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welcome DECEMBER 2011

I can’t believe it is December again already. It was the December edition last year that was my first with Solent Life and what an amazing year it has been for me. I have met so many people in our community and made many new friends. As November rolls into December, there is always a realisation that a year has passed surprisingly quickly and Christmas is once again upon us. An air of anticipation begins to build as younger members of the family begin to look forward to the excitement of Christmas day and all that goes with it. The theme may be Christmas, but we have something for everybody this month, including a fascinating insight into the life of Lord Montagu of Beaulieu’s Butler; Pick up some tips on the perfect Christmas dinner from the Executive Head Chef at Meon Valley – a Marriott Hotel and Country Club and our walk this month is aimed at a gentle Boxing Day stroll around some of the historic parts of Winchester. There is plenty more besides to ensure a captivating read in those relaxing moments throughout the month. I have to report that our Wessex edition of Solent Life has been wonderfully received and with so much great feedback. I would however, urge organisers and leaders in various organisations throughout the Wessex distribution area – that is across the New Forest, through and around Romsey and up into Winchester – to send in details of their events, shows, meetings etc, so that we can include them in our What’s On and Community News sections. The team at Solent Life wish all of our readers and customers a most wonderful Christmas and a prosperous New Year.





in this issue…

Solent Life Magazine Tel… 01489 583800 • Fax… 01489 583803 Online… • Email… WEBB HOUSE, 20 BRIDGE ROAD, PARK GATE, HAMPSHIRE, S031 7GE

theteam Editorial

Dave Hill – Managing Editor Tel… 01489 583743 • Email… David Rose-Massom – Senior Journalist Email…

Advertising Sales Sarah Kent Tel… 01489 584010 Email…

Janet Grimm Tel… 01489 583800 Email…

Steve Walker Tel… 01489 584057 Email…

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Diane Mabbs Tel… 01489 583852 Email…

Design & Production Design by SolentLife Email… • Online… Deadline for advertising copy & editorial for next issue: 15th December 2011 Published by Living Coast Media. © Copyright Solent Life 2011. All rights reserved. No part of Solent Life Magazine can be reproduced or used in any form or by any means, either wholly or in part without the prior written permission of the publisher. Whilst every effort has been made to ensure all information is correct, the publishers cannot be held responsible for any errors or omissions contained within.


14… The Interview The Vicar of Stubbington preparing for Christmas 18… Restaurant Review Say Hola to Tapas at Sant Yago, Southsea 22… Hampshire Chamber Of Commerce launch of fresh business support hub 50… A Winter Wedding Preparing for your big Day 55… Solent Life Charity Home for Christmas with Two Saints

regulars 06… A Boxing Day Walk

around Winchester

10… Artist Review

A garden of Angels

28… Motoring Review Dyathinkyasaurit! The new Mini coupe 38… Green Fingers Feed the Birds... 42… Coast & Country Winter in the Countryside 46… Whats On Reviews events and theatre coming your way 57… Mind Gym Try our latest puzzles • DECEMBER 2011 •


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Merry Christmas to all our Customers and a Happy New Year!

Flockr - No hidden costs! There is exciting news for any of our readers who shop at Gunwharf Quays in Portsmouth with the introduction of a new FREE mobile voucher service from Flockr which has just launched there.  The service works by people signing up online at www.goflockr. com with their mobile  telephone number . Once a ‘Flockr’ is signed up to the service their phone will be detected whenever they are in the vicinity of Gunwharf Quays (as long as it is switched on!) The team at Flockr will send them fabulously good deals, free and directly to their phone as they shop. If they want to take advantage of the deal they text ‘YES’ to the offer (this is the only charge incurred and is a standard text rate) Flockr then send a 2D barcode to the phone which the shopper shows at the till and which is instantly applied. This means that the “Flockr’ only pays when they are actually purchasing the item/offer in store and there is no payment up front as with other online services and of course, there is no cost for using the service.  To launch the service and because the team at Flockr know that budgets have been squeezed this Christmas, every Friday in December is “Flockr Friday” and one lucky Flockr shopper at Gunwharf Quays  between 11am and 12noon will receive a text winning them £100 Gunwharf Quays Gift Card. We wish all our customers a Merry Christmas and a happy new year

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in the footsteps of a

Well, the big day is over; the brain is fogged from the imbibing and the stomach is bloated with no room for the cold cuts of meat, pickles and bubble-and-squeak that are the Boxing Day treat. A family walk is the answer; a fine stroll to clear minds, get out of the house into fresh-air and work off the excesses of Christmas Day. words • david rose-massom


he attractive stone bridge at the Winchester City Mill is a fine beginning; the footpath is just down a few steps from the road and curves away, following the sweep of the River Itchen as it quickly flows around the edges of the historic city. The walk takes its route alongside ancient walls, past weirs and wooden bridges, around old mill buildings, on past the large wooden doors that guard a world famous seat of learning, along by an old palace ruin and finally past the cathedral in all its glorious splendour. The broad but shallow, clear river is fast moving and it sweeps its way alongside walls built of a mixture of red brick and stone and behind the walls, are houses


• DECEMBER 2011 •

of varying sizes, ages and colours. It’s as if a colour-blind youngster has gone berserk with his Lego bricks but the end result is one of an amazing architectural beauty. Foliage grows around the foot and across the tops of the walls, while weeds spring from the ragged lines of rough mortar. During pre-historic times, the Itchen followed two distinct channels close to the Cathedral, and followed the foundations of the Roman town. From around 70AD, a new artificial channel was created and it is this channel we follow today. This originally formed a defensive moat and during the medieval period the river was twice the width it is now. I explored this historic route one Sunday, back in the autumn and the sun beamed down through the oak and willow trees that lined the river bank. Along the pathway families walked, chatted and handed stale bread to their children to feed the ducks and swans. It was an idyllic scene. On one side of the path was the river; on the other were the Almshouses of St Mary Magdalene where a Right Rev, Bishop of

Winchester laid a foundation stone in 1929. These almshouses replaced six others which had originally been built on the site in 1788. In fact throughout the walk it is an idea to keep gazing at walls and houses as there are plaques with dates that tell brief histories of this wonderful city and its pathways. Amidst all the stone and masonry there is still a place for wood, the rails along the solid river bank are rustic and a fine looking wooden bridge traverses the river. It is a footbridge leading to a private garden but it looks strong enough to have taken an army as it marched from the palace. Nearing a converted mill a lone fisherman dangled his hook in the stream and the sound of a shallow weir echoed along the path. Behind overhanging trees the stream narrowed and poured through the flow-gate, as it hit the lower level just a couple of feet or so below the main stream, it was shaded by the huge leaves of elephant rhubarb. I have no idea if it is actually rhubarb, only that it is definitely not edible. Actually, I don’t know if it is really known by that name, but it is how my family have always referred to it and its broad spreading leaves. Yet another plaque tells that there has been a mill on the site since the 12th Century and it takes its name from Segrim’s Fount, a stream which was diverted in 1360. Fresh air, an easy walk and gentle history lessons; who could ask for more? The palace has received one or two mentions up to this point and some readers less knowledgeable about Winchester may be wondering ‘What Palace?’. Wolvesey became the residence of the Bishops of Winchester in the late 10th Century and sadly the ruins are closed to the public until March of 2012. Should you get the chance, do return in the spring as they are really attractive ruins set among the meadows on the outskirts of the city. The name itself comes from Wulf’s Island which was the higher ground between the two streams of the river. If you are full of energy and wish to make this casual stroll more of a hike, then continue on along College Walk and follow the signs to the Water Meadows where the grass is lush and the river ceases its controlled route and once again meanders

The City Mill is not open on Boxing Day, but should you wish to visit its working water wheel then on New Year’s Day it will be open and producing flour as part of a day when vintage buses will be carrying enthusiasts and visitors around the city for free. Discover details of the mill and events on www.nationaltrust. or

and winds its way across the countryside. My mission however, was for the gentle stroll and with the world-famous Winchester College to my left I follow the road toward the grounds of the Cathedral. On the way, another plaque, above the door of a very unassuming house, points out that it was there that Jane Austen lived until she died on the 18th July 1817. At the end of the row of buildings is a wonderful old-fashioned book store, then further along and under an ancient archway, another delightful shop of books and prints, tucked away and built within the walls; akin

to something expected from a Harry Potter tale where the wizards would purchase their books of spells. This is Kingsgate, which was first mentioned in 1148 as one of the main five entrances to the city. Turning right is another gate, with a magnificent coat of arms between its arch and the castellated wall top, leading into the grounds of the Cathedral. Before reaching the famous main hall, there are some wonderful houses, buildings and an amazing sculpture made by one of our greatest artists, Dame Barbara Hepworth. Based on the Crucifixion and made in the style of, and as a tribute to, the artist Mondrian, it is a bronze painted structure and its modernity is in stark contrast to the rest of the surroundings. One of my favourite parts of the walk around the cathedral is the second hand book stall which sits behind a trio of gothic arches. It may not be open on Boxing Day but on most other days a wonderful hour or so can be spent just rummaging through the boxes and shelves. The Cathedral itself needs no introduction; it is a beautiful Anglican cathedral and the present structure, dating mostly from 1097, is the longest cathedral in the country. A Saxon church was built on this spot in 648 and was soon used as a Benedictine monastery which came to be named the Priory of St. Swithun. Saint Swithun, who died in 862, was Bishop of Winchester and a tutor to the young King Alfred. Despite his importance in life, the saint humbly requested that he be buried outside upon his death. He was initially buried in the churchyard in accordance with his wishes, although in a highly prestigious position. When the Saxon cathedral, the Old Minster, was enlarged in 971, the saint’s remains were moved inside. According to legend, it then rained nonstop for 40 days and still folklore has it that if it rains on St. Swithun’s Day (July 15), 40 days of rain will follow; hard to tell with our summer downfalls if the legend is true or not! Eventually our journey brings walkers out into the main shopping precinct, it should be safe with credit cards maxed and cash spent on Christmas itself, but we take no blame for anyone enticed by any sales that may be on. Walking down the hill the iconic statue of King Alfred is your guide, a short diversion through the gardens behind the stately Guildhall where there is a great little playground should the kids still have energy. Sadly, within moments our Boxing day stroll is at an end and it is home for an afternoon nap before tucking into the cold turkey and hopefully putting an end to the giant bird before it becomes a curry! l • DECEMBER 2011 •


Come Meet The Cheery Shopkeeper at Southwick Brewhouse At the request of his elves and little helpers he will be presiding over Victorian Style Festive Ceremonies mainly involving mulled cider and mince pies throughout the course of chilly December weekends. Be Warned - Sausage Rolls may be involved. Also, on certain weekend days, our steam engine will be running giving warmth and atmosphere to the great old building that is, Southwick Brewhouse. Please ring for steaming dates !! (02392 201133) As well as our massive range of bottled beers, which are ideal gifts, we also offer remarkable liqueurs, ciders and fruit wines and our stunning Suthwyk Ale in 18 and 36 pint boxes. Great for parties or anything else, for that matter. You too can be as CHEERY as THE CHEERY SHOPKEEPER.

Wickham Square Gallery Wishing all our customers a merry christmas & happy new year

Wide and varied selection of Antiques, Modern and Second Hand Jewellery, Silverware, Furniture, Porcelain and Collectables

13 The Square, Wickham.  01329 832329


• DECEMBER 2011 •



paper folds

angels fly

It is a site where Saxon freemen held their village moots, or meetings; a location with clear, flowing water and fish, and an ideal setting for the religious community which flourished on site from 1201, providing hospitality for pilgrims. Now as we move from 2011 to the New Year it is the venue for two very exciting and original art exhibitions. words • david rose-massom



n the website of the National Trust there is a brief history of one of the most beautiful estates in the Solent Life region, situated just outside of Romsey, Mottisfont. The original building was a priory, founded by William Briwere in 1201. He was a trusted adviser to Richard the Lionheart, and he was one of the barons who signed the Magna Carta. At the dissolution of the Monasteries the priory was acquired by William Lord Sandys, who converted it to a house. Then in 1934 the estate was sold to Gilbert Russell, a direct descendent of William Briwere, and his wife Maude. Mr Russell died in 1942 and in 1957 Mrs Russell gave the Abbey and Estate to the National Trust, which has cared for it since then. Joanna Crosse is with the National Trust and

• DECEMBER 2011 •

she explained about the winter exhibitions in what is normally regarded as a spring and summer venue for visitors. “Winter visitor numbers have been growing over several years and this is mainly as we build Mottisfont as a leading art venue in the region.” She said. “It is a massive job to undertake and to create the house as a recognised venue for art and to that end we have turned some of the upper rooms into a wonderful gallery. “The plan is not just to grow as an art venue for the near future but as part of a long term goal so we remain a leading exhibition venue for years to come.” Joanna added. The first exhibition we highlight is something very different and although called ‘Paper Art’ it is a long way from basic origami!

