Search This Blog

Friday, 26 October 2012

From Milford to Hollywood

Frances Fisher-2012
Some of you may not know, but I am big in Hollywood. In fact, I am big wherever I go!
I was recently contacted by a Hollywood Agent, who I suspect was interested in me replacing Daniel Craig as James Bond. As they could not guarantee to film on location at Milford on Sea, to their great disappointment, I declined.
Anyway, whilst chatting ot my new agent friend, it became evident that the gentleman in question knew Frances Fisher. For those that don’t know, Frances is an American stage, television and film actress, who was born in Milford on Sea on 11th May 1952.
She has played leads in 30 plays and has 102 film and television credits to date, including Oscar-winners Unforgiven and Titanic (Best Ensemble Nomination). She played her idol Lucille Ball in the 1991 television-movie Lucy & Desi: Before the Laughter. Ms. Fisher has eight films to be released in 2013; most anticipated is Stephenie Meyers'The Host. Ms. Fisher won The Drama-League Best Ensemble Award for Caryl Churhill's Three More Sleepless Nights, and recently the AC Cinefest Best Actress Award for Pandora's Box.
Favourite collaborations: Arthur Miller, Elia Kazan, Norman Mailer, James Cameron, Paul Schrader, Paul Haggis, Christopher Guest and Katherine Hardwicke.
Frances has a daughter, Francesca, with actor Clint Eastwood, and when she is not working, is actively lending her name and support to numerous political and humanitarian causes such as Peace Over Violence, The Creative Coalition, and the Pink Party for Cancer Research. She served 10 years on the National Board of the Screen Actors Guild, and is a board member of The Environmental Media Association, and a member of Amnesty International, The Actors Studio and Women in Film.
She has not done bad for a ‘Milford Girl’ has she. Anyone out there remember Frances from her time in the village? (Having seen her in a film does not count!)

New Village Box Office

After many years of stalwart service to Milford on Sea village, Gwen is retiring and Gwen’s Ladies Fashions is closing for her to take a well-earned rest.  This of course also means the loss of the Village Box Office, .......or does it!
Well actually, no.  On 1st November the new Community Centre Village Box Office will be opening its windows for the first time.
After a local appeal the Community Centre has had many generous people come forward offering their time to help out.  The new jolly band of volunteers have now been assembled to allow the Box Office to open Mon to Friday 10am to 4pm, and on Saturday's from 10am to 1pm.
They will also be selling tickets for any village organised event, plus of course events held in the Community Centre.  As an added bonus, there is a good chance when you may go to buy your tickets that you can enjoy a coffee in the café, or have a play on the interest using the free computers available to all.


40 B4 40-The Marine

No. 24: The Marine, Milford on Sea

click image to enlarge
Friday night, and we had decided on a Chinese and catch up with friends.
Indeed, it was they that introduced us to the best Chinese takeaway we have ever experienced.  To me a takeaway is synonymous with delivery, however for this one we drive to China Town Takeaway Restaurant in Highcliffe.  A tough challenge I know, but one I can undertake when I know how great their crispy duck is.
As we all enjoyed our meal, the restaurant standards once again shone through, the sweet and sour balls were light and crispy, the prawn toast probably the best I have ever tasted, ribs full of meat & flavour, in fact everything was great.  I recall my first ever takeaway in the 1970's was sweet & sour pork, and the taste even stirred memories of my youth!
As we chatted, our friends mentioned that they had booked Sunday lunch at The Marine.  Their intention was to try out the new menu by the new head chef, Mark Speller.
By pure coincidence, we had done exactly the same, even the booked arrival times matched, so all of a sudden our bookings had merged to a table of four.
Having enjoyed our Chinese, some wine and a few beers, it was soon time to see if I could get up from the table and walk the short number of yards home.  I did, but only after unsuccessfully trying to convince my wife to call us a taxi.
Arriving at The Marine the welcome was as warm as usual. Quickly enjoying a pre-dinner pint, the café appeared to be doing a brisk trade, and that was not surprising with the £10 Meal Deal offering homemade favourites like pies, hot pot and casseroles. Soon we were taken to our window table in the upstairs restaurant. On entering you cannot miss the glorious sea views. The restaurant has a feel of ‘casual fine dining’, everything was quality, from the fittings to the tableware, however, there was no feeling of a need to dress up, everything was about the quality of the food.
Having caught up with our friends the night before, the girls still had no problem talking nonsense continually. Nothing new there then.
Our started served and devoured, and the Crab and prawn tian with tomato coulis and brown bread was considered delicious, however, the Double baked smoked Haddock soufflé with spring onion and cheddar cream trumped it by being simply amazing.
The menu was extensive, with several choices of meat, fish and vegetarian, indeed a nice set of options for a Sunday lunch. Whilst more expensive than a traditional pub Sunday lunch, it still felt good value.
My main course was a first for me, Keyhaven lamb. Yep, the little lambs you can see from the window running in the field next to Sturt Pond. The lambs are bred by Simeon & Lisa Morgan at Aubrey Farm in Keyhaven. Being raised in salty fields by the sea they certainly take on a favour of their own. My meal was Pressed Lamb shoulder with fondant potato, spring greens and mint jus. You could really taste the lamb was different, and it was a pleasure to eat. Other dishes we had included the Dexter beef, and Guinea fowl. All had been enjoyed with a cheeky red wine, which at £17 was a fair price.
For sweet, my wife abstained (as usual) but the rest of us were more sensible, having the Milford Mess with home-baked choc chip cookie, Apple and rhubarb charlotte with clotted cream ice cream and Cheese & biscuits.
Meal over, we all had very satisfied ‘food bellies’, Mark Speller's new role as head chef was looking more than promising, and I had high expectation of an afternoon nap ahead.
If you are wondering what the 40 B4 40 Dining Challenge is all about, please click here and all will be explained.


