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Tuesday, 27 November 2012

Storytelling grandma needs your help

Local storytelling grandma Wend Lewis needs your help. She has some remaining copies of her charitable CD for children and wants to reach her target of raising £2000 for Naomi House children’s hospice. 

Wend Lewis, who lives in Keyhaven, has already raised over £1800 for the charity, way over her original target, through her CD of stories and poems based around traditional nursery rhymes, called Grandma’s Tricks.

Wend got the idea for the project from telling stories to her grandchildren, Maia, 8, and twins Darcey and Skye, 5. 

She financed and worked on the CD herself, narrating and adapting the stories and adding some fun and humour to old favourites such as Jack and the Beanstalk, Humpty Dumpty and The Three Little Piggies.

Local musician and retired solicitor Nick Filbee helped with the project by providing the musical accompaniment and Karin Karian of Vocal Solutions assisted with the production.

Wend, a keen singer and music lover, believes that nursery rhymes and traditional stories still have a role to play in this digital age.

“I wanted my grandchildren to hear these traditional stories and to pass them on to the next generation. Computers and tablets are important for children’s education but listening to traditional storytelling can also be magical for children, as well as lots of fun. Many other children have enjoyed these tales as much as my grandchildren have.”

Grandma’s Tricks is being sold for £10 a copy, with all proceeds going to Naomi House.
To find out more about Grandma’s Tricks or to buy a copy, email: or call 07876 626703

Saturday, 24 November 2012

Carols on the Green & Late Night Opening

Join in the Community Carol Singing & see Father Christmas on the village green!

5pm: Milford Shops’ Late Night Opening for getting your Christmas presents. A great chance to give the village shops your support.
6pm: Milford on Sea Christmas Carol Service led by Rev Ray Hubble with Total Voice Choir. Plus a visit by Santa's Wagon after community singing.Santa’s Grotto in Ashton’s Estate Agents, Village stalls, Mulled wine, Mince pies, Pizzas, Burgers and hot dogs,. Music By The Windmill Band.
It's all for local charities. Everyone Welcome, so please come along!
6.20pm: Mummers Play on the green.
Event Organised by: Milford-on-Sea Village Community Committee
Sponsored by: Tapper Funeral Service & Hugh Whitlock Solicitors
In past years there has been Free Parking in the Sea Road car park from 12.00 midday. Let's hope this applies on the night!


Bollywood come to Milford!

Our local Indian restaurant, Zaika in Milford on Sea High Street, is having a live Free Live Bollywood Band on Friday 7th December.
All diners between 6.30pm to 9.30pm will be able to enjoy a great curry with Free Bollywood entertainment.
This sounds a night not to miss, and of course at the same time you can enjoy the Christmas Carols on the Green & Late Night Opening.
Zaika is an exciting, contemporary, Indian Restaurant serving dishes prepared with fresh ingredients each day. They pride themselves that their dishes truly reflect the diversity of cooking styles, and ingredients from the length and breadth of the wonderful and vibrant Indian Subcontinent.
To book please call: 01590 643084, or simply call in.

40 B4 40-Gilberts Restaurant

No. 26: Grim’s Dyke Hotel-Gilberts Restaurant

The Grim's Dyke Hotel is a carefully restored country house renowned for its special musical events, and has been featured in many films over the years.
click image to enlarge
Just 12 miles from the centre of London and within easy reach of Heathrow, the magnificent former country residence of Sir William Gilbert (of Gilbert & Sullivan fame) is set in over 40 acres of beautiful gardens and woodlands.
The 2 AA rosette restaurant prides itself on serving their own seasonal produce, and the Head Chef Daren Mason has a style of modern British food having trained under Gary Rhodes.
Our meal had been in the diary for a few weeks, as my wife & I wanted to take my Mum for a Sunday treat. Like many, I never get to see my Mum anywhere near as much as I would like. Everytime I do, it is always enjoyble and fun.
The Grim's Dyke Hotel is without doubt an impressive building and the welcome was warm and formal. In fact, the Gilberts Restaurant dining room was a bit of a throw back. The furniture was traditional, and the numerous waiting staff were all attired in formal black and white.

The menu looked spot on, and we went for a collection of Welsh Rarebit and Chicken Liver Parfait starters. The Welsh Rarebit was a surprise as it consisted of a brioche base, oyster mushroom and a small amount of melted cheese. Not as expected, but tasty never the less. The Chicken Liver Parfait was good.
We all went for the same main course, Rib of Beef with Roast Potatoes & Yorkshire Pudding. The beef looked great, and my wife loved it. Sadly, my Mum and I had asked for ‘medium to well done’, and either the waitress had not told the kitchen, or the chef had decided he knew what we wanted better than us! He was wrong. We watch a similar occurrence on to other tables, which seemed unnecessary and totally avoidable. When I asked for some more gravy the waitress was a bit lost, until she said; “Do you mean jus?”. I didn’t, but I couldn’t be bother to explain that they were the same, other than you get more when it is called gravy!

