26th June 2010: French for a day
A beautiful sunny sky welcomed my Saturday morning & I was up bright and early to go shopping for my wife’s birthday BBQ on Sunday. Plans had been made for a run around the village shops & then a godforsaken trip to Tesco’s. On checking the website’s ‘Whats On Diary’ I spotted there was a ‘French Market’ in Christchurch. My wife was still in her blissful beauty sleep (takes a little bit more time these days) & she was unaware I now had a new plan. As she awoke from her slumbers, she stumbled bleary eyed into the lounge. I was sitting in a blue & white striped top with nonchalantly placed beret, reading an old copy of ‘Le Figaro’. I greeted her with a cheery ‘bonjour madame’. It is always hard to hear anything she mumbles before her second morning cup of tea, but she did manage a brief ‘idiot’ in my direction.
Whilst my wife reconstructed herself for the day, I sat reminiscing of 2007 & the time we emigrated to Deauville in France. It all came flooding back; my fluent pigeon French, our beachside home, friends visiting & of course the food markets. During our time in France I considered applying for French residency & a French passport. My wife insisted that I could not do this, as we hadn’t actually emigrated, but just had an extravagant six week holiday.
My wife then appeared resplendent in a new summer outfit from her magic wardrobe that contains ‘nothing to wear’, mumbling that she had decided to join me on my market trip. ‘Ah, that’s nice, you want us to go together’. ‘Not really’ she explained, ‘The last time you went to a French market you came back with some unidentifiable fish, some goose gizzards & a book in French neither of us could read’. On the way over to Christchurch my wife was still in the grunting phase before normal conversation had been rediscovered from the second cup of tea kicking in. This did not however prevent a number of large ‘tuts’ relating to my driving. I commented that I could not understand how I used to drive up to 30,000 miles a year without her help, but from the blow I received to my arm I think she felt I was being sarcastic. As I awaited further driving instructions, I mused as to why the French do not have their own words for things like ‘au pair’, ‘saboteur’ or ‘eclair? My wife looked at me & simply said; ‘vous êtes un imbécile’, which I believe means ‘You are so clever’.
The French market was worth the effort, although small, it was perfectly formed. First stop was the cheese stall. As we tasted the cheese offered for ‘degustation’ I chatted in French to the stallholder, but he did not appear to fully understand me. I guessed that it must have been the ‘Northern French brogue’ I had acquired. My wife thought it was more likely because I made most of the words up & just added a silly accent. I hate to admit it, but she may be right. So I decided to just shout. After purchasing our French cheeses, we then enjoyed the aroma & colourful displays from the stalls overflowing with fresh fruit, olives, meats & pates, there were also large ‘paella style’ pans offering hot garlic prawns & other Gallic concoctions. The hot crepes stall looked irresistible as my wife dragged me past, saying ‘oh no, you don’t want one of those’. I think it is wonderful how she always knows what I don’t want, when I actually think I do. Le Boulanger had a great trailer with three fully active bread ovens baking baguettes, loaves and croissants. My wife then imposed yet another ban, as I was instructed that ‘we don’t want any cakes from the Patisserie stall’. Blimey, she’d done it again, I thought I did want some, but somehow she knew I really thought that I didn’t. By now I was getting slightly distressed as to who knew better what I wanted, & that she was winning. My wife then amazed me by deciding she wanted to buy some loose Breton biscuits. It was quite painful watching her putting occasional single biscuits in a bag, so I showed her how to do it properly by adding lots of biscuits by the handful. I think it ended up a little more expensive than she had imagined. Before we left, my wife ‘needed’ to buy some shoes. (To go with the other few hundred pairs she already has.) I considered saying ‘you don’t want any shoes’, but I knew I would lose that one before I even started. ‘Wait here & don’t move’ I was instructed. Of course, as soon as she entered the shop I immediately disappeared. As she returned from her ‘essential shoe mission’ I was exactly where I had been instructed to stay, but it did not go unnoticed that I was just enjoying the last mouthful of a tasty hot crepe.
Before returning to the village to get our BBQ steaks, sausages, and some extra stuff, I was informed that we had to pop into Sainsbury’s to get some bits we couldn’t get in the village. Oh no, I hate supermarket shopping. After patiently following my wife around some strange aisles, I got my customary chastising for wanting to take a bit of time looking at the different wines. Then, wine unread, we went to the till. I have to be honest supermarket shopping is one of my least favourite activities, but what is worse is queuing at the till, what is even worse is getting out of crowded supermarket car parks. The particular Sainsbury’s were we in had decided to have their car park designed by a Hungarian of the name of Erno Rubik, & he had managed to make it even more complicated to escape than his cube. Lucky it wasn’t really hot, - oh yes it was!