Greengrocers to Close

Word has reached us that Marjorie’s in the village is planning to close.
Sandra & Pete are taking well-earned retirement, and after 33 years of running the village greengrocers, who can blame them!

Along with their customers and friends, we wish them a long and happy retirement.  We also wish Ann & Debs well for the future.
Naturally, many in the village will be sad to see them go, and losing a traditional greengrocers is sadly a sign of these modern times. We do not know the future plans for the shop, it would of course be nice for it to remain as a greengrocer, but we will have to wait see if the new shopkeepers decide that is what they would like to do.
You may also have noticed that there is a new build shop nearing completion opposite The Smugglers Inn, so the village will a couple of vacant shops soon, and look forward to seeing what exciting new traders join our village centre community.

Tuesday, 23 October 2012

Hurst Castle in Film, Music and TV

Natasha Khan-Bat for Lashes

Hurst Castle continues to feature in the world of film, music and TV!

Recently, music recording artist Natasha Khan, known by her stage name as 'Bat for Lashes', filmed a short movie to go with her new album 'The Haunted Man.'

You can watch Natasha's tracks with Hurst Castle featured by clicking here.  The castle and surrounding area is looking good! (Note: By hitting 'Previous/Next' you can see various backgrounds.)

Nicki Chapman

The Hurst Castle Team have also had a French film crew visit, they were doing a documentary on the south coast. but focusing on Hurst Castle and its important historical military position along this coastline.

Last, but not least, they have also had a BBC crew down, filming a piece for 'Escape to the Country' hosted by Nicki Chapman.

Sunday, 21 October 2012

La Perle has Refit

Our local French Bistro has has a bit of a refit. When next going, any previous dinners will notice the new chairs and unholstered seating benches, all in keeping with the comfortable and cosy atmosphere.

La Perle in Milford on Sea High Street serve classic French dishes from the combination of fresh, tasty and locally sourced product.  This busy restaurant has something to offer everyone, from the £10 lunch menu to the daily specials and themed promotions and evenings. It is certainly worth keeping an eye on their website, as there always seems something new going on!

French born owner and head chef, Lionel Sene trained in renowned Michelin star restaurants across France and is delighted to bring his classic expertise to Milford on Sea. The dishes are inspired from authentic rustic dining and provide a little taste of France in our little village in Hampshire.

Friday, 19 October 2012

New Coffee Pot in Village

The new Village Coffee Pot opens for breakfast on Sunday 21st October.
Having taken over from Christina, the new owner, Bev Hayes has renamed the café in Milford on Sea High Street from 'Bon Appetit' to 'The Village Coffee Pot'.

The plan is to keep the dining offer much as it has been, after all why change a winning formula. So, if you fancy a cooked breakfast, light & tasty lunches, sweet or savoury crepes or a 'good old afternoon tea', Bev would love to see you.

As Bev said: "I am looking forward to joining a lovely community and hope to become as involved as I can in the village." Sounds like another great addition to our vibrant village centre.


School has new PFA

A group of parents with children at Milford on Sea Primary School has recently reformed the Parent Friends Association (PFA) to raise funds for those little and not so little extras, the school budget cannot stretch to.

An active PFA is essential to the school's continuing success and to ensure strong links are maintained between parents and the local community. The PFA will work closely with the School Council so the children can have their say about what they would like to have at their school.

One of the first events being organised by the PFA is the school and pre-school's Christmas Fair, which is taking place on Saturday 1st December from 2pm to 4.30pm at the school. The PFA would really like this to be a community event so everyone of all ages is welcome so please jot the date in your diary.

There will be something for everyone to enjoy from Santa's Grotto, Christmas-themed crafts and activities for the children, tasty mince pies and great gifts to buy.

All money raised at the Christmas Fair will go towards an "Outdoor Classroom" for the school, where children can learn first-hand about the subject matter they are studying, while also enjoying the benefits of being in the fresh air.

