Local Milford on Sea News Story Archives
5th April 2010 - Monday | Milford on Sea Food Week Diary
Having spent the last week listening to various conflicting weather reports it was still unclear whether we were going to have a heat wave or monsoon rains today. Waking at 6am I thought it might be best to just look out of the window. Clear sky, gentle wind and calm sea – this could be our lucky day! I turned to inform my wife, but her side of the bed was empty – what a time to choose to leave me. Ah well, I will have to make my own breakfast. On arriving at the kitchen, I was quite relieved to find that my wife had actually got up just before me, which was great news, as it now meant that I did not have to make my own breakfast after all. Getting set for the eleven o’clock start I decided wearing shorts would be appropriate. My wife quickly disagreed. Ignoring her ladyships advice I set off for the Needles Eye Cafe, legs in glorious view. By now the wind had decided that it would whip off the sea with an icy chill. It was not long before the wind claimed two victims for the day. The Charity Candy Stall soon found out that their gazebo would not survive the wind, they were soon followed by The Plonkers who could not play in the now semi arctic conditions. Disappointed, but undeterred we set up the BBQ, the Recipe Book Swap Stall and Feed Your Brain Stall, whilst our Raffle Ticket & Programme sellers stocked up & disappeared on their mission like an SAS platoon.
At eleven o’clock the seafront was full of hoards of people, (in warm coats!, no one else had shorts on?) within minutes the stalls were crowded, and queues forming for burgers & sausages, which had been homemade with the compliments of our village butchers Dave Gates of The Butchers Shop & Dave Gregory of DJ Gregory Butchers. Simultaneously, the Children’s Egg Hunt & Face Painting at the Pre-School kicked off. We were to hear later that the attendance was busier than previous years, with many holidaying campers braving the weather. Many were impressed with our vibrant village, and were already planning to visit other events in Food Week. The funds raised by the Pre-School will be spent on plants and wheelbarrows etc for the ‘Children’s Growing Garden’. At The Marine the new building was resplendent in white, & the hog roast was well underway with over 250 servings made in the first hour.
Back at the Needles Eye Cafe 100 of the village butchers sausages & burgers had been sold by twelve thirty & the cafe had sent out search parties to find more BBQ food & buns. By one o’clock The Marine was rocking with the music of ‘Saxuality’, a girl saxophone duo. Due to the weather Richard had decided to open the unfinished downstairs bar in addition to his outside terraces. The replenished stocks & constant queues at the Needles Eye Cafe lasted until three o’clock with many hungry people fed. (Yes, Jon & I did have one!) Recipe books were flying off the table, & the strategically placed raffle girls were not letting anyone pass without an approach to part with some cash, although I don’t think any of them actually helped themselves from anyone’s pockets.
By the time I arrived The Marine, the bar was awash with happy revellers enjoying the special offer bar prices & more than one bottle of champagne could be seen on the tables. By two thirty it was standing room only, & it was quite an amazing atmosphere, particularly as the walls were still un-plastered breeze blocks & the floor bare concrete. It soon became clear that all people from Milford on Sea need for a party is a bar, band & friends. It was not long before ‘Saxuality’ had dozens of people up dancing & a full party was underway.
Whilst all of this was happening The Smugglers had started their Pirates of the Caribbean day, the team were all resplendently dressed as pirates & the pub decked out in pirates themes. It wasn’t long before the bar was three deep, every inside table taken, & the garden full with friends & families partying to the quite amazing Caribbean Steel Band. The dancing was not restricted to The Marine, as the Smugglers customers also showed that they could move with the best. As the late afternoon arrived, we saw the sun appear just as the wind dropped & the Smugglers garden was a great place to be.
As the afternoon events drew to a close we had met or seen hundreds of people, consisting of many locals, day-tripper’s & holiday makers from far afield. Many had been well fed, & after the food had run out several made their way to the village to find sustenance, so we hope all of our village eateries benefited. I had also discovered that having extremely attractive legs does not protect you from cold winds!
No sooner had we arrived home for a quick sit down & check of the e-mails, we discovered reports had been received from friends that had been on food (pub) crawls & we heard that Belle Époque had been really busy in the afternoon with a fabulous atmosphere. Soon it was then time to pop into the Britannia Thai Restaurant to watch & photograph the Thai dancing. The two dancers were charming & looked beautiful in their traditional Thai costumes. The intricacies of their dancing was much appreciated by the evening diners. Over at the Smugglers the night band was underway with a full bar in good spirits.
On returning home my wife & I realised we had forgotten something, we hadn’t eaten! It was too late to go back to the village, so there was only one thing for it – cheese on toast with Worcester sauce! We won’t make the same mistake throughout the rest of the week.
Milford on Sea is always a special place to be, but today it became just a little bit more special.
