30th August 2010: Clowning at the Carnival
After a glorious August week of storms & gale force winds, Milford on Sea Carnival Day arrived. My wife concealed her excitement by sleeping late with an occasional snore & regular dribble. I however, was keen to get into the spirit of things, so I considered how we could join in the celebrations later in the day. We had no float or costumes, but having made a go cart when I was seven years old I felt I was evidently qualified. A quick search for suitable materials drew a blank. No pram wheels, no bunting & no lorry, so my float plans were looking a bit forlorn. Unperturbed, I turned my attention to our costumes. Clowns, I thought to myself. Yes, we could go dressed as clowns. Our costumes would be fine as my colourful wardrobe could provide for us both & a pair of my sizes thirteen’s on my wife’s size six feet would look just the part. The key to being a good clown I decided was actually all in the makeup. This however is not my area of expertise, but my wife has plenty of tubes & coloured stuff she gracefully applies to herself, so I was sure we had all we needed. I checked to see if the excitement had yet got the better of her, but her slumbers were still winning.
Wanting to be on the village green in plenty of time, I decided there was only one thing for it as I gathered together arm full’s of strange beauty enhancing cosmetics. As my wife slept, I commenced her reconstruction into a clown. Things went well at first, as I applied the exaggerated red lips, a big red nose, white circles around the eyes & giant black eyebrows. I even had time to stand back & admire my creation. As I noticed her ‘clown like eyes’ start to flicker I realised she was at last awaking from her beauty sleep. Her very large red lips then curled as she asked; ‘what are you doing this time you idiot?’ Now, as my wife regularly spends hours on her appearance, I thought she would appreciate my helping hand. However, I soon realised that she lacked any appreciation in my efforts, as before I could even answer her question her alarm clock came crashing down on the top of my head. I thought to myself this might not be a good time to ask her where we could get some wigs.
As my wife drank her second cup of tea & was slowly stopping calling me names, and I was really struggling not to call her ‘Co-Co’, I thought I would explain what I had been planning. This did not help, it simply increased the name calling to a new level. The rest of the day then took a move towards normality as we strolled to the Carnival to enjoy the delights of a traditional village experience. The Unlimited Swing Big Band and Total Voice Choir were great to listen to & the village green was alive with interesting stalls, hot food & fun for the kids. It was really quite a pleasure to sit in Bon Appetite with a coffee, slice of cake watching the Milford world go by.
We were invited by our friends to watch the evening carnival procession from their balcony. There we were joined by a throng of neighbours, a few of which enquired about the strange lump on my head. As we watched the beginning of the parade my earlier plans were still ringing in my head, so I decided to slip away & metamorphosise into a clown. On completion of my impressive transformation I attempted to discretely join the parade, but rather than being warmly welcomed, I was almost immediately wrestled to the ground by a bunch of majorette’s. As I waddled away, I was unable to identify which one left her baton in a particularly delicate place. My plan had not gone well. Thankfully, as I returned to the balcony in pain, no friends or neighbours recognised that I had been the ‘pathetic clown’ they were all discussing, however, my wife gave me one of her ‘knowing looks’. Ah well, perhaps next year I need a slightly better plan.
4th September 2010: Les rides the British Coast
Local Milford on Sea classic motor cycle enthusiast Les Spicer, is taking a break from his Applecrust B&B at September Cottage, to complete a motorbike ride for charity. Riding his classic 1968 Triumph Tiger, Les is planning to travel 3200 miles around the coast of Britain over the next month. His ride will also raise funds for the Hampshire & Isle of Wight Air Ambulance. His epic journey starts on Thursday 9th September from the Hants Air Ambulance base in Thruxton. During his ride Les will where possible stay with friends & relatives, at other times he has a tent in his kit to spend the night at one with nature. Enjoy the ride Les!