On returning home our lunch took us back to our life in Deauville, as we tucked into a fresh baguette, creamy goat’s cheese, ripe camembert & Normandy brie. I thought a glass or two of Dows vintage port would be a perfect accompaniment. ‘You will be asleep by 3pm’ my wife advised. ‘Not me’ I said. To round off a perfect lunch I settled to watch the afternoon’s World Cup match. I was delighted to be awake at 3pm for the kick off, but I did miss the second half though!
1st July 2010: The Marine reveal opening plans
The Marine, located in a spectacular position on Milford on Sea seafront, is planning to open in the first couple of weeks of August. Having visited at various stages of the build it is evident that no compromises have been made to ensure that we will have a very special addition to our village. The new venue will contain a contemporary café-bar and fine dining restaurant. The Marine has three floors available for public use, all offering full table-service. On the ground floor will be a high quality, family friendly café during the day, which becomes an informal restaurant in the evening. There is also a small function room at the rear of the building which is ideal for private dining or corporate meeting use. There will also be three external patio areas which will provide additional seating. On the first floor there is a fine dining restaurant & dining balcony, both offering unrivalled views across the Solent & Christchurch Bay. Finally there is a roof terrace with unique panoramic views offering a weather-dependent al fresco dining experience. It is also planned for this space to be used for occasional BBQs & themed food offerings.
This landmark art deco styled building will be managed by a highly professional and experienced management team, headed by local man and catering professional, Marcus de Kaldam as General Manager, and Frank Eckermann, a Michelin Trained Chef who has worked in Michelin Star restaurants in both France and Germany. The proprietor and developer is Richard Thompson, who has been a resident of Milford on Sea for the past 10 years.
The Marine is hoping to attract local people & holidaying families who love to dine out. In order to retain a high quality image for this beach-side business they will have a dress code that will be applied throughout the premises. Background music will be provided to complement the dining experience, together with occasional live entertainment events. Richard stressed that The Marine will be a dining venue and that the management are sensitive in ensuring that no part of the business becomes a nuisance to its neighbours or the general environment. To ensure this, The Marine will have a strict ‘Challenge 21’ policy in place when serving alcohol, & the management will reserve the right to refuse entry after 10pm.
Richard said; “I feel quite confident in stating that The Marine represents the biggest financial commitment to tourism and local employment that the village has seen for many years. At a time when unfortunately many shops and business premises in the village remain boarded up, due to lack of interest in risking financial investment, I am wholly committed to creating what could possibly be a flagship business that helps to keep Milford on Sea on the tourism map. He continues; “The new business will help to bring continued prosperity to the village, and be a real asset to the local community. It will help to encourage more visitors to Milford, and create more trade for the existing businesses. We greatly appreciate the positive feedback that we have received from the majority of the villagers and look forward to welcoming them to The Marine in the very near future.
So, after what seems like an eternity, The Marine is soon to be on the Milford on Sea dining map. At last we will be able to sit on the balcony enjoying a fine meal & taking in the glorious panoramic views. Surely this will be one of the most spectacular locations to eat in the UK. Get working on that menu Frank!
For more information contact: Richard Thompson | Tel: 01590 644369 | email@example.com
1st July 2010: Local lad teams up with Elton John
Milford on Sea born Murray James has appeared as a support act at Elton John’s only UK concert this year. The concert performed to a sellout crowd at Watford FC’s Vicarage Road Stadium on Saturday 29 May 2010.
Murray James is actually a ‘stage name’ & he may be known better locally by his real name of James Billet. Now pursuing a career as a singer songwriter, Murray has now signed a recording contract & he is in the process of writing his debut album between the UK and the USA. Murray’s musical style is a mix of soul, blues and reggae inspired songs, with a distinct vocal style that defies his appearance. Having already supported names such as Amy Macdonald, Candi Staton, Natalie Imbruglia and Joe Purdy, we hope that this is the start of a great musical career for one of our very own.
You can hear some of Murray James’s music here: www.myspace.com/murrayjamesmusic
24th June 2010: Notes from Milford on Sea Community Event Organisers Meeting
The ‘Community Event Organisers Meeting’ was an informal gathering of people involved in running community events across the village. The purpose was to have a discussion on ways we may be able to share resources & help each other to make life a bit easier! Over 30 ‘organisers’ attended & although the meeting had no formal agenda, the floor were soon discussing a number of ideas that could benefit all of the individual organisers & the village community as a whole.
It is not planned to make this ‘another organisation’, it is purely an occasional forum to share ideas & resources to support each other. Indeed the ongoing independence of each individual event is paramount. As we all know there are a lot of excellent community events run across the village & we all applaud the expert way in which they are each organised. They are a major reason our village is so special. It was stressed by the chair that any plans made must not damage the unique ‘village character & atmosphere’ we all enjoy so much. The ideas discussed are noted below, as are the initial plans to move the ideas forward. Thank you to David & Christine at Westover Hall Hotel for kindly hosting the meeting.
