip advisor and has been owned by the Chef John Egan and his wife Debbie since opening in 1999.  The welcome was warm welcome in a building which was once a police station, however the separate bar and dining rooms had more of a feeling of a house.
The restaurant was obviously popular, as most tables were taken and our first glimpses of the food was encouraging. 
The menus arrived, and our drinks order was taken.  As we dribbled over the day’s offerings, we were pretty impressed that there were eight choices for both the starters and main courses, and at £15.95 for 2 courses, and £17.95 for 3 courses the value was excellent.
Of the eight starter options my wife was struggling to choose from four she would have really liked.  Eventually we each plumped for: Smoked salmon & avocado terrine with crostini and quails egg, Pan-fried tiger prawns in garlic butter with mixed Italian leaves, Chicken livers & bacon with red wine jus.  Trish had passed on a starter as she already had her eye on a pudding.
Soon we were offered a selection of home-made breads, Date & walnut, Sun-blushed tomato and another one I can’t remember  Generously, as many slices as you wanted were offered, and it would have been rude not to try them all, along with the delicious real butter that is now banned from most domestic home fridges.
Having polished off our starters in double quick time, and grabbed a taste of Colin’s excellent liver & bacon, we chatted as we awaited the main courses.  Trisha was gamely eating with her one un-broken hand, and as always the conversation was in fine form.
The main courses did not disappoint.  Indeed, the creative presentation made mouth’s water even before tasting.  An air of complete satisfaction ensconced the table as we each enjoyed our choices of; Plaice fillets with soft herb & parmesan crust, leek & cheddar mash, Minute steak with rosti potato, button mushrooms and peppercorn sauce, Roast chump of lamb with pea mash, honey baked parsnip, redcurrant & rosemary jus, and Sea bass fillet with smoked haddock champ, lobster & chive sauce.
To round off the perfect lunch a sweet was of course in order.  Colin has his traditional Cheese and biscuits, Trish went for the Selection of ice creams & sorbet in a brandy snap basket, which she had set her eye on in the first sight of the menu, my wife of course abstained, and I was deliberating over Bread & butter pudding with clotted cream & crème Anglaise, or Chocolate tart with white chocolate mousse.  The waiter, seeing my painful indecision suggested I had both.  So I did, and it was a fine decision for the taste buds, if not the strain on the scales.
As Colin was the day’s driver, our alcohol consumption was significantly tamer than usual, but this did not deter from the dining pleasure.  In fact, it is nice to remember the meal a bit clearer than normal.
In a nice way, this was a bit like fine dining in the late nineties with a modern menu.  The dining rooms had a quaint style, the service was traditional and the superb ingredient were masterfully cooked.  One to come back to certainly.
24 Gosport Street, Lymington, SO41 9BE | 01590 676165

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