40 B4 40-The Carlton Club

No.23: The Carlton Club
click image to enlarge
The day started quite calm and controlled, with an exciting sales team meeting, a busy atmosphere and some fun banter in the office.

Alistair, my CEO and mate, and I were both strangely dressed and at times receiving odd glances, of either curiosity, sympathy and on rare occasions undeserved admiration. For the time since the last wedding or funeral, we were wearing jackets and ties. This code of dress was not by choice, but by instruction of the place we were going to later.

My wife dutifully dropped us off at the station, and by 3pm were in the bar at The Cavendish Hotel in Jermyn Street, Mayfair, London. As we sat and chatted about our current crazy business opportunities over a beer, and then another, we were served a dish of nuts. The salted peanuts were tasty, the chilli peanuts removed a coating from the top of my mouth and I am pretty confident that even a starving orangutan would not have enjoyed the ridiculous wasabi nuts any more than I did. At the time we did not consider the time of 3pm to have any relevance, but as our day unfolded it was to become so.

As usual, our conversation had slowly deteriorated in direct line with the alcohol consumption, and it soon occurred to us it was time to move on to our pre-evening event meeting place. Around the corner was The Blue Posts, a traditional London inn tucked away beside the Ritz hotel. Inside the choice of beers did not disappoint and soon we were enjoying our next pint. As we had started our second ‘Blue Post’ pint, a number of the ‘significant industry faces’ started to arrive. Lively conversations ensued, over another drink of course.

Suddenly, someone realised it was 7pm and we were supposed to be at the evening event we had all come to attend. At the same time, a quick glance in each other’s eyes, and Alistair & I realised we had started drinking far too early!

Another brief walk, around another corner, and we were in St James, being signed into The Carlton Club. The evening event was our Industry Trade Association Patrons Dinner. We enjoyed our welcome glass of bubbly as we said hello and quickly caught up with many old friends. A glance around the room and it was quickly evident that there was some significantly important and influential people in the room, and then Alistair and me.

The Carlton Club was just as you may expect a gentleman’s club to be, with sweeping staircases, ornate ceilings & wood panelling. There was also slight feeling of faded grandeur, and a lick of new paint here and there would not have gone amiss.

As we were called to the private dining room we were greeted by our host for the evening, Brian Binley MP. The room had portraits on the wall that included Willie Whitelaw, John Major, Sir Geoffrey Howe and some bloke in a pair of rather fetching tights. The private room had a table to seat our party of eighteen, and the dresser in the corner was groaning from what must have been at least 24 prepared bottles of wine.

Wasting no time, our glasses were soon filled by the swarm of waiters, to be followed soon after with our first course. Our menu informed us we were drinking Macon-Uchizy 2009 and Chateau Lafitte 2009 Premier Cotes de Bordeaux, and each of the waiters must have been trained at ’eagle school’, as they could spot any glasses that had less than two mouthfuls left from over one hundred paces. As we set about eating the well-presented and thoughtfully cooked menu below, the guys doing the ‘wine glass spotting’ were filling everyones glass almost every nano-second. Before the end of the starter my jacket was off and tie askew.

Carlton Club Patrons Dinner Menu

Sea Bass, Tiger Prawn & Cabbage Terrine with Samphire and a Tomato & Lemon Dressing
Breast of Duck with Israeli Couscous, Salted Lime Apple Puree & Red Wine Reduction
Peach Sorbet
Roasted Sirloin of ‘Aberdeen Angus’ Beef with Horseradish Rosti, Braised Cabbage Parcel, Crispy Bone Marrow, Glazed Baby Turnips and a Shallot & Parsley Jus
Raspberry, Lemon and Basil Milles Feuilles with Milk Chocolate Ice Cream & Chocolate Tuiles
Filter Coffee with Club Mints

As we finished our main course, the evening’s chairman commenced a ‘round the table’ discussion on a number of topics pre-submitted by the patrons. As the ‘hot topics’ created some heated debates, some great comments and a few ridiculous one’s were heard, we were both still able to comprehend what was going on, so things were going well. Indeed, we were really enjoying everyone's company, although we could not confidently say that this was reciprocated. Topics over, some ego’s bruised, and some learning & understanding gained, we were taken up the grand staircase to the member lounge. If you have ever seen a seventies movie where the spy meets the MP in a gentleman’s club, this was the location. All leather chairs, hushed tones, some important looking political figures and a few that looked like they simply sat in the house and made up the numbers.

As I conquered the massive winding staircase, I was greeted with a voice from afar; “Excuse me sir”. “It’s alright, I’m with him” I said. “No sir, I wanted to ask if you would please put your jacket on”. A simple request, but breathing was tough enough in the heat of the building, and finding the energy to get my arms through the holes was quite a challenge. “Could I ask”; I said. “When I pass out from heat exhaustion, can you get an ambulance quickly?”. Quick as a flash, the smart official said; “You will be fine sir, we have plenty of first aiders in the building”.