The sweets looked interesting, and I thought it was my lucky day when my wife had more or less had no option to have a sweet, due to it being a three course set lunch. However, my luck backfired, as even I could eat the duo of sweets. The Lavender & Almond Pannacotta was just totally wrong, and the Apple & Ginger Pudding with Ice Cream was sadly boring. Even I get to a stage where you consider the calorie intake not worth it. I am pleased to say my Mum’s Pistachio Creme Brulee was fine.

By reputation, and the full dining room, this was obviously a good place to eat. We had caught it on a poor day, and either the head chef was not in, or they trying just that little bit too hard.

Sitting in the lounge having a coffee, Mum asked us if ‘we watch Downton Abbey, we didn’t. “No, nor do I” she replied. Priceless!

As always, we thoroughly enjoyed our time together. I am sure everyone sees their Mum as special, but I am lucky to have one who has always been there for me and I love her to bits. If only I had more time.


Grim’s Dyke Hotel | Gilberts Restaurant
Old Redding, Harrow, Middlesex, London

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

Cubs in the Community

Our village Milford on Sea and Keyhaven Cubs continue their good work in the community.

The Cub pack recently visited Hillyfield Rest Home in Barnes Lane, Milford on Sea to enjoy a games evening with the residents. You can imagine how everyone must have really enjoyed the visit.

This is the second time they have run this event and it has been a massive success in building close links in the community. The cubs also get involved in many other village events throughout the year, such carol singing, tree planting and litter picks.

Matthew Cobb, Cub Scout leader said; “We organise these events to teach Cubs about their village, and residents that the youth of the village are of some real worth. They are a credit to the village and often their hard work can get overlooked.”

Good work Matt and the boys! Keep it up, we love seeing and hearing about you caring about others.


Hillyfield Rest Home appears a place that really cares about their residents. It is a small family-owned care home established 25 years ago by the Harmer family, who still personally manage the day-to-day running of the home. The family (Andrea, David and their daughters, Louise and Jane) firmly believe that, by running just one home and concentrating on providing care to 16 residents, they can achieve a more personal relationship, not only with the residents, but also with the dedicated staff team upon which so much depends.

I love the fact that they have a published 'Programme', regularly bringing in people of interest to their guests, and taking everyone on outings.  Even better than that, I spotted in their day's programme that they serve 'Evening drinks' at 8.30pm. Now that sounds my sort of place!


Surprises at The Marine

I popped into The Marine the other day and we pleasantly surprised at the great value meals they are now serving in the café every day.

The restaurant has always had a great name for quality food and dining, and as a result the whole place had got a reputation for being expensive. If that was ever the case, it certainly isn’t now.

New head chef, Mark speller is obviously proud of serving homely home cooked food, and is providing food to the café which is a good as in the restaurant, but at a budget price. When a menu has things like Chicken and mushroom pie with seasonal vegetables, ‘Keyhaven’ Mutton stew with crusty bread for around £9 it has to be tempting. The Keyhaven lamb really caught my eye, and it is delicious on the plate, and their relatives also looked pretty good from the window!
I had great trouble choosing a dessert from between Chocolate Fondant with cherry ice cream or Treacle Tart with crème anglaise ice cream. However, at £5.50, it was easy to have both!
Reading the in-house promotional cards, I spotted a a two course meal for £14.50, and a selection of fun sounding Christmas events for groups of family and friends.  I will have a word with my wife, and with a bit of luck we will be back with friends before Father Christmas brings me the Aston Martin I have asked for!
If you would rather go straight to the menu's click here:

Friday, 23 November 2012

It’s wrong, but impressive!

I came across this film on the web this week.

The guy on the bike obviously shouldn't be on pill box roof, nor jumping onto the path handrails.

But being wrong, and even dangerous, doesn't preclude it from being impressive.  The photography is sharp and the tricks neat, added to that I have to say, that with with the sights of Milford on Sea in the background it gets even better!

I even had to laugh when the guy walking along the seafront and minding his own business, turns around on seeing the bike, then just as quickly turns again deciding he is going for it anyway!  This is wrong on so many levels, but it made me smile.


Is it time for a New Village Memorial?