Today’s weight: 19 stone 4 lbs | See the photo’s & stories from each day at: www.milfordonseafoodweek.org/2010-diary
6th April 2010 - Tuesday | Milford on Sea Food Week Diary
The early morning was dry & bright with a hint of a ‘blue moon’, so I started the day with a stroll on the beach with the ‘hound dog’ & ‘old Shep’. On my return I was surprised to find my wife making us bacon sandwiches in her dressing gown. Well, she was not actually making them in her dressing gown, she was making them in the frying pan. That’s ‘The wonder of you’ I exclaimed, & then went on to tell her how I had met ‘The girl of my best friend on the beach’, who had told me that she had received someone else’s post. She was worried that the letter may contain something nasty, but I just told her ‘Don’t have such a ‘suspicious mind’, just ‘return to sender’. My wife walked over, & I thought; ahh, she’s going to give me a ‘whole lotta love’, but instead she caught me just below the ear with her hot spatula. Ouch, ‘burning love’ I thought to myself. In a quietly aggressive tone she told me ‘Elvis is not until tonight & if I hear anymore of your stupid comments, this spatula will go up the trouser leg of your ridiculous shorts’. ‘Don’t be cruel’, I shouted as I quickly escaped into another room.
My ear still smarting I went for a chat with Keith Metcalf and discovered that about 50 people went on the Monday morning ‘Feed the Birds Walk’ around Sturt Pond & into the bird hide. The kids were thrilled to feed the birds with the bags of bird feed available. Unfortunately there was nothing to eat in the Parish Office other than bird seed, so I moved on to the Church Hall to see Nicola & the kids at the Cookery Class. Hands, elbows & chins in bowls of chocolate ensured a room full of happy faces. Giving them a quick hand by sampling some of the ingredients felt a good start to the days eating marathon.
At lunchtime it was time to visit the Britannia Thai to watch Sineenart demonstrate her skills in decorative vegetable carving. It was standing room only & the audience were enthralled by the various designs she created with simple flicks of the wrist. (& with a knife of course.) Pictures taken, I then moved on as vegetables are something I only eat when forced.
Around two o’clock my Mum arrived to stay for couple of days along with my old friends Gary & Joy. We wasted no time in heading for the ‘Taste of France’ event at Bon Appétit, but disaster!, they were full. Plan B was a trip to Inger-Lise’s where we enjoyed some Scandinavian open sandwiches & a hot chocolate. Next was a flying visit to Braxton Gardens to taste a glass of wine & some very fine cheeses. Mum being a fine cook didn’t object when the next stop was at The Gun Inn to visit ‘Morwenna’s Bakery’, it was worth the visit as we sampled a number of her delicious cakes & nice cup of tea in the garden. As I was on my way back for a third cake, I was swiftly tripped & my arm was forced up my back in a split second. My wife tenderly told me that it might not be a good idea to have another one. Being a big & strong man, I said ‘I will if I want to’, luckily she didn’t hear me, so I just agreed with her. It was now time to return to the Church Hall where Judith from New Forest Marque was in full flow with her ‘Quick & Easy’ cookery demonstration. Fortunately the food samples from the demonstration were just going around, so I sat down & tucked in. A selection of savoury treats, was followed by Eton Mess. Having eaten a little bit more than usual today I was finding it difficult to eat it all, but in the name of Food Week I carried on.
In the evening we returned to the village, where we were soon in Zaika ready for Indian Elvis, Gary & I of course started with some Indian beer & the ladies with some white wine. No sooner had we ordered our meals, Elvis arrived under a fanfare. Well, he didn’t actually, it was Roy Orbison who arrived, explaining that Indian Elvis was on his way, but had been delayed in New Delhi airport. The first half of the show was great fun, with ‘Roy’ blasting out old classics. Following our meal the speakers blared once again as we heard Elvis was now in the building. He appeared in a white rhinestone studded suit & within moments had the restaurant rocking and singing along with napkins waving, - it was all happening & even the waiters were spotted dancing to? the tables. When the show was over, Elvis was forced back by the audience to do a couple more numbers & he was obviously enjoying it as much as us. What a great night, hearing Elvis singing Bhangra was great fun, I doubt Milford on Sea has seen anything quite like this before!
On the way home we had a quick pint in The Smugglers, (did not eat any food this time, as I’m watching my weight), then a quick stop at Piccolo Mondo to see how the Italian Opera evening was going, & it was great to see the restaurant full of smiling faces. When we eventually got home we all sat talking until the early hours, & Gary kept refilling my bottomless glass despite my weak protests. I am sure I will pay for this later in the week.
Today’s weight: 19 stone 7 lbs | See the photo’s & stories from each day at: www.milfordonseafoodweek.org/2010-diary
7th April 2010 - Wednesday | Milford on Sea Food Week Diary
Had a bit of hangover this morning, why are all of my friends such a bad influence? My wife’s singing is quite painful at the best of times, but this morning she was hitting notes which I am sure would have permanently deafened passing seagulls. I’m not sure why she was singing, but I think my delicate state was enough cause for her solo celebration. Around 10 o’clock our friends waddled in having had another full breakfast after their stay at Westover Hall. This morning was the Family Food Fun at Shorefield and Horrid Henry’s Lunchbox at the library, however as I have yet to perfect the art of being in two places at once I was already committed to the Church Hall Food Day, so resplendent in my shorts, I headed off bright and early to let everyone in.
As the various stalls set up, there was an air of anticipation as to what would happen when the doors opened at ten o’clock. There turned out to be no need for concern, as the hall immediately filled up as soon as we opened. The first point of call for the families was David Rogers pottery wheel, where the kids could ‘throw their own pot’. Little did he know that he was going to be welded to his chair without any sort of break until closing time! The visitors also made a beeline directly to the WI stall, where the girls had their home baked cakes & marmalade. Their stock lasted less than an hour in the constantly full hall. As people wandered around the stalls Jenny was explaining the concept of Raw Food For Health, Amanda had full audiences at her canapé demonstrations and Claire had to find some more stock for her Spice N’ Easy stall as people just kept buying. By now I had only eaten a few canapés & some crackers with dips, so it must be time for lunch. The WI girls having anticipated they would sell out quickly, had volunteered to do tea & coffee for our visitors, & also to serve a lunch of potato & leek soup with French bread, and amazing chicken liver or smoked salmon pate, all homemade of course. We were all struggling to decide what to have, so I ensured that I did not choose the wrong one by ordering both courses. My mum, ladened with bags from the day was happily chatting to the friendly locals as I tucked into some cake for pudding.
Whilst all this was happening Nicola from Yum was holding her second Kids Cookery Course in the front meeting room, with her mum at hand she had them baking & decorating cakes. For the sake of research it was necessary for me to test the icing, & I can confirm that it was just as icing should be. As Nicola is pregnant, it was fortunate that she could have the evening off. Oh no she couldn’t, as she was also doing the cakes & tea for the Choirs interval tonight. Ah well, that’s life in cakes.
In the afternoon more new faces kept arriving & the hall remained full all day with over 500 estimated visitors. A number of the people had come straight from the Fish Filleting Demonstration & Lunch at Verveine, & they were full of praise for the experience. Our speakers for the afternoon kicked off with Richard Barnett, who gave a talk about the New Forest Transition Group. He explained how the world’s natural fuel resources were declining, & how everyone can help by shopping locally, buying local produce & growing a small amount of produce for themselves. I have to say I found the argument compelling, unlike the scepticism I have for global warming. Ironically, Richard’s statement would be happily accepted by many, & if taken up by the masses would solve the global warming issues at the same time. Perhaps the world’s governments are making the wrong argument. (Sorry, not sure what happened there, I seem to have got a bit unexpectedly political.) Later on I was chatting to my wife & mentioned my surprise that Richard had normal ears. ‘Why wouldn’t he?’ she asked, ‘well, I know that he is a vegan’ I made the mistake of replying. Her heel caught me square in the shin & I went down like a sack of potatoes. She then bent down, and growled in my ear ‘Vulcans, its Vulcans that have pointed ears’. As I got up, & trying not to limp, I calmly walked away muttering to those that could hear, ‘Anyone got a mop? Someone seems to have spilt a drink making the floor slippery’.
Our next speaker, Charles Dowding was just as interesting. Being a renowned author on growing vegetables, he explained how he had proved that better vegetables can be grown without digging. It was a process that takes a few seasons to implement but for the keen gardener it must have been music to their ears. As someone who is not a gardener I was a bit disappointed to find out that chocolate is not a vegetable & his method would not help me grow some.
In the evening The White Horse had their curry & bottle of wine offer, and the WineShak were holding wine tastings, but I was already back for duty at the Choir & Cake Night in the Church Hall. We had no idea how many people would arrive, but when we had all of the seats full & a queue still going out of the door I anticipated we may have a problem. I went to the front of the hall to ask if any of the seated audience would be happy to stand at the back to allow our older friends to use the chairs. Without exaggeration about half of the hall immediately stood & it was a warm moment to see such instant gallantry. After a bit of shuffling & squeezing, we had over 150 in the hall & lined up the hallway to watch the 40 strong Total Voice Choir come onto the stage. The village choir was only started in January by our local resident Christine Mulgrew, and we were soon to discover the great job she had done in preparing them for their first public performance. The choir burst into song, giving us all the amazing sound of voices in harmony. With each number their confidence grew & the end of each song was greeted with rapturous rounds of applause. More than a few of the audience had lumps in their throat during some songs. The night was a complete triumph & everyone returned home on a high.
Chance for an early night I thought, chance for a drink & a late night Mum, Gary & Joy thought. Guess who won.
Today’s weight: 19 stone 9 lbs | See the photo’s & stories from each day at: www.milfordonseafoodweek.org/2010-diary