Having made the most of The Carlton Club's lounge hospitality (& bar), last orders were called. Some bright spark then suggested we go for a nightcap. Soon we were back outside The Blue Posts pub, but it was shut. At this stage, any sensible person would have seen that as an omen that it was time to go home. We, as you would expect, didn’t.

The eminent group of professionals were now a meandering crew of motley party goers, but still bright enough to find another pub that was open, and the fun and frolics continued until closing time at 1am. Of the 14 or so people still standing, around three or four sensibly decided it was now time to go home. We were in the other group, and at the same time blissfully unaware we had missed our train back home more than an hour ago.

Magically, as always happens in a group, someone had another bright idea; “I saw a nightclub over the road that’s still open, let’s go there”. “OK” responded the one’s that could still talk without slurring. A remaining coherent group member negotiated with the club’s door team and we were all soon inside. The décor was as glitzy as expected, the bar prices as extortionate as you hear, however, the ladies wandering around with their clothes having fallen off was a bit of a surprise, not least to the two ladies who were in our group. Having already ordered drinks it was too late to run, but they soon got consumed and we were on our way.

Outside, the dark side of London were plying their trade and it was definitely time to go home now. It then of course hit us that we had no train to get home on until 7am. Whoops, ….there was only one thing for it, and we hailed a black cab. The simple words “Guildford please” lit up the dark coloured eyes of our Hackney cab operator. Back at Guildford we hopped out, and smiled with complete acceptance of our self-inflicted calamity, and paid the nice man £125.

As we stood on the drive, Alistair engaged his brain and said; “I live in Ash Vale, how do I get there now?”. “No idea”, was the helpful reply, “But come in for a drink and we will think it through.”

As we shuffled up the drive, we made a pact to be as quiet as possible, both knowing that waking my wife would result in an unprovoked attack with the nearest blunt instrument. Once inside we were convinced we were like fluffy footed door mice, but our dogs rampant barking sort of disturbed the calm. Thankfully, my wife slept through the massive storms of the eighties, and never even flickered.

As we sat in the kitchen chatting over the day’s events, Alistair was also considering his options, and I was pouring two drinks for us. As Alistair drunk what he was given, and I weirdly enjoyed a Baileys, we noticed the clock. It was gone 3am, and a full 12 hours since we were sitting in The Cavendish.

“How am I getting home?” was the final evening’s question. A short joint consideration, and his wife had been sent a text and Alistair was off up to crash in our spare room.

I have to ask myself ‘At what stage does a 56 year old man grow up?’. I suspect Mick Jagger hit it on the head when he said; ”The older I get, the more immature I become!”.

Never again.

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

The Carlton Club - My Wife's Version of Events

Having waved my wonderful husband off at the station at 3 o’clock yesterday afternoon, looking dashing all suited and booted, and wishing him and our colleague and friend, Alistair, a pleasant evening. I returned home to my work to then get ready for my good pal Nikki coming round to get her nails done, have some food, and chill out in front of the TV. Perfect girls night in, with no husband to annoy me. Having had a call at 5.30pm to find out they were on their 2nd pub or pint, I don’t remember, I knew they were in for a good night, and didn’t expect he would be home before I went to bed.

Having waved Nikki off in a taxi around 11, I stuffed my face with the food we hadn’t eaten earlier (v. Fat) and off to bed. Prior to going to bed I sent the obligatory ‘you OK?’ text, to which I received no response. Silly me, usually I bypass my husband with text messages and send them directly to Alistair as I usually find that does get a response. Not this time – oh well – they were together so off I went to sleep.

Woke up quite early (for me) this morning around 6.30, glanced to my right, confirmed husband had returned from night before. I am a particularly heavy sleeper, and even though he is a particularly noisy husband, it appeared he had successfully appeared at some point between midnight and 6.30am – excellent.

Wanted to get my cleaning done this morning before work – so even before my 2nd cup of tea (totally out of character now on two counts) – I had sorted the dogs out and was wandering about with the duster in hand. I was just about to go up to the spare room to do the ironing when, what could be best described as the Hunny Monster with a Bad Head, stumbled down the stairs. ‘Morning Dear’, I cheerfully offered with a wave of my duster and a cuppa, to be greeted with something incomprehensible, followed by the question ‘Where is Alistair?’. Well this one stopped me in my tracks, as I had not considered I would need to know where Alistair was at this time in the morning. Off shuffled the Hunny Monster with the Sore Head, and it came back to mumble ‘He is in the spare room but not moving very fast’ – brilliant – two of them. It was going to be a bad day, but I had a plan.

First question done – ‘Alistair, does your wife know where you are?’ – affirmative. OK on to important stuff then.
My car was due into the garage today, there was nothing in particular wrong with it, but I thought it would be prudent to get it checked out before winter to make sure it was all ready for the cold. Unbeknown to my husband however, I had suggested to the garage that instead of the courtesy vehicle they usually clutter my drive with, they might like instead to furnish the drive with a shinier newer model, so that I could let my beloved husband look at that all day instead of the crappy one. I thought it would be better for his hangover!! The shinier newer model by coincidence also happened to be for sale I should mention at this point.