CUTTING EDGE: CONTEMPORARY PAPER ART The beautiful river side National Trust property is showcasing work by leading contemporary artists; Rob Ryan, Ed Kluz, John Dilnot, Eileen White, Sally Sheinman and Jonny Hannah who use techniques that include collage, print-making and paper cuts to transform paper into fragile and breathtakingly beautiful illustrations and sculpture. Inspired by the rich gardens at Mottisfont, Winchesterbased artist Eileen White has designed a 15ft paper cut mobile that cascades from the ceiling of the Long Gallery. Hundreds of tiny leaves, flowers and other natural elements are suspended in the air, casting long shadows created by dramatic lighting, and moving gently in the draughts and breezes that move around this old house. Originally a printmaker, artist Rob Ryan is now one of Britain’s most highly regarded paper cut artists. The paper cuts are all cut by hand from one single sheet of paper using a scalpel, and can take from one day to several weeks to create. As the paper is cut, a picture or ‘story’ is revealed, traced in silhouette. Award-winning screen printer John Dilnot, whose work is housed in collections at the New York Museum of Modern Art and the British Library, creates beautiful ‘vignettes’ inside glass fronted boxes. John

is also displaying new examples of his popular screen print books. Filled with richly coloured illustrations, earlier editions have featured old apple varieties, cows, the English home, even garden pests. American artist Sally Sheinman celebrates humankind with her work ‘Being Human’ – a 200-foot long paper sculpture made from 25,000 pieces of handpainted gold Japanese rice paper to symbolise the number of genes in the human genome. She also explores aspects of our shared genetic history, with 700 drawings of the human form, and the question for visitors: what makes you unique? You may not be able to take the work home with you but limited edition prints are available for sale during the exhibition, along with design products for the home. It is outdoors for the second of the winter exhibitions with ANGELS IN THE GARDEN In December; the gardens become a haven of angel-themed tranquillity. Inspired by the famous 1930s Angel mosaic which can be found on the South side of the house, the gardens are hosting a series of festive and magical angel installations. Local artists have created eight magnificent angel sculptures that appear to have come to earth at Mottisfont and settled in the grounds. Artworks include Jilly Sutton’s ‘Female

Angel’, inspired by early Mexican carvings of saints used in previous centuries to convert native Americans to Catholicism. This life-size ethereal figure is constructed from bleached lime wood with wings of eucalyptus. Ed Elliott’s Crouching Angel is carved from wood found on the Mottisfont estate, and is evocative of the folklore and myth often attached to woodland. The figure appears literally to have just landed, the tips of its huge wings (a 14ft wing span) barely touching the earth. Nigel Williams’ contemporary steel angel greets visitors from the clear waters of the famous River Test, as it flows under the bridge that brings people into the gardens. Kirsten Linnings’ 50 tiny angels, laser cut from a light coloured acrylic, hang in clusters on trees around the grounds, catching the low sunlight and creating a bright presence against a muted winter backdrop. The Light Bearer or ‘Tarja’ is Andy Rawlings interpretation of an ancient Celtic legend. This highly polished metal sculpture has fine mesh wings and is set in a yew ring sourced from Wiltshire – a tree known to protect against evil and steeped in magic. There is even something for younger visitors as there are hundreds of tiny angels hidden around the property for children to discover, with prizes for those who find the most. A beautiful house and gardens sitting alongside the River Test and filled with stunning works of art; it has to be a must visit for the whole family before Christmas. l

THE WHITE DOG TIP LOOK AFTER YOUR ART! When framing an image consider using UV glass to protect your artwork from damaging UV light. Pigments are broken down by harmful UV light (either the sun or electric lights) which over time cause fading. UV glass will protect your artwork from fading up to 98% and is a good option for originals, which can’t be replaced; valuable artwork which could be devalued by fading and cheaply produced printed matter such as magazines and newspapers. ARTIST REVIEW SPONSORSHIP Our Artist Review is kindly sponsored by HISCOCK GALLERY, 11 Stanley Street, Southsea, Hampshire, PO5 2DS. 023 9282 5330. Creating quality with style

Cutting Edge: Contemporary Paper Art: On until 29th January 2012, 11am to 5pm (or dusk if sooner). Angels in the Garden: 2nd to 31st December, 10am until dusk, free after normal admission charge. Mottisfont Abbey, Mottisfont, Romsey SO51 0LP. Tel: 01794 340757.

Take careful note of opening days and times please: The gardens, shop and café are open from 10am to 5pm. The property is closed entirely from 20 – 25 December. It re-opens on Boxing Day (26th) and it is open every day after that. • DECEMBER 2011 •



you and your

money When it comes to financial planning, your individual needs will require a bespoke solution, but in broad terms your objectives are likely to fall into three key areas: l Build and preserve capital l Manage cash and borrowings l Gain financial protection against risk words • justin stevens


f course it is likely, because of changing circumstances and priorities, that you will need advice on all three areas and a good wealth manager should be able to do this. Building and preserving capital will cover a number of needs such as retirement planning, investments, portfolio management and trust and estate planning. When building capital, the management of risk is critical and can be best summed up in one word- diversification-both by asset class and by investment manager. How much money should you hold in cash to meet your short-term needs and for emergencies? What is the right mix between UK and International equities and how should you gain exposure to commercial property and other alternative asset classes, are all central to the successful accumulation of capital. These asset allocation strategies can only be truly successful if the managers looking after the individual elements are of the highest quality, so its important to understand how your wealth manager selects the managers ultimately making the investment decisions. Of course, in building your capital every effort should be made to take advantage of the tax efficient vehicles available. Changes in legislation can open up fresh opportunities such as the new rules on pensions introduced on 'A' Day (6 April 2006) and subsequent changes in December 2010, some of which became effective from 6 April this year. These have introduced a simple, single system making it easier to plan for your retirement. Individuals are now able to invest 100% of their salary or £50,000 per year, whichever is lower. In addition, from 6 April 2012 the lifetime allowance will be reduced from


£1.8m to £1.5m. If a fund exceeds this level the excess is liable to be taxed at 55%. The majority of people have to save more for their retirement and, having made a retirement plan, you have to commit to it and take action. Similarly, making regular use of Individual Savings Accounts has enabled people to often build up meaningful sums of capital in a tax-efficient environment and the management of these is a key element of any strategy. Some of us have created individual share portfolios in which we have taken an active and enjoyable interest, but may have reached the point where the daily management has become too onerous. This may lead us to appointing a discretionary portfolio manager or perhaps reviewing the arrangements all together to consider our options. So whether we are looking to build or preserve existing capital, there will be an ongoing need for high quality fund management. It is important to note that the favourable tax treatment given to ISAs may not be maintained in the future and is subject to changes in legislation. Having built up significant assets preserving your capital for your chosen beneficiaries, how do you protect your wealth against a rising tide of taxation and HM Revenue and Customs taking a keener interest in your trust and estate planning strategies? Soaring property prices in recent years have brought the issue of Inheritance Tax (IHT) to the forefront for millions more people in the UK. But while many people are aware of the existance of IHT planning, few still do anything about their potential liability. The calculation is often, although not always simple. Broadly, you count up the value of all the assets remaining on death (including existing investments) subtract the current £325,000 nil-rate band for individuals, or £650,000 for married couples or civil partnerships- and what is left is taxed at 40%. Therefore careful IHT planning is a

• DECEMBER 2011 •

central plank of any wealth management strategy in order to protect wealth, ensuring the bulk of it is passed on to families and not the taxman when you die. But how do you draw up your Will in the most tax-efficient way? How can you transfer assets by making lifetime gifts and create an IHT-efficient trust to help beneficiaries meet the tax liability without disturbing family wealth? The last thing you want is for your family to have to face a large IHT bill when you die, whereas with careful planning, it is possible to ensure that the taxman does not take a greater share of your wealth than is necessary. Along the way, you will of course need to manage your cash and borrowing your requirements-so advice on mortgages, commercial banking, deposit and current accounts may be needed. Again the choice will be vast, so guidance on the most appropriate product or service is paramount to ensure that whether you are borrowing or depositing cash, the interest rates are competitive. These days some banks take a more enlightened view, allowing clients to offset the balances on any savings or current accounts they have with the Bank against any mortgage borrowing before calculating the interest payable. The key is to put into place any arrangements that are most advantageous to you. The last component of the planning process is to consider financial protection against risk- to your health, life, assets and, if in business, your partners and employees – to create a cushion against the unexpected. A wealth manager can help you determine and establish both adequate levels of insurance and appropriate kinds of cover, to protect you and those who depend on you, against all the most serious risks that you face and specifically to your life and your health. It can also be used in conjunction with certain types of trust as part of IHT mitigation strategy ensuring that more of your wealth ends up in the hands of your chosen beneficiaries. So whilst insurance may not be the most exciting area of financial services it is, arguably, one of the most important. l

To receive a complimentary fact sheet covering Wealth Managament, Retirement planning or Inheritance Tax Planning, prduced by St James Wealth Management, contact Justin Stevens, Partner of St James's Place Wealth Management on 01489 790797, by email or visit

As Justin will also be Solent Life's 'Money Expert' for 2012 he would welcome your questions relating to money matters. Send them to Solent Life Money Expert at info@solentlife. or Solent Life, Webb House, 20 Bridge Road, Park Gate, SO31 7GE.

MASSIVE SAVINGS Used Office Furniture Available • DECEMBER 2011 •




interview In a time gone by the local vicar would be like the Pied Piper, leading his flock to his own tune. But, times have changed and although your local vicar does still have influence in these so called, enlightened times, that leadership is carried out with a great deal more delicacy… interviewed by • david rose-massom


• DECEMBER 2011 •


he influence we have in the community today is far more subtle than it was years ago.” The Reverend Stephen Girling is the vicar of Crofton Parish which includes Holy Rood Church and Crofton Old Church in Stubbington. “The authority of the church is diminished now because our society is less of a Christian society than it was, although people do still have Christian values.” He told Solent Life. “Belonging to a Church is more by choice now than culture and people choose to go to church as it fits in with family life and its commitments; it has to fit in with the rhythm of family life.” Rev Girling continued. “A good example of this fitting in is our monthly event on a Wednesday after school, called Messy Church. This happens not just in our church but is now part of an international movement; it’s called ‘Messy’ because there are lots of crafts involved with glue and paste and stuff, and families love it! It gives the opportunity to still be part of church when the demands of modern living do not fit in with the normal Sunday service.” Stephen is well aware of the pressures of family life; being married to Diane with four children he still finds time to play squash, tennis and enjoys kayaking on the Solent. To unwind Stephen enjoys painting, drawing and gardening. “The more subtle ways in which we work now are through the schools, residential homes, community groups, the workplace and the like – less of a ‘come to us’ more of ‘let’s serve together’ model.” He continued to explain. “One time the vicar was at the sharp end but now it is the members of the church who mostly occupy that place. It is a much healthier way of working as the vicar is not a Jack-of-all-Trades. So much of the work is done by members of the church community itself, but with my guidance; I am still the front man, if you like, but in terms of influence over family and the community, that primary influence is now from the people that I lead. “Take salt, it comes packed in a very attractive salt pot, but for it to do its work it needs to be spread over the food to make a difference. I myself can have limited influence but all of us, spread out in our communities and places of work, that’s where we can have the greatest influence, through God.” With each sentence the Rev Girling stops and thinks carefully, every answer is considered, words carefully chosen and yet there is a freedom of expression from him

and a true passion and belief in every word he speaks. It is refreshing and comforting to listen to a man who is totally integrated with, and committed to the community and families he serves. “A great many people feel that they have to support the vicar, but really it is about me supporting them!” Stephen continued. We then went on to speak of tolerance for other beliefs and non-beliefs. “I hope people, would take their Christian beliefs into their workplace and these would make a difference in how they work and in their attitudes. I was introduced to the word magnanimity by the Archbishop of York and that is basically one big step further forward than just tolerance. If I do not understand and relationship does not exist with my neighbour or my work colleague then I am diminished as a person. By being magnanimous I learn more, I grow more and become more human through them. “I grew up in a very loving but rather insular Christian family, a wonderful Christian bubble if you like!” He explained. “I was pretty isolated from other beliefs and opinions, in what we would call a middle class, conservative; with a small ‘c’, upbringing. Very loving and nurturing but not broad. It felt like the Church in that context thought they had the answers and that their answer was right!” As anyone in his position would be, he is interested in the people around him. “I am fascinated about what makes people tick and I believe I have found truth in Jesus Christ. However, I have yet to plumb the depths of this truth and am open to learning more from others of faith, and no faith. “I do not believe in ‘supermarket faith’, a sort of pick-and-mix to suit. However, I do believe that people’s paths do intersect my path and I appreciate the perspectives they bring. “One of my main roles as a vicar is to create space for healthy relationships between people in the community and God and also help those relationships shape the wider community.” Rev Girling continued. “People can then explore their own faith and cross each other on their own paths. It is more about relationships now and in a good relationship you learn so much from each other – a dynamic relationship between vicar and community.” He admits there is pressure in that leadership and its responsibilities. “Pressure is always there, the same as anyone would feel who works within the public eye. I have to live up to the job of being a vicar;

it is a privileged position and a pleasurable one. But that pressure is not just on me as my family also have to live up to that expectation. “At this time of year, around Christmas, we all have huge expectations such as a great family day, a well prepared and tasty dinner and a great celebration; but often that bubble bursts as we fail to get the present we wanted or there’s a family tiff. But, the essential message at this time of year is about God coming to earth and giving a thumbs-up to earthly stuff and saying this is good – but there is also a need to put things into perspective with the whole celebration thing. “The act of giving a present is not so much about the gift itself but about the quality of the relationship between ourselves and the person to whom who we are giving the gift and the love we offer when choosing and giving. “Am I challenged by the privilege, comfort and ease of life in our society, when compared with many around the world? Everyday - not just at Christmas! When I do finally relax with my family on Christmas Day and enjoy a glass of wine, I have earned the rest but I still think of others. The church is family too: and a large one at that, with some 500 members, including children, over six different congregations. I work very closely with the leaders of those congregations and the responsibility sort of cascades down the family tree.” A final thought at this time of year from a very busy and popular vicar. “The Nativity story is about God coming to an ordinary family; messy, complicated and in difficult times. So, whatever struggles and challenges face us, God wants us to know his presence, through Christ. He’s with us even when things are messy and complicated. He does not hand us all the answers but he does open our eyes to see things differently and that is when hope is formed and gives us fortitude to move forward and not be alone.” l

If you are alone on Christmas Day – or struggling – then get yourself some company by joining the Christmas dinner at Holy Rood Church. Dinner is free (unless you want to make a donation). Call 01329 661154 and transport can be arranged if it is needed. • DECEMBER 2011 •


Solent Funeral Services Our Family Serving Your Family

Independent Funeral Directors & Monumental Masons • Male & Female Funeral Directors • Traditional Funerals & Life Celebrations • Multi-Faith Services • Woodland Burials • Embalming Service Available • Pre Payment Plans Available Now Serving the communities of Park Gate, Warsash, Locks Heath, Stubbington, Titchfield & Fareham 82-84 High Street, Lee-on-Solent PO13 9DA • 023 9271 7039 109 Stoke Road, Gosport PO12 ILR • 023 9258 7741

Sit in on the



Breeze Breakfast Show


Solent Life Magazine is offering the chance for one reader and a friend to see The Breeze breakfast show first hand. You’ll get the chance to sit in on the show, see the studios and join David Perry as he broadcasts across the South. To enter you’ll need to answer this question... What FM frequency does the Breeze broadcast on in Southampton? To enter: email… quoting 'Breeze Breakfast show' with your name, address and telephone/mobile number together with your answer! Alternatively, post your entry to: Solent Life, Webb House, 20 Bridge Road, Park Gate, Hampshire, SO31 7GE. The closing date is 31st December 2011.

E-mail: •

The Bold Forester at Sarisbury Green


Jolly Farmer Country Inn

is the place to celebrate any occasion



Festive Celebrations Pre-Christmas Lunch Menu 3 courses & coffee £16.95

Pre-Christmas Dinner Menu 3 courses & coffee £23.95


Superb food served lunchtimes & evenings & days a week. All day on Sundays Small & large parties catered for Birthdays, anniversaries & celebrations

To book a table please telephone 01489 576400 16…

• DECEMBER 2011 •



The Jolly Farmer’s Christmas Lunch Menu Monday 28th November until Friday 23rd December


Why not make your Christmas shopping easier this year and purchase a gift voucher from The Jolly Farmer Treat your family and friends to a great dining experience at our Country Inn Fleet End Road, Warsash

Tel (01489) 572500 / 575118 Fax (01489) 885847) Email:





Locks Heath Fruiterers Mark has been involved in the fruit and vegetable business for over 25 years. He was joined by his partner, Sue, 15 years ago. Together they ran an extremely successful business in Sussex. Two years ago they made the decision to re locate their retail business to Locks Heath, this proved to be the right move with business booming, because of this they have now decided to reform their wholesale and catering business to the area. They can now offer fresh fruit, vegetables, salads and flowers daily, from London markets, both in store, for delivery to your home and to the catering trade.



£1.00) (+ p&p

For more information visit their website www.locksheath or give them a call on 01489 588700.

T K CAFÉ Breakfast•Lunches•Sandwiches•Tea•CoffeE Jacket POTATOES•BURGERS•DESSERTS•DRINKS TEL | 02392 387887


Mon-Sat 7am-5pm


Solent Life 2012 Calendar… Featuring the winning local photographs from our photographic competition. A perfect gift for Christmas at just £1.99 Available online and also available at London Camera Exchange (Fareham), Finishing Touches (Lee On The Solent), RSPCA (The Ark, Stubbington), Partners (West End), Gallery 77 (Lee On The Solent), White Dog Gallery (Lee On The Solent), and other selected outlets. Also from our offices, Webb House, Bridge Road, Park Gate or by telephone 01489 583800 (postage and packing £1.00) • DECEMBER 2011 •





It has been a cold, wet and miserable beginning to the winter, no more sunny evenings and the drive home from work in the dark can be so dispiriting. The daily news is depressing and your mood is as dark as the clouds overhead. About time then that some fun and some colour are added to our lives; and the best way to cheer ourselves up – some fun food in warm surroundings! words &

rustic table was situated under a mirror into which, two of the options regarding the story of Tapas were etched. Tapa, is Castellano for ‘lid’ and it is thought that the origins go back to King Felippe III (1578 -1621) when he proclaimed a new law requiring a lid bearing a small quantity of food be placed over alcohol to encourage images • david rose-massom food to be eaten while drinking, to curb the violent behaviour brought about by the alcohol. Even earlier schools he façade of Sant-Yago, Southsea’s of thought gave the idea to King Alfonso premiere Tapas bar, is fire engine X of Castile and Leon (1221 – 1284) who red; in through the front door and recovered from an illness by drinking wine either side of the aisle is a pair of bright, with small dishes between meals and so comfortable red leather settees; the walls the King ordered taverns not to serve wine are hung with fun art that evokes thoughts without these small snacks. Others simply of Spain and sunnier climes. In fact, every believe that small edible ‘lids’ of bread aspect suggests warmth – even the or ham were to keep insects out of your welcome is warm and friendly; ensuring the drink and these edible coverings were the damp street and cold air are well and truly precursor of Tapas. Okay – maybe not a left outside. definitive historic account of the origins of For those among you who have never had Tapas, but it’s all we could find and whatever Tapas, or understood where its origins might the truth, clearly it is not a new idea. lay – well, things may not necessarily be any The descriptions in our menus were as clearer after reading this. Our plain wooden



• DECEMBER 2011 •

colourful as the wall-hangings; so not quite knowing what to order we asked that chef Marcio Menusso use his many years of producing these tasty treats in Barcelona, to surprise us with a selection of flavours. Happily the first plate up was rings of calamari, the crisp and clean batter coating broke easily with each bite, inside was just slightly al dente but delicious flesh. Alongside the seafood was a stunning looking dish of goat’s cheese and cherry tomatoes drizzled with Spanish pesto, it even sounds romantic especially when its serving was accompanied by the polite sounds of a Spanish guitar drifting from the sound system. By the way, alongside the red settees sits a Spanish guitar and many a customer has picked it up and just begun playing. Back to the goat’s cheese and, hand on heart, at the end of the evening this was my most memorable ‘lid’! As a touch of respect for the winter, Marcio produced a hot dish. In the menu it is potaje & aluz which is fresh mixed vegetables with pork (lomo) in a seasonal reduction sauce. The presentation was a steaming dome of pie with a sauce rich in sticky texture and flavour; cut open to reveal the packed interior of vegetables and slightly spicy pork. Rich flavours that just leaves the tip of the tongue tingling and the whole body warm and cosy. Huge king prawns deep fried in a San Miguel beer batter and served with paprika alioli (garlic mayonnaise) looked good enough to devour; and quickly devoured they were, crisp to the bite with that distinctive prawn flavour beneath. Still very tasty, but my least favourite of the dishes was the chuleta de ternera, fillet steak with grated Manchego cheese, the steak is served rare and was full of flavour but it was not quite as delicate a dish as the others that had gone before and because of the texture, to me, did not seem to fit the rest of the meal; but that, of course, is just my personal taste. Co-owner Jon, explained each dish to us as it was served and next on the list was Jon’s favourite and apparently a Spanish classic, pulpo a la Gallega, octopus served on boiled potatoes, olive oil and paprika. The octopus

was diced into delicate and soft bite size portions; so no off-putting tentacles to dissuade a trial; this was a delicious dish and had it not been for the earlier delights of the goats cheese, would have been my favourite My dining companion, Abby, and I were out for a feast so we made sure that we left a little space for the classic of all classic Spanish dishes, the paellas. This would be a true judge of chef Marcio’s skills. The aromas rising with the steam from the colourful, shellfish jewelled rice dish were intoxicating. The paella was moist, the seafood content flavourful and delicate on the palate; it was, quite simply a wonderful dish that was perhaps lacking just a little seasoning. Easily remedied with a sprinkling of salt and the flavour became full bodied. Through the broad windows of Sant-Yago, Southsea was in the grips of winter, cold drizzle dampened the street and yet my dining partner and I felt warm and content. Well I was content, but apparently the very slim Abby still had room for dessert, and one of chefs own made cheesecakes quickly disappeared; I fear she has hollow legs! l

SANT-YAGO 12 Clarendon Road, Southsea (opp Knight and Lee) Tel: 02392 179 636 This Spanish flavoured feast was around £25 per head without drinks. • DECEMBER 2011 •


NA Griffiths Butchers A WIDE



Famous Fish & Chip Restaurant and Take-Away Mother Kelly’s unique fish & chip restaurant and take-away is open 7 days a week 11.30am - 11pm.

☛ Fresh Turkey ☛ Fresh Ducks ☛ Fresh Cheese ☛ Multi Bird Roast ☛ Turkey Crowns 131 High Street Lee On The Solent PO13 9BU

023 9255 0117

●  All fish skinned and boned ●  Traditional grilled breakfast served daily 8am-11.30am

221 Southampton Road, Paulsgrove

Tel 023 9221 9149 20 North Street, Emsworth (Take-aways only)

Tel 01243 375859 All subject to availability Telephone orders welcome

Coach parties by appointment • Large orders up to 250 portions DELIVERED FREE

AWARDED CURRY CHEF OF THE YEAR 2011 - 2012 It is the first award that Chef Kowsar Miah has won, and what a prestigious award to begin with; Curry Chef of the Year. The annual award is presented by one of the UK’s leading curry magazines. Kowser took over as chef from his father, who has successfully been in charge of the kitchens at MOWCHAK TANDOORI sine 1989. His speciality dish, of which he is very proud, is tandoori murgh masallam, which consists of chicken, lamb mince and egg. After receiving his award Chef Miah said he was very happy and that the award ceremony was a most interesting experience as he got to see how the other competitors prepared their dishes.

Best wishes for Christmas to all our customers OUTSIDE CATERING ALSO AVAILABLE, PLEASE CALL FOR DETAILS




• DECEMBER 2011 •



Open Christmas Day & Boxing Day Christmas 4 course meal £15.00 per head


Contemporary Indian Cuisine & Takeaway Service We have an extended range of dishes with an emphasis on light & healthy cuisine.

Sunday & Monday Nights £10.95 Special

Christmas at Harvester just got even tastier thanks to our new festive menu... Guests can personalise their meals by choosing a festive favourite, side and sauce, making the new festive menu at the Harvester Port Solent perfect for a Christmas get-together with colleagues, friends or all the family. With the festive menu starting from just £10.99 with unlimited salad, and even tastier Christmas and Boxing Day menus, Harvester is the ideal place for great value this Christmas. Bookings are now being taken for our festive menu and for the big day! Christmas Day dinner is one of the most exciting meals of the year, so we’ve put together some delicious seasonal favourites to make yours a meal to remember. For more information about Harvester this Christmas and to view our festive menus, please visit, or call us to book your table now.

Port Solent Harvester, Portsmouth

15 The Boardwalk, Port Solent, Portsmouth, PO6 4TP

02392 201012 •

Per Person

4 Course Set Menu

15% OFF

food only on production of this voucher**

(**Offer expires 31/12/2011and can not be combined with any other offer)

114 West Street, Fareham

01329 312525

Lunch and Dinner Sunday buffet £10.50 from 12 noon to 5pm (closed all day Mondays)

Also the Christmas menu is now available Wickham Road, Fareham, Hampshire. PO17 5BT Reservations: 01329 835666 Email: • DECEMBER 2011 •



Hampshire Chamber of Commerce Conference sees launch of fresh business support hub A new support organisation for Hampshire businesses was launched this week at the inaugural annual conference of the county’s chamber of commerce. words • denise barlow

GET INTO THE SPIRIT ACROSS HAMPSHIRE Members of Hampshire Chamber of Commerce from across the region are getting into the spirit of Christmas at their annual lunches. December 6th Portsmouth, Grosvenor Casino, Gunwarf Quays. December 8th Southampton, St Mary's Stadium. December 8th Winchester Hotel Book any of these events on line by visiting


he Hampshire Business Alliance is intended to co-ordinate a range of help for large employers down to small business start-ups. It will bring together separate sources of information, advice, representation, research, events and training in a one-stop hub. The collective approach reflects increasing government emphasis for regions to set their own business support agendas following the demise of Business Link. As well as Hampshire Chamber of Commerce, the county’s biggest business membership organisation, the new body includes the Hampshire Enterprise Partnership and the Southern Enterprise Alliance. Jimmy Chestnutt, Chief Executive of Hampshire Chamber, announced the new organisation to more than 200 business leaders gathered for the conference at Winchester Guildhall. He said: “Our conference is the perfect platform to launch this combined support service. Given the rapidly changing business landscape, it is vital to ensure companies of all sizes can access the information, advice and support they need easily and quickly. “The Hampshire Business Alliance will cut duplication of effort and provide the most comprehensive and cost-effective support services possible, capitalising on each organisation’s skills and strengths.”


Alliance partners will retain their own Board and governance arrangements and stay responsible to their own membership and stakeholders, but will be able to share their services more widely. They will also be able to offer more collective input to the new Solent and Enterprise M3 Local Economic Partnerships. As well as the Alliance announcement, the conference discussed a number of current economic issues including the need to boost investment and growth and keep the pressure on government and banks to ensure businesses have access to capital. Speakers included Neil Clifford, Portsmouthborn boss of the luxury shoe retailer Kurt Geiger, and Nicola Youern, Chief Executive of the Fareham charity for vulnerable people, YOU. After her speech, Ms Youern was presented with a British Chambers of Commerce Award for excellence in people development. A panel of experts debated hot topics and took questions from the audience. In the chair was Dr Adam Marshall, Director of Policy for British Chambers of Commerce. Panel members were Zac Toumazi, Commercial Director of The Rosebowl, Malcolm Thixton, partner at chartered accountants BDO, Marc Long, partner at law firm Clarke Willmott, Gill Gould, Managing Director of Southampton marketing agency Carswell Gould and Paul

• DECEMBER 2011 •

Morgan, Managing Director of Winchesterbased Warrens Office Supplies. The conference, held in association with Newsquest Hampshire, marked a full year since the county’s three main local chambers merged to form Hampshire Chamber of Commerce, now one of the country’s biggest regional business networks. The event was chaired by Stewart Dunn, Newsquest Hampshire Managing Director and Chairman of Hampshire Economic Partnership. Hampshire Chamber of Commerce is the independent voice of local business across the county and one of the largest regional business networks in the UK. It brings together the combined influence, strength and expertise of Hampshire’s three former major chambers of commerce. The combined membership numbers around 2,000 individual firms spanning all sectors and sizes of business. For more information, visit or follow on Twitter at hantschamber. Media enquiries and interview requests to Scott Sinclair, Deep South Media, on 07500 796666 or scott.sinclair@

Are you performing to a small crowd with your advertising?

or in tune with our huge audience

To be successful in these difficult times, you need to be a head-liner receiving standing ovations Solent Life’s pricing structure offers a highly competitive rate and yet with our huge circulation and coverage the cost to you per thousand readers is unbeatable. No other magazine in the region can compete with our circulation or readership and our feature content is also tightly linked and relevant to the community in which we publish so that Solent Life is retained by our readers and continually re-read, meaning that your advertising has multiple opportunities to be viewed and acted upon.


01489 583800




cruise from

southampton with princess cruises We are so lucky living on the South Coast and so close to Southampton Cruise terminal. A short trip from your home and you can soon be heading off for enjoyable cruise on board Grand Princess. We welcome her to Southampton on the 21st May 2012 for the summer season. She has recently enjoyed a refit, where after her 24 day makeover the new atrium has been created housing the first speciality tea lounge together with several new eateries. That is the great thing about cruising you never go hungry! You can even get married on board with the new addition of the Wedding Chapel. words • chris dewey


magine how you will feel as you relax and enjoy your comfortable surroundings. Looked after by their friendly and gracious crew as you head off on your dream cruise… I recently cruised with Princess and found that my cruise had a good cross section of all ages on board. The ship was large, but I never felt that it was over crowded. I was soon enjoying a relaxing visit to the Lotus Spa, where you can have a variety of relaxing treatments or visit the state of the art gym, where you can enjoy a workout or take part in one of the fitness classes. There is always so much to do on a cruise ship. Visit the Casino if you are feeling lucky or head off to see one of the amazing shows. I particularly liked the freedom and choice to wear what I liked. Maybe you`ll hop into your casual gear for a laid-back lunch, or dress up for dinner- the choice is yours. Plus you`ll have the chance to slip on your glad rags and feel every inch the celebrity. Ambassador Travel have some great deals for next year. Why not treat yourself to a 14 day cruise from Southampton to Spitsbergen and the North Cape in June where you can visit the stunning Norwegian fjords. See the charming


city of Bergen and stare in awe at the famous Geiranger Fjord with its majestic mountains, beautiful waterfalls, lush vegetation and deep blue water. Imagine yourself sailing inside the silent wilderness of the Arctic Circle up to the North Cape whilst experiencing the wonder of the midnight sun. Ambassador Travel also has another wonderful cruise to the Baltic, departing for 14 days on the 7th July 2012. If you experience this cruise you will actually stay overnight in St Petersburg giving you the opportunity to tour the royal residences or take in a Russian opera. You will visit Tallin in Estonia and Gdynia in Poland to name but a few of the great ports that are available on this cruise. Who would have thought that all this is possible without all the hassle of Airports and so close to home. I really like cruising as you have the opportunity to visit so many different places on one holiday. Not to mention the superb entertainment offered in the evenings. I am often asked by my customers what is a cruise like? Will I like it? I have never cruised before and I am worried about trying a 14 night cruise just in case it is

• DECEMBER 2011 •

not for me? If you feel like this but are wondering what you are missing out on, I would recommend trying our 3 day Western Europe sampler. You will sail from Southampton on the 1st September 2012 visiting Guernsey and France. You can experience the true cruise experience but for a shorter duration. I am sure you will want to return for more. I hope I have given you a few ideas for your holiday next year. We are an Independent agent with many years travel experience between us. I look forward to welcoming you in our new Lee On The Solent branch soon. l

up & coming cruises 23rd JUNE 14 DAY SPITSBERGEN & NORTH CAPE ● twin inside cabin £1199 pp ● twin balcony cabin £1799pp ● plus $65 USD per cabin on board spend

7th JULY 14 DAY BALTIC HERITAGE ● twin inside cabin £1199 pp ● twin balcony cabin contact us ● plus $65 USD per cabin on board spend

1st SEPTEMBER 3 DAY WESTERN EUROPE SAMPLER ● twin inside cabin £345 pp ● twin balcony cabin £435 pp

future events South African Evening 17th January 2012 in our Lee On Solent shop starting at 19:00 contact us for tickets!

Lee On Solent is proud to be the 7th branch of Ambassador Travel The local independent specialist opened on the 27th June under the Management of Chris Dewey. Ambassador Travel has its own tour operations in South Africa and the Seychelles and is part of the Advantage travel network. Ambassador has branches in Oxon, Newbury, Cheam, Wendover, Wells and Gillingham.

We are fully ABTA and ATOL bonded for your protection

Catherine Wassell - Assistant Manager

Chris Dewey - Manager

Cath is our Australian, New Zealand and South Africa specialist. Cath started in travel in 1995 and has also travelled extensively throughout the world.

Chris has been in travel for over thirty years. He has travelled extensively throughout Europe. Chris`s favourite destination is the Caribbean where he has travelled many times and his favourite island is Antigua. They say there is a different beach for every day of the year!

Karen Fisher - Senior Travel Consultant Karen started in travel in 1996 and has a wealth of travel knowledge. Karen has cruised on many cruise liners during her time in travel. Cunard, P&O and Royal Caribbean being her most recent. Karen`s favourite destination is Toronto in Canada.

Call in for a chat today. I look forward to welcoming you in our new branch soon.

This month Solent Life talks to Andy Turner, Programme Director for the Breeze Radio Network.


ell us about the Breeze, who’s it aimed at? The Breeze is your new radio station for the South Coast, playing the Smoothest sounds in the South. The Breeze has something for everyone, young and old, male and female but to be more specific our target listener would be 35+. We’ve purposely designed the station around the music for a more discerning listener than the other radio stations in the area. What kind of music does the Breeze play then? The Breeze is all about great songs with great melodies, nothing too hard or taxing. We play a broad variety of songs from a mix of decades featuring a wide range of artists like Elton John, George Michael, Michael Buble, Michael Jackson, Take That and Diana Ross. But we don’t just play the older established artists, the Breeze also features the fantastic new generation of quality artists like Adele, Beyonce, Christina Perri and Ed Sheeran. We have a bigger playlist with more choice and variety than many other stations in the area. Does that make it different from the other radio stations in the area? Absolutely, we feel the over 35’s are under served in this area. The other commercial stations tend to cater for young audiences and are totally driven by what music is in the charts. We like to think ‘Quality’ rather than ‘fads’ regarding the music we play, coupled with some interesting chat and intelligent local news and local information makes the Breeze a real alternative to the other stations. My opinion, give the Breeze a try and see for yourself. The Breeze feels like it’s my local radio station, is that just me or are you doing something special? The beauty of the Breeze is the fact that we have three transmitters across the South, Portsmouth 107.4FM, Southampton 107.8FM and Winchester 107.2FM which allows us to be truly local. Unlike the competition, who may only have one transmitter covering Sussex, Hampshire and Dorset, We really can focus on each different area, and by giving a truly ‘local’ service to listeners the information is far more relevant and engaging without all the regional baggage that you get elsewhere.

I love the David Perry Breakfast show each morning, particularly ‘The Word is Out’ competition, it’s now worth big money, could you give me a clue as to what the answer is? (Laughs) Our listeners have really taken to the competition. As the prize increases so does the interest. We have a full switch board every time we run the game. I can’t believe the current Olly Murs missing ‘word’ has gone on for so long, it’s currently worth over one thousand two hundred pounds (at time of interview). All I can say is we’ve had a couple of guesses heading in the right direction. To try and help listeners we post all the wrong answers on our website and in answer to your question, sorry no clues, but you can always phone in at ten past eight each morning and have a go yourself! At the moment along with the Word Is Out we are running the ‘Stick it to win it’ promotion which has seen 12 listeners already win their share of £5000 just by having a Breeze sticker in their car. Also look out for our new promotion where we post photos of listeners on the Breeze website (the attending the Breeze events and if you’re in the photo you could win a prize.

‘Stick it to win it’ The £5k Giveaway Request your car sticker and register to play at Then listen to The Breeze, if we spot your car and read out your number plate, you’ll have till 6pm that day to call in and claim your cash.

Competition Win an opportunity for a reader and a friend to sit in on the Breeze Breakfast show. A really unique behind the scenes view of how a radio show comes together. Look for the competition on page 16, send in your answer to the simple question and you could be sitting in the studio with our very own Dave Perry.

The Breeze is available across Hampshire on:

Portsmouth 107.4FM Southampton 107.8FM Winchester 107.2FM on DAB and on-line at • DECEMBER 2011 •




coupe cooper ‘S’ I have seen the advertisements and images and my initial thoughts were that styling was inspired by having seen a car crushed by a fallen tree! Then I saw the real thing – how wrong were my original perceptions – what a sweetie! I will start with my summary conclusion – I want one! words • dave hill & janet grimm


o lets go back to the beginning again; the styling was unique and with eye-appeal and a certain amount of attitude. Even the roofline with the extended aero piece over the rear window looks like a baseball cap that is being worn backwards. Quite a lot has changed from the standard shape; windscreen angle and the rear door profile of course result in a radical revision of the accommodation; especially in the back. In fact there are no back seats anymore this revised layout does, of course leave a huge space for a really useful boot. Let’s get to the fun part – driving the new Mini Coupe. The smile appeared on my face after about 100 yards – and the broad grin of fun hasn’t stopped yet! Like every car that’s ever been made there are bits that are great and bits that perhaps don’t work so well. In most cars, one might be critical of some things and they become an irritation. What is strange about the Mini Coupe is that anything that doesn’t immediately seem quite right is happily accepted as being a natural consequence


of making the car what it is and so, if it wasn’t like that, it wouldn’t be so good; if that makes sense? If I had any criticism at all, it would be in the rear quarter visibility caused, of course, by the new styling; but really, it wasn’t a problem, it just wouldn’t look that nice if it wasn’t like that – see; that’s how it makes you think. Again, like every other car, it had its own little quirks and characteristics – but unlike most other cars, they brought a personality to this little car that made it alive and just a joy to drive. The pure rigidity of the body structure and the changes in weight distribution together with the excellent suspension setup give an agility that perfectly matched the characteristics of the 184bhp, 1.6litre turbocharged engine. I have driven cars with more power, that are faster and that handle better; but the balance in the way that this all comes together in the Mini Coupe, is just perfect. This driving experience is complemented by comfortable seating and excellent

• DECEMBER 2011 •

driving controls. Switches and minor controls are a little quirky perhaps, but if they weren’t like that… well, you know the rest. BMW have been totally successful in converting a model into a brand and have retained many iconic features of the original that keep the fun alive. The most dominant of these is of course the giant central circular speedo dial which now also houses the screen for the satellite navigation and computer information system. I could continue to describe all of the other bits and pieces that make up this car. But no, they are irrelevant; it is the complete package that is important and the way it all comes together. If you enjoy driving; as I do, just try it; then you will understand what I mean about this great little car.

His summary In summary then and this is easy – I want one – really, I do want one!


ike Dave, I had seen the adverts for the Mini Coupe on a Saturday night talk show and my initial reaction was that it was not the best looking car I had ever seen but as we approached the dealership I caught my first 'real life' sighting of this car and it was love at first sight. I love the quirky styling, the angled front and rear screens and the fact there are no seats in the back – no room for children but plenty for shopping bags and if I so required ,and with the help of an opening hatch, even room for a pair of skis- or a broomstick as Dave suggested – cheeky! Via the same hatch you can also access the boot from behind the front seats- I'm not sure why- but you can!  The car has fabulous retro styling: black leather bucket seats with white piping, clocks that reflect those found in a classic Mini, a secret compartment in the dashboard and my favourite feature – heater and air-conditioning controls laid out to recreate the winged Mini logo. Another favourite is the colour changing LED lights alongside the rear view mirror. It’s like having your own personal disco lights – a perfect accompaniment to a fine sound system too.  My love for this sporty little car knew no bounds when I took it out onto the open

road. It is simply great fun and exhibits a huge personality! The retro styled seats are comfortably squidgy but hold the driver and passenger in place as this car corners niftily. Everything about the driving experience indicates that there is nothing boring about this car – especially when you flick the little switch located behind the gear stick into sports mode. Wow! The model we drove came with all the extras. The computer system and satellite navigation system displays in the large central dial are easy to operate and clear to view.  The children and my husband, taken out one at a time for a 'spin' all approved of the Mini. Praise indeed from my 18 year old who himself, drives a classic Mini and has treated the more modern version with the distain of a classic car enthusiast until now. Bear and Amber, the dogs, were not even allowed to try out this car although I suspect they may have banged their heads on the sloping rear screen. This is a going out car – not a dog walking one! l

Her summary The Mini Coupe is the first car unanimously agreed on by the whole family. They all want one – and me – I love it!

The vehicle tested was a Mini Cooper S, £20,935 OTR and was kindly provided by Snows, Portsmouth. For more information: Snows, 02392 655225 Eastern Road, Portsmouth, Hampshire, PO3 5FF • DECEMBER 2011 •


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Ruby Funerals Ltd A Woman’s Care & Understanding

MOBILE CAR PAINTWORK SERVICE Recommended in the ‘Good Funeral Guide’

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• DECEMBER 2011 •

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arch march through the

Pride, aspiration, opportunity – words used carefully and yet spoken from a point of expertise and experience. Solent Life went to one of the south’s leading schools, The Portsmouth Grammar School, and spoke with the Headmaster James Priory MA to try to discover why this establishment has such an impressive reputation… words • david rose-massom


ames Priory has been at the school for twelve years and has been the Head for the last four of those years and although he is a very relaxed and confident man we wondered if his position in such a well-recognised school put him under extra pressure because of its history and success. “I am well aware that this is a city that markets itself on pride and the same goes for the school,” he explained. “It is a shared drive and ambition with everyone involved, from the staff to the pupils. It is a real privilege being a part of it. There are very few children who do not want to be here and so many opportunities to be gained in this school. “The parents, in many cases, make enormous sacrifices so that their children can attend PGS, and the children respect that.” Mr Priory continued, “It is not just about their schoolwork though; there is no self-consciousness about the extracurricular activities either. The school develops aspiration, but the fact they, the parents and children, have chosen to be here means they have ambition already.” From the images around the inspiring school buildings, it is obvious there is more

to the school and its students than the academia. “There is learning outside the classroom as well as inside, so much so that we now have a Deputy Head responsible for the co-curriculum; the core philosophy of the school is that there is a breadth of opportunity for everyone here.” With such an undertaking, does it ever feel like a chore for the Head and his staff? “I have never felt a sense of the ‘treadmill’ and I still get the ‘buzz’ of the place that first attracted me to teaching here all those years ago,” he said. “There is a creative energy and pace to life in the school and that mixed with the sense of history of the building and the site we stand on means that it is an inspirational place in which to teach and learn. “We are profoundly aware of our history and the pupils themselves helped to research the school’s recently published history and we are aware that from this place, men went to war and yet now, children come here to work and play.” An impressive archway, complete with Latin mottos, leads into a central courtyard; it is more than just an entrance and exit though! “There is a transition when pupils walk through the arch.” He explained. “Affectionately coined the ‘March through the Arch’ the 6th For details of the school, its prospectus, events and Formers on completion of their history go to or for a prospectus education here, walk through telephone 023 9236 0036. the archway and down the High Street to the Cathedral. They

leave the quad as young adults and step out into the world beyond with knowledge and confidence.” “There are two principles which are important to us here at PGS; we want our pupils to be happy and successful, in that order. But we also like to think where our pupils will be at 25.” The 6th Form is an important part of the school and although many pupils work their way up to that part of the school, having joined us in the Junior School, we also attract students from outside to make up the 300 strong body. “We interview all candidates and we are selective but we try to focus on the potential of young people, because we know that there is still a big journey ahead of them! As a heritage-rich seat of learning, The Portsmouth Grammar School does expect great things. “Sometimes in education the expectations are not high enough, the focus seems to be on just passing exams and not about each child performing to their very best ability. “Taking the pupils right through their education allows us, at PGS, as an aspirational school, and especially now that we offer the IB as an alternative to A Level, to help them become people who are global citizens!” The Portsmouth Grammar School is not just about learning, it is also about developing fully rounded human beings who are confident and aiming for a successful life within the school and in life afterwards. When speaking with him, the Headmaster strongly reflects the determination and commitment to achieve this; he has an immense pride in the school and the young people, that work and play within its confines. He speaks quietly, but he speaks with great passion about the history and successes, but it is obvious after being in his company for a few minutes that pride and aspiration are by-words for the way he runs his school. l

Early next year Solent Life will be revisiting The Portsmouth Grammar School to learn more of the building’s fascinating and long history. • DECEMBER 2011 •


Singing in the Rain at Boundary Oak! The children and staff at Boundary Oak School, Fareham are so proud of their classmate and pupil Redmand Rance who has landed the role of young Cosmo Brown in the West End production of Singing in the Rain. Rehearsals start in January and the show will go to the West End in February at London’s Palace Theatre. Redmand is also set to play Billy in the West End production on Billy Elliot in the Summer 2012. Once his role in Singing in the Rain comes to a close, he will start training at the Billy School in readiness for this very exciting role in this popular production. Stephen Symonds, Headmaster said: “we are so very proud of Redmand’s achievements, he has juggled work and school life effortlessly and has set a great example to the other children”. Redmand joins a long line of successful Boundary Oak Children who have gone on to great heights at this successful Day and Boarding school near Fareham. If you would like to visit our school please call the Registrar on 01329 280955 and we will be happy to make an appointment.


• JULY 2011 •

99% pass rate for A-levels Thinking of the next step to take in education? Fareham College can offer you a range of 30 AS and A-level courses to choose from. The College is conveniently located, with easy rail and bus access, and ample parking for students. The Sixth Form Centre, opened by HRH The Princess Royal in 2010, is on the main Fareham College campus and offers students their own Study Centre in addition to the materials in the Learning Resources Centre. The Centre works closely with local universities to offer students progression routes through university visits and guest speakers. Many of the College’s former students have gone on to institutions such as St George’s, University of London, Oxford Brookes, UWE and University of the Arts London. The pass rate for 2011 was 99% with a third of students achieving A*- B grades. There is an emphasis on personalised small group work as well as weekly tutorials for academic work and pastoral care. Students comment that they enjoy the close-knit community that comes with studying at the Sixth Form Centre. A-levels are an ideal choice for those wishing to progress on to Higher Education or those who are unsure of what they want to do and achieve 5 A* - C grades. You can choose to study around four subjects at AS level rather than one subject as a BTEC or NVQ qualification.

Senior School Entrance Assessment 26th & 27th January 2012

To find out more, visit the College on 7 February 5-8pm or book now for the Taster Day on 29 February 9-1.30pm. Call (01329) 815200, visit or find us on Facebook and Twitter. • DECEMBER 2011 •



South Coast Flooring Ltd is one of the UK’s leading carpeting and flooring companies. We have over 22 years experience in supplying and installing all kinds of flooring, from hardwood to vinyl, carpets to laminate flooring, for both corporate and domestic clients. We are your local showroom for Karndean Design flooring. Design flooring offers the perfect blend of technology and style for the modern home or office. Vinyl flooring is one of the most affordable flooring solutions available and depending on the type you choose, the cost of the materials can be up to 70% less than other flooring types. Ease of installation, versatility, low maintenance and high durability make vinyl flooring a popular choice. Carpeting is as popular now as it has ever been, with many modern manmade fibres offering good wear and non-allergenic properties. Carpets also provide good sound and heat insulation which makes them ideal for rooms on first or second floors. You can choose from manmade fibres or from a selection of wool mix blends, all of which come with a selection of backings. In recent years, real wood flooring has come to offer a stylish and practical alternative to carpeting and laminate. Real wood offers warmth and character to suit every style of décor. It is also economical as it will last longer than even the best quality carpeting. All of the products that we provide come with a minimum 15 year guarantee. We can supply traditional and exotic wooden floors from leading manufacturers including Panaget, Bausen and Junkers. If you require a durable and hygienic surface with anti-slip properties then our Safety Flooring is the ideal solution. Hardwearing, easy to clean and available in a wide range of colours and finishes it is ideal for wet areas where health and safety is paramount. We can supply and install excellent products from leading manufacturers including Altro, Polyflor, Gerflor, Marley Floor Plus, Safetread Universal PU and Tarkett. Installation can include capping and coving in which the sheet can be returned up the wall, or set in or on the skirting. We can help make your flooring safe and ensure it meets with health and safety regulations. At South Coast Flooring, we provide a one to one service to all of our clients, allowing you to make your choice of flooring from literally hundreds of products, and all from leading brands.

Fit a new Kitchen/Bedroom or Transform the one you have FREE survey & quotation CALL 01329 830111 NOW! Heming & Co The Square, Wickham PO17 5JT

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• DECEMBER 2011 •

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• DECEMBER 2011 •



wildlife december

at Farlington Marshes Wildlife Reserve…

With the shortest day in sight we often find ourselves staying indoors in the warm and dry. Why not take advantage of a dry day this winter to wrap up warm and take a leisurely 2.5 mile stroll around Farlington Marshes and see some of the wonders of winter on our coast.

Bird Watch

words • nikki magee image • david kilbey


he best way to see Farlington is by walking the circular route around the sea wall; on one side you get views of Langstone harbour with the back drop of Portsmouth and on the other you get superb views across the marshes. As you walk around there is always plenty to see, however, as the tide comes in you really start to get a feeling of the numbers of birds that over winter in the harbour. Large flocks of birds swirl over the mudflats searching for the last bit of exposed mud to feed before being pushed on to the marsh to roost until the tide retreats. On your way around take a moment to stop at the lake on the western edge of the marsh, it is where you are likely to see large numbers of waders roosting at high tide. Waders of all shapes and sizes gather together including dunlin, redshank, lapwing, snipe and avocets. While at the lake listen out for the sociable ‘ping’ of the bearded tits from the reedbed. These residents of Farlington can often be seen flying rapidly across the tops of the reeds or clambering up the reeds in small groups. Another place worth stopping at is the Deeps, a lagoon on the east edge of the marsh. It is a great area to see some of our over wintering wildfowl like wigeon, pintail, and gadwall. The wigeon especially like to feed on the short grass around the water bodies where large numbers can be seen. It is always worth keeping an eye on the harbour as you might be lucky enough to see one of Langstone resident Harbour seals! If you are not sure what you are looking at or want to learn more about the

birds why not join us for our next bird watching event. Your local Wildlife Trust The Hampshire and Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust works to create a better future for wildlife and wild places in Hampshire and the Island. As the leading local wildlife conservation charity, it looks after 61 wildlife reserves, has 27,000 members and 1,000 volunteers. The Trust manages its own land and advises other landowners how to manage their land with wildlife in mind. Staff and volunteers also carry out surveys and gather data to monitor how our local wildlife is doing. Find out more at

Join us today …and enjoy the benefits of being a member of the Hampshire and Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust. For more information contact our membership team on 01489 774408. l Unlimited FREE visits to over 55 wildlife

reserves in Hampshire and the Isle of Wight and 2,500 reserves nationwide l A welcome pack when you join l Hampshire and Isle of Wight Natural World, the Wildlife Trust’s magazine, delivered to you (or your partner) three times a year l The chance to take part in local group and community activities offering you a variety of opportunities to be involved in more than 400 walks, talks and events throughout the two counties l Join by direct debit and receive your FREE full colour Local Wildlife Reserve Guide. Visit and discover your local Wildlife Trust.

Sunday 12th February 12am–3pm Get close to the hundreds of waders and birds on the marshes and lakes around high tide at Farlington Marshes Wildlife Reserve. Guides will be at viewing areas to help you identify the birds and tell you about their behaviour. Drop in anytime during the session to improve your bird identification skills. Parking is available off the Eastern Road (A27/A2030) roundabout (Map ref. SU 679 044). For further details, please contact Jamie Marsh, Solent Reserves Officer, on 01489 774429. Please note that this event will not run in wet and windy weather. Suggested donation £1.50. Can you help? We need help checking the cattle that roam the marshes. It is very simple, can be done as part of a walk around the sea wall and you do not need to get too close to the cows. If you can spare a few hours, please call Jamie Marsh on 01489 774 429. Farlington Marshes Reserves Team A small team of volunteers meet every Tuesday to carry out practical work on the reserve such as fence repairs, scrub clearance and path maintenance. No previous experience necessary.

Visiting Farlington Marshes Wildlife Reserve Farlington Marshes is 125 hectares of coastal grazing marsh situated south of the A27 between Portsmouth and Havant. The reserve is managed by the Hampshire and Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust on behalf of its owners Portsmouth City Council. For further details about any of the above please call Jamie Marsh on 01489 774429 How to get there Rail: Hilsea train station is 1.5 miles from the reserve with trains from Fareham and Portchester every 30 minutes. Bus: 21 between Havant and Portsmouth Harbour. Closest stop is at Farlington Sainsbury’s, 15 minute walk to the reserve. Service is hourly Monday to Friday with a reduced service at weekends. Road: The car park is off the Eastern Road roundabout (A27/A2030). • DECEMBER 2011 •



green fingers December

This month’s Greenfingers is devoted to helping your garden wildlife through the winter. As their natural food declines in the colder months, many wild birds rely heavily on food placed on bird tables and in garden feeders. Food should be high energy as smaller birds in particular – such as sparrows and robins – need large amounts to keep energy levels high. Ideal choices are balls of fat, suet cakes and treats, dried mealworms, peanuts and high energy seed mixes. words • anne watson


id you know different bird feeders suit different types of birds? Garsons has a new Pet and Wildlife Centre with a comprehensive range of feeders and feed. The knowledgeable team will be happy to advise you on how to attract a wide variety of birds to your garden. Make water available throughout cold weather as birds will not only drink but bathe to keep their feathers in good condition. If nesting boxes are left up over winter, birds will use them for night-time roosting.

Plants recommended for winter wildlife The winter garden can be an important food source for our wildlife, especially if there’s snowfall. Autumnal rain has made the soil easy to work, so enjoy some fresh air while you get planting wildlife-friendly shrubs. The Cotoneaster not only provides winter colour, it gives a source of berries right through the winter – blackbirds are especially partial to them. It grows happily in full sun and partial shade. Cotoneaster


Dammeri is a spreading dense shrub with glossy leaves which produces lots of red berries. For an alternative to the tall-growing Cotoneaster, the Horizontalis variety provides ground cover and will grow to about 3ft 4” /100cm high, with a spread of about 180cm. All varieties of Pyracantha are loved by birds. Because of their thorny nature, they provide a good security barrier round the edge of your garden. Berberis Darwinii is a fast-growing evergreen shrub, ideally suited to hedging and at the back of your border. It produces masses of golden-orange flowers in spring followed by berries in autumn. Again the birds love the berries during the autumn and winter months. This very hardy all-rounder grows to around three foot square. As well as being useful to wild birds, the advantage of these recommended shrubs is that they give interest through the less colourful months in the garden. l

• DECEMBER 2011 •

Jobs for this month l Check winter protection structures are securely in place l Prevent ponds and stand pipes from freezing l Prune open-grown apples and pears (but not those trained against walls) l Harvest leeks, parsnips, winter cabbage, sprouts and remaining root crops Turning our attention indoors, go for natural Christmas decorations with indoor plants. The garden centre is full of inspiration, from cyclamen and orchids to the traditional poinsettia. Choose a needle-retentive Christmas tree that’s been pot grown. Garsons’ trees are reared to give a good root system. Don’t forget your snow shovels and ice breaker to clear those paths this winter, and until next month, happy gardening and merry Christmas!

Christmas decorating and Donkey Nativity. Pick up some tips on making Christmas wreaths at Garsons Garden Centre. The home and gift evening on Tuesday 6th December from 6pm to 8pm includes demonstrations from a decorating expert. Then on Saturday 3rd and Sunday 4th December, Mary, Joseph and real donkeys will bring the Nativity to life. The donkeys from Hayling Island will be visiting from 10am to 4pm. See for more details.


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Birchall & Haydock Pharmacy Birchall & Haydock Pharmacy has been an important addition to the village of Wickham and its’ surrounding areas for many decades, and still remains an independently owned pharmacy. As well as the essential services offered, which include the dispensing and selling of medicines, the addition of a new consultation room means we can now provide services such as Medicine Use Reviews, and travel and lifestyle advice. We provide a Free Prescription Collection Service to anyone whose doctor is at the local surgery. Please ask a member of staff for more details, or pop into the pharmacy.

Make sure your extra guests go ‘HAPPY TO BED’ this Christmas

For which dish is the IKEA restaurant most famous? (A) Spaghetti Bolognese (B) Swedish Meatballs (C) Wiener Schnitzel TO ENTER, email quoting ‘IKEA’ with your name, address and telephone/mobile number together with your answer! Alternatively, post your entry to Solent Life, Webb House, 20 Bridge Road, Park Gate Hampshire, SO31 7GE. The closing date is 30.12.2011

We stock a large range of products in the pharmacy too, including fragrances, and Rimmel cosmetics. We are also agents for Roger & Gallet, Bronnley and Yardley products. Come and browse our wide range of gift ideas, and our prices are very competitive! • DECEMBER 2011 •








Feet Wave A few weeks ago national newspapers reported that there may be a risk of contracting viruses or disease as a result of having a Fish Pedicure. You may remember the headlines? Well, we all know you can’t believe everything you see in the press; and this negative publicity had a far greater impact on public opinion than the rather less sensational evidence that the risk is minute, and then only to those with poor immunity or diseases. The truth that this treatment can be therapeutic, healing as well as beneficial and entirely safe just didn’t make the headlines. I had always wanted to give a fish pedicure a try but decided against it following the news reports and then there was just the thought of fish sucking your feet! There was a hint of nerves when my colleague and I arrived at the iconic airstream bullet caravan that houses Feetwave at Port Solent. It is the absolute image of retro cool and looked fabulous bedecked in twinkling lights as dusk fell. Up the steps and the salon is bright spacious and comfortable with six glass bead and Garra Rufa filled tanks at one end and a comfortable nail bar and beauty area at the other. We are greeted by Charley Fryatt and fellow therapist, Julie and treated to a nice cup of tea (bubbly is also available) as we completed the essential medical form to confirm that we were healthy and that our feet were problem free. Our feet were then carefully checked to ensure that we had no cuts or other ‘nasties’; and then our feet were cleaned before we were allowed near the pedicure tanks. Lowering our feet into the tank, each with its own little waterfall tumbling in to filter and change the water a total of five times during the pedicure. The whole process is accompanied by plenty of squealing and laughing as the toothless Garra Rufa fish rush to do their job. As they massaged away our aches and pains, removing the dead skin and working on the reflexology pressure points we soon relaxed; before long we realised we did not want the experience to be over. Because the fish don’t have teeth they suck rather than nibble and the sensation is rather like lots of bubbles rushing across your feet. Pedicure over our feet were checked again and moisturised. Mine felt soft, smooth and refreshed and suddenly my shoes seem a size too big - weird! A few days on they still feel wonderful and I think I am hooked (excuse the pun!) on fish pedicures! Feet Wave are open 10am till late, seven days a week. They also offer OPI nailcare, Minx and Shellac manicures and pedicures, Glitzy lips, Partylashes, eyebrow tinting and many other treatments. Book exclusive use of the Airstream for a Christmas party with a difference or for a hen/stag party, night out or childrens birthday party. Charley and her team adhere to the strictest guidelines to ensure that you and the fish (who are treated with the same care and respect as the customers) remain healthy and relaxed and my advice is ‘Come on in - the water’s fine!’ 40…

• DECEMBER 2011 •

Feet Wave offer Fish Pedicures with a difference. Why not go and visit them in their amazing and glamorous 1950’s Retro Style American Airstream, located in Port Solent and Locks Heath Centre.

W: T: 07900 930 720 E: Find us on Twitter and Facebook:

Kevin Dunleavy (ex-NAVY, Haslar and Devon and Cornwall police’s Physiotherapist) is a chartered and HPC registered consultant physiotherapist specialising in musculo-skeletal physiotherapy. ●  Back & neck pain ●  Headaches ●  Postural problems ●  Whiplash ●  Rib & Central back pain ●  Sciatica ●  Groin Strain ●  Sports injuries ●  Work related problems & accidents ●  Fractures & trauma ●  Arthritis ● Post-operative conditions ●  Muscle/ligament/tendon tears & sprains ● Tennis Elbow/Golfers Elbow ● Trapped Nerves ● Repetitive Strain Injury

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Where friendly service and professional advice are prescribed for everyone For all your health and beauty needs ● Free Prescription Collection Service ● Private Consultation Room ● Travel and Lifestyle Advice ● Medicines Use Reviews ● Emergency Contraception ● Stockists of Fine Fragrances, Soaps, Cosmetics, Hair and Skincare ● Roger & Gallet, Bronnley, Yardley, and Mason Pearson Hairbrush Agencies Our prices are cheaper, if not comparable to most big retailers Come and visit Your Local Pharmacy today! The Square, Wickham, PO17 5JQ ☎ 01329 832115

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Spencer and Penn Ltd

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Eltikki Jewellers Eltikki in Lee on the Solent is an exclusive jewellers built from a wealth of passion for jewellery. Designer jewellery is sourced from all over the world, so if you want something no one else will be wearing, Eltikki is the place. They are priveleged to stock Clogau, Lovelinks, Spinning, Jersey pearl and Artica Murrina. Recently the shop has doubled in size but stilll offers a personalised service. The in house workshop now supports two designers/ manufacturers who have over 30 years experience. The friendly team at Eltikki aim to understand and meet their client’s needs and as an extra special touch will gift wrap each item purchased with a “little something“ added.


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Tel: 02392 553026 • • • DECEMBER 2011 •




wonderland If forecasters are to be believed, by the time you read this, snow will be falling and our countryside will once again be covered by a soft white coating that will transform our landscape. So how does our wildlife not only survive such an extreme drop in temperature but use it to thrive… words & images • david rose-massom


now; it gives such amazing and stunning landscapes for us to enjoy, especially here in the south where, for a few days at least, it is a rarely expected treat. However, we soon tire of it as the population slows down, or in case of the trains – stops all together. But for the animal kingdom it can mean death and starvation. Snow makes it harder for the carnivores to hunt, because their prey will either be in hibernation because of the cold, or are dying because of the lack of plants. For the herbivores, the plants and fruit they eat will perish in the extreme cold which will leave them barely enough food for survival.


• DECEMBER 2011 •

Yet freezing temperatures are not all bad for British wildlife which, in reality, is perfectly adapted to long, cold winters, which until recent years were the norm. In fact the cold weather helps to restore the balance of nature. Hibernating creatures; bats, butterflies, bees and the like are less likely to emerge, as they have in the milder winters of recent years, only to succumb to a sudden cold snap. In some mild years the bird population begin nesting too early and flowers occasionally erupt as they are fooled into thinking spring has arrived, but then get killed off by surprise frosts, or heavy snowfalls as we had last winter. The weather office stated it was the worst December weather since 1890, and the second coldest since records began back in 1659, and this year many long range forecasters have predicted we may get something similar; to quote one source ‘This winter it is very likely we will have a winter’! The good news is that extended cold spells and snow falls kill off viruses and parasites which will benefit their usual hosts and

helps reduce the threat of disease. There is also a migration from the rural regions to more urban locations for a proportion of wildlife, especially the bird population as more people put out food for them during very cold spells. Whilst this is a good thing, please remember; if you do put food out then continue with the feeding as the wildlife will be searching for, and expecting, your provisions. Sudden removal of the food source can cause problems. Also if you use feeders, as you would with your own food containers, clean them regularly to avoid the spreading of disease. The weather last year was so bad that the RSPB warned that British wildlife was facing an emergency following the longest period of freezing weather for almost 28 years with the bird population being the most affected as they found it impossible to feed, as the ground and bodies of water became frozen solid. So it is also a good idea to put out water, and one little tip is to leave an object such as a small ball floating in that water so that as any breeze moves the ball it stops the water from freezing over totally. Although it was thought that the two heavy periods of snow in the south last year would have an adverse affect on the population of small birds, the RSPB reported that the drop in small bird populations witnessed in the Birdwatch survey of 2010 during the those cold spells was rectified by excellent breeding conditions during the following spring. Small birds in recovery included goldcrests, long-tailed tits and coal tits.

Another interesting result of the survey was the numerous sightings of waxwings, reflecting both the large numbers migrating from Scandinavia that winter and the “bird-friendly” berry-producing vegetation that people are increasingly planting in their gardens. In fact the beautiful waxwings became the must see birds for photographers and birdwatchers as spring came and as they filled our lush berry bushes across the south; it was a magnificent sight. As for vegetation a thick layer of snow acts rather like a blanket so that heat does not leave the ground and only a thin layer of the soil will freeze under a thick layer of snow. The air temperature could be well below freezing but, just below the surface, because of the insulation qualities of the snow, the ground temperature might only be zero or slightly above restricting the damage to the dormant plant life. Many plants can be damaged or killed by cool or freezing temperatures, especially if, as in many gardens the plants are of the exotic variety, plants from the tropics or sub-tropics can die when they are exposed to frost; whereas plants from temperate climates can tolerate lower temperatures and are quite hardy. Snow and a hard frost create a sparkling white coating on all your garden plants and although beautiful to look at, that snow and frost can be a major problem for the gardeners among you, damaging plant growth and killing tender plants. Most keen gardeners are well aware of how to protect

their plants against the severe cold with natural and man-made thermal coverings. In the natural world though it seems that our native plants have an in-built ability to protect themselves against the severe winters and such is the insulating effect of the snow it even helps some plants to grow bigger. Nature is designed to overcome the bad weather; it helps sort out the weak from the strong, as with the hurricanes that have hit Britain where the weak trees are felled and the strong and healthy remain standing. One thing seems evident however; it is the human population that appears to have the most problem trying to continue as normal in the snow. So remember to put out food and water for the wildlife and also remember to keep those food containers and feeders clean and free from disease, then at least if you are stuck in your home with the snow closing rail and road networks, you can at least watch and enjoy the wildlife in your garden. One final note of warning; so extreme were the weather conditions last winter that one national newspaper reported polar bears being washed up on the Scottish coast, thankfully for the islanders mentioned in the report it was noted that the date on the paper was April 1st. If the harsh winter returns this year, as forecast by some, maybe it would be an idea to keep your eyes peeled down off Lee-on-the-Solent; just in case!. l • DECEMBER 2011 •



great news for


…it’s time to begin again!



The hard work from many photographers over the past year has finally come to fruition, the winners have been announced, the Solent Life/London Camera Exchange Photographer of the Year has been notified and the 2012 calendar is now on sale. The calendar is an ideal stocking filler for Christmas, as the images are stunning and all were taken by Solent Life readers of scenes within our Solent Life area.




uch has been the response and success of the photo competition that the sponsors, the Fareham branch of the London Camera Exchange in conjunction with Nikon, have asked us to continue with the competition and produce a calendar for 2013… so time to begin sending in your images each and every month. The standard last year was high, the bar has been set, so it is up to you, our readers, to improve on those images we received in 2011, and make the next calendar even more of a treat. THE RULES: All images must be taken by the named photographer and that photographer should not be a professional (eg earning the bulk of their income from photography). Images should be ‘landscape’ in format, saved as Jpegs and named for their location. Images should then be sent via email as high resolution and accompanied clearly with name, address and a contact number. If you are under 16, please include your age. The judges decision each month and for Photographer of the Year is final and no correspondence will be entered into. Send your entries to

So the ball is in your court, we live and work in one of the most beautiful regions of the UK and the wildlife we have is spectacular, so get out there with your cameras and begin snapping. We will give you tips each month to help you improve your photography and we are looking forward to seeing your results so please keep sending those images. l

PHOTOGRAPHY COMPETITION SPONSORSHIP Our Calendar competition is kindly sponsored by the LONDON CAMERA EXCHANGE FAREHAM & NIKON 135 West Street, Fareham. T: 01329 236441. E:


• DECEMBER 2011 •

December 2011s winner... David Phillipson The Solent Life Calendar is available at the following outlets:

(+ p& p £1.0 0)

Finishing Touches – Lee on the Solent London Camera Exchange – Fareham RSPCA – The Arc, Stubbington & RSPCA Charity Shops Partners – West End Gallery 77 – Lee on the Solent White Dog Gallery – Lee on the Solent Solent Life Offices – Park Gate





The only disappointment for judges in 2011 was that we received so few entries from our young photographers, so this year our Senior Journalist and Photographer David Rose-Massom will be awarding a special trophy to the SOLENT LIFE YOUNG PHOTOGRAPHER OF THE YEAR for the under 16 year-olds. This will be awarded to either the best image from a young person, or the best body of work should more than one image be sent over the year and is not dependent on whether the images make it to the calendar or not. So don’t forget to include your age in the entry details if you are under 16.

Remote Control Helicoptors Gifts • Gadgets • Ideas for Christmas Kites • Batteries • Passport Photographer

185 High Street, Lee-on-the-Solent, Hampshire, PO13 9BX

Telephone: 02392 556010 Monday to Saturday 10:00am - 5:00pm Email:

PLEASE HELP OUR ANIMALS To make sure our animals are well fed and cared for throughout the busy festive season and beyond PLEASE HELP SUPPORT OUR WINTER WARMTH APPEAL Just £20 could help provide 40 meals for the animals here. Your gift will provide food and care for the many vulnerable, mistreated & unloved animals at the shelter – some cheaply discarded like wrapping paper on Christmas morning

Please send your donation to Vanessa Eden, Stubbington Ark Animal Shelter, 174-176 Ranvilles Lane, Fareham PO14 3EZ 01329 666916 • DECEMBER 2011 •


Local events across the Solent region.



The Point, Eastleigh Tel… 02380 652333 Chichester Festival Theatre Tel… 01243 781312 Salisbury Playhouse Tel… 01722 320333 Mayflower Theatre Tel… 02380 711811 Theatre Royal, Winchester Tel… 01962 840440 King’s Theatre, Southsea Tel… 02392 828282 Tower Arts Centre, Winchester Tel… 01962 867986 Ferneham Hall Tel… 01329 231942 Ashcroft Arts Centre, Fareham Tel… 01329 310600 The Concorde Club Tel… 02380 613989

If you have anything going on, tell us here at Solent Life and we will include it in our feature Tel… 01489 583800 Fax… 01489 583803 Email…


A magical

Christmas treat If like me, you love Mary Norton’s stories about the Borrowers, then this stage adaptation will certainly not disappoint and if you don’t know the books then you are in for a treat. words • sue brooks

The story is about the Clock family who are six inches tall and live under the floorboards of a big house. They make use of the things that human beings leave behind. Everything changes when a boy comes to stay at the house and the world of the Borrowers is literally turned upside down when their worst fears are realised and they are seen. This is a lovely family show with just the right balance of story and audience participation to keep even the youngest children enthralled. The audience at the performance we saw, was full of small children, not known for sitting still for long, but everyone one of them seemed to be totally caught up in the enjoyment of it all – not a fidget among them. The cast are exemplary; David Alcock as Pod and Julia Hills as Homily played their parts with aplomb and Eleanor Yates as their daughter Arrietty, gave just the right amounts of vulnerability and feistiness. Oliver Hoare plays both the part of the boy and of Spiller, a Borrower who the family meet when they are forced to emigrate into the outside world, so well that my husband didn’t realise they were played by the same actor. Nicola Blackman as Mrs Driver, the villain of the piece, was well received with customary boos and hisses and Matt Devereaux as Crampfurl entertained with both his acting and his musical talent. A big thumbs-up must go to the team of children who

• DECEMBER 2011 •

performed throughout with great enthusiasm. This production at the Nuffield Theatre is directed by Patrick Sandford, who as Artistic Director of the Nuffield Theatre, has been responsible for many of the Christmas shows staged here which are so enjoyed by adults and children alike. The sets are beautiful and very cleverly designed to get the right mix for the miniature world of the Clock family and the larger-than-life world of the human beings. Full marks then, to Patrick and his team for an imaginative and creative adaptation. This show should not be missed this Christmas. Take the whole family and lose yourselves in the magical world of the Borrowers. l

Music, Comedy, Events & Theatre ELVIS COSTELLO. THE SPECTACULAR SPINNING SONGBOOK The popular singer and songwriter reinvents the wheel when his tour comes to the U.K. in May of next year. An overture of five uninterrupted rock and roll tunes announces Elvis Costello and the Imposters to the stage, after which members of the audience are invited to spin the gigantic vaudevillian contraption and select the next song. Fortune may deliver such hits such as “Oliver’s Army”, “Everyday I Write The Book” and “Watching The Detectives” or land on a “Jackpot” selection such as “Time” and “Girl”, demanding a sequence of songs, each containing these words. BIC WINDSOR HALL, Bournemouth, Sunday 20th May and Tickets are on sale now. Call BH Live Tickets on 0844 576 3000, book online at www. or visit the BIC or Bournemouth Pavilion Ticket Office in person. Tickets: £36.50 & £42.50. BILLY CONNOLLY and JULIAN CLARY Two legendary comedians are heading for the south early next year, Billy Connolly and Julian Clary. For one night only the legendary Billy Connolly will perform live at The Mayflower Theatre on Sunday 4 March 2012 as part of his UK tour. Julian Clary brings his unique talents to the theatre with his new tour: Position Vacant, Apply Within on Sunday 30 September 2012. Master of camp Julian Clary is scouring the land in search of love. He’s promised to leave no straight unturned. Both shows are likely to sell out quickly and tickets for both shows are on sale online only at and on sale at the Mayflower Box Office tel: 02380 711811.

SNOW PATROL As part of the promotional tour for their new studio album ‘Fallen Empires’, this amazing and popular band will be visiting Bournemouth in February. Windsor Hall, BIC, Bournemouth, tickets are on sale so call 0844 576 3000, book online at www. or visit the BIC or Bournemouth Pavilion Ticket Office in person. Wednesday 8th February Doors 7pm Tickets: £32.50. ASPIRING PLAYWRIGHTS The Nuffield Theatre in Southampton is again opening its doors to anyone interested in becoming a playwright. The theatre’s writers’ group meets every two weeks, for two hours on a Thursday evening, over a two-year period. During this time, members investigate the essentials of playwriting, from dialogue to structure. Over the two years, they will produce a 10-minute play, a 40-minute radio play and a full length piece for the theatre. Applicants will be selected on the basis of an interview and two samples of their work. The group is free of charge and is run by the theatre’s Script Executive, John Burgess, a freelance director well known for his work with new playwrights. Interviews will be held from January and a new group will begin after Easter 2012. Anyone interested should contact Alison Thurley at alison.thurley@ or on 023 8031 5500 ex 205. CHRISTMAS AT MOORS VALLEY This year Moors Valley Country Park and Forest, near Ringwood, offers a sustainable ‘one stop shop’ for all your Christmas needs with everything from beautiful Christmas trees to sumptuous festive food available on site. You can even make your own festive gifts and cards

Children and buy fantastic local crafts! Children are invited to decorate the Park’s giant Advent calendar and make their own Christmas cards. The ever-popular Forestry Commission Christmas Tree Shop opens for business on Saturday 3 December. This year it’s one of only two Forestry Commission sites locally where you can pick up a real tree; open from 10am to 4pm each day and there’s free parking for everyone who buys a tree. Moors Valley Country Park and Forest Entry is free, although parking charges apply. For details, visit www. or call 01425 470721. TOTEM – CIRQUE Du SOLEIL TOTEM traces the fascinating journey of the human species from its original amphibian state to its ultimate desire to fly. The characters evolve on a stage evoking a giant turtle, the symbol of origin for many ancient civilizations. Sounds like new-age preaching but for anyone who has been to a Cirque Du Soleil production will tell you; it is all about the strange, the unusual and the amazing acrobatic trickery and the fantasy of a whole new world. If you have never been to this version of ‘circus’ loo out you are in for entertainment that will amuse, amaze and leave you awestruck! ROYAL ALBERT HALL, London, opens on Jan 5th and although advertised till Feb 5th the run may well be extended, it usually is because of demand. Tickets from just £20 up to £195 for Premium and VIP experience. Book online at www. totem/tickets/london-2012 THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA It is over a year away but once tickets go on sale there will be a rush to secure seats for the world’s most popular musical. Producer Cameron Mackintosh

is delighted to present a spectacular new production of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA and it will be arriving at The Mayflower Theatre, in January of 2013. It will star Earl Carpenter as ‘The Phantom’ and Katie Hall who will play the role of ‘Christine’. It has been seen in 145 cities in 27 countries and played to over 130 million people. www.thephantomofthe MAYFLOWER, Southampton from 22nd January to 16th February 2013. Box Office 02380 711 811. See website for details THE KING AND I Tells the heart-warming story of the British governess brought to the court of Siam to tutor the King’s many children, told using one of the most beautiful scores ever written with sweeping melodies such as ‘Shall We Dance’, ‘Whistle A Happy Tune’, ‘Hello Young Lovers’, ‘The March of the Siamese Children’ and the unforgettable ‘Getting To Know You’. Ramon Tikaram will play the role of ‘The King’ and Josefina Gabrielle will play the role of ‘Anna’. This breathtaking new production is a lavish, grand-scale spectacle with giant gold Buddhas, sumptuous costumes, a chorus of adorable children, acrobatic dancers. MAYFLOWER THEATRE, Southampton, from 20th to 24th March next year Tickets for The King and I are on sale from The Mayflower Box Office on 02380 711811, online at or in person from the Mayflower ticket south shop in The Mall (Marlands), Southampton. Ovation Restaurant bookings 02380 711833. • DECEMBER 2011 •



lynda in conversation with

on calendar girls

A warm-hearted and throaty chuckle and an immediately engaging personality are among the first impressions you receive when you meet Lynda Bellingham, who plays Chris, the driving force behind the basic idea in Calendar Girls. Lynda may have played her share of darker characters, including an extended stint in The Bill, playing a criminal mastermind - or should that be mistress-mind? – But comedy is not only her first love but it also a genre for which she is supremely well qualified. Lynda has funny bones, as they say. Yet she claims that her ability to create laughter and general good cheer has sometimes been held against her. interviewed by robin hancox


hen I did a play called Sugar Mummies at the Royal Court I was told by a certain individual there that they never thought they'd have someone like me working at the Royal Court. When I started in the business, I was thrilled to discover that I could make people laugh but you quickly realise that there's a tremendous amount of snobbery about. Apparently being funny is less ‘creative’ than playing Lady Macbeth. It's very depressing." Not that Lynda should get too downcast. In Calendar Girls, she has audiences chortling at the stream of witty one-liners which playwright Tim Firth has provided for her. What was her reaction when she first heard that she was playing Chris? "I was thrilled" says Lynda feelingly. "And a bit grateful and relieved as well. I'd taken part in a rehearsed reading in front of the producers. The awful thing about doing auditions is that you never know whether or not you should present yourself as you or to be as much as possible like the character you're hoping to play. Not that I presumed for a moment that I'd be in the money to play Chris." Lynda says that in the excitement of learning she'd been cast in Calendar Girls it didn’t occur to her that she'd eventually be shedding her clothes eight times a week on stage. "It didn't cross my mind" she replies. "Had I thought about it, I would have been a bit apprehensive since I've always had a


problem with sex scenes - not that I want anybody to get the idea that I think of myself as some sort of siren. When you're an actor, I think that you have always to believe that the ends justify the means. It was so important that we rehearsed the photoshoot scene on a closed set and that we could help each other with our insecurities. There's a lot of trust in this production. Most of us are over sixty and there's a mutual recognition that we all feel vulnerable and a bit apprehensive of how we're going to do that scene in front of an audience. At the same time, there's an energy that is generated between this group of women whenever we do the show - an energy that is wonderful." You'd have thought that after playing Chris on and off in Calendar Girls since September 2008 at Chichester, on tour and in the West End of London, that actress Lynda Bellingham would have had her fill of the character for the time being. Yet here she is, getting ready to go back on the road, finding new aspects to Chris and apparently loving every moment of it. "I can't believe it myself" says Lynda. "There aren't many plays that I would do again but Calendar Girls has a very special place in my heart. I've never done a play where you get such a level of positive feedback - it's so uplifting. Everybody can relate to this show: people who come to see it all have similar stories to tell.” Lynda argues that one of the reasons for the success of Calendar Girls is that it deals

• DECEMBER 2011 •

with a demographic that has been curiously overlooked by the artistic powers-that-be. "It's a true story; it's about cancer which most of us have experienced either personally or within our family or friends and the audience is largely made up of human beings who are historically ignored. Everybody is obsessed by attracting the 19-35 age group which, it's believed, have that crucial spending-power. Consumers they may be but they are mostly consuming on the back of us over-fifties. I also believe, without being fundamentalist or inward-looking, that this country needs to regain a sense of its self-worth and Calendar Girls celebrates both heart and a community spirit – two classic British virtues. "The show celebrates the good side of human nature. People at the Stage Door tell us that they have laughed and they have cried in equal measure. In the play there is that wonderful juxtaposition between the tragedy of John's death and the laughter which is produced by the womens' attempts to do something to mark it. The biggest laughs in the show come as a release from the tension the audience feels. To get the audience to both laugh and cry is a real pleasure." “I always used to think that by the time I'd reached sixty then all the other actresses would have fallen by the wayside but there's just as much competition as ever. But the success of Calendar Girls has encouraged me to think that I might be able to keep a play together. I'd love to write fiction next – how dare I even say such a thing? - and I'd love to move in that direction. I like the writer's solitary existence. I can shout to myself, for example. And unlike with the day job, I don't have to kow-tow or be nice to anyone." l Calendar Girls returns to The Mayflower Theatre, Southampton for the final time 5 – 10 March 2012. Tickets from or call 02380 711811.

Luvvit Want It Luvvit Want It is the home of beautiful gifts and stylish hand-picked accessories for your home, as well as fab and funky handbags, on trend jewellery and ladies’ accessories.

Luvvit Want It was established by two busy Hampshire mums, Emma Bondsfield and Helen Curtis-Allen. Disillusioned with having to drive long distances to get to a somewhat disappointing High Street offering, we shared a dream to own a gift boutique with a twist. Our vision was to create the perfect one-stop shopping retreat for ladies with a packed business schedule, or busy “mums on the run” with an equally action-packed programme. So Luvvit Want It was born, bringing our fabulous collections to the heart of your home with the introduction of ‘Girls’ Night In’ parties. Whether you are looking for the perfect gift for a girlfriend or family member, or simply a little self-indulgent treat for yourself then look no further! So why not ‘Dec the Halls’ this Christmas with Luvvit Want It – shop online at and enjoy a 15% discount off all your Christmas goodies until 20/12/11. Delivered to you faster than Santa’s Sleigh! Fall in love with us this Winter – ‘Like’ us on Facebook as Luvvit Want It and Tweet with us on Twitter @Luvvit Want It…but don’t be shy and keep us quiet…share the love. Contact us at or 07787 574655 • 07986 650161 • DECEMBER 2011 •


Ladies Designer Fashion

spoilt for

We specialise in outfits for Mother of the Bride, Mother of the Groom and other guests


2012 Stock Now In Matching hats, Renata shoes & handbags. Stockists of Condici, John Charles

In a beautiful Georgian town house in the heart of the High Street in the old part of Fareham you will find Davina's Ladies Fashions; home to an extensive range of fabulous outfits from many of today’s most respected designers. words • janet grimm


n entering the 'tardis-like' shop you first come across a light and airy room dedicated to classic and elegant daywear with trousers, skirts, blouses, dresses and knitwear from designers such as Joseph Ribkoff, Lucia and Basler. Mannequins show the outfits at their very


& Many More

Over 250 outfits in stock Sizes 8-20 71 High Street, Fareham, PO16 7BB

01329 826123

best and as you pass the elegant staircase and the original exposed beam and plasterwork wall and enter the second room you will discover a rainbow of glittering, floaty and classy evening wear, cocktail dresses and ballgowns. There is a selection of summerwear that owner , Davina, keeps in stock all year round ready for those winter sun holidays and cruises. Onto the third and final room; an Aladdin's Cave dedicated to dressing the mother of the bride, mother of the groom, wedding guest or perhaps even the bride herself. There are colourful layers of stunning outfits, hats, accessories and fascinators including classic Condici, Medici, Frank Usher and Gina Bacconi, or the more ruched, slightly younger look of John Charles in a range of jewel or pastel colours. There are over 250 outfits to chose from. Chiffon, wild silk, frills, layers, patterns, jackets and Carol Middleton style coats , they are all here and available in


sizes 8-20. Davina also carries a range of matching Italian leather shoes and handbags to complete the outfit in style. But there is more behind the Georgian exterior of Davina's because here you will find that the highest level of customer service is en mode. Davina and her team strongly believe that shopping for a special outfit should be a pleasurable experience and their extensive knowledge of, and experience in working in the world of fashion means that they can ensure that any lady leaving Davina's does so looking and feeling stunning and full of confidence. Davina and her team appreciate that some ladies will arrive knowing just what they are looking for and what will suit them, others won't feel so sure so they will offer as much friendly and helpful advice as is required. They will encourage you to try on numerous outfits, even some that you don't think are necessarily for you, to ensure that you find the perfect ensemble. Gentlemen are always welcome to accompany their ladies and to assist in the decision making process. So, if you are looking for a Wedding outfit or something special for a Christmas party or cruise; or maybe you are planning a trip to Ascot, Goodwood, Henley or an investiture or garden party; whichever it is pay a visit to High Street Fareham and Davina and her team will ensure that, whatever the occasion, you feel a 'million dollars'.


New Professional Studio Open Christmas Gift Packages Available now Photo shoots • Studio Photography Portraits • Events

Just in time for Christmas! Tom Furlonger photography has specialised in sports and corporate photography in the past, working under the banner of Sports Action Photography. Now with the opening of a new studio in Wickham, Hampshire, Tom Furlonger Photography is diversifying and expanding into professional studio and portrait photography. Using the same principles as in the past, working with you, we aim to create a product that is totally unique to each individual, whether it’s a head shot for a young model or a family portrait for the home, we will create something personal to you. We can also bring the studio to you. With our portable set up we can create stunning studio images without you leaving the comfort of your own home. Subject to available space we can bring the equipment to you and create beautiful family portraits. The perfect gift for Christmas.

Designer Keepsakes

T: 07762170518

Designer Keepsakes Company specialises in diamante embellishments, coordinate your wedding stationery with stunning handcrafted Invitations, Order of Service, Seating Plans, Table Names, Place Names, plus a wide selection of accessories including personalised ribbon and post boxes E:

E: Follow the link on to Tom Furlonger Photography

Pryers Afternoon Tea David Western Couture Bridal. David western has been designing couture wedding gowns for over 15 years , each one tailored and unique to all his clients. 125 Winter Road, Southsea, Portsmouth, PO4 8DS 07880933847 by appoinment only.

Deserved Extravagance Delivered To You…Perfect As A Gift… …Or Just Because T: 01329 233708 M: 0791 506 1275 E: follow us on facebook and twitter • DECEMBER 2011 •


Elegance Bridal Coiffure Twitter. @BridalCoiffure


• DECEMBER 2011 •

Colourama Designs Ltd Simply Beautiful tiles 01489 480001 114 Bridge Road, Sarisbury Green, Soton, SO31 7EP Victoria Jane (Designer) Sandra £895.00 Available in Ivory & White. Tel: 01489 878084

Sasa Developments Building Refurbishing Specialists Made Elegance Bridal Coiffeur look gorgeous. Enquiries to Martin

Fondantly Yours From delicate hand made sugar flowers to novelty and naughty, Fondantly Yours make the finest celebration cakes for every occasion. Visit our studio and showroom Mon - Sat 10:00am-5:00pm 98 Elm Grove Southsea, PO5 1LN. Our retail shop has a wide choice of equipment and decoration for the cake maker & decorator.

HMS Warrior For a wedding venue with a real difference; discover one of the most sought after venues on the South Coast - The elegant and historic HMS Warrior 1860 023 92 778604 023 92 778610

Tailored Wedding Plans Gorgeous Vintage Style Stationery, Seating Plans, Vintage cut glass Sweetie Table’s and signage, and much more             Janet Mist    07917611127

PMN Wedding Fayres Ltd PMN Wedding Fayres is now the largest wedding fayre organiser in Hampshire, with over 18 fayres at the best venues across four counties. Our signature event is every July at Cams Hall, which is now where our office is situated. We would like to wish every success to Elegance Bridal Coiffure, Annette has exhibited with us from the very beginning of PMN wedding fayres in July 2008. We consider her more than a colleague, but a very close friend and a wonderful lady. Annettes new premises are fantastic and a credit to her. Cams Hall, Cams Hill, Fareham, Hampshire, P016 8AB T: 01329 227437 M: 07816 911310

Tiers & Tiaras We are a Husband and Wife team, providing many wedding services including, wedding planning, an extensive wedding accessories online shop, wedding table decoration hire and set up service, personalised napkins plus much more. T: 07702044023 DiamondsDaisies twitter @DiamondsDaisies • DECEMBER 2011 •



As December 25th approaches the editor asked me to write about Christmas from the perspective of the wife of Father Christmas.... and,

the mother of all

Christmases I both love and dread Christmas. Whilst it can be time of magic, happy children, wonderful food and company it can also be a time when, as a woman, I feel that the pressure is on me to deliver all of the above and more; there are always a few things I forget – witness last year’s cracker-less Christmas. This weekend, as I was counting down the shopping days left until the big day, I spared a thought for Mother Christmas – how is it to be the spouse of a man who is so loved, revered and capable of shouldering such a tremendous work load? Surely it can’t be as easy as dropping down the chimney with a few gifts, being rewarded with a mince pie and a bottle of reindeer ale, and then departing with a Ho, Ho, Ho? They say that behind every great man is an equally great woman and whilst we are led to believe that Father Christmas and his elves do all the work, I suspect that it is Mother Christmas who holds it all together. I wonder if Mrs C., like countless other women, starts her Christmas planning with a pad of paper and a bottle of wine in an evening which goes something like this: words • fiona cooke


our first glass of wine. Start with To Do List. Buy presents, wrap presents, label and sort presents in to piles for under tree, stockings, family, friends and posting. Buy cards, list who to send cards to, write cards, buy stamps, and send cards before last posting day. Plan meal menus for three days, list food to buy, make note to pre-order turkey and buy extra large cooking foil. Buy CRACKERS. Clean the house, prepare the spare room, chill wine, buy new guest towels, find the decorations, decorate the house and the tree, find the stockings. Make list of alcohol to buy. Include an extra case of wine for you to drink as you do everything on the lists. Buy reindeer ale, fake snow and a new Christmas tree base. Find the Father Christmas outfit and let it out - Again! Pour second glass of wine and move on to the Make It List. Christmas cake, Christmas pudding, mince pies, Victoria sponge, stuffing, brandy butter and two


quiches. Mulled wine. Lots of mulled wine. Help children make ginger bread tree decorations. Wish it was a tradition you had never started. Feel the list is too short but calculate how many hours of cooking are involved and cross off Christmas pudding, mince pies and stuffing and add them to the Food List. Now on third glass of wine, consider going abroad for Christmas, but man up and deal with the Invitation List. Accept invite for drinks at neighbours in the interest of repairing damaged relations over the football/lounge window incident, invite parents and Aunt Maud to stay for TWO DAYS only. Decline invitation from in-laws to go there, whilst being fully aware that this is their year, but preferring sanity over duty. Remember that Aunt Maud is a vegetarian; add meat free sausages to the Food List. Add Collect Aunt Maud from station to the To Do List. Make a List of Events to Attend; Partner’s Christmas

• DECEMBER 2011 •

Party, add buy New Dress to To Do list; School Nativity Play times two, School Fund Raising Ladies Night, Carols around the Tree in playground if it is not raining. Pray for rain. Consider home schooling as a way of avoiding spending much of December in the assembly hall. Drink more wine. Remember that two nativity plays means two costumes to add to the Make It list. Hope that they are both Wise Men (old sheet and tea towel) rather than an animal, or (more prayers), the star of Bethlehem. Phone Jane and ask if she needs a contribution to her Xmas Eve drinks and nibbles thing. Breathe sigh of relief when she says it is all in hand. Move on to present list. Children, cross off request for Xbox and life sized remote control helicopter. Allow mobile phone for eldest and drum kit (with deep misgivings) for youngest. Write down gift ideas for close family, friends, children’s friends and teachers and partner’s boss. Have no idea what to get Aunt Maud other than slippers and a box of chocolates. Again. Realise you’ll need to spend at least three days solidly shopping, and with limited shopping days left and all but one of those taken up, you will need to perform a Christmas miracle or spend your evenings shopping on-line. Consider that is not such a bad idea, as you can drink wine and ice the Christmas cake at the same time. Go to pour another glass but find the bottle is empty. Move on to the final list. The To Do list for Father Christmas. Buy tree, put up tree, get the sleigh out of the garage and harness up Rudolph and co. Drop down some chimneys. Eat mince pies, drink reindeer ale. Open another bottle of wine as you reflect on the fact that he will be too hungover to get up early with the children on Christmas Day, will snore in his armchair all afternoon and expect a pat on the back for remembering to wrap your present this year. Hmmm. I don’t know about you girls, but I don’t doubt that whilst Father Christmas gets all the kudos it is Mother Christmas who is the real power behind the throne! Happy Christmas! l


heading home It is Christmas Day, the family are all gathered around the brightly lit tree, under its branches are a mass of gifts wrapped in gay seasonal paper, proud parents sip on tall glasses of sparkling wine and the children begin to tear the paper from the gifts. What an idyllic scene, except, something is wrong with this picture… words • david rose-massom


hat is wrong? You are outside the house gazing through the window from the cold outdoors and into the warm interior. You shrug down into your worn and shabby coat and head for a spot you know will get you out of the drizzling rain and away from prying eyes. You head back to your own ‘home’ a dry spot under a hedge, or a narrow space under some stairs that lead up into the church entrance. Anywhere to get out of the rain and cold, to hide away from society – because you are one of the homeless! Peter Holding is Communications and Fundraising manager for Two Saints; a local charity that supports and offers a brighter future for homeless people. “We were launched some 10 years ago when two organisations joined forces; St Dismas and

St Petroc, hence the name of Two Saints.” He told Solent Life when we visited the charity’s Fareham office. “In that time we have been building awareness slowly and we are now beginning to make people sensitive to the human face of homelessness.” He explained. “The average person believes that homelessness is something that is self-inflicted and that those on the street need to ‘sort themselves out’ and change their lives. “But these homeless individuals may suffer

mental health issues, relationship problems; there are a whole range of reasons for being where they are. Our clients come to us from all directions and are people with a huge variety of issues and we regularly get stories of how we saved lives.” Peter went on to describe one client, a young woman, who was homeless as a consequence of being a heroin addict. As he said this, it was perhaps difficult to empathise with the girl’s situation. He went on to explain that the reason she was an addict was because her parents were addicts and to keep their young child quiet, while they enjoyed their highs, they would inject their own daughter with heroin to keep her out of their way. With the support of Two Saints that young woman now leads an independent and fruitful life. “We support those who are homeless, or those at risk of becoming homeless and work with them until they gain independence, for many of them this can mean finding careers and work, becoming taxpayers and contributing to society as a whole. It is not an easy road and that transition could last two years to reach staged resettlement.” Peter continued talking with a strong passion for the work that is undertaken by everyone within the organisation including staff and volunteers. “It is a case of crisis intervention and we give high levels of support until they are in a position to control their own lives and then, it becomes a case of care within the community, where we can support and keep an eye on them. There is, of course, a cut off point, but we are always here for continued help. “Every person we deal with will have a different story; that could be anything from abuse, both in childhood and adulthood, or something as harsh as not being able to handle the stress of high pressure in their working life. “We do have to be careful of the message we put out, but the key selling point of what we do is hope. None of our clients have planned to be where they are and as a charity for the homeless, we do not have

a pretty face as say a children’s charity or animal charity would have. Our message is that our people are on a journey back to independent living and we support them in their drive to rebuild their lives and create a position for themselves within the community. “Not only that but they become a valued part of that community, who pay their taxes, maybe start a family and become a part of society in general. We are successful at getting people back to independent living.” Peter continued. “We work slowly with people, help them understand their problems and then be able to manage them. We encourage and motivate and finally coach them back toward reintegration. We teach them skills and teamwork, by definition the homeless have no support network!” Peter went onto explain, “If you took a snapshot, those we help fall into three categories; the first group are those still a long way from resolving their issues. The next group are those teetering on the edge of self-help and finally, those committed to a new life where they have had a glimpse of the future; and they want that. “These people we help are the ones that society try and avoid, they cross the street to get away from them; at Two Saints we do not judge and we let them know there is a helping hand.” Peter put this into perspective. “If you were in a darkened room and had no way out and then a hand reached out and touched you – you would grab it. We are holding out that open and helping hand!” Maybe next Christmas, many of those that Two Saints are helping now will be enjoying Christmas in their own homes and surrounded by loved ones. Go to and read about some of their success stories; you will discover many uplifting tales. Solent Life readers can also discover how they can help with volunteering or fundraising. l

It is short notice but on December 9th the charity will be holding its Christmas Ball; a great evening of entertainment, black tie event to be held at St Mary’s Stadium in Southampton. Full details on their website. • DECEMBER 2011 •


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community news Your essential guide to all the local news and events in your community Fareham West Townswomen’s Guild meets on the 3rd Wednesday of each month in St John’s Church Hall, St Michael’s Grove, Fareham at 2.15pm. The next meeting will be on 21st December when Members of the Committee will be providing entertainment and a sing-along. There are coffee mornings, outings and various events as well as craft, art, singing and scrabble groups. In January they are starting a gardening group. Visitors are very welcome. For more information please call Jackie Walker on 02392 298768. Dudes at Botley Market Hall! An extraordinary live show at Botley Market Hall will mark the beginning of another year of high quality entertainment at this village hall: On Saturday 11th February, 7.30pm, the “OPERA DUDES – THE CODFATHERS OF CROON” features an evening of songs and jokes from a couple of entertainers with the style and sophistication of Il Divo, the talent of Bocelli, the sharpest suits and the corniest of jokes! Tickets £14 which includes fish and chip supper. Tickets for the event can be purchased from local shop ’Etikett’ or ring 01489 781155, to obtain more information. Solent Branch of the Embroiderers’ Guild On Monday 15th January the Solent Branch of the Embroiderers’ Guild will be hosting an Inspirational Talk from Jane Hall. This is a return visit from Jane who left the Guild spellbound last year. Jane’s inspirational talks explore nature and provide an informative insight into the methods she uses to create her delicate fine art embroideries. So please, go along to share her passion for the natural world and transforming it into stitch. If you would like to join in, please go along. You will be made very welcome. They meet in the Parish Rooms in Titchfield, 7pm for 7.30pm. Visitors £5. For more details please contact Jenny Buckley on 01489 578117 or Christina Eustace by email; christina.eustace@ or visit our blog on


Fareham FARMER’S MARKET There will be Farmers’ Markets in Fareham’s West Street from 9am to 2pm on Saturday 3rd December and Saturday 17th December, so you can make sure that you are fully stocked with good local food to feed the family over the weekend. Up to 40 local producers will be selling the best of their produce directly to customers everything from freshly picked organic fruit and vegetables to free range eggs, from fish from local waters to rare breed meats, from home-baked bread and cakes to the honey made from local bees. Sample before you buy from the people who actually produce, and taste the difference in quality whilst supporting your local farming and rural community. Lee-on-the-Solent Residents Association (LoSRA) Monthly Community BOOST Event - The next LoSRA BOOST Event, theme Xmas Craft Fayre, will be held on 21st December in the Methodist Church Hall, Lee High Street, set up at and open to the public between 9.30 -13 00 pm. To book a table, 6ft at £5.00 and 4ft at £3.00, payable on the day, contact Ray Harding 023 92 551706 or Gill.Masterson 023 92 551303 A GUIDED WALK IN THE ALVER VALLEY Sunday 11th December at 2:30 p.m. It will be led by Fred Gibson, GBC Countryside Officer and lasts about one and a half to two hours. Meet at the small car park (where the Persimmon sales hut used to be) at the junction of Cherque Way and Fitzroy Drive. LoSRA are also hoping to organise another walk for those with limited mobility and in need of transport. If there are enough people who want such a walk we can organise this and also transport. If you are interested please contact Richard Mackay Chair LoSRA 023 92 550285 with your name and contact details. WHITELEY TOWNSWOMEN’S GUILD Will be celebrating the Festive Season again by holding their annual Christmas Social Evening. Would you like to meet new people in 2012? Why not come along to our

• DECEMBER 2011 •

meetings At Whiteley Primary School, Gull Coppice, off Yew Tree Drive, Whiteley on the third Wednesday of each month at 7.15 p.m. We have a varied programme of events and speakers. They have a craft section, reading group, gardening group, lunch club, cinema/ theatre club & weather permitting, a walking group. New members and visitors are always welcome. Meetings always end with a cup of tea, or coffee and a chat. For more information please contact: Mrs Pauline Register (Chairman) 01489 603356 or Mrs Chris Gray (Secretary) 01489 880421 Botley Choral Society BOTLEY, All Saints Church. Christmas Concert on Sat 10th December 2011, 7.30 by Botley Choral Society. We are singing Benjamin Britten’s Ceremony of Carols and traditional Carols, with audience participation. Tickets £12 and £10 concessions. Tel 01489 890007 or Likely to sell out. Christmas Concert Come and listen to all your festive favourites, played by the Warsash Band on Fri 16th and Sat 17th December at the Victory Hall in Warsash. Both concerts will have Father Christmas leading the traditional carol singing and will begin at 7:30 pm. Tickets are priced at £7.00 and £5.50 for concessions and will be available from Dave Gasser at the Victory Hall from the 1st December. Tel: 01489 572913. The Carol Services at Portsmouth Anglican Cathedral High Street, Old Portsmouth, are as follows: Thursday 22 December at 7.30pm sung by the Cathedral Choir - Entrance Free Friday 23 December at 7.30pm sung by the Cathedral Choir - Entrance Free

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Solent Life Magazine East December 2011  

Your number one local lifestyle magazine

Solent Life Magazine East December 2011  

Your number one local lifestyle magazine