Royal Wootton Bassett War Memorial
We had a thought provoking, interesting, and as usual direct, e-mail from Mike Halliwell this week.  Many will know Mike, but for those that don't, he has been a prominent village resident for many years, and until handing over to The Raft early last year, he was running Bella Epoque in Milford on Sea High Street.
He is also an ardent support of the 'Help for Heroes' Charity.
This is what Mike had to say:
"I saw the film "War Horse" in the lovely new lottery funded community centre. (The new social heart of the village), last week. I was very moved.
Also last week I attended a couple of remembrance services. Milford on Sea had one at Keyhaven war memorial, appropriate and moving. The other was on the village green; with a 'temporary' memorial. Very sad.
I have been associated with the village for fifty years. It must be the largest village in the land without a "proper" war memorial.
After the film I pledged to my solicitor, Hugh Whitlock, and any one else who was listening, £5000 towards a new War Memorial in the village.
In 1920, £850 was raised to purchase the freehold of the old cottage hospital built in 1900 (now the telephone exchange!) Ten years later £7500 was raised to build a new hospital. The village needed a new hospital. It also still had no memorial to those eighty+ souls of the village who had given their lives for their country. I am aware that most of their names appear on the "shrine" seldom seen inside the new hospital, also now in jeopardy. This list includes All who served as well as those killed.
They are also remembered in All Saints' Church. Neither of these memorials excuse the village from its duty to erect, belatedly, a War Memorial in the centre of the village, where we will see it daily and remember those young men who gave their lives that we might live in peace.
I am well aware that many villages built war memorial halls, sports grounds, swimming pools, even bus shelters! but these were exceptions.
Ours could be of modern design. Think of Royal Wootton Bassett, they have a fine memorial on the edge of the town built after the first world war, but have also created a fine, modest memorial in the centre of town for today's heroes. What if, God forbid, a son or daughter of the village was killed tomorrow in Afghanistan, or in some future war?
Is it really too much to ask? I believe £25,000 is required.
My (£5000) pledge is for two years (2014) in the certain hope that our thriving village will easily rise to the challenge.
I hope that the public enthusiasm I found for such a project two years ago is still existant. I am seeking a small "working party"to include a lawyer ,banker, computer person, designer and accountant as well as like minded "volunteers".
if we cannot fund and create a suitable memorial in the next two years then it will never happen!
If you have a view, or would like to join Mike's working party, please feel free to add a comment below, or contact Mike at

Salterns Raise £10k

Over 100 young sailors survive the Salterns Sail a Thon raising over £10,000 for Children In Need!
The intrepid young members aged from 6 – 15 years of age, kept at least one boat on the water at all times between 16h30 Friday 16th and 16h30 Saturday 17th November. Most did not sleep, sailed in cold, dark, windy conditions but they kept focused on the job in hand – raising money for far less fortunate children than themselves.
The Saturday morning saw sailors and visitors alike covered with wild water tattoos, red, white, blue, yellow and green hair complemented by some funky nails!
The raffle and silent auction raised in excess of £5,500 so a big thank you to all those who took part, baked cakes, gave your time and of course all our amazing sponsors. Without you all, the event would not have been possible. Over the last 14 years Salterns have raised over £92,000.
Salterns Sailing Club is a sailing club for children, where they can experience sailing in Optimists, Moths and Scows. The club is run entirely by volunteers.

It is nice to support the League of Friends

The League of Hospital and Community Friends Advent Fair is to be held this Saturday 24th November at All Saints Church Hall at 10am to midday.

The Friends support the Medical Centre and the Community as well as the War Memorial Hospital as much as is possible but are always trying to raise more money to enable them to do this. What most people don’t realise is that some of the equipment used in the Medical Centre and on home visits has been provided by the League, and in fact recently items to the value of £5,500 has been purchased on various items for their use. 

Obviously more money needs to be raised in order to carry on with this so at the Advent Fair there will be a cake stall, tombola, raffle, plants, Christmas decorations and gifts, jewellery, toys, books and collectables which hopefully the proceeds from sales will enable the League to carry on with their good work.


New Milton get into Xmas Spirit

New Milton Memorial Centre in Whitefield Road and the New Milton are holding the Town’s biggest ever Christmas Festival on Saturday 1st December from 11am until 5pm; says Alan Watson – Chair of the Festival Steering Group.
The Festival will kick off at 11am , after a brief introduction by the Mayor of New Milton, Councillor Neil Tungate, with The Military Wives Choir from Portsmouth. The Choir will sing tracks from the latest Album – “Military Wives – Stronger Together” as well as a number of well-known favourites.
Throughout the day there will be live entertainment from the Central Stage sponsored by Common Ground (New Forest Trust) and Balmer Lawn Motors Group as well as from a secondary Performance Area opposite Costa Coffee in Station Road, Amongst the performers will be the huge local Crescendi Choir, the New Forest Dixieland Band, the young Off-Beat Groove Choir, Soul Baby and Zaq Dixon – Beat Boxer with Steve Biddle and Groovemeister. Amongst the other performers will be the Friendly Dog Club Morris Dancers – a canine version!
One of the highlights of the day will be at 12 Noon, when we will see the return of a Christmas Festival Parade, which this year will have a central theme of the pantomime “Aladdin”. Sponsored by Comojo, the Gift Shop in Barton on Sea, the Parade will feature over 30 characters from the cast of Aladdin which is being performed in January at the Memorial Centre by The New Forest Players. The Parade will also feature the Ringwood Pipe Band, local Organisations and groups and we are informed that Father Christmas plans to try and join the Parade. Children in Fancy Dress with their parents are welcome to join the Parade, reporting to the Osborne Road Car Park at 11:45 am.
There will be a Christmas Gifts and Crafts Fair at The Memorial Centre with over 45 Stalls full of great ideas for Christmas presents. Some 40 groups who use the New Milton Community Association will feature in their Open Day from 10am until 4pm.
Station Road will be packed from end to end with more than 90 Stalls in a series of “Villages” – Crafts, Food & Drinks, Products & Services, Entertainment. The “Community Village” will feature more than 35 Stalls from local Community Organisations and groups, probably the largest gathering of such groups ever in New Milton. To inject a little Continental flavour there will also be a French Christmas Street Market to feast your eyes upon.
The event will culminate at 5pm with Groovemester performing on the Central Stage from 4:15 pm. Beforehand however at 4pm, we will see the Switch-On of the central part of New Milton’s Christmas Lighting by our very own singer, songwriter – Rumer. Rumer performed earlier this year at the Freshfield Festival on Fawcetts Field and now returns to her home town again to play a part in what the Organisers believe will be one of the biggest Christmas Festivals in the New Forest this year.
Visitors can keep up to date with all about the Festival including any changes in performance timings on the Web Site