So when some of the fog started to clear around 11am, and I deemed it safe to broach the afore mentioned (but not yet observed) shiny object sitting on drive, I announced that before we went to our meeting at lunchtime, if he hurried a bit and got showered and dressed, we would have time for me to take him for a test drive in this pretty vehicle. He was delighted, I could tell!!

I am a shopping ninja at the best of times, but even I surpassed myself today. By 2pm, not even having had the chance to return home after the lunch meeting, I reminded him he had a mobile phone, and there was a reason why the word phone was prefixed with ‘mobile’. He was still in an unfit state to drive, so rather than waste time sitting next to me talking, I suggested it was a good opportunity to call the garage and discuss the shiny new vehicle, since he wasn’t doing anything else. I did not even need to pull the ‘you came in at 3am after being in a bar where apparently ladies clothes fell off’ manoeuvre. I will save that one for next time. New car coming next week – I am such a lucky girl to have such a lovely husband spontaneously buying me nice things.

Editors Note: The things you have to do through fear!!

Thursday, 18 October 2012

Pen & Wash Cards

To add to the many enthusiastic artists in the village, we have discovered a new painting course people can now take a go at.
The courses are run by Jenny Standley, where you can learn to paint your own greeting cards in a pen & wash style.
We understand that you use a black waterproof pen to draw your picture and then add watercolour paint.  Apparently, the whole process is very simple, easy to follow and yet very effective. (But I suspect a certain level of creative competence is also required!)
The ourses are run in Barnes Lane, Milford on Sea, and are available at £20 per person for a two hour session, or £40 per person from 9.30am to 3.30pm to include lunch. (All equipment supplied.)
Could be of interest to someone wishing to do personal Christmas cards this year, or perhaps even an usual gift for someone.

For further details please contact Jenny:

Tel: 01590 642415 -  Mbl: 0781 7274451


Meet Winston Grit

Milford on Sea has a lot more artists and authors than many would expect, and recently we came across another one, Fred Webb.
Fred’s book is ‘The Zombie at the Sandy Palms Golf Club’, a humorous ‘disjointed’ tale of 24 hour irritable knees; Zombies by night and a sadistic moron by day. He is also soon to launch his latest book: ‘My Knees are my Children’.
If you would like to read more about Fred’s book, please click here.
Another venture for Fred is his character ‘Winston Grit’. Winston provide light fun for children on his website at:


Wednesday, 17 October 2012

40 B4 40-The Tamarind Tree

No.22: The Tamarind Tree, Wokingham

click image to enlarge
Having just had a great time in London celebrating my son Matthew's birthday, it was now my birthday on the 9th October.
As they had enjoyed our company so much at the weekend, my wife had arranged for them to enjoy our company again!
This time we were going to their house to visit what they claimed to be one of the best curry restaurants they had visited.  (& over the years I have taken him to many!)
On this occasion, and quite surprisingly my wife felt drawn to write a review on TripAdvisor, so here she goes:
I have to admit, Indian food is not my 1st, 2nd, or 3rd choice of cuisine - I have to be in the mood for it.
Considering Indian is the husbands 1st, 2nd and 3rd favourite food, and it was his birthday, and his son recommended this restaurant (and treated us), that was plenty of good reasons to go :-).
From the time we walked in, we had a friendly welcome and good service. The meals on the neighbouring tables all looked lovely while we made our own selections. The chutney tray was the one of best my husband had ever seen and we happily tucked into the lovely fresh papadoms while we continued browsing the menu. Everything was described well and we all went for something other than the usual choices.
When the food arrived it looked and smelt delicious, it tasted even better. The place was busy even on a Tuesday evening and clearly a popular place for good reason. The nann bread was light and crispy, not the usual heavy doughy stuff you get, the meat was clearly good quality as the chicken was delicious. Good ingredients really make the difference.
We left feeling well fed but not having big stodgy food belly's. If we get invited again to this neck of the woods, we will most certainly be back, and if all Indian restaurants were as good as this one, Indian food would almost certainly make my top 3 favourite choices.
Matthew: Chicken Tikka Bhuna Balti | Kayleigh: Chicken Tikka Masala | David: Chicken Pathia | Ella: Shobuj Chicken. Marinated pieces of chicken cooked with yogurt, chilli, garlic & coriander.
So, there you go, my wife's first review, and I agree with every word. (Now, that really is unusual, I am sure normal disagreements will resume soon!)
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-Lowlander Café