If you would like to support Les with a donation please visit his charity website: www.justgiving.com/lesspicer
4th September 2010: Village Charity Shop now a Beach Hut
The new Milford on Sea Village Charity Shop opens on Wednesday (8th September) having gone through a major transformation. An enthusiastically willing group of volunteers have refitted the old bakery in Church Hill from a wreck to a bright ‘beach hut’ style interior, on next to no budget. Thanks to the extremely generous donation of timber from David Farwell at G Farwell Ltd, Chris Lakey's craftsmanship & Colin Holdsworth sawing abilities, they have covered the tired tiled walls with sawn wood, giving the interior a bright seaside beach hut effect. Another major donation was from Peter Sanders at Sanders Sails in Lymington, who provided numerous metres of sail cloth to cover the walls in the rear room with blue & orange fabric. Ruth Sanders even helped to hang the material! More volunteers have been at work with a paint brush, doing odd jobs and making other contributions to make everything ready for the opening. Judit sends a warm thank you to everyone already mentioned, Hugh Whitlock Solicitors, Christine Seamer, Jim Bunting, Liz & Richard Newsom, Nikki Billett, Andy Clarke, Patrick Howard, Brian Turnbull, Paul Mander, Alan Pryke, Tony & Marguerite and the ‘De La Warr’ gang’.
Judit & her team are now looking for donations of items to sell. Everything will be gratefully received, but please no large items (like beds) as there is insufficient room for display.
To donate items for the shop, or to volunteer your services to help out serving for a few hours please contact: Judit on 01590 644073 or email@example.com
4th September 2010: Carnival rides again
Following the success of last week’s Milford on Sea Village Carnival we have some videos for you to watch from You Tube. Please go to the Home Page to view the videos.
4th September 2010: Community Centre opens to acclaim
The new Milford on Sea Community Centre opened its doors yesterday with music, celebration & over a thousand smiling faces. The new building is massively impressive & the achievement of the community a great example of what can be achieved when people pull together. The day was full of celebration & merriment. The official opening of the Milford on Sea Village Community Centre took place at 3.30pm Friday 3rd September when an esteemed group of local representatives from each of the past nine decades cut the ribbon. Margaret Richens the Community Centre chairman & Bob Bishop from the Parish Council gave short and impassioned opening speeches. As the New Forest Dixieland Band played, the local community were invited to view everything that was now available to them. Over the next two hours hundreds of happy people explored every nook & cranny, with sounds of approval everywhere. During the day a thank you was also made to all that contributed, with over 250 people attending the lunch or evening party featuring the Windmill Swing Band. Each guest invited had made a voluntary contribution to achieving our new gathering place in some way. If you missed the opening of the centre it is open between 10am to 4pm on Saturday & Sunday for people to drop in & take a look around.
Only a few months ago the Community Centre consisted of a few second hand portacabins, & today it is a welcoming eco friendly modern building. I won’t bore you with its credentials for saving the planet, mainly because I wasn’t listening when it was explained to me, but what I can tell you is that you will be impressed. The centre greets you with a light & airy entrance hall which takes you into the main corridor. From here you can access the Main Hall which has a fully functioning performance stage, lighting & sound equipment. The room also has an atrium ceiling which not only provides a light & spacious feel, but also dissipates the sound of background noise. The hall can seat around 125 diners or an anticipated 200 seated in ‘theatre style’. Across the corridor is the ‘Community Cafe’ which will be opening on a number of mornings for people to drop in & relax. The room also has computer facilities to operate as an ‘internet cafe’. When events are taking place, a magic shutter is opened to reveal a fully stocked bar. Next to this, and separated by a ‘folding wall’ is a ‘Boardroom’ which can seat around 25 people, and is available for meetings & small classes. The ‘folding wall’ unsurprisingly folds back, & when this happens a large additional function room is created. These rooms will also contain the ‘Smarter working Centre’ which will be a service to local small businesses & organisations from October. The main kitchen is substantial in size & fully equipped to cater for anyone using the centre. Modern building regulations have dictated the inclusion of four sets of toilets; a ladies & gents, one for the disabled & another unisex unit with baby changing facilities. It was slightly disappointing to find that government legislation did not stipulate that another one did not had to be provided for transsexuals or cross dressers. The Youth Club is now situated in a large room at the back of the building providing games & entertainment for the younger members of the community, demonstrating the Community Centre has truly been built to include everyone. The building is modern & cutting edge in every aspect, from the mix of architectural gabled roofs, through to the use of sustainable timber & eco materials. Throughout the building’s interior is a clever colour scheme which achieves an effect that is both calming & striking. The choice of white as the main colour, with carefully selected accents in lime green, raspberry & deep purple, provide a mix of colours that do not work in the mind, but which become more that aesthetically pleasing when experienced in true colour. The well thought out decoration brings the building vibrantly alive & lightens the soul. (Blimey, I sound like that bloke from ‘Grand Designs!’) Finally, at the rear is an outside paved patio, a compact garden area, and the boiler house, which contains something very hi tech with lots of knobs, lights & switches, which was fascinating to some. To complete the transformation the ‘old Youth Club building’ has now become a modern dance & exercise studio with fully sprung professional dance floor & wall of mirrors. How I will look in leotards & leggings is scary, but it is tempting to give it a go.
Many have worked tirelessly to provide us all with a spectacular new village facility, and rather than leave anyone out, I am sure we would all like to say congratulations to everyone that played a part, for a job magnificently done.
11th September 2010: Jo Caulfield headlines Comedy Club Night
Our new Community Centre is holding its first ‘Comedy Club Night’ on Thursday 30th September 2010. The headline act is Jo Caulfield, a regular face & voice from TV & Radio. Best-known for her legendary one-woman shows, Jo Caulfield is “one of the finest female comics at work” (The Observer) and has recently been nominated as “the best female Stand-Up in the country” (Chortle.co.uk). She is also Graham Norton’s head writer. “She is, quite simply, a damn funny woman” (The Scotsman). Jo is in demand at all major UK comedy clubs, and has completed numerous nationwide theatre tours. Recent international performances include New York, Los Angeles, Amsterdam, Berlin, Munich, Hong Kong, Singapore, Dubai and soon to be Milford on Sea! She is also a regular guest on both Mock The Week (BBC2) and Have I Got News For You (BBC1). Jo wrote and starred in 3 series of her own critically acclaimed Radio 4 comedy show, “It’s That Jo Caulfield Again”. Jo’s quick wit has led to her being in demand as a guest on a huge variety of Radio shows.
The evening will also include an excellent curry from our local Indian restaurant, Zaika. The Community Centre plans to run four Comedy Club Nights on every month that has a ‘5th Thursday’, bringing a night of adult comedy to the village for the broadminded. Everyone is welcome, just bring your chortle glands. Tickets are now available at £12.50 each from Gwen’s. Please book early as the evening is expected to be a sell out.
11th September 2010: Help our boys in the Armed Forces
This week is the 70th anniversary of the Battle of Britain and we are all reminded of how a few saved so many. The Poppy Appeal by the Royal British Legion helps all serving and ex-Service personnel and their families. Not just those who fought in the two World Wars, but also those involved in the many conflicts since 1945 and those still fighting abroad today. Milford on Sea village has a small dedicated band of collectors for the Poppy Appeal, but not enough people to really cover the whole village. Surprisingly, they don't seem to have many male volunteer collectors for some reason.
This year our local Royal British Legion W/S is aiming for every road in the village to be covered. So why not give up a few hours of your time to visit your neighbours in your road? You will be given a poppy box to collect for this years Royal British Legion Poppy Appeal, and your efforts will really make a difference. Plus you get a chance to have a chat! Although the collections do not take place until the end October/early November the team are keen to get volunteers on the list now.
Joining in is easy, simply contact: Jan England on firstname.lastname@example.org or 01590 642291, or Freda Cheyney on 01590 642899 and you will be on the team.
11th September 2010: A Lymington taste of France
Last Sunday I decided that we would venture out of Milford on Sea for Sunday lunch. My plan had already been compiled, and the dining destination of Lanes Restaurant in Lymington had been chosen. I had heard good reports, but we had never been. It was the least I could do, as my wife had had a traumatic week, nothing had happened in particular, but I think she finds living with me a bit more difficult these days. I suspect the constant excitement may be getting too much for her. Whilst she got ready & painted her face with all sorts of mystical stuff, I got the old Jag fired up & ready for our little jaunt. I suggested to my wife we shared the driving, & that I would happily drive there. For some reason I was greeted with a withering look.
On arrival we played one of my favourite games; ‘find a space to park in Lymington’. I felt quite pleased when we found a parking space where the NFDC didn’t get any more of our cash. We then made our way to ‘Lanes Restaurant’ for our Sunday treat. Wandering up the alleyway to the restaurant I was feeling quite pleased with myself for getting something right for once. My wife was even looking forward to it. That was of course until we discovered the doors locked. In my wife’s usual understanding manner, she queried ‘Do you practice being so inept?’. No answer to that one I’m afraid – other than I am a man of course. Before I received any more abuse I suggested we had a drink in The Angel Inn to decide where to eat now. A nice pint of cider later we were still undecided, & it had started raining. (My fault again.) I then had a brainwave. My wife had quite liked me during the time when we emigrated to France. My wife insists that a six week holiday does not constitute emigration, but I am sure that I am technically correct. Anyway, on the way up the hill I had spotted ‘Brasserie Gerard’, perfect to get back into her good books I thought. (I think she has some good books, just struggles to find room for me in them these days.)
Our new dining venue agreed, we set off, with my wife containing her excitement admirably. Regular readers of the ridiculous nonsense that I scribe will know that I am fluent in my own version of French, & indeed take great pleasure in wearing berets, so a French Restaurant is a perfect choice. On entering ‘Brasserie Gerard’ we were impressed with the chic contemporary style & very soon I felt myself transported back to the cafes of Deauville on the Cote Fleurie. As I greeted the waitress with a friendly ‘bonjour’, my wife just looked at me & said a firm ‘don’t’. Once seated it was good to see that the menu was in French with a translation in English for the other diners. A quick look warmed my heart, as I saw such French favourites as ‘pear helene’ & ‘tarte au citron’. Strangely, the French do not have their own words for ‘creme brulee’. Sweet chosen, I could now concentrate on the rest of the meal. Starters of ‘French onion soup’ & ‘champignon farci’ were soon selected by us, to be followed by ‘steak baguette et frites’ and ‘poulet burger with brie’. As our waitress took our order, I chatted away to her in French, she was charming, but did not seem to understand. I simply assumed my regional dialect to be the problem, but I was later to discover she was actually a single language speaker from Pennington.
The food arrived promptly, just after I had explored the whole restaurant. Being narrow, they had made good use of the space & even made it feel light & airy with a glass roof section. The walled garden also offered a pleasant dining option with lots of coloured pots of flowers. As we tucked into our meals we were approached by another waitress with a charming French accent. She asked how we were enjoying our lunch, so being polite, I responded with something like; ‘Tres bonne madame, mes compliments au chef’. The next thing I heard was a swish of air, as a 6 inch heel embedded itself in my leg. Luckily my wife could not extend her leg far enough to actually break my leg. ‘Ce mal‘ I mumbled to myself. I decided to concentrate on enjoying finishing my meal, which I have to say was not hard to do. As the French waitress reappeared to take my dessert order I had spotted a special of ‘Armandine tarte’. This time I decided to save my leg & just ordered the ‘cherry & almond tart please’. I looked to my wife for approval, but her eyes were simply staring at the ceiling as she made a funny huffing sound. Whatever it should be called, it was delicious. As our delightful French waitress brought our bill I could resist no longer, and asked her which part of France she was from. ‘Poland’ she replied. As I explained that I can’t speak Polish, but have been to Hungary, my wife was slipping under the table giggling like a five year old. I sincerely hoped she wet herself.
On our way home I mentally made a list of friends I would happily recommend ‘Brasserie Gerard’ to. Feeling nostalgic, I asked my wife if she would like to emigrate to France again. ‘Not really’ she replied, ‘but I would like you to’.
17th September 2010: Petrol Station going
We have heard an unconfirmed rumour that we are going to lose our petrol garage in the village. I guess that this is no great surprise knowing the current state of the economy. It’s sad, but understandable, that providing such a service for a small community is not really viable.
The good news is, that we hear the Hardware Store, already in the shop area on the forecourt at Milford Motors, may have plans to expand. If you have never ventured inside it is certainly worth a look. Do you remember those old hardware stores that had things you never heard of, or expected, well it is a bit like that. So, before you run off to B&Q for some DIY bits, our own village Hardware Store may be worth a look.
17th September 2010: One for the Wine Buffs
The Community Centre has a new Wine Course local wine lovers can attend. The ‘Discover a World of Wine’ Course allows you to experience the wines of the world & learn how to detect any faults the wines may have. The course also features: Basic wine tasting techniques and how to match wines with food. If you think this may be something for you the course starts on the 4th October & runs until the 25th October. The Course Fee is £45 which includes wine, tasting glasses and work file.
The course is run by our very own John James (Tel: 01590 642176 | email@example.com) or Jonathan Rogers of The Solent Wine Experience (Tel: 07771867809 | firstname.lastname@example.org) I am sure that they would be happy to hear from you if you have anything else you would like to know.