1. Community Directory. Featuring: Community Event Organisers, Village Club Leaders & Community Support Service Contacts. It was felt that it would be very useful to have a central directory of ‘who’s who’ in community activities. Often it would be handy to chat with someone to utilise their experience & expertise. A ‘Milford on Sea Directory’ is already available from the Parish Council Office & this contains lots of this information.
Community Directory Plan: The plan is to enhance the information available in the Parish Council ‘Milford on Sea Directory’ & to make it available to everybody online. This will be done by adding further organisations, club, village classes etc. together with e-mail contact information. To do so we will identify the key contacts in all event organisations, clubs, classes & village support services. The list will then be provide online for everyone to view, & also offered to the Parish Council to add any additional information to their directory. Gathering the information may take some time, but with support from everybody this could become another valuable source of information.
2. Village Equipment Directory: Many event organisers & clubs have equipment they use for their own events which may also be useful for other to loan. It was agreed that we would see how this could best be achieved.
Village Equipment Directory Plan: Events & clubs will be invited to add a list of the equipment they are prepared to loan to other groups. This list will then be available online with a ‘suitable & fair loan system’. Milford on Sea Food Week are planning to purchase an ‘A Board’ to use on the green & ‘Raffle Ticket/Programme Seller Stand’ which will be available to all. It is planned to gather all of the relevant information over the coming months.
Thought would also be given to ideas to improve signage in the village for promoting events that are happening. We were all in agreement that any signage must be totally sympathetic to the village character & atmosphere.
Village Equipment Store: The Community Centre kindly offered to try & find some space to store ‘community available equipment’, or alternatively people can advise where the equipment can be collected from. Storage space is at a premium in the Community Centre, but the team was confident they would find a suitable solution.
3. Village Volunteer Register: It was evident that every event could do with an extra hand or two. The support required is often only for a couple of hours or so, but people are unsure how to get involved. New members would also be welcome on most organising committees. It was also felt worthwhile to identify people who have particular expertise, knowledge or skills that can be utilised for practical support or advice. (Such as: Food Hygiene Certificate Holders, First Aiders, Risk Assessment Experts, Raffle Ticket Sellers, etc.)
Village Volunteer Register Plan: The plan is to build a ‘Volunteers Register’ where local people can put their names, together with the volunteering time & skills they are happy to make available. This will eventually be available online.
4. Online Village Calendar: From a technical & practical point of view this is a big task. The village is already very well served with valuable information from Gwen’s, milfordonsea.com, milfordonsea.org, the Community Centre’s website, the ‘Village Voice’, Ruth Bufton’s Village Diary, the Church Office & the Parish Council Office. It is important that each keep their own activities going for their own audiences. The idea is to also have a central ‘Online Village Calendar’ where each organisation & club can display all of their own activities. If this could be achieved then it would keep more people in the village aware of what is happening & boost participation.
Online Village Calendar Plan: The plan is to identify a suitable online calendar tool & then to discuss with potential contributors (village events, clubs, classes & organisations) as to whether they would be willing to enter their own information on a regular basis. We are conscious that not everyone in the village use online services, but we would hope that we could design a printable version which could be easily downloaded & used or displayed by anyone. Ideally the current village business & community websites could also link to this community ‘Village Calendar’, giving everyone full information on everything that is happening.
5. New Village Events: The following potential future events were also discussed:
Milford on Sea Garden Festival: June 2011 (This will be a larger Bi-Annual Event based on the recent ‘Milford on Sea Garden Open Day’)
Anyone willing to help in the organisation of this new event please contact Jenny Spenser at firstname.lastname@example.org | Tel: 01590 644489
Village Community Committee Golden Jubilee Celebration: Plans are being made by the Village Community Committee for a Golden Jubilee Celebration in 2012. Once again anyone who would like to help or contribute to the events are invited to get in touch. Please contact: email@example.com & I will pass your offer of help on.
Newcomers Supper: Ruth Bufton asked for all club & event organisers to provide her with what you do, together with an A4 Advert for forthcoming Newcomers Supper.
Ruth can be contacted at: firstname.lastname@example.org | Tel: 01590 641875
6. Help & Volunteers: If anyone would like to offer help in any of the activities above, or would like to add their names to the ‘Volunteer Register’ please let me know at email@example.com
So there you have it, lots to do! The process will take quite some time to gather all of the data & too then make it available online for everyone. The information gathering process will commence shortly & we hope to have support from everyone that is able to provide information or help. We will then identify the best way to make the information readily available to all. As previously mentioned, none of this will happen overnight, but we hope that in the coming months we can have everything in place.
If you have a list of people involved in: organising events, club leaders, organisers of village classes, or community support services, please send us your list of contacts now. Ideally we would like: Name | Organisation | Tel No. | & E-Mail Addresses. (Please check people are happy to have their e-mails made available to other people before sending.) Please send your list to: firstname.lastname@example.org
It is planned to hold further occasional Milford on Sea Community Event Organisers Meetings as & when people feel they may be of benefit.
Thanks again to all that contributed to the meeting & as we move forward with the plans we will be in touch again soon.