No.21: Lowlander Café, London WC2

After weeks of meticulious planning between my wife & my son's girlfriend, we were off to the West End.
Having arrived the night before for a birthday treat, Matthew & Kayleigh were busy enjoying a romantic two night London stay, little did he know Daddy was on his way! (NB: This is being written late, the date was 6th October 2012)
click image to enlarge
On arriving it was time for lunch, so we popped into the Lowlander Grand Café, a traditional style European café & brasserie in Drury Lane in the heart of London.
The decor has the feel of a grand European café, with packed tables, floor to ceiling bar stacked with an unimaginable array of beers and a really friendly and buzzing atmosphere. They served 15 European beers on draught and some 50 by the bottle, they ranged from elegant Trappist ales to exotic fruit beers, from majestic Belgian golden ales to Dutch micro brews, the only sadness was, we did not have time to try them all!
For lunch we settled on a proper Steak Sandwich, full of a marinated, flash grilled 4oz sirloin steak in a warm baguette with mushrooms and home made relish, and a Lowlander Club Sandwich, consisting of a warm, toasted baguette packed with succulent chicken, bacon, avocado, egg mayonnaise and fresh greenery, both were ordered with frites, or course!
Tasty, fun and great value was the best way to describe our flying visit.
Next, it was time to put into action our covert plan, so sneaking low level passed parked cars, and ducking across the road, we were soon at the door of the pub.  Our surprise meeting was about to take place.  Through the window we could see Matthew perched on a bar stool, looking like a garden gnome who had got the cream. Kayleigh was looking around as if she was expecting a herd of wildebeast to crash through the door any minute. Well, it soon did, ....and as Matthew turned, his face went stark white as he realised that his romantic weekend had just got cut short!
As he recovered over another beer, we revealed we were taking him to a puppet show for his birthday.  How he managed to hide the obvious immense joy from his face we will never know.  Drinking our beers up, we were off.  This time being able to walk normally down the street.
A few doors down and we were soon at The New London Theatre, and another bar.  This time we were all waiting to take our seats to watch War Horse. By now Matthew had accepted our intrusion was not the disaster he first thought, and we got some Maltesers and Chocolate Raisins.  The girls were well stocked with tissues, but us tough boy's knew sweets divert any emotions.
The show was simply amazing at every level.  Incredible, awe-inspiring, clever, and any other superlative you can think of.  It even had truly funny elements.  Some say at times there wasn't a dry eye in the house.  Me, I'm saying nothing.
A fantastic experience over, it was of course now time to eat.  So, off to China Town.  As we sat and relived the afternoon over crispy duck, sweet and sour, and all the usual Chinese treats (excluding pak choi, as that is the devil's vegetable) we laughed and as always, really enjoyed each others company.
All too soon it was over and time for fond farewells, As we headed off to catch our train, and they headed back to their hotel, Matthew's face had just a hint of over-eating, a warm smile and a barely hidden relief that that his romantic weekend still had twenty four hours to run without us!
On the train home we basked in our great day, and even more so in the two wonderful people we had just spent the day with.  Life really doesn't get much better than being with the one's you love.

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


Tuesday, 16 October 2012

New Head Chef at The Marine

The Marine Team will be saying a fond farewell to Head Chef & General Manager, Sam Hughes, on Saturday 20th October.
Sam has been with The Marine since October 2010, during which time The Marine has established an enviable reputation for exceptional quality, well presented meals in both the Cafe Bar and the Restaurant.
Sam, has taken an opportunity as Head Chef of Hardy’s of Marylebone, a well establishes London Brasserie & Wine Bar, and although he will be greatly missed at The Marine, the Team wish him the very best for his future career.
Sam’s position of Head Chef will be taken by Mark Speller, who has worked with Sam at The Marine for the last twelve months, and Mark will be putting his own twist on the well established Menus that he and Sam have been working with over recent months.
Mark has an impeccable CV and during his 4 years at New Park Manor Hotel in Brockenhurst, he gained the restaurant a second Rosette, so The Marine Team are looking forward to Mark putting his name to an exciting new Menu this Autumn.


Monday, 15 October 2012

U3A Launched in Milford on Sea

A new U3A has been launched for people in Milford on Sea and the surrounding area.
U3A stands for the University of the Third Age, which is a self-help organisation for people no longer in full time employment providing educational, creative and leisure opportunities in a friendly environment.
 The Inaugural Meeting will be on: Tuesday November 6th at 2pm Community Centre in Sea Road, and all “third agers”, and anyone else interested are encouraged to go along!
Local U3As organise interest groups, which draw upon the knowledge, experience and skills of their own members. The groups meet mainly during the day in members’ homes or use local facilities.
Members lead the groups themselves so the teachers learn and the learners teach. The U3A approach to learning is learning for pleasure. There is no accreditation or validation and there are no assessments or qualifications to be gained, and no one needs a qualification to lead a group.
At the launch meeting a wide range of topics were suggested, including Painting, Art Appreciation, Handicrafts, Social History, Local History, Genealogy, Spanish, French, Italian, Flower Arranging, Theatre trips, Outings, Computer Skills (beginners and improvers), Book Club, Walking, Current Affairs, Scrabble, Basic First Aid, Bridge, Yoga, Keep Fit, Music Appreciation, Choir, Mah Jong and many more.
At the meeting on November 6th you will hear more about the U3A and be able to think about which groups you would like to join. If you cannot make the meeting in November, the monthly general gatherings, usually with an entertaining speaker, will be on the first Tuesday of every month at 2pm in the Community Centre.
The membership for the initial period from now until the end of March will be £10. Members will be asked to make a small contribution to the cost of refreshments but there is no charge for attending a group.
A committee has been formed to establish the Milford on Sea U3A. If you would be interested in joining the steering committee or helping in any way please email the Chair, Bill Jowett or telephone 01590545180 or 01425638836 or 01590644039
So why not pop along and find out more?  I know this friendly new group are looking forward to meeting you!