Castle Calendars for 2013

Looking for Calendars for Christmas?

Look no further!

The Hurst Castle calendars are £6 each, or £7 posted. They can be bought from the Guard Room at the Castle (only open at weekends now) or ordered from the Hon. Treasurer by email - - or telephone 01329 843883 and orders can be picked up from the Parish Council Office.

Saturday, 17 November 2012

Sailing Club Goes Up!

clcik image to enlarge
If you have been to Keyhaven lately, you will have noticed that the rebuilding of Hurst Castle Sailing Club House is proceeding apace. So far everything has gone to plan.
The wooden structure, which was made off-site has been erected and it is expected that the roof will be completed by the end of the month if not before, with the re-opening around February time. 
It is also nice to see that the work is being carried out by our excellent village building company, Adcroft. 
With the height of the new building, there will be a splendid view from the new balcony all the way down Keyhaven river.  This is going to be a special place to be on glorious summer days.


Tuesday, 13 November 2012

40 B4 40-Matahari

No. 25: Matahari, Guildford

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My wife had a ‘girlie weekend’ in Milford on Sea last week, and apparently the three girls thought it was great fun doing nails, playing with hair and watching films. They even managed to squeeze in fish & chips from Mr Pink’s on Friday, Saturday lunch at La Perle, and Sunday lunch at The Marine.

I and the dogs, had in the meantime been banished to our place in Guildford, under instructions to 'behave like a grown up', and to eat a list of lovingly pre-prepared food.
Naturally, all of my wife’s instructions were forgotten as soon as she left, as I ordered a curry that lasted two days, left all the lights on, kept the toilet seat up and didn't put anything in the dishwasher.  On returning from seeing the new James Bond film with Matthew, my son, I proceeded to spend the Saturday evening running around in my pants, and jumping on the settee as I chased the dogs pretending they were the baddies.
When the girls returned from Milford, our mate also cadged a lift for a flying visit. For the purpose of this story, and anonymity from village friends of his pregnant wife, he will be known as ‘X’.
When they arrived early Sunday evening we had a couple of civilised beers whilst deciding where to eat for the evening. Having ‘X’ as our guest, the Matahari, our favourite Guildford restaurant was quickly decided upon. The Matahari's 'Fusion-Cuisine' is both unique and distinctive, with an emphasis on Malaysian cookery, beautifully blended with Thai, Chinese, Japanese sushi, and other exotic arrays of delicacies with South-East Asian influence.
Before going to eat, the three of us had another swift beer in Pews Bar, one the last remaining original public houses of Guildford. The old building has great bulging 17c walls, a narrow undulating staircase for the brave wanting to visit the toilet, and a cobbled alleyway leading to one of the many hidden courtyards in the town.
We were soon across the road in Matahari. Set in one of Guildford’s oldest buildings the two floor restaurant is quirky, with low beams, wavy wooden floors, and great charm. Our friendly waiter greeted me by name, which made my wife rightly suspicious that I visited even more times than she knew.
It did not take long to make our choices, and we were soon tucking into the Platter of Mixed Starters, accompanied with the first of a few bottles of Georges Duboeuf Beaujolais. We had avoided the Japanese options, as cold fish and rice really isn’t what I consider a pleasure. The Onion Baby Ribs were simply outstanding, The Salt & Pepper Squid, and Chicken Satay mouthwatering, all enjoyed with Mini Vegetable 'Popiah' which added a bit of crunch and spice with the chilli dip.
As we gabbled on about seaside village life our banquet of main course arrived. Mongolian Chicken, tender chicken cooked in a very tasty & creamy slightly spicy black pepper peanut buttery sauce, Sizzling Vietnamese Sesame Pork, served sizzling hot, with a tantalizing Vietnamese sauce, topped with a dash of cream, Chef’s Special Claypot Coriander Beef Curry, tender beef slices marinated with spices & wrapped in lotus leave, served in a simmering claypot of creamy coconut & coriander flavoured curry, Fried Rice with Egg, and Spicy Vegetarian Rice Noodles, spicy rice noodles fried with beansprouts, Chinese leaves, pepper strips, mushrooms baby corns, eggs & onions, garnished with crispy shallots.
As we smiled and ate, ‘X’ overheard the next table talking about ‘vajazzle’s’.  Innocently he asked what they were, and quick as flash, my embarrassed wife changed the conversation. When ‘X’ asked the waiters they were niether able to understand or help him.
My wife had been in a playful mood all evening and was by now engaged in a text conversation on her mobile phone. Soon this became very surreal, as the mobile conversation became five way. We were communicating ridiculous one liners with an old friend, Dave, who was in The King’s Head having a friendly drink with Nikki, who had just returned from Milford with my wife. Dave had obviously enjoyed most of his day in the pub, having been left to fend for himself with his girlfriend in Turkey on business.
For sweet we ordered ‘Goreng Pisang’, deep-fried banana balls in batter, trickled with honey syrup, served with ice-cream. As she was not eating this, my wife was busy describing our pudding to Dave by text.   He in turn wanted some, and a rendezvous was agreed at The White House by the river Wey.   Sensibly, Nikki poured Dave in a taxi and went home.
At The White House, ‘X’ was still on a quest to find the meaning of his new word, which I have to say is not the best way to introduce yourself to the barman.  We were doing our best to ignore him.
Dave now with us, was devestated that the promised ‘Goreng Pisang’ was nowhere to be seen, it had been eaten by us instead.  In no time Dave was busy recalling his day's events, and 'X' was still slightly bemused and dazzled by the bright lights of the town.  The conversation turned to even more drivel as our table worked our way through a weird selection of mulled wine, Bailey’s and Guinness. 
In the cab home my wife for some inexplicable reason thought it was fun to pinch Dave’s bingo wings constantly, he of course screamed like a girl and shoot up his path when thankfully released from the dangerous& painful confines of the taxi.
Once back, the home bar was open, and a rather pleasant Janneau VSOP brandy was enjoyed with coffee before putting another fun night to bed.
Footnote: Breakfast next morning was enjoyed at Cote Bistro, Guildford. Amazingly, for a chain they offered a fabulous choice and the quality was unexpectedly high. So high in fact, it had to be one of the best Full English’s I can recall for quite a time. The daytime & evening menus are also full of a wide variety of French classics at pretty good prices. As they have many restaurants around the country, could be one worth trying out.

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


Monday, 12 November 2012

Total Voice Wow West Quay!

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Milford's very own Total Voice wow shoppers in West Quay!

Singers from Total Voice's Contemporary and Chamber Choirs joined together on Saturday 10th November to perform in West Quay Shopping Centre for the Southampton Hospital Charity, to raise further funds for the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit following their concert in Milford last October.
This wonderful opportunity was embraced with great gusto by the choirs who thoroughly enjoyed singing songs including We Built This City, Paradise, Bridge Over troubled Water and Fields of Gold to all the Christmas Shoppers. Total Voice's directors' Christine Mulgrew and Victoria Hopkins also took the chance to try out the acoustics and sang a solo each, not wanting to pass up such an amazing opportunity!
The choirs went down extremely well and the hospital charity team were thrilled with their efforts and West Quay commented on the cheerful atmosphere created for shoppers.
It was a proud day for Total Voice in what has been an exciting year of performances.

If you would like to see more photo's. please click this link:


Anyone remember Cathy Gillies?

We had an e-mail recently from Cathy Green, who some long term residents may remember as Cathy Gillies.
Cathy’s family moved to Milford on Sea in 1949 when she was 2. They lived in a converted coach house at Newlands Manor, until the family open ‘Gillies’ a sweet shop and tobacconist . I used to live at 60 High Street. (next door to Gwen’s). Cathy lived above the shop until she left Brockenhurst College at 18. Her parents finally retired to a house in Whitby Road.
Cathy recalls two current and eminent village residents; Gwen Peden, and also Freda 'Lieuty' Cheney MBE of the Girl Guides and Royal British Legion.
If anyone remembers Cathy and would like to contact or share some memories with her, please drop me a line at:, and I will pass it on.

Sunday, 11 November 2012

Beaujolais Nouveau Thursday

It is Beaujolais Nouveau Day this Thursday 15th November.
Our local French bistro, La Perle in Milford on Sea High Street will naturally be celebrating, and have a special lunch & dinner menu accompanied by a free glass of the new crop.
La Perle's sommelier will also be attendance to talk through wines and offer suggested pairings with your meal.
The menu is also worth checking out, as always it contain exciting rustic french dishes from French onion soup to Leg of rabbit 'à la Moutarde', and you can even something like frogs legs, L'escargot or even eels if you are feeling adventurous.

To find out more please visit:


Saturday, 10 November 2012

A Family Story for Remembrance Day

I am sure that at this time of year many families recall stories of the war years & the part their own families played in the eventual victory.

Our family never really had any ‘war stories’, well we didn’t until my brother Peter, did some genealogical research during 2009. Like most families I guess, the war was not discussed when we were children, & the only thing I remember was that my dad’s brother had been a WW2 prisoner of war in an horrific Japanese camp, but he never spoke about it to anyone, ever.

I also knew that my Grandad’s lungs were badly damaged during the first world war, but did not know how. I remember him as a warm & kindly man who lived with us when we were children. In fact our three bedroom home in Kingsbury, North London, housed Grandad (Horace Hunt), my Nan, Mum & Dad, plus us three kids. He fondly told me great children’s stories as I sat on his knee, with his oxygen cylinder & mask sitting ominously next to him in the living room. He even caught me doing something I shouldn’t have, but kept it a secret from anyone forever.

My other Grandfather, Albert Long was born and bred in Hendon, North London. I remember him as a stern archetypal Victorian man, in a woollen suit with waistcoat & fob watch. His house was a standard semi-detached in Hendon, North London with an allotment at the bottom of the garden where he spent many hours. He was certainly of a mind that ‘children should be seen & not heard’ & the front parlour was a special treat to visit only on special Sundays. This all seems so far from the days we now live in. Having been born in the mid 1950's, I grew up with the war as being something 'old people' talked about, & in my teens & twenties I was much more interested in girls & pubs!

Sadly, when I eventually became interested in what happened during the two World Wars it was too late to ask many of those I had known that had been there. It was not until I was in my early forties that I took a trip to Ypres & the Belgian World War One battlefields & trenches, and the experience was unexpectedly emotional & a disturbing realisation of the scale of the slaughter. In subsequent years my interest in the war years grew, as I tried to understand & make sense of what had happened. It just felt important to know.

A visit to the World War Two D-Day Beaches of France soon followed. If these are trips you have never made, I thoroughly recommend a visit. I cannot say it will be fun, I also cannot guarantee you will not have an involuntary tear or two, but I can guarantee that the sights will put everything into perspective & steel your resolve for such a thing to never happen again. In my view, it should be on the curriculum of every school in the country to visit the battlefields & cemeteries to ensure our children never forget what happened to their own forefathers.

Back to Peter, (my Brother), a few years ago gave me a surprise present of two photograph frames with the most amazing contents following his research: each had a sepia photograph, name & rank panel, miniature medals & script on the back. The photographs were pictures of each of my Grandfathers in their military uniforms during WW1. The stories on the back revealed amazing things about two ordinary men during wartime. 

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Lewis Gun Letter | Click image to enlarge
My Grandad, Staff Sergeant Horace W Hunt had been in the Royal Army Ordnance Corps during WW1 as a Mine Sweeper, unfortunately he was involved in an explosion which necessitated his return to Hendon Cottage Hospital, England for treatment for temporary blindness & respiratory problems. During World War Two he served as a corporal in the Southgate Home Guard.

Being an engineer he invented an new loading device for 97 round Lewis Light Machine Gun which improved the loading efficiency by forty percent, which he donated to the war effort. Our family now has a letter from a Major M. A Moir, congratulating him on his ingenuity.

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My other Grandfather, Rifleman Albert Long, of the Rifle Brigade (Now merged into the Royal Green Jackets) was one of the few to return from the atrocious battlefields of Passchendaele, Belgium. During his time in the trenches we were proud to discover that he had been awarded the Military Medal for an individual act of bravery. His Military Medal was awarded on the 18th October 1917.

Unfortunately, all records of the exact event were destroyed during the bombing of the Army Records Office in London during World War 2. However, from family memory Peter discovered that he had saved a comrade from ‘no man’s land’ during battle. His medals were bequeathed by the family to his Regimental museum, the Royal Green Jackets Museum in Winchester when he died in 1965 & can still be seen there today.

This personal story may not be read by many, but for those that do read this, I hope it conjures up memories from your own families. Most importantly, now that I have written this story online my Grandfathers will never be forgotten, & like so many other fathers & Grandfathers who sacrificed so much, they never should.

Friday, 9 November 2012

40 B4 40-Roux at Parliament Square

No. 24A: Roux at Parliament Square, London, SW1

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The strange numbering of this entry is created due to this entry breaking the 40 B4 40 rules. On this occasion my wife is not in attendance, but she has sanctioned my reporting on my day out with my bald red faced surrogate wife, Alistair.

Unlike our last foray into the big smoke, which ended a bit messy, this was far more of a sober affair. This time we were off to hear Prime Minister’s Question Time at the Houses of Parliament. As ever, the Palace of Westminster looked resplendent and the walk through St Stephen’s Hall was, as always, impressive. 

Having watched the ‘Speaker’s Procession’ through the Central Lobby, we were soon in the fully packed Public Gallery above the House of Commons. The view was excellent, and the glass panelling installed after someone threw flour at Tony Blair did not really effect the experience too much.

Our expectation to see David Cameron, and the other bloke, was short lived as Nick Clegg was standing in due to the Prime Minister being in the Middle East. For obvious reasons no one is told the Prime Minister is leaving the country in advance.

The best questions came from the floor, and some of the humour was quite sharp. Harriet Harman did not have her best day at the despatch box with her questions appearing somewhat weak. All in all, Nick Clegg seemed to handle the session pretty well.

It is interesting to know that the Despatch Box on the Government side houses a Bible and a Koran. The Opposition box contains a burnt Bible, dating back to the destruction of the Commons chamber by a German bomb on 10 May 1941 during the Second World War. Few know that the House of Commons was destroyed during the war, as there was a news blackout at the time to prevent the British people for being demoralised.

Having enjoyed our visit to the heart of UK democracy, it was time for a beer. In the shadow of Big Ben is St Stephen’s Tavern, an nicely preserved historic inn, and we were soon inside tasting their wares and admiring the architecture. The pub is owned by Hall & Woodhouse, who of course are the new owners of The Beach House (Ex: Westover Hall hotel) in Milford on Sea.
After a couple of pints and a good chat, it was time for lunch.

We did not have to walk far, as Roux at Parliament Square is just down the road. This is Michele Roux Jnr’s second restaurant after Le Gavroche, housed in a Georgian Grade II listed building of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors.   The restaurant is contemporary and luxurious, combining period features and modern furnishings and the listed building was designed by Alfred Waterhouse, the architect of London’s iconic Natural History Museum.
On this occasion, rather than eat in the restaurant, we had previously decided to eat in the upstairs ‘Pembury’ lounge & cocktail bar.
Being a lunchtime, we had resisted the cocktails, and sat enjoying some beer and wine as we read the menus, it was surprising to see that their were no 'set lunch' offers in the restaurant.  The restaurant menu was solely a'la carte, and whilst enticing, also expensive.
Fortunately for us, the bar menu was the opposite price wise.  Alistair is a big fan of tapas, and I am a big fan of picking at food, so although it was not a tapas menu we decided to order a portion of most of what was on the menu.  It would of course been rude not to try as much as possible
As we awaited our meal in cosy armchairs by the fireplace, we enjoyed a bowl of Pork scratching with smoked paprika (£2), which was like a pork popcorn. Not long after we were moving to a table laden with food!, which included;  Pea and mint aranchini (£5), amazing Pepperdew peppers stuffed with feta cheese (£5), Pork & apple sandwich du jour on organic sourdough (£8), which was just like a hog roast sandwich, Home made scotch egg, piccalilli & secrets farm salad (£8), hmmm yummy, House cured salmon, crème fraiche, toasted multiseed (£8), Selection of cured Iberico pork, pickles & sourdough bread (£15), which was delicious.
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As you can see, the menu had a bit of a pork theme going on.
Saldy, due to over ordering the 'picky bits', one thing we did not try was the the Seasonal pie and mash, which today was Hare. However, it did look great value at just £15, and now marked down as one for next time.
To round off our lunch we had the Selection of sweet bites (£9), which all bar one had a lemon theme and included; posset, cake bites, macaroon, and I think the most amazing brownie I can remember.

On leaving, we bumped into two high profile cabinet ministers in the lobby, fortunately they did not recognise us, and we were not drawn into long conversation providing our advice on what next strategic move the government should make.

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Angels' Wine Tower Bar at the Radisson Blu Hotel

How about this for a wine rack!  We had a business meeting and lunch in the Angels' Wine Tower Bar at the Radisson Blu Hotel, Stansted Airport, the bar is underneath this monolith containing 4000 bottles of wine in a spectacular glass storage tower.
If you are wondering how the wine is retrieved, it is collected by the restaurant's acrobatic bar angels, who soar into the tower on harnesses to retrieve the appropriate vintage. yes, ...really!

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

Tuesday, 6 November 2012

Wildlife Trust Needs Your Vote

We have heard that our local Hampshire Wildlife Trust is in a competition to win an integrated business system valued at £150k.
They have already made it to the 10 finalists stage. The next phase is a public vote and the good people of Milford on Sea may wish to vote for them. The Hampshire Wildlife Trust  do a lot of good work locally, and if we can help swell their budget, I am sure they would want to do even more.
The public voting is now open until 23rd November, and the winner will be announced on 23rd November.
Voting is very straightforward, simply visit this website:
You can also read the Wildlife Trust’s profile on the website, and their plans for what they’d do with a new Greentree business system. Chief Executive Debbie Tann said; “We employ very few administration staff, and so people employed for special skills, such as conservation, spend at least a day a week doing paperwork,” Debbie continues. “A Greentree system would give them more time in the field, doing conservation work that is so vital, now and in the future. If we win we can spend more money on wildlife!”

The judging panel is made up of: Maggie Philbin, Terry Forsey, Liz Jackson, Campbell Williams and Harry Mowat
Vote here:, it is easy, it must be, I just did it!


Send a Hurst Castle Card at Xmas

We all love living in Milford on Sea, and I would be surprised if we did not all like to support local businesses, and landmarks such as Hurst Castle.
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For this year's Hurst Castle Christmas Card, Keyhaven artist Tessa van Hasselt has kindly donated an oil painting of Hurst Castle in the snow, complete with a Christmas tree.

Last year, sales of Christmas cards raised £700 and it is hoped to match or even exceed this figure in 2012.

The Hurst Castle Christmas Cards are available at £3.50 for a packet of ten from Milford newsagent The Village News on the south side of the green in the centre of the village.
Mark at Village News have very kindly agreed to sell Hurst Castle cards at no cost.

Alternatively, cards can be delivered locally or sent by post for an additional charge. Please telephone Jonathan Goodall on 07831 17770 leaving a clear message with your name and telephone number together with your instructions. He will then call you back as soon as possible to confirm arrangements.
If you are quick, you are also able to buy the original painting by Tessa van Hasselt (minus the Christmas tree) at the Community Centre where it is now on display.

All proceeds from the sale of both the cards and the painting will go directly to the conservation of Hurst Castle.  What a nice way to help out maintain our local heritage.
Talking of Hurst Castle, have you taken a look at their website recently?  nope, didn't think so!
There is now a really nice five minute film showing the castle from the air, and if you have the time and interest, you can find out some fasinating facts by listening to Dennis Skillicorn's (former BBC Radio Solent presenter) audio tour of Hurst Castle.
Dennis will show you round Hurst Castle with a fascinating insight into its rich and varied history. From its origins under Henry VIII to the imprisonment of Charles I, through Napoleonic times and two world wars, you'll discover how guns and searchlights were developed and learn about the important role of lighthouses.
The audio Guided Tour is also available as a downloadable digital album, or to buy from the castle itself.  All of the proceeds go towards the restoration and maintenance of the building.

Salterns 24 Hour Sail-a-Thon

The countdown is on to Friday and Saturday 16/17th November when Salterns Sailing Club in Lymington is pushing the boats out for the 2012 Salterns Children In Need 24 hour Sail-a-Thon.
It is hoped that fund raising will add to a growing pot that has already raised over £80,000 through running the annual event over the past 14 years.

The 24 hours begins at 4.30pm on Friday when the young members will sail in a tag system through the night, keeping at least one boat on the water at all times. The following day the club has organised a series of fun activities including the Hairy Hair Salon which will offer a personal coiffure of white, red, blue and yellow hair and the Wild Water Tattoo parlour which can create some new scars, pirate gang motifs, or turn children into a beautiful butterfly or favourite flower. A funky Nails to Go Bar with yellow, green and orange nails is also helping to support Pudsey’s cause!

The RNLI Sea Safety Office is there to offer an invaluable free assessment/check of lifejackets followed by exciting seamanship races in decorated Spotty Oppies.

Everyone is invited to attend and enjoy tea, popcorn, candyfloss and cakes. Prizes include a signed Ben Ainslie Olympic Team GB shirt, Spa Day, Gite holiday in France, Northshore factory tour, Wightlink tickets, dinner at La Perle, breakfast at the Raft, lunch at Lymington Town SC and equipment donated by Force 4 Chandlery and Nick Cox Yacht Chandler.

Salterns Sailing Club is a sailing club for children, where they can experience sailing in Optimists, Moths and Scows. The club is run entirely by volunteers.

For more information, please contact: Nikki Mans, Salterns CiN Event Coordinator

Salterns Sailing Club, Eight Acre Pond, Maiden Lane, Lymington.

Saturday, 3 November 2012

A Celebration for Gwen

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Friday evening at the Community Centre saw a substantial gathering for a very special occasion. As many will know, Gwen and her team are moving on to things new, and not being keen of a fuss, the girls arrive somewhat reluctantly for Gwen’s retirement party.
Over the years Gwen’s shop has become very much the hub of  Milford on Sea village centre, selling tickets for many village events alongside the ladies fashionwear. Thousands of tickets have passed through the girls hands over the years, and this was all done with no more reward than a smile.
Having so generously helped so many local organisations, they in turn felt than Gwen could not simply retire without them having the opportunity to say a collective thank you.
The afternoon guests enjoyed some pleasant light music from the local jazz band 'Four Winds', made up of musical village residents, and even the chairman of the Community Centre! Many commented on the terrific nibbles, and anyone who saw Amanda Tanner’s demonstration sessions during Food Week will know that she is a dab had at a spectacular canapé or two.
The main speech was done very effectively by another long standing village resident, Gloria Grantham Hill. Gloria delivered a well thought out speech reflecting on village times past, which stirred memories in many, and a great picture of the changing era's in the village for several others.
At the end of the party Gwen, Michelle and Anne were all presented with a bunch of flowers as a sincere thank you for all they have done from the village. This was of course extremely well deserved, and the girls will certainly be missed behind their counter.