Friday, 12 October 2012

Zaika Tuesday Buffet is Back

The ever popular and tasty Zaika Indian Restaurant in Milford on Sea High Street is re-introducing thier budget busting Tuesday Night Buffet.  The food is a great as ever, and a four course Indian meal for just £9.95 has to be a winner.
At last, a great new excuse to pop out for a pint & curry with an old mate! 

Thursday, 11 October 2012

Food Week 2014 & The Great Dining Bus

I thought I would let you be first to know that Milford on Sea Food Week is taking a break in 2013. Don’t worry though, it will be back with a vengeance in 2014!
As you may know, I semi-retired a couple of years ago, well at least I thought I had! All was going rather well, and then the calm was broken! Last year my business launched a major annual industry networking event, and right now we are heavily into organising a brand new industry exhibition for January 2013. On top of all this, we are building & planning a new business management software package to be launched to the industry in March 2013. As you may expect, all this activity is pretty exciting, and I have been drawn back into the business full time until all of these project are complete.
This may also explain why my wife & I have not been seen out and about in Milford on Sea over the past few months!
As a result, I simply do not have the time to organise of Food Week 2013. To do so, takes around three days a week from October until April, and sadly, I will now be fully committed elsewhere.
Having come so far with the help of great volunteers, the support of local restaurateurs and the enthusiastic attendance of so many from the village, it has been a big decision to make. Particularly, as I just love great food! However, I hope everyone will understand. This is a one off change, and I remain totally committed to what has been created into a significant village event over the past few years.
The Great Dining Bus: We do have some exciting news for next year though. The Great Dining Bus will again be on the village roads, taking you for a gourmet experience in all of our best village restaurants. The programme is going to be planned to take place in April 2013, and will be launched early in the new year. The restaurants don't know the details yet (as I haven't yet spoken to them!), but I know they are all keen to participate, and to have you all visit. They will all be involved in the planning towards to end of this year.
Having run the first Great Dining Bus during last Food Week we know many people missed out on the delectable and fun experience. Our aim is that more people can participate this time, enjoying each course in a different village restaurants, whilst making new friends and enjoying the company of who you come with.
For lovers of Food Week, don’t panic, we will be back from Monday 7th April 2014 to Sunday 13th April 2014, and it will be bigger and better than ever!
(School Holidays are Holiday from Mon 7th to 21st April 2014. Good Friday is 18th April and Easter Monday is 21st April 2014, so as always we are making sure the kids can be fully involved.)

Visit the Great Dining Bus Website:

Box Office Volunteers Needed

With the impedding retirement of Gwen and the closing of her wonderfully unique shop, the village is also losing its Box Office for local shows and events, - or is it?
The team at Milford on Sea Community Centre have decided that is now going to launch a village Box Office run by enthusiatic volunteers.
As yet, the 'enthusiastic volunteers' don't know who they are, but I am sure they will soon!
A meeting is being held this Friday at 1pm (19th October), for anyone who would be interested in doing a stint in the new Box Office.  If you fancy helping out, please just go along, you will be very welcome.
Psst, I haven't said this, but you will get to see what is coming up first, and be able to make sure you don't miss the best shows in the village!


Changes at Bon Appetit

Very soon there will be a new name above the door at Bon Appetit in Milford on Sea High Street. Christina has been travelling daily from Totton, near Southampton, to serve us with delicious coffee, great breakfasts and lunches, crepes and other tasty treats for around three years now, and as you may imagine a lot of time has been spent driving!
Sadly, for us, Christina has decided to be nearer her husband and daughter and is planning to open a new café in Totton in mid-November. Her last day will be Thursday 18th October. Not completely losing her connection with Milford on Sea, her new café is going to be called ‘Bon Appetit!’
Christina has asked us to say thank to all of her past customers, she will miss them, and we will certainly miss her cheery smile and the care with which she presented and served her food.
As yet we haven’t met the new owners, but they plan to re-open on Sunday 21st October under a new name. We have heard on the grapevine that the new café may be called ‘The Village Coffee Pot’. As soon as we find out more we will let you know!

Friday, 5 October 2012

All change at Church

We have heard of good news and bad news for the Milford on Sea Methodist Church.
The bad news is that the NFDC planning department has refused their application to render the front of the building, move the notice boards onto the front wall and erect a hanging sign depicting the Methodist Church symbol as it was not felt to be in keeping with a conservation area.
The much better news is that work has already started on the rest of the refurbishment which is only subject to Building Regulations approval which has been granted.
The work includes creating a disabled toilet, refurbishing the kitchen installing a new sound loop system, a new energy efficient boiler and where applicable improved insulation. Doorways are being widened to take wheelchair access and new carpet and lighting fitted and then redecoration.
The outside may not look like our original vision but don’t judge a book by its cover as the Methodist church will welcome everyone to come in and see the improvements.
 In the meantime Sunday services are still being held in the church while possible and a notice will be displayed on the front doors should the venue have to be changed.
The once a month Thursday lunch club has moved to the Community Centre as a temporary measure and details of all other arrangements can be obtained by contacting Alan Boyce at or on 01590 641189.

Thursday, 4 October 2012

The White House in the 50's

Having read a previous story about The White House on Milford on Sea seafront (read here), we have being contacted by Sharon Wickham.
Sharon’s mother, Carole Hobson, and her cousin John Neale, were both patients in The White House in the early 50's.
Her mum is to be 70 this year, and Sharon is making a scrapbook of her life, and would like to try and put a few pictures of her time at the White house in it.
If you have any old pictures of The White house, or even your own memories, I am sure Sharon would like to hear from you. She can be contacted at:

Miflord Music Festival Needs a Friends Help

After a very wet 2012 festival this year, and despite good attendance, the volunteer committee have been left with a shortfall of some £4000.
It takes almost 12 months, close to £25,000, and a lot of hard work by the committee and volunteers to put on this spectacular 4 day event, which it totally village organised, and remains free to attend.
They have informed us that they desperately need help form the village if they are to make the Festival happen again next year. To ensure that the Festival can continue to be staged, they need to replenish reserves that are held to finance the event and are looking to raise funds in a variety of ways throughout the year.
One way in which you can help is by becoming a Friend of the Festival at an annual cost of £50, which in addition to providing regular and invaluable support to the event will entitle you to attend the Friends’ reception before the festival. As a registered charity such subscriptions allow the festival to reclaim tax under the Gift Aid scheme at no cost to you, provided that you are a taxpayer.
If you want more details or a Gift Aid form then please contact our Treasurer, Alan Boyce at . Alternatively, look out for the Music Fesival charity collection boxes which are vivid purple so they can't be missed and are placed all around the village in pubs, restaurants and most of the shops. (Thanks go to Tim Ball of Ampress Digital for printing the labels on the collection boxes.)
Please make a donation however large or small, as without your help they may not be able to continue.
Should you wish to become a 'Friend', help out during the run up and or over the Festival weekend then please contact Sean Reeves at  
Let's hope ths shortfall can be met, and that we can all look forward fantastic Festival in 2013.

Chamber Choir on Bournemouth Stage

click image to enlarge
The Milford on Sea Total Voice Chamber Choir performed at the Bournemouth Pavilion on Saturday the 29th September as part of the Music 4 Meningitis concert.
The sell-out crowd of about a thousand was, as you can imagine, a very big deal for our little village choir. The gang sang a Michael Jackson Medley with some of the boys from Bournemouth School, many of whom had never sung in public before this event, and then joined up with Bournemouth choir Cantabile to perform Eric Whitacre's beautiful Seal Lullaby.
  The 'new' Chamber Choir has achieved so much in its first year, and I know Victoria love to hear from any singers who want to help them go from strength to strength.
If you would like to join the choir please contact Victoria at:  | 07824 388263.

Monday, 1 October 2012

Studland Common Grazing Project

As you might know, the Parish Council has taken the decision to reintroduce grazing onto Studland Common.  The ponies currently grazing on the Meadow will be taken off on the 1st October, and towards the end of the year the Common will be re-fenced to make the whole common stock-proof.
Early in 2013, up to four Dexter cattle will be put onto one or other of the grazing compartments and will be there for a few months each year (total of 4 month’s).  The two compartments will not be grazed at the same time, so that those walkers who do not wish to walk in the compartments with the cattle have alternative footpaths to use.
Later this year, previously flailed grassland will be re-flailed back to the higher scrub of about three years ago to help recover the grassland habitat.  A central block of about .5ha will also form part of the first years work, but this might not be undertaken until the autumn/winter of 2013.
Full details of the first years’ work and the rest of the ten-year programme is contained in a new booklet, which can be downloaded from the link below.  These booklets are being distributed to properties surrounding the Common and will also be made available to everyone interested in the conservation grazing project from the Parish Office during normal opening hours (Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday between 10am and Noon and on a Wednesday 2 till 4pm).
To read the full 'Studland Common Grazing Project' booklet, please go to following link and hit the 'Stdland Project' button: