Southsea Lifestyle – Free Magazine for Southsea, Old Portsmouth, Eastney & Gunwharf Quays

Reinventing the way we network in Portsmouth

Date: December 12th, 2018

Entrepreneurs from Portsmouth and surrounding areas are coming together to grow their network and there won’t be a name badge in sight.

Meeting people for the first time can seem daunting, however, it’s key in growing any business. Who knows what opportunities may arise or who you may meet.  That is why LDV hub has launched this event as a safe space for business owners to meet, feel relaxed and support each other.

“Business is changing and the corporate style of networking is very formal, hence why I wanted to create something more relaxed, fun and personal.” Lauren de Vries – Founder of LDV hub

Be part of something new and exciting, join LDV hub and other like-minded individuals at the Emporium Bar, Southsea at 6 pm on Tuesday 18th December.

Tickets available here: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/ldv-hub-the-vip-tickets-52964049899

LDVHUB@GMAIL.COM

WWW.LDVHUB.COM

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in: Local & Community, What's On

Shop local this Christmas

Date: December 5th, 2018

With an average of 14 high street shops closing across the UK every day, including some big name stores, it goes without saying that our local retailers need our support more than ever. No doubt towns and cities will evolve and empty retail space will take on different uses, but it’s likely to be a slow and painful process. Let’s try to keep the amazing variety of shops we already have in Portsmouth & Southsea, large and small. Here are a selection of just a few of the gorgeous gifts that can be bought around town this Christmas.

 

Fortune – Soy Wax Candle. Fortune Candles are hand poured using 100% natural soy wax with a wooden cedar wick – £20.00
Strong Island Clothing Co
87 Marmion Road, Southsea

 

Silver Sapphire clutch. Handmade sterling silver clutch set
with a fine quality round sapphire in 18ct yellow gold. Prices from £580.00Barbara Tipple Jewellers
15 Marmion Road, Southsea

 

 Notebook – £11.99, Worktop Saver – £29.99, Tide Clock – £42 all featuring maps produced under license from Ordinance Survey and exclusive to White Dog Gallery
11 Stanley Street, Southsea

 

 

Products in this image available from
Knight & Lee, Palmerston Road

 

PURE MARINE BIO ESSENCE COLLECTION: DISCOVERY KIT – £33
Organic skincare made with Portsmouth seaweed and coastal botanicals.
Southsea Bathing Hut
southseabathinghut.co.uk or at 2c Albert Road, Southsea

 

Stoneware Storage Jars, Mustard and Grey with Wood and Leather Lids, Set of 2 – Bloomingville Interiors – £21
Beau-Port Kitchens
33b Marmion Road, Southsea

 

Platinum & 18ct Yellow Gold, 17 x 14mm Oval Golden Citrine Asymmetric ring set with 33ct Diamonds – £1,893.00
Charlotte Cornelius
87A Marmion Road, Southsea

 

Bee Jewelled Shoe Clips – £95.00
Freya Rose
12 Grove Road South

 

Reindeers from £15.99 – £139 (with extendable legs)
Design House Southsea
55-57 Marmion Road

Posted in: Articles, Local & Community

Mister Christmas

Date: December 5th, 2018

A beautiful property, all set for an annual Christmas party and seasonal sparkle. 

Words by Kate Thompson. Photos: Derek Rodgers.

Mike Hodges certainly knows how to celebrate Christmas with style. His beautifully renovated home in Southsea comes into its own at this time of year – and his traditional Christmas party where he and Dan open the doors to friends and neighbours has become a much-anticipated date in the calendar.

“I started the party as a way to get to know my neighbours when I first moved here, and each year it has grown.

“We have about 60-70 people coming now and each party seems to get a little bit grander – which everyone seems to love.

“It started off as a bring-a-bottle party, then I started laying on Prosecco, and as things have progressed it’s now Champagne, and everyone dresses up to the nines.

“We hold it on the Saturday before Christmas – and since it has become so popular, we even have a marquee in the courtyard garden so we can accommodate more people.

“People now say they’ve got their new dress for the party – it really has become quite a thing,” he said.

Dressing the house for Christmas takes up to three days. There are two trees – one of which sits in the bay window and is the focus for many selfies.

“I do love to make the house look special at Christmas, and I’m always searching for new items to add, such as giant icicles to give it the wow factor,” he said.

As soon as Mike saw the former student property that is now his home, he could see beyond the graffiti and neglect.

“I have created a traditional look with fireplaces, cornicing, and I added panelling to the front room. I knew how I wanted the house to look, and I was able to design my own kitchen using the CAD drawing system I use to design gardens,“ said Mike, who is the award winning Head Garden Designer at Hambrooks in Titchfield.

A soothing colour palette includes four variations of white in the sitting room, and pale green in the kitchen and garden room.

“I didn’t want elaborate wallpapers, I wanted the structure of the house to stand out so I used colours that are quite tonal,” he explained.

Mike revealed he has got itchy feet and is on the look-out for a home with a larger garden, but admitted it will be tough to leave the home he has carefully created – and his lovely neighbours.

Posted in: Articles, Home & Garden

The light at the end of the pier

Date: December 5th, 2018

Words: John Worsey

Illustration: Kevin Dean

Professional Santa, Richard Gwenn, has such an amazing story, I can’t add to it. So here it is, in his own words:

“I had a good run, John. The plum Santa jobs start in May, believe it or not, with Christmas brochure shoots. In February, me and Lizzie would pack our suitcases and spend spring at our place in Tenerife. You’d want to put your feet up after all those months in the big black boots. 

“When I turned pro, I never looked back. Fitted me like a glove, all the ‘ho ho ho’, making kids smile. Lizzie and me, we never had little ones of our own, so… Yeah. 

“Thing is, it’s hard to be jolly when… Sorry, it’s just… With my big waistband, I never thought Lizzie would be the first of us to go… Horrible disease, it is. So cruel and quick. And you can’t… 

“It’s just tough to be Father Christmas when you wake up crying. It’s hard to spin tales about the elves when the truth is, you live in an empty bungalow in Emsworth, all alone. 

“I put a brave face on, of course. But that first Christmas, the closer it got, the lights in the shops and songs on the radio… I just couldn’t do it. So I cancelled everything. Shut myself in. Just sat there, on my half of the sofa, no Lizzie on the other side.

“On Christmas Eve, I couldn’t stand it. So I got in me car and drove, no plan, and found myself in Pompey, on the seafront. Got out, started to walk, and me legs took me onto South Parade Pier… Honestly, I think I was going to keep walking right off the end. 

“And then… The strangest thing happened… I know you won’t believe me. But there was a scrabbling, okay? A scuffling, from the shadows. Stopped me in me tracks. I called out, ‘Is someone there? Are you okay?’ 

“No answer, but I just knew. So I walked right over, into this dark spot where none of the lights reached, and that’s when I saw him. Quivering, he was, shaking like a leaf. He had part of his harness on, but it was frayed through. Must have happened mid-flight. 

“So there he was, this reindeer, and he’d caught a hoof in the boardwalk somehow. I said, ‘Alright mate, I’m here, it’s going to be okay.’ He looked right into my eyes. And he lit up. He glowed, just like they say about Rudolph’s nose, but all over. And I went, ‘That’s it, mate. You’ll be fine. You’re just a bit lost, okay?’

“I’d love to tell you I freed the poor soul. But I just said warm words and the next thing I knew, he pulled his hoof out, trotted up and licked me face, slobbery and full of love. Then he was up, up and away. A shooting star in reverse. 

“Straight away, from the other side of the dark place, this bloke said, ‘Is someone there? Are you okay?’ I pottered out of the shadows and there’s this feller with a fishing rod. He went, ‘Weee! It’s Father Christmas.’ And this laugh came out of me, ‘Ho ho ho!’ Right from my belly. 

“He went, ‘Seriously mush, are you alright?’ I said, ‘I think I will be.’ He squinted at me and said, ‘Are you on your own?’ I got a bit choked up at that, even though I was properly jubilant about helping that poor trapped reindeer – a reindeer, on South Parade Pier, can you believe it?

“Anyway, that was Rumal. Lovely bloke. Doesn’t really do Christmas, but he loves to fish. Took me back to his gaff, introduced me to the wife, made sure I got warmed up. Properly warm I was too, inside and out, first time in months. 

“It was after midnight when I got home. Christmas morning. I walked in the living room. Looked at Lizzie’s side of the sofa. And told her, ‘Love, I’m going to be okay.’ Then I pottered over to the window and looked up at the stars. Thought maybe I’d see my reindeer up there, flying past, all glowing. I didn’t. But I whispered ‘Merry Christmas’ for him, anyway. 

“And every time I say ‘Merry Christmas’ these days, it means more. Because I’m not thinking of mince pies and presents. I’m saying, ‘I know it can get awful dark. But don’t you forget how beautiful the light can be. Because sometimes people do. So let’s be the light for each other.’”

 

 

Posted in: Articles, Local & Community

Culture Vulture

Date: December 5th, 2018

A season of fairy tales, by Emma Beatty

Handsome Prince, Jake Quickenden

Are you going to a pantomime this year? Across the city, boy-band veterans and reality-TV stars are arriving at our theatres; donning their sparkliest waistcoats and practising their thigh-slapping. Oh yes, they are.

Amid the spangly scenery, there’ll be princesses, paupers, and wicked sisters in this annual mix up of broad comedy, sentimental love ballads, and cheesy dance numbers. I didn’t used to get it, but I’ve been going every year for over a decade now (since having my own children), and finally, it makes sense. The creaky in-jokes repeated in a set order; a ritual harking back to the old Musical Hall formulas now long gone. It’s one of the chief financial lifelines for many of the city’s theatres, and it’s just plain feel-good to be in a packed theatre at Christmas time. Here’s a round-up of the fairytale shows this month.

Best for audience participation: Groundlings is always good, and this year’s Cinderella (6 Dec-6 Jan) has cabaret-style seating, placing you in the centre of the action.

Best for TV fans: The Kings has familiar faces for its Cinderella (11 Dec-6 Jan) with X-Factor runner-up and Dancing on Ice winner Jake Quickenden as the Handsome Prince, and Hollyoaks, Marcus Patrick as Dandini.

Best for musical lovers: The New Theatre Royal has a slightly less pantomime-y take on Peter Pan (13-31 Dec), performed more like a musical, in a specially written new version by Scott Ramsay, the theatre’s CEO. He’s set it in and about Portsmouth.

Best for tax campaigners: Even the sporty Pyramids is getting in on the act, with a short run of Robin Hood and the Babes in the Wood (26-31 Dec), performed by Curtain Call theatre group. Expect lots of jokes about robbing the rich to pay the poor.

Best for ballet fans: For fairy-tale dance, the Guildhall has Ballet Theatre UK’s Sleeping Beauty, (27-28 December), with two matinees and two evening performances. Classical choreography by the Artistic Director Christopher Moore set to Tchaikovsky’s magical score.

Best for babies: For tiny tots – too small to sit through a full performance –  the Guildhall’s newest studio space is showing a special Christmas performance for babies aged 6-18 months. Little Star by Moon on a Stick Productions blends puppetry and music based on the song ‘Twinkle Twinkle Little Star’ (7 Dec).

Best for Moomin fans: Also in the Guildhall’s studio space, is a brand-new children’s show Moomin Mischief based on the classic children’s stories set in Moomin Valley where the Snork Maiden and little Mo live.  Magical puppetry and interactive play for young audiences aged 4 to 7 years (12 January). Expect snow, as it’s by Finnish author Tove Jansson. Step outside and you can have a skate on the Guildhall Ice rink.

[Bonus Christmas Cracker Joke:  Why was Cinderella no good at hockey? Because she was always running away from the ball…]

 The Jack House Gallery, Portsmouth High Street, is showing the perfect show for Christmas: Naivety, by Pete Codling (6 Dec-5 Jan).

Artist Pete Codling lives and works in Portsmouth, studying at the old Portsmouth College of Art in 1986, going on to study sculpture and work on numerous public art and sculpture commissions. His Naivety series is a remarkable sequence of large-scale densely drawn scenes. They blend classical, mythological and religious themes based on the story of the Christian Nativity, but subverted with contemporary political and personal content.

In Pete’s words, “The main body of work is the contemporary Nativity scene created by looking at the traditional characters of the Christmas story, and re-inventing them with a contemporary mindset. The intention is to open some seasonal discussion on what Christmas is about for all of us.”

Gallery director, Rebecca Crow said “This body of work throws up so many questions and sparks interaction between the viewer, the work, and the artist, which is exactly what Pete thrives on. His ‘take’ on the Three Wise Men, for example, had me asking myself who would I choose to represent that particular visiting delegation in my own imaginary version? The heavenly host of angels are riot police with golden helmet halos, Gandhi has a walk-on part as a shepherd.”

Posted in: Art & Culture, Articles

Pokemon Go!

Date: December 4th, 2018

Although it may have lost some of its initial enthusiasm this mobile game still has thousands of dedicated followers… Melika Jeddi tells us more. 

Have you ever found yourself wandering around Portsmouth, perhaps passing the Guildhall, or the Spinnaker tower and noticed a group of strangers gathered together, huddled over their phones and calling out to each other, as if part of some unusual cult? The chances are that you’ve just encountered some of the thousands of locals who play the popular mobile game Pokémon Go!

The game launched in 2016, quickly making headlines as millions across the globe picked up their phones and headed out into their neighbourhoods to catch the virtual creatures. The premise is simple – using GPS you can catch different pokémon as they spawn around you, hatch pokémon eggs as you walk, and get new items by spinning ‘pokéstops’. 

However, the game has evolved since its inception and remains very popular. Features have been added to encourage more social interaction, and to help the players discover their locale. 

You get rewarded by spinning new stops, which drives players to go beyond their local streets, and to really explore Portsmouth. I have visited so many fascinating places across the  city whilst playing Pokémon Go. 

One of the best new features, in terms of helping players get to know each other, was the introduction of Raids. These are special battles where you have the opportunity to catch rare (or even legendary) Pokémon. Many of these are only possible to complete when playing with others, with some Raids requiring at least 7 or 8 different players. This really kick-started the Portsmouth and Southsea community, with hundreds of players communicating with each other via Facebook chats in order to organise Raids. 

If you’re interested in playing, but don’t know where to start, I have some top tips, gathered from local residents:

– Gunwharf Quays is great for collecting new items, as there are a greater density of pokéstops, meaning you can spin lots of stops whilst walking a far shorter distance than you would normally need to. As you might expect, Water-type Pokémon are also really common here.

– Victoria Park is an excellent place to go if you want to find new Pokémon for your Pokedex. You can also enjoy the delightful aviary, and watch the real-life animals whilst you’re busy catching the virtual ones…

– Don’t be shy! Pokémon isn’t just for kids, and most people who play Pokémon Go actually tend to be in their 20s and 30s, we even have over 70s who play locally with us!

– For a truly social experience, take part in a Community Day. These are monthly 3 hour events organised by the game developers, and they give you the opportunity to catch shiny pokémon, which are rare colour variants and are incredibly sought after. There will also be hundreds of other players about for you to trade with, and battle alongside.

So, what are you waiting for? Gotta catch ‘em all!

 

Melika Jeddi

Posted in: Articles, Technology

Hackathon

Date: November 26th, 2018

Words by Kate Thompson

 

Families, hobbyists and students alike came together recently to spend the weekend having fun while making and creating apps, games and more during Hack Pompey, the city’s annual hackathon event held at the University of Portsmouth’s new Future Technology Centre.

The ‘hackers’ were encouraged to work on any ideas that might have been floating around in their minds but never quite had the time to materialise – or – to draw inspiration from the themes set for the event, which were: Smart Cities, Wearable Technology, Space, Game Jam, and Social Good.

Over the weekend more than 70 hackers in 20 teams ranging from society committees to whole families created some fantastic things. Some of the highlights included: a captioned photographic timeline of what the Curiosity Rover is up to on Mars right now, a prototype mobile-app designed to aid mental health support in the city, and even a meta-game simulating the challenges faced when running Hack Pompey!

Hack Pompey began in 2014 as a social hack day at Portsmouth University’s Innovation Space. Conceived by two School of Computing undergrads Zac Colley and Peter Jones, it has since become a non-profit organisation led by a team of six Portsmouth University graduates Tom Hewett, Louis Capitanchik, Ryan Thicket, Ahsana Choudhury, Ming Wu, and David Ralph.

“Hack Pompey exists to be a fun event for people to come together to solve emergent problems, or work on ideas that they’ve come up with, in an environment full of likeminded, helpful people from the local community – and best of all, it’s completely free,” explained Tom Hewett, one of the directors of Hack Pompey.

He added: “Something we really wanted to show people this year was that this could be a really great opportunity to work on something that could change the path of your life. Although it is just a weekend, what you might happen to work on could very well become a life endeavour thereafter. I’d highly recommend anyone to come along.”

One of the really inspiring aspects of this year’s event was the diversity in hackers. A great range of ages were present from a variety of different disciplines. The cross-pollination of minds from different backgrounds and stages in life always come together to mould really clever and exciting ideas and Hack Pompey was able to provide an opportunity to bring those ideas forth into reality.

The event was made possible through support from local tech companies such as Launch International, KnowNow Information and Port Forward; global companies such as Balena who specialise in internet-of-things tools and of course, the University of Portsmouth.

The next Hack Pompey will take place in Autumn 2019. To keep up with the team and other hackathons around the South Coast, you can follow them using the @hackpompey handle on most social media platforms, or by visiting hackpompey.co.uk 

Posted in: Articles, Local & Community, Technology

Lest we forget … bringing the names of the dead to the streets where we live

Date: November 9th, 2018

Words by Kate Thompson
Portsmouth City Council has found an imaginative way of honouring the soldiers and sailors who sacrificed their lives with a moving one-of-a-kind tribute on the streets of the city.

MORE »

Posted in: Articles, History & Architecture

10 households in Southsea still watching television on black and white TV sets

Date: November 8th, 2018

New figures released today by TV Licensing show that after more than 50 years of colour transmissions, 10black and white TV Licences are still in force in Southsea, with 109 still in force across Hampshire as a whole.

According to this year’s figures, London leads the way with 1768 black and white licences, followed by West Midlands with 431 monochrome licences and Greater Manchester with 390 monochrome licences.

Among counties in the South East of England Hampshire had the third highest number of black and white viewers after Essex (140) and Kent (133), followed by Sussex (107) and Bedfordshire (84).

The top three towns and cities in Hampshire with the strongest preference for black and white viewing are Southampton (37), Portsmouth (12) and Southsea (10).

Nationally, 7,1611 UK households are still watching television via black and white TV sets, rather than enjoying modern classics like The Bodyguard, McMafia and Killing Eve, in full colour.

Despite an increase in the use of smart televisions, as well as tablets and smart-phones to access TV content, a surprising number of UK households are spurning 21st Century technology in favour of nostalgic monochrome TV sets.

The number of black and white licences issued each year has, however, steadily been declining. In 2000 there were 212,000 black and white TV Licences in force, but by 2003 that number had shrunk to 93,000. By 2015, the number had dipped below 10,000.

 

Cody Want, spokesperson for TV Licensing London and South East, said:

“Over half of the UK’s TVs now connect to the internet1, so it’s pretty interesting that more than 7,000 households still choose to watch their favourite shows on a black and white telly.”

“Whether you watch EastEnders, Strictly or Question Time in black and white on a 50-year-old TV set or in colour on a tablet, you need to be covered by a TV Licence to watch or record programmes as they are broadcast. You also need to be covered by a TV Licence to download or watch BBC programmes on iPlayer, on any device.”

 

Jeffrey Borinsky, a London-based television and radio technology historian, added:

“There are hundreds of collectors like myself who have many black and white TVs. Who wants all this new-fangled 4K Ultra HD, satellite dishes or a screen

that’s bigger than your room when you can have glorious black and white TV!”

“30 years ago you could still buy black and white TVs, mainly small portables, for as little as £50 and it’s interesting to know that some of people still have them”.

A licence is needed to watch or record live TV, on any device including a laptop, tablet or mobile phone. You need to be covered by a TV Licence to watch or record live TV programmes on any channel or device, and to download or watch BBC programmes on iPlayer.  Find when one is needed at www.tvlicensing.co.uk/info

 

Black and White TV Licence – Top Lists

UK-Wide Mono licences in force Sep 2018
1. London 1768
2.West Midlands 431
3. Greater Manchester 390
4. West Yorkshire 281
5. County Antrim 165
6. County Tyrone 157
7. Merseyside 152
8. Essex 140
9. Kent 133
10. South Yorkshire 123

 

London and South East Mono licences in force Sep 2018
  1. London
1768
  1. Essex
140
  1. Kent
133
4.    Sussex 107
5.    Bedfordshire 84
6.    Hertfordshire 78
7.    Surrey 71
8.    Buckinghamshire 63
8.    Berkshire 63
9.    Suffolk 35
10.  Oxfordshire 30

 

  1. TV Licensing: Mono licences in force, 30 Sep 2018
  2. 2018 Ofcom Media Nations report

Posted in: Articles, Local & Community

A life on the ocean waves

Date: November 2nd, 2018

Maricar Jagger, Public Events Manager at The University of Portsmouth

Captain Iain Greenlees OBE RN

For a few years the South Regional division of the Royal Geographical Society has held joint lectures with the university, and we are really excited this year to host Captain Iain Greenlees OBE RN, who will give us insights into the dredging of the Solent in preparation for the arrival the HMS Queen Elizabeth, the largest warship ever built for the Royal Navy, and capable of carrying up to 60 aircraft.

It’s such a fascinating project, so let’s meet the person who is at the helm.

Iain was brought up in a small port on the west coast of Scotland, and submarines, minesweepers, and the occasional frigate would visit most weeks. A retired Admiral who lived around the corner used to walk him down and insist on him being given tours of the ships. He applied initially to join the RN at the age of 11, and signed on ten days after his 15th birthday.

He joined the Navy in 1976, initially as an engineer, and then became Warfare Officer in 1987. He had various warfare jobs at sea, and his last deployment was as Captain of HMS London from 1996 until 1998. 

Since 1998, his career has been based at Portsmouth Naval Base, where he carried out a variety of headquarters roles. Including the programme manager on the Second Sea Lord’s strategic change programme, before joining the Naval Base Commander in 2003. 

In 2005 he was promoted to Captain and was appointed as Captain of the Base. It was a challenging time for Portsmouth Naval Base, and for a period the future of the Base was in doubt. However, the outcome was a secured future for Portsmouth and the future home of the Queen Elizabeth Class Aircraft Carrier.

He said, “Successful infrastructure delivery is dependent on many organisations working effectively together.

“Providing the best facilities we can makes an immediate difference to the workforce and the huge range of different teams on site is one of the great facets of working here.”

Meet Captain Iain Greenlees and members of the Ministry of Defence (MOD) and Industry team when they present the story of the scientific analysis, licensing conditions, preparation for and delivery of the major capital dredge at the University of Portsmouth on 5th December. To book your free place please go to www.port.ac.uk/events

Posted in: Articles, Local & Community

Give me island life any day

Date: November 2nd, 2018

Words: John Worsey

Soufrière Bay, Saint Lucia

I recently returned from a trip to paradise. We tracked down a too-good-to-be-true deal on an all-inclusive holiday to St Lucia, in the Caribbean. So good, in fact, that the rep we phoned to make our booking put us on hold to make sure she wasn’t about to bankrupt the company.  

Without wanting to make your toes curl with envy, I can confirm the images you see of St Lucia – impossibly blue waters, improbably golden beaches, ludicrously luscious flora, and sun, sun, sun – are entirely representative of the holiday we’ve just had. 

Anyway, I’m not writing to brag about my wonderful life – I’m every bit as cold and irritable as everyone else after a few days back at work.

No, what I want to reflect on is a provocative question from the flight home. I was supposed to be interviewing a Portsmouth business for this edition of Southsea Lifestyle, but that had fallen through. Instead, deadline looming, my wife suggested, “How about a comparison between two islands – Portsmouth and St Lucia?”

I must admit my gut response was, “No contest!” But the more I thought about it, the more I realised there are points of comparison. Similarities which, I’m pretty sure, are down to our respective stature as islands. 

Standing on a sun kissed St Lucian beach, it’s easy to believe your deity of choice exists. But as I tried to stroll away the jet lag on Southsea seafront, I realised that it’s only familiarity that blunts the impact of our own coastline. Sure, it’s pebbly, breezy, and significantly colder in the water. Yet it’s still a vista that, if you look at it anew, gives you a sense of space, peace and perspective. 

Outside of the glitzy resort we stayed in, St Lucia is a humble place. It’s got its problems. Life is not easy, and the choice of careers is far from abundant. Yet its people seem to share an unshakable, genuine warmth. The closer you look, the more evidence you see of entrepreneurial spirit at every turn. Everybody finds a way to smile through their problems. And when the weekend comes, forget your troubles – it’s time to go out and let your hair down. 

Island life can sound isolating to someone who’s never lived it. But in my experience of Portsmouth and of St Lucia alike, there’s something healthy about being surrounded by water. No, we’re not Winchester, and we’ll probably never have their wealth. But what we do have is love for where we live, even when it’s shabby. 

A keenness to take chances, born of having to build bridges. And the ability, no matter how tough our week has been, to go out and reclaim the fun. 

As I found when I moved to Southsea in 2010, there’s a welcoming spirit here. It doesn’t have the novelty of a holiday abroad, but there’s a lot to love about our island. Next time an old friend tells me how tired they are of London, I’m tempted to send them a postcard: “Wish you were here?”

Posted in: Articles

Face to Face

Date: November 2nd, 2018

Talking to people with passion for what they do. 

Jacob Leadley

 

Jacob Leadley is an award winning winemaker for a new label – Black Chalk, produced at Hattingley Valley, near Alton in Hampshire. He is married with three children.

Did you always want to be a winemaker?  No, not always – I grew up in the North East of England and wine-making didn’t come up in our career talks at school. I spent 9 years working in London for a few banks before my wife Rebecca and I went travelling. It was while in New Zealand we first discussed winemaking as a distant dream. Once we returned to the UK we made the leap in 2009, both leaving our jobs on the same day. 

Black Chalk was released this year to great acclaim, but when did production begin?  All our grapes are sourced from grower vineyards within 10 miles of Winchester, we use Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier. The Meunier is a key element of the wines and I blend using a slightly higher proportion than most producers, it provides weight, texture and fruit. Our first vintage was in 2015 – these are the two wines we have released this year, Classic and Wild Rose. 

Why has English wine become increasingly popular?  English sparkling wine has over the past 15 years established itself as more than capable of competing on the world stage. Some say climate change is the reason but other factors have played a part. We have had a huge amount of investment in equipment and people, this is key when you are making premium wines. It is also clear that sales of sparkling wine in general have been growing for a number of years, and as people drink more, the idea of local grown, high quality sparkling wine appeals. It is becoming more popular because the quality is as good if not better as other options on the shelf at a similar price point. 

Can English wine ever compete with French wine producers? Simply put yes. In terms of sparkling wine we already do, we might lack the marketing power of  some French houses but we already compete and win both in sales and in competition.

How about a good English red wine?  The dream – I love Pinot Noir and think this is a good option for English winemakers, we have run some trials and other winemakers have made some very good Pinots reds over the years. This year might produce the best reds the country has seen, so eyes peeled for 2018 English Pinot Noir!

Tell us your thoughts about the mystique/snobbery that surrounds wine? Good question – I hate the snobbery. For most of us a good wine is one that you can drink with friends and family and does not cost a fortune. I always say that if you enjoy a wine then don’t let anyone tell you why you shouldn’t. Wine is a complicated world, 1000s of grape varieties, regions, styles and production methods. Some people take it too seriously. I make Black Chalk to be enjoyed but what drives me is making the best wine I can.  

Your favourite food and wine pairing?  Black Chalk – Wild Rose and Lobster bao buns from Two Doors Down in Southsea.

Posted in: Food & Drink

The winners of the Portsmouth Society 2018 design awards

Date: October 29th, 2018

Every year The Portsmouth Society tours the city to award good design in architecture and landscape. This years winners received awards at the Royal Maritime Club on 24th Oct.

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Posted in: Art & Culture, History & Architecture

Deborah Grant, The Case of the Frightened Lady, New Theatre Royal

Date: October 23rd, 2018

The Case of the Frightened Lady, New Theatre Royal, 29 Oct-3 Nov

Interview: Deborah Grant with Emma Beatty

The last time Deborah Grant was in a show in Portsmouth she was “running around the stage in her underwear with Joanna Lumley”, it was a 1972 Brian Rix farce at the New Theatre Royal. “It was the 70s, that’s just the way it was then,” she says. She was a classic 70s pinup with her blond hair and cut-glass accent. Grant remembers that Lumley introduced her to “proper curry” in Portsmouth for the first time.  Lumley used her “enormous charm” to persuade a local curry house to send along a takeaway; well before such things were normal. This time around, Grant is playing Lady Lebanon, the snooty grand dame of classic 30s whodunit The Case of the Frightened Lady.   

The story hinges on a previous murder in a country house. But, who’s the villain? This guessing game keeps the audience on their seats. “Many think it might be me,” says Grant. Lady Lebanon is a terrible snob and a “scary lady”. It’s played very straight though, Grant says, the period language and arch plot make some laugh too. It hovers delicately on the edge of knowing. It’s written by Agatha Christie’s contemporary, Edgar Wallace, who created the story of King Kong.

Fans of Lee Mack’s Not Going Out, will recognise Grant as his character’s Home Counties mother-in-law (with the long-running gag that he secretly used to fancy her). She’s due to start filming the 11th series of Not Going Out in a few weeks, including a live Christmas Special on 21st December.

For an actress in her early 70s, she still gets an impressive string of regular work, spanning high theatre, film and “endless medical dramas”. Home is Colchester in Essex, but she is used to the “hard work” of being on tour for months and staying in digs.

She is joined by an impressive ensemble, with many familiar TV faces: Scarlet Archer, from Emmerdale, is the young love interest; EastEnders suave John Partridge (who won this year’s Master Chef) is the sleuth;  Robert Duncan, best known as the oily Gus Hedges in Drop The Dead Donkey is a house guest; alongside  Philip Lowrie, Dennis Tanner in Coronation Street, as the butler.

As the clocks go back, and the dark nights draw it’s weirdly satisfying to settle down and watch such tales of violence and death—knowing you’re safe in the auditorium. Classic drama, can’t wait to see it.

Posted in: Art & Culture, What's On

Over 20,000 Runners for the Great South Run

Date: October 23rd, 2018

Portsmouth Plays Host to Over 20,000 Runners for Simplyhealth Great South Run Weekend

 

Now in it’s 29th year, the world’s leading 10 mile event saw Chris Thompson become the first athlete to win the Simplyhealth Great South Run for the third time – in 46:56.

His Aldershot Farnham & District AC teammate Andy Vernon came second at 47:29 and Petros Surafel came third in 48:05.

Eilish McColgan won the women’s field in 54:43, her debut over the 10-mile distance, following in her mum’s footsteps, who won the Great South Run crown in 1997.

Steph Twell came second in a time of 55:16 and Gemma Steel was third in a time of 56:56.

Jayne Fearn, Simplyhealth spokesperson, said: “The glorious sunshine made for great conditions for a fantastic weekend of events, from the first ever Canine Run to the Simplyhealth Great South Run on Sunday.

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Posted in: Local & Community, Sport

The People’s Museum

Date: October 10th, 2018

Words by Chris Horton. Photos: Charlotte Griffiths Photography

Curator, Susan Ward in the new RA exhibition

With its colourful history it’s not surprising that Portsmouth has a good number of museums, at least six according to my calculations, not counting the historic ships or attractions on the outskirts of the city. Although much attention has been given to the wonderful refurbishment of The D-Day Story and The Mary Rose Museum – recently nominated for European Museum of the year, the ‘city spirit’ is perhaps most keenly felt at Portsmouth Museum.

Entrance to Portsmouth Museum

On a recent visit I was extremely lucky to be shown around by the museum’s Curator of Art Susan Ward. We start in the new Royal Academy exhibition, Susan explaining how the room has been transformed to create space to display 100 or so drawings and prints from the museum’s permanent collection in celebration of 250 years of the Royal Academy. Featured artists include: David Hockney, Edward Bawden and Elizabeth Frink to name but a few. There’s a real mix of the historic and contemporary, landscapes and portraits and artists using a variety of methods and materials. As Susan guides me through some of the collection’s highlights our conversation turns to how the museum amassed so many pieces. Not since the 1980s has the museum been in a position to actively purchase works of art and instead relies on donations and bequests from the public. This sense of community assistance reached its peak in the 1950s when the council advertised for donations to help build the collection, after the Blitz bombings in WWII had damaged the original museum in Old Portsmouth. “Now 80% of what you see inside the museum is effectively from the people of Portsmouth” states Susan “It’s very much a people’s collection.” 

Back of Portsmouth Museum

Still very much reliant on the public’s generosity it is fascinating to see the depth of artefacts on display as Susan takes me through rooms of furniture,  glassware and ceramics. She must have a favourite piece I ask, embarrassed by the slightly childish nature of the question. She laughs but is quick to point out an amazing hand painted gramophone by Dora Carrington, one of the Bloomsbury artists. “I think it still works” she says excitedly. Before we can try and find some 78s to play, I’m being shown a pair of tile panels from the children’s wards at the city’s former Royal Hospital. Created by Doulton, they were mass produced, but as Susan tells me they are much loved by the public. “There may be thousands of pieces here in the building but it’s that sense of nostalgia which is a huge part of the museum experience. People are very proud of the collection and the connection it has to the city. There’s ultimately a lovely sense of warmth and appeal that comes with this place.” 

 

Susan doesn’t end up revealing her number one favourite piece – expertly dodging such a tough ask no doubt – but I quickly realise that the most priceless object is of course the museum itself. Formerly army barracks built in the 1890s the museum acts as a fascinating conduit to Portsmouth’s history and cultural impact which itself is a huge part of its identity. All of this through its collection of artefacts, many donated by local residents. It is a place of community and memory, knowledge and learning and a real treasure for Portsmouth’s residents and tourists alike.

Find out more about Portsmouth Museum, exhibitions and events:

http://portsmouthcitymuseums.co.uk

 

Posted in: Art & Culture, Articles, History & Architecture

Stage Right

Date: October 10th, 2018

Scott Ramsey chief executive of the NTR talks about new initiatives and new productions. Words by Emma Beatty.

Did you brave the rain at Victorious on the last day? When it poured down and blew a gale? If so, you might have taken refuge in the New Theatre Royal tent in the kids’ arena. Some 2000 people ducked in to dodge the cold. Inside, they found a new mini world full of colour and drama as Scott Ramsay, Chief Executive, of the NTR and his crew interacted with soaking-wet festival crowds. He and staff dressed in Peter Pan costumes gave impromptu improvs, offered dressing up and face painting. Maybe you spotted the brave man in the pirate costume wandering around to promote the theatre’s new Christmas show? Every time he bowed, water gushed out of his tricorn hat.

 

Being out and about is what Scott Ramsay loves to do to as he explained when we chatted about the new season coming up at the theatre. Above all, he says, he wants to bring theatre out to people as much as he can. Using storytelling to connect with an audience is what theatre is, he says, whether that be on stage, out at a festival, or via a podcast. Such as this summer’s outdoor performance of The Tempest in Gatcombe Park, Copnor. Or the performances of User Not Found planned for Canvas Coffee at Portsmouth & Southsea Station on 27 October.

 

There’s also a free family-friendly audio story to download from the NTR website from 22 December onwards. The new podcast, written by Scott himself, is set in Portsmouth and weaves a fantastical yarn through the 

city’s landmarks, following the adventures of a Lost Dragon and a girl called Emily (played by Lucy Morris, who plays Phoebe Aldridge in Radio 4’s The Archers, and is also a student at the University of Portsmouth). It’s got music and songs written by BBC composer Neil Brand, best known as the presenter of the Sound of Cinema and Sound of Musicals series.

 

Scott has also written the NTR’s big Christmas show, Peter Pan, which opens on 13 December and runs until New Year’s Eve. It’s his second big home-produced musical extravaganza, after last year’s Beauty & the Beast. The show’s all being made here in the city, and alongside the professional cast, there’s a local young ensemble, including Jamie Young and Lewis Heaysman from the local D/deaf club, who play two of the Lost Boys. Scott says it’s important for audiences to see themselves reflected onstage, which means a 50/50 gender balance and diversity onstage.

 

The music itself is made up of musical classics, some well-known, some now forgotten, such as ‘Three Mermaids’, a comical tour de force, as three mermaids fly around the stage on wires. Peter himself is played by Samuel Bailey, with NTR favourite Tim Lucas returning as the be-wigged baddie Captain Hook. Apparently, the Guildhall Ice Rink is coming back this year (it’s funded by the new Hilton hotel currently under construction at the end of Commercial Road, to drum up a buzz in a city centre). Looks like it might be quite a magical atmosphere on Guildhall Walk come this December.

 

Scott’s also got a new initiative where you can pay as much as you can afford for a ticket after you’ve seen a show. The Pay What You Can season consists of four productions that Scott has selected for quality and variety. “One reason that people are put off going to the theatre is that they don’t want to waste money on a show that they don’t know anything about. So with this system, no-one pays upfront. You just book a free ticket online, or at the box office, and pay whatever you want on the way out. If you love it, you can pay a bit more, if you hate it, or can’t afford anything – don’t pay.” 

 

Finally, Scott wants to shout out to all Under-25s to urge them to make use of the huge discounts for them. If you’re under 25, you pay only £10. Just sign up to the initiative via the Box Office or website.

Highlight’s coming up

Tom Dale’s I Infinite (9 Oct), part-dance, part-video-installation where audiences roam freely amid the performers.

The Case of the Frightened Lady (29 Oct-3 Nov), old school murder mystery starring EastEnders John Partridge, and Deborah Grant (Not Going Out & Bergerac).

Sherlock Holmes: The Sign of Four (15-17 Nov), part of the new Conan Doyle exhibition at Portsmouth Museum based on the novel penned by Doyle while he lived in Bush Villas in Southsea.

Keep the Home Fires Burning (4 Nov), wartime musical featuring a professional cast and a locally recruited over 50s choir, performing the songs of the Great War.

 

Pic credit: Scott Ramsay. Photo: Peter Langdown

Posted in: Art & Culture, Articles

Wayne Hemingway’s World

Date: October 10th, 2018

The design expert brings his creative oomph to Portsmouth Guildhall.

“Who needs Benidorm?” Why young people are returning to our coastal towns. And how you might be able to book boutique hotel rooms in the upper floors of the Guildhall. Words by Emma Beatty

Plans to modernise the Guildhall and its square are exciting news for the city, and the first phase – a new studio space on the ground floor– opens this month. The new performance venue, the Studio, in the Harlequin Room, is a smaller space, for about 200 people. Part of its remit is to help foster local talent and emerging art forms.

Wayne Hemingway is the creative lead on the ambitious £15 million “Renaissance Development Project”. He might be known to those over 40 as a 90s fashion guru, but his first degree was town planning, and he’s now Professor in The Built Environment at Northumbria University. His business, Hemingway Design, a team of architects and designers, has already been involved with regeneration projects in coastal towns such as Lowestoft, Morecambe and Margate –cutting them loose from gloomy boarding-house associations and helping them become “vibrant 21st-century coastal towns.” Hemingway’s also working with Havant Borough Council to regenerate Hayling Seafront, (have a look at the questionnaire consultation on his website).

A future Guildhall, Wayne Hemingway.

Now, he’s been called in by the Portsmouth Cultural Trust, the charity responsible for the running and operation of the Guildhall, to help rejuvenate the grand old building. With its stone lions, massive staircase and bell tower it’s an imposing presence, but Hemingway wants it to be “open, welcoming, outward-facing, and communicate its cultural significance”.

Plans include a plate-glass side extension running the length of the left side. This will be a contemporary social space for food and drink, exhibitions and performance.  “It should be a beacon, attracting people to the square. The Guildhall and Guildhall Square create a great space, and Portsmouth is a big enough city to fill it with life. It just needs imaginative planning to come alive with things like pop-up food retailers, performers, an increased programme of brilliant events and cafes.”

The revitalised venue will provide a year-round programme of music and performance alongside conferencing and business facilities, creative studio spaces and possibly even some boutique hotel accommodation In the under-used upper levels.

Hemingway doesn’t see the decline of nearby Commercial Road as a problem. “There’s more to cities than just shopping, and that will become more the case in the future as it was in the past. Think of society’s obsession with shopping in the 80s and 90s as an unsustainable aberration and with young people surviving on lower disposable incomes they are finding creative ways to enjoy themselves. People want to socialise, people-watch, see a performance or exhibition. The Guildhall can be a beacon for that, not just locally, but regionally .”

“We don’t need more shops, we need more culture, more places to meet.  Our coastal towns are on the turn, after the decline of the past. There’s a real change of spirit with today’s young people, embracing new possibilities. It’s down to the entrepreneurial spirit of local people to help bring about that change. The older generation may have decided they didn’t want to holiday by our coast anymore, and that places like Benidorm where better, but they’re not better, and a more enlightened generation is driving this return to appreciate the great places that we have at home.”

“Portsmouth and Southsea have got loads going for them – great architecture, great sea views, good train links. The Guildhall should attract people into the city. Think of the South Bank in London, it was somewhat underwhelming 20 years ago, now it’s a primary cultural destination.”

The Guildhall is actively fund-raising for the project. Individuals and businesses can get involved through various membership and sponsorship schemes.

Photo courtesy Glasgow Evening Times

Posted in: Art & Culture, Articles, History & Architecture

Welcome Home

Date: October 10th, 2018

Words by Kate Thompson

Getting your first home together is a major step for most couples and when Alasdair and James decided to take the plunge, they were dead set on buying a house.

Having viewed and rejected all the houses on offer from local estate agents, they weren’t keen to see a flat but all that changed when they saw this penthouse in Old Portsmouth, which has been their home since 2014.

Alasdair explained: “Flats weren’t on the cards at all and when Neil Maxwell at Fry & Kent suggested it we weren’t keen.

“But the moment we saw it, we could see the potential because it was such a blank canvas.”

James was on deployment with the Royal Navy during much of the major works that went on and Alasdair, who manages a restaurant in Gunwharf, lived through the disruption.

“What was due to be a couple of months work became nine months, but the pain was worth it in the end,” he said.

Working closely with Southsea’s Design Team Studios to redesign the space, the couple’s kitchen was completely changed, and they built into the loft space to create a mezzanine level with a study/library, perfect for movie nights and a master bedroom suite.

“We are North-East facing and have the light from 5am onwards. The double height ceiling space makes it feel light and airy, and that’s what really attracted us to the place in the first place.

“Building into the loft space made sense, and it was as if it was meant to be because there were windows up there already,” said Alasdair. The focal point for their contemporary home is their extraordinarily well-stocked bar area.

“It was a space next to the kitchen and at first we didn’t really know how else to use it. But then we hit upon the idea of a bar and we built it by recycling various things, including old kitchen work tops. We love to have lots of parties and this is the part of our home that everyone gravitates towards. 

“We have got a large gin collection. At the last count we had about 60 or 70 different ones and, of course, friends love to buy us more, which is great, as we like to experiment with cocktails.”

Cheers …

Posted in: Articles, Home & Garden

Anniversary of the Raising of the Mary Rose

Date: October 1st, 2018

The Mary Rose Museum 6th – 14th October

The hull of the Mary Rose is raised from the Solent on the 11th of October 1982. Image © the Mary Rose Trust.

On the 11th October 1982, the nation gathered around their televisions to watch the raising of Henry

VIII’s favourite ship, The Mary Rose, from the depths of the Solent.

The Mary Rose Museum will be commemorating the anniversary of this historic moment with a host of events across the week of the 6th – 14th October.

All week, a working model of Tog Mor, the lifting crane that raised the Mary Rose’s hull thirty- six years ago will be displayed in the museum. The giant model will be operated by one of the original Mary Rose divers, who will be on hand to talk about their personal experiences.

10th October 

The Raising of the Mary Rose – A Talk by Christopher Dobbs. 

18:00-21:00
£18, including exclusive evening access to the Mary Rose, a drink on arrival and an hour talk.

Join Christopher Dobbs, Head of Interpretation and Maritime Archaeology for the Mary Rose Trust on the 10th of October for a personal account into the process of excavating and raising the Mary Rose, one of the largest underwater archaeological excavations in history.
A fascinating event for anyone with an interest in British history, maritime archaeology or memory of the event itself, Christopher will give a fully illustrated talk and demonstration of how the Mary Rose was raised by the lifting crane, Tog Mor.

Guests will then have the opportunity to enjoy an exclusive evening tour of the museum with our team of expert guides.

 

13th October

The Mary Rose Anniversary Lectures

10:00-15:00
The University of Portsmouth
£42, including lunch and refreshments, and the opportunity to visit the Mary Rose Museum at the end of the day.

This one-day program of lectures is open to everyone and will take place in the Portland Building at the University of Portsmouth. The expert speakers this year include:

  • Dr Sean Cunningham – Head of Medieval Records at The National Archive.
    Lauren MacKay–Tudor historian and author of ‘Among the Wolves of Court: The untold Story of Thomas and George Boleyn’.
  • Dr Jane Malcolm-Davies – ‘The Tudor Tailor’ and historical clothing expert.
  • Dr Dominic Fontana – Historical Geographer with over 35 years of involvement with the Mary Rose Trust.
  • Hayley Simon – PhD student working on the Mary Rose cannonball conservation project.

For further information and tickets, visit https://maryrose.org/events/2018/10/10/talks-and-lectures/raising-lecture/

Posted in: Articles, History & Architecture

Welcome Home

Date: September 10th, 2018

Words by Kate Thompson

It’s the house you drew at school when you were a child (four bay windows with a door in the centre) – and Brett Holtom and Ed Garcia are delighted to call it home.

They were previously living in a flat in Old Portsmouth, but decided to move when they became the proud owners of a puppy.

“It does seem like an excessive purchase for a small dog, but we were keen to get some outside space,” confided Brett.

“Now we live in the perfect square mile in Southsea where everything is on our doorstep, from artisan bakers to cool cafes – and we just love it.”

It could have been so different. The pair were just a couple of weeks away from moving into a major-project purchase in Petersfield when they were gazumped by a celebrity – and instead found themselves moving into a delicious Victorian villa in Southsea.

“The house is perfect for our little life – you might think it’s a big house for just the two of us but we get lots of guests coming to stay.

“The scale of the rooms is just perfect, and has allowed us to be a bit more adventurous with our purchases because the rooms can take it.

Fiona Lawson from Design House Southsea in Marmion Road has been a guiding light for Brett and Ed.

“We’ve worked really well with Fiona. She advised us to start each room with one piece you love, and everything else will fall into place around it,” explained Brett.

Ironically, while being the deciding factor for making the move in the first place, their south facing, courtyard garden is positively bijoux, but Brett and Ed have made the most of the space with the clever use of design and mirrors.

“It is the tiniest space in our home, and we have done quite a bit of work to make the space work for us.

“Now we use it like another room. It is our al fresco dining area, and since we put a heater on the back wall of the garage, we don’t get cold and can stay out here until late,” he said.

When they moved, they undertook some major work replacing floors and re-instating period features such as cornicing and ceiling roses.

A formal dining room has now become a TV snug, and they are now preparing to make the biggest change to date when they create a new kitchen/diner space.

“We will be taking a wall down and the kitchen/diner will become quite large, but it will make this the perfect party house.

“We both love to play the piano, and our parties always end up with a sing-song gathered around the piano. Having this new space will mean the piano can be more available for when we break into song,” he said.

While Brett had lived in 20 houses before the age of 18, Ed, who comes from Tenerife, had only known the one family home – and it’s clear that having the right living space is something that is important for both of them.

Southsea clearly is the place they love to be and is endorsed by the fact that both are content to tackle a sizeable commute for their work.

“Ed works for BMW financial services in Farnborough, and I work for the Cabinet Office in London.

“I’ve lived in Southsea for 18 years and just love the place. We’ve got supper clubs, fantastic cafés, and delis to die for. But best of all, we love the nice people you bump into along the way.”

Posted in: Articles, Home & Garden

Autumn Lovelist

Date: September 10th, 2018

Girl About Southsea

I always love being out in the sunshine in the summer, and the longer days mean you can explore and enjoy so much more in Southsea. Then September comes, it gets a little cooler, the days start to get shorter, and from October we’re firmly in my favourite season. 

There are many reasons why I love autumn, but here are my top 4.

1. Autumn Leaves

Probably at the top of everybody’s autumn lovelist are the beautiful leaves on the trees and covering the ground below like a blanket in warm golden tones. 

2. Comfort Food

I absolutely love food, and the autumn menu changes in the local restaurants always excites me. The cosy comfort food and seasonal recipes celebrated throughout autumn make me so happy. 

3. Walks on the Beach

The beach is somewhere we like to visit all year round and in the autumn you get the perfect balance. The weather is not bitter like in winter, and the beaches aren’t too busy like in the summer. Wrapping up and walking along the beach, stopping to throw stones whilst watching the waves crash with the kids, the dog, and some coffee is a great afternoon out that we all enjoy. 

4. Countdown to Christmas

Autumn means we’re getting closer to Christmas! The Southsea Christmas lights switch-on is always towards the start of November, and is a guaranteed exciting event for the kids. 

Posted in: Articles, Local & Community

Culture Vulture

Date: September 10th, 2018

Art shows to see in the city by Emma Beatty

Rebecca Crow of Jack House Gallery and Derek Boshier

If you haven’t been to Portsmouth City Museum for a while, pop in; there’s a new room of the Sherlock Holmes display (useful if you’re interested in trends in graphic design). Upstairs in the art gallery, there’s a display of prints, drawings and sculpture by members of the Royal Academy to celebrate its 250th anniversary. There are about 90 works, all from the city’s own collection, by the likes of David Hockney, Henry Moore, Elizabeth Blackadder, Elisabeth Frink and Lynn Chadwick. Until 24 February next year.

Aspex in Gunwharf has new work by the artist Will Cruickshank. He makes fascinating hybrids of weaving and sculpture – sometimes mixing coloured threads in with plaster to create strangely beautiful new forms: fluorescent pink and moss green threads poke out of plaster cylinders, like the hairs on a plant or animal. Sizeable carved plaster and carved wood pieces dot the gallery’s floor space, with intricate weavings hanging on the walls. It’s a strange mix of the delicate and the hefty.

Cruickshank’s studio in Essex is in three converted grain silos where he experiments with improvised lathes, makeshift weaving machines and printing presses to make works from timber, concrete, plaster, wool, thread and paint. Look on his Instagram account to see some of the weird and wonderful contraptions at work. The show is sponsored by the Henry Moore Foundation and Knauf (one of the UK’s leading manufacturers of plaster, plasterboard). Until 16 September.

Inspired by Cruickshank’s zany creations, Aspex has organised its own tribute in The Inventors. It will commission three artists to explore new ways of making through a series of workshops, exhibitions and artist residencies across the city, from Gunwharf Quays to Buckland Activity Playground culminating at the Victorious Festival. They’re working with the Makers Guild too – the artist space in the Guildhall.

Jack House Gallery on Portsmouth High Street has become a beacon of quality art exhibitions. Its latest brings works by Portsmouth-born Derek Boshier, a key figure in the British Pop Art movement who designed The Clash’s album covers, and worked closely with David Bowie. He now lives in Los Angeles but knows gallery-owner Rebecca Crow so has lent works for this show 7 September-13 October. He’s a prolific painter and film maker, and never stops drawing. There will be a lot of drawings in the show: some funny, and some quite political. He’s also produced a series for the gallery called ‘Ghosts of Portsmouth’, a collection of famous people and fictional characters from Portsmouth.

Also on show will be large paintings of David Bowie as well as the original drawings for The Clash Songbook 2 series from 1979. Boshier used to teach Clash frontman Joe Strummer at the Central School of Art and Design in London, where Strummer briefly flirted with the idea of becoming a professional cartoonist, and completed a one-year foundation course. The two remained friends; hence Strummer commissioned him to design the band’s album cover. Likewise, Boshier was friends with Bowie until his death, and collaborated with him several times. There’ll be an evening of Boshier’s films hosted by the artist on 26 September and an opening talk by the art historian Marco Livingstone, a friend of Boshier, on the opening night.

Posted in: Art & Culture, Articles

Lipstick on your collar

Date: September 3rd, 2018

Step back in time to the golden era of Rock N’ Roll as live music show Lipstick on your Collar comes to Portsmouth Live music show performing classic hits from the 1950s and 1960s on Saturday 15th September at The New Theatre Royal- tickets selling fast!

Tickets are selling fast for an exciting music show coming to Portsmouth on Saturday 15th September 2018. Fresh from it’s West End debut at The Leicester Square Theatre, Lipstick On Your Collar is set to lift the roof off the New Theatre Royal with their spectacular show, playing an array of classic hits from the golden era of music.

From the birth of Rock ‘n’ Roll through to the Beat Group sounds of the British Invasion and beyond, expect tight harmonies, excellent vocals and plenty of dancing in the aisles.  The show will include hits from the likes of Connie Francis, Buddy Holly, Brenda Lee, Jerry Lee Lewis, The Beatles, The Ronettes, Cliff Richard, Cilla Black, Sandi Shaw and many more musical legends.

Taking inspiration from the iconic fashion and style of the time and performed by a full live band, the two hour show will take audiences on a fun-filled musical journey through the years from Rock Around The Clock and the birth of Rock ‘n’ Roll in 1955, through to the Beatles and the resulting British Invasion in 1964, with accompanying nostalgic video footage throughout.

Lead singer, Nicola Seeking-Smith, talked about the show, “We’re really excited to be bringing Lipstick on Your Collar to Portsmouth; Our band contains some of the country’s top musicians and singers, all of whom are massive fans of the era so we’re extremely proud of the show. The 50s and 60s are such an iconic period of time and we hope that our portrayal of this fantastic music will have people singing along and dancing in the aisles!”

Ticket prices from £20 each, and are available to purchase online at www.newtheatreroyal.com/performances/lipstick-on-your-collar/or via the box office on 02392 649000.

Posted in: Articles, What's On

Leading brands tackle plastic waste in our oceans

Date: September 3rd, 2018

Did you know Wiggle is the world’s largest online cycling and tri-sports retailer, serving customers in over 100 countries and it’s head office is in Portsmouth? The Wiggle Group started from a small independent bike shop in Portsmouth called Butler Cycles. Mitch Dall bought the bike shop in 1995 and began trading online a few years later. Wiggle now has over 1,000 employees across offices in Portsmouth and Belfast.

Wiggle has always taken a responsible approach to the environment and for promoting the use of sustainable materials in sports. One of it’s leading brands is Adidas. Their popular Adidas Parley range, including sports clothing and trainers are made entirely from plastic bottles and yarn produced from recycled ocean plastic waste. It’s a terrific commitment to the environment by a major manufacturer particularly to plastic waste in the oceans.

 

To underline both Wiggle’s and Adidas’ commitment to tackling plastic waste, they recently teamed up with the local environmental group Final Straw for a beach clean near South Parade pier, Southsea. Over the course of just one hour, volunteers collected 2kgs of waste, including plastic bottles, a lego brick, 1,000’s of cigarette butts and 2 pairs of mens boxer shorts!

Photos: Ben Read Photography

Posted in: Articles, Local & Community

History Hot Spots – Southsea Common

Date: August 24th, 2018

Words: Victoria Doxat

Image courtesy of Victorious Festival

A popular family hot spot and the home of Victorious Festival, it’s difficult to imagine how different Southsea Common would have looked 200 years ago.

Contemporary accounts describe the Common as ‘a swampy wasteland filled with rubbish’ known as the Great Morass.

As Old Portsmouth began to increase in size, more land was needed for housing and between 1831 and 1843 the Great Morass was first drained and then levelled – eventually creating the area that we now call Southsea Common. 

Gradually the Common began to be developed into a pleasure ground and in 1848 Clarence Esplanade was built, soon becoming a focal point for visitors to Southsea, drawn to the fine sea views.

By the end of the 1850’s, areas to the north and east of the Common had been developed for housing under the command of Thomas Ellis Owen, the renowned architect and local speculator. Southsea soon became a bustling seaside town which attracted huge numbers of tourists each summer. 

Southsea Common remained at the heart of the suburb of Southsea but by the 1860’s the residential areas had increased and now stretched from Clarendon Road as far as Granada Road. This spurred on further development of the Common and after the Council took lease of the land in 1884 a walk known as Ladies’ Mile was created and in 1886 Canoe Lake was formed.

The housing development to the north of the Common was largely complete, but the Common continued to be developed and planted with gardens. In 1922 Southsea Common was purchased from the War Office by Portsmouth City Council and was designated as a public park. The Council continued to develop the area and added further gardens, bowling greens and tennis courts from the 1930’s onwards. 

In 1953 the Common was registered under the Historic Buildings and Ancient Monuments Act. This means that the Common will continue to be at the heart of Southsea and continues to be developed in response to the needs of local residents. 

Over the past few years Canoe Lake’s Victorian grass tennis courts have been restored and a new tennis pavilion and café have been built by Canoe Lake Leisure as a philanthropic enterprise. 

Victoria is a writer and lecturer and has lived in and around Portsmouth for most of her life. You can read her entertaining blog at www.jellynightmares.com

Posted in: Local & Community

Victorious Festival 2018

Date: August 6th, 2018

As proud sponsors of Victorious Festival, the UK’s biggest metropolitan festival, Southsea Lifestyle looks forward to a great bank holiday weekend – 24, 25 & 26 August 2018

One of the most impressive aspects of Victorious is not just the growing number of people attending (over 143,000 in 2017), or the huge variety of acts, but how, by the next day, the Common has been so carefully cleaned, it’s difficult to imagine such a large, fun-packed event ever took place. Restoring the Common so quickly is indicative of the integrity of the organisers of the festival, and why it has been up for a plethora of awards, including Best Major Festival and Best Family Festival. Over the past year, Victorious has also donated over £150,000 to local charities and infrastructure projects.

Looking towards this year’s festival, The Libertines, Kaiser Chiefs (Fri night). Paul Weller, Paloma Faith, Brian Wilson (Sat). The Prodigy, Years & Years, Friendly Fires (Sun) all take to the stage.

Other Attractions 
Although headline acts are the big draw for most festival goers, the festival prides itself in showcasing plenty of local and alternative talent. Two female singer-songwriter artists to look out for are Dani Uziel appearing on the Acoustic stage (Sun) and Megan Linford, Real Ale stage (Sat), both Southsea musicians, and both playing contemporary folk/blues. Megan is also one of the organisers of The People’s Lounge (showcasing folk artists), which can be found as part of The World Music Village. 

Victorious Festival 2017

The World Music Stage (presented by the charity Arms Around the Child) never fails to surprise with an inventive line up. Neneh Cherry’s Live DJ set returns to get proceedings off to a flying start on the Saturday, followed by everything from urban equatorial African funk (Kasai Masai), to American bluegrass music (Steepways).

Large bands seem to like long names, the high energy, eight piece Strumdiddlyumptious being a good example – Acoustic Stage (Sat), or the popular Southsea Alternative Choir, who are set to play several stages over the weekend. 

Richard Morris’ reputation continues to grow, having played across Europe, he has also been working at Portsmouth Music Academy. You can find him at the Real Ale Stage (Sat). Same day, same stage, catch the haunting lyrics and vocals of Percival Elliot, (named after a 19th century inventor) who regularly performs at sold out gigs across the UK, and collaborates with Fat Boy Slim.  

The festival includes several new additions, including Literacy Live, showcasing a variety of writer/performers reading from their books or poetry collections. Writers include best selling author Daisy Buchanan, How to be a Grown Up and top tweeter and fashionista @BtonGirlProblems. Pop into the brand new

Comedy Tent to see the South Coast’s best comedy talent, including Sunjai Arif, who has been hosting popular comedy nights at Southsea’s Wave Maiden, and Lucy Bee, as seen on the BBC’s Children in Need. 

As ever you won’t go hungry at Victorious with a huge selection of food available, including local favourites Wild Thyme, Southsea Beach Cafe, and Pie & Vinyl. Street Food Way is also a new attraction, serving a selection of international cuisine perfectly placed near the World Music Village. 

Market Way is the place to go for vintage/ thrift stores and arts & crafts. At The Market Place, Charlotte Cornelius jewellery is offering a free-to-enter competition to win a platinum & diamond necklace worth over £3,000. 

Aspex has been hosting 3 artist makers at the gallery this summer, with a series of workshops (see p.52) and exhibitions, all coming together at Victorious. And if you come across someone painting quick impressions of the festival, it’ll be the artist Kevin Dean.  

Family means everything at Victorious and it has its own dedicated 30,000 square metre Kids Arena, where all activities and attractions are free. Here you’ll find the Kids Arena Stage with its own line up of kids’ book and tv favourites. Plus, there’s tonnes of free activities to keep young ones entertained from taster sports sessions, face painting, and arts & crafts.

Last year tickets sold out well before the event, so don’t leave it too late to get yours, go to www.victoriousfestival.co.uk to purchase online. Friday: £40, Saturday: £45, Sunday: £45, (fees apply).

Posted in: Articles, Events

City Spaces

Date: August 6th, 2018

Words: Mark Harris. Photos: Miguel Blasco Martin

One of the most successful public regeneration projects to be realised in Southsea recently has to be the new water feature at Southsea Castle, along with the revamped D-Day Story museum. It shows what can be achieved when there is a shared vision between talented designers and supportive commissioning bodies. Obviously, the small matter of adequate funding is the key driver in bringing these elements together. Kudos must be given to Portsmouth City Council, the Victorious Festival owners and former councillor Linda Symes for the new water feature, plus the Heritage Lottery Fund grant of £4.1m for the D-Day museum works. 

Before the transformation the previous fountain and it’s rather turgid water was a place to hurry past on the way to the beach or castle. It is now a great place to take my children to meet their friends and have fun. 

As for the D-Day museum, I last visited several years ago with my son. I was struck by how unloved the building and the exhibits had become. There was also a feeling of the museum being isolated from its surroundings. Not a particularly fitting tribute to the gallant efforts of all the people who took part in the D-Day invasion, one of the most important campaigns in WWII.

I’m happy to report that all of this has now changed. I had the privilege of a guided tour by the museum’s manager, James Batney. James explained that the aim of the D-Day Story was, “to tell the story of D-Day by focusing on the personal stories and artefacts of those involved to create an educational and immersive experience – not typical of a military museum.” Some of my favourite artefacts included: the silk dress made by a French citizen from a British parachute; Betty White’s coat belonging to a five-year-old Gosport girl covered with badges collected from passing troops; and the statue of Gustav the pigeon, who returned from France with news of the successful landings.

According to James, the response to the new museum has been overwhelmingly positive. Great care has been exercised in designing the new layout, which creates a journey through the D-Day landings from the planning to the commemorating of this momentous event, climaxing in the astonishing 83m long Overland Embroidery. Internally, the centre of the museum has been opened up to create a vibrant open space that contains the shop and café, and external links to Southsea Castle and the Common, along with greatly improved accessibility.

No doubt the success of these projects will encourage the renewal of other public spaces in Southsea. 

Mark’s website:
www.mjharchitects.co.uk

Posted in: Articles, History & Architecture, Local & Community

California Dreaming

Date: August 6th, 2018

Words: Maricar Jagger, Public Events Manager at The University of Portsmouth

Steve Rad is one of the University of Portsmouth’s success stories. Born in Southsea and raised in Telephone Road, he went to nearby schools and confessed to being ‘a bit of a lad’ in his younger days.

Age 8, Steve’s father decided to chase his American dream to seek his fortune. Left behind, Steve’s mother raised him single-handedly.

At 12, his father invited him to live with him in Orange County, California. There he fell into a geeky crowd and spent much of his time computing.

Back in Southsea two years later, Steve went to King Richard School in Paulsgrove, Portsmouth College, followed by a degree in Computer Science at the University of Portsmouth.

California had inspired him. Even before he graduated, he had already set up his own company with fellow student James Taylor. Radweb was born in a flat on Alhambra Road. Two years later Steve registered the company officially, and graduated from his degree. After a spell of work, he enrolled on a Master’s Degree in Digital Marketing at the Portsmouth Business School. 

Steve and James Taylor worked hard to build the company, and began employing staff. 

“I believe in surrounding myself with good people, and I want them to be cleverer than me”, he said. He wants to work with people who share a strong passion for the business. 

Nowadays, Radweb has an office in Hilsea with 14 employees and a turnover of over £900k. He takes on a couple of students each year on work placement.

At 33, with a growing business under his belt, Steve can take time out to enjoy life with his partner and two children – who keep him grounded. Steve still  helps out with his uncle’s music business and sponsors Victorious Festival. If he’s looking for a night out, he heads for Albert Road, he also recommends Kassia’s tapas-style Indian dishes in Osborne Road.

In November, he will be sponsoring the Big Networking Night at the Portsmouth Business School.

If you would like to realise your own dream of growing your company, join Steve Rad and the most powerful person in media, Karen Blackett OBE, on 15 November. For more information contact events@port.ac.uk

Posted in: Articles, Local & Community

Southsea’s Unsung Hero

Date: August 6th, 2018

Words: John Worsey 

Sometimes it feels like we live in stressful times. It’s a day-to-day thing. The way we work, the way we commute, the way we shop, the things to which we aspire – it can feel as if every hour holds a choice between finally relaxing for a moment, or ticking the next thing off an endless to-do list. Tomorrow will always be better. Just got to get through today…  

There’s one thing that never fails to break that enchantment for me. I go for a walk with my dog, Max.

Unless it’s raining (or snowing – remember that?), we’ve usually followed the same route for his lunchtime walk for the past six years. Every day, he experiences it as if for the first time. 

He’s excited, pulling at the lead, eager to see what he can sniff out. Walls we’ve passed hundreds of times offer up an abundance of up-to-the-minute olfactory communications from the other neighbourhood dogs. 

He’s always happy to see other people who are out and about on the Southsea streets. Sometimes he insists we stop and wait for a complete stranger behind us to catch up, as they will surely want to say hello to him. He’s usually right. 

We turn into Highland Road Cemetery and he’s off, tracking down the latest squirrel paths, and flinging fallen pine cones around with gleeful abandon. 

It’s impossible to go on a walk with Max and not return home feeling in some way refreshed and re-set. It isn’t just his comedic antics with pinecones that bring a smile to my face. It is everything about the way he experiences the world – he’s always living in the here-and-now, experiencing what’s real and right in front of his face, focusing on whatever is interesting or fun, not worrying about what happened this morning or what might happen this afternoon. It’s as if being part of his experience hits a reset button in my head.

And there’s something else that never fails to cheer me up. It’s what Blanche DuBois called “the kindness of strangers.”

I want to say a big thank you to the unsung hero who leaves water bowls for dogs in the cemetery. We’ve never met you. We’ve never even seen you. But Max knows he can rely on you, so he always has a drink by the tap at lunchtime. Dogs do love their routines, after all. 

You play an important part in his walks, even though we’ve never met. I love watching him, gratefully lapping up his refreshing drink. And I love your thoughtfulness in making sure there’s always something for all the local dogs to drink from.

It’s a small thing, but it matters, and in its own little way, it makes every day a little brighter. You’re one of the big, thoughtful hearts who make Southsea such a beautiful place to live. So, cheers to you! I hope you read this and know you make a difference, whoever you are.

Posted in: Articles, Local & Community

Southsea Tennis Star Plays at Wimbledon

Date: July 10th, 2018

Southsea tennis sensation Blu Baker is competing at this year’s Wimbledon championships as a ‘wild card’. Wild card players are offered a place in the tournament whose world ranking isn’t high enough to automatically qualify them for Wimbledon, but show great promise.

The teenager is currently ranked 127 in the world under-18 rankings and he puts his meteoric rise down to the expert coaching he is receiving at the Rene Gomez academy in Florida where he has been since the age of 10.

His father Portmouth Tennis Academy head coach Kevin Baker says his son’s success is down to his single-minded commitment to the game. The family has been split between England and America but they all agree the sacrifice has been worth it.

“Blu wouldn’t be where he is today if he was still based in the UK,” said Kevin.

‘My wife lived with Blu in America for the first four years but he is now living in the academy’s house. There have been some tough times but it is what needed to happen.

“Blu first visited the academy when he was 11 and he loved it right from the start.

“It’s where he wanted to be and I felt he needed to be in this high intensity, highly motivated environment.”

“My dream is to play and win the US Open at Flushing Meadows. My idols are Juan Martin del Potro and Bjorn Borg – I would love to play like them.

“I am getting stronger and stronger by the day and I am looking forward to developing a career in tennis” he said.

Posted in: Articles, Sport

Face to Face

Date: July 5th, 2018

Talking to people with passion for what they do.

Photo: Belinda Cleary by Chris Ison

Belinda Cleary is an award-winning hair stylist, who has worked at many of the city’s top hair salons. Born in Horndean, her salon, Medusa, is well known for its innovative styling and hair colouring.

Did you always want to be a stylist?  

Yes, all of my Barbies had bobs.  

How did you start?  

I trained at South Downs college, and my first job was with Hair of London at the Tricorn. I went on to work at Crown, Rama, in Petersfield, Alan Paul and Crew. 

You opened your own salon in 2011, how did that happen?  

I took 4 years out to bring up my children, and then worked part-time until my children started school. It was at that point I thought, now’s my chance to start my own business. 

Its been a massive learning curve, and I didn’t know what to expect, but its worked out very well.  

Why Medusa?  

Looking at my curly hair, a friend joked that I looked like Medusa, and I thought that’s a good name for a salon. 

What’s your signature look?  

We are a colour destination! Our passion is delivering a great cut, especially if clients are looking for a radical change, but we also have a passion for colour.   

And you have won quite a few awards… 

Yes, including Grand finalist in The British Hairdressing Business Awards, London – Best salon 2017; 5 stars in The Good Salon guide; and finalist in the Portsmouth News’ Hair & Beauty awards. 

Your daughter works with you – how do you find that?  

Megan is about to finish her apprenticeship, so she will want to move on eventually. She’ll do well: whether she’s cutting hair or applying make up, Megan’s an artist.

Hair care – things to avoid?  

Colouring at home, not using the right shampoo for your hair.

Things to DO?

Listen to your stylist’s advice. Use heat protection when blow drying.  

Styles for the summer?  

Braids are big this year and there’s some new exciting colour ranges, allowing for a multi tonal colour.   

Plans for the future?  

We have outgrown our current salon. I’ve got a couple of new places in mind, all in central Southsea.   

Posted in: Articles, Local & Community

Keeping Everything Ship Shape

Date: July 5th, 2018

Words: Maricar Jagger, Public Events Manager at The University of Portsmouth

Photo: Dr Eleanor Schofield by Chris Ison

Dr Eleanor Schofield came to settle in Portsmouth 6 years ago. She had worked as a researcher at the University of Kent for over two years to understand how the Mary Rose’s wooden structure had deteriorated, and to develop new treatments. It was a dream come true when she was then offered a job at the museum.

Today Eleanor is the Head of Conservation & Collections Care at the Mary Rose, where she is responsible for the conservation of the hull and the 19000+ artefacts raised with the ship. Her job also involves overseeing the collection management, and the maintenance of the museum.

“My greatest passion is the research we do to help us understand the artefacts; we use that information to develop new, innovative conservation treatments and monitoring methods,” Eleanor said.

As a materials scientist, she uses her training to understand the materials the artefacts are made of, how they have deteriorated, and to determine what needs to be done to make them stable for years to come.

“Science is everything and everywhere! There is a misconception that science is boring, and follows a prescriptive path. This couldn’t be further from the truth – it is about being curious about how things work and react. It’s about looking at creative ways to answer difficult questions, and using this information to understand the world around us.”

On 21 June, the Mary Rose Trust, in partnership with the University of Portsmouth will be hosting an event: ‘the future of women in engineering’.  

“We have invited a panel of people from secondary education, academia, research and social engagement to discuss the theme. Discussion is important and can help to identify the barriers. Only when we identify the barriers can we try to find a way to break them down.”

There has been a long association between the Mary Rose and the University. Eleanor has been working with the School of Civil Engineering on studying the drying behaviour of the Mary Rose hull and the PhD student working on this project has just recently graduated.

“We have also arranged joint events in the past for British Science Week. People often do not realise the amount of science and engineering that goes into producing and maintaining a museum and collection such as ours. It is great to put that on people’s radar.”

Eleanor works closely with a number of other universities such as Glasgow, UCL, and Kent, and she is an honorary lecturer at Imperial College London. But Southsea is home to her.

“I really LOVE living in Southsea. I live very close to the seafront ,and I love to run/walk/cycle along the beach. I love that Southsea has so many independent cafés, bars and restaurants, and there seems to be new places opening all the time!”

“My favourite restaurant is Istanbul on Osborne Road, and I also like Huis – my partner is Belgian, so it makes him very happy going there – a little slice of home in Southsea!”

For information on The Future of Women in Engineering event at the Mary Rose Museum, go to the museum website www.maryrose.org or www.port.ac.uk/events

Picture Credit: 

Dr Eleanor Schofield  Photo: Chris Ison

Posted in: Articles, History & Architecture

Summer in Southsea

Date: July 5th, 2018

Southsea was made for the summer – Kate Thompson talks to people who make their living along the seafront, what they love about being beside the seaside and their plans for the summer…

Photo: Beaches N’ Cream by Sarah Brown

A magnet for the old and young, Southsea seafront is the perfect place to escape the confines of home, and wallow in the warmth of a summers day by the sea.

And there really is something for everyone with the kiss-me-quick fun of South Parade Pier, and the cool vibe of Southsea Beach Café.

Photo: Southsea Beach Cafe by Sarah Brown

A recent survey claims that Portsmouth is the UK’s most body confident city, with 75% of the residents surveyed saying they had few qualms about their appearance, so it stands to reason that these proud locals will be heading to the promenade to strut their stuff*.

“I love people watching,” confided Melanie Smith, who has been running Beaches N’ Cream selling a variety of hot and cold drinks, snacks, ice creams, and milkshakes for the past three years. “The beach is the best place to be – it’s such a happy place. 

A former stewardess with Gulf Air, Melanie has always enjoyed working with people.

“The best part about running a business on the beach is you get to meet so many new people. There’s always something going on at the pier or on the Common – people are on holiday, or out for the day as a family.

“It always puts a big smile on my face.”

Just along the promenade heading towards Eastney, Salim Miah has been running the Indian Food Hut for the past six years. Along with more traditional fare, he serves delicious pakora and onion bhajis.

“A lot of people are now asking for halal food such as halal chips, and I have plenty of regular customers.

“People like the fact that the beach is clean and they can park easily – it attracts people from different ethnic groups.

“They like to come down from London for the day to enjoy the seaside,” he said.

At the popular Southsea Beach Café, manager Ben Truman is looking forward to a busy summer.

“We can’t wait to get the roof off and let the sunshine in,” he said.

Their popular barbecues on the beach on Friday and Saturday nights are back, along with pop-up nights featuring the likes of Shellfish and Soul nights and live music.

On South Parade Pier, Max Hiatt at Tea on Sea is keen to attract even more customers when their new decking area opens.

“It will transform what we can do here. We will be able to cater for 72 people – people can stop for coffee and cake, or churros and crêpes, and we hope it will attract even more people to come here,” he said.

One person with an eagle-eye view of everything going on at the beach is Olga, who has just moved from the Midlands into a penthouse retirement apartment at Savoy House opposite South Parade Pier.

Her balcony offers the perfect position to watch the world go by, aided by the soothing sound of waves lapping on the shore.

“I do love the view, and the fact it is always changing depending on the weather and the time of day.

“I’m really looking forward to being here in the summer and making the most of being so close to the beach,” she said.

*Survey of Britain’s most body confidence cities, taken by MYA OnePoll Survey. Portsmouth polled no.1 out of 15 UK cities as the city with the most body confident population, with 75% of residents rating themselves as very, or somewhat confident about their appearance

Photo: Solent Sky Services

How was that shot?

The aerial image was taken by Solent Sky Services, (SSS). Sara Woods of SSS describes how it was shot and the safety guidelines followed. “We sent our remotely controlled drone 100m high in the air and about 50m out from Southsea Castle, which is where we angled the camera and aircraft to capture 8 5.2k images, which were stitched into the panorama. Just like any aircraft we check our drone before take off, landing and during the flight, we had to ensure we were not putting anyone, or other aircraft in danger. Our take off and landing was monitored and kept clear for our pilot, by our spotter.”

Solent Sky Services uses the latest technology and drone equipment to provide images for promotions, special events, including weddings and sailing competitions, along with surveying properties. Call 023 9387 9555 www.solentskyservices.co.uk

Picture Credits: 

Melanie Smith of Beaches N’ Cream.  Photo: Sarah Brown

Tea on Sea. Photo: Maison Manning

Southsea Beach Cafe. Photo: Sarah Brown

Posted in: Articles, Local & Community

Samantha’s five big lessons for small business success

Date: July 5th, 2018

Words: John Worsey

Something unexpected has happened since I wrote about Albert Road’s community of independent businesses in the last edition of Southsea Lifestyle. An entrepreneur I know well has taken the lease at 2C Albert Road, and will soon join them.  

Since 2015, I’ve seen Southsea Bathing Hut (“natural skincare from the seaside”) grow from a home-based business, making products on the kitchen table, into an international award winner with a growing network of stockists. And I know better than most how hard its founder, Samantha Worsey, has worked to make this happen. Because we’re married. 

Sitting at our kitchen table (no longer covered in clays, botanicals and essential oils), I asked her what she has discovered about building a successful business. Here’s what she said.  

Visualise your goals

“The concept of Southsea Bathing Hut arrived in my head fully formed: A shop selling artisan natural skincare, made by me, alongside carefully sourced coastal interior goods. I started with nine soaps and some handmade towels at the Love Southsea Market, but this is what I was always building towards. If you have a clear vision of where you’re going, it’s much easier to make the right choices and deal with setbacks along the way.”

Don’t procrastinate, act!

“I could have delayed all kinds of things – from the decision to quit my old job, through to the choice of premises for the shop. It’s not as if I’m always super-confident that everything will work. Big leaps forward always feel risky, but because I know what my goals are, if I see an opportunity to get closer to them, I jump on it. No business grows by standing still and waiting.”

Listen to your customers

“Although I had a vision of what the business would become, our customers have really brought it into sharper focus. Almost every product I’ve developed has been a response to customer demand. Starting on markets was brilliant for testing ideas interactively. We’ve got a really broad range now, and many products exist because of customers’ skincare needs or desires.”

Have the courage to say “no”

“About six months after we launched, an international retailer found us online, and asked to place a large order. Then they tried to beat me down on price, before fulfilling it. I could see that this kind of relationship might damage us. Delivering their orders would take so much time, we’d neglect our own customers. And at the price they wanted, we’d be unable to grow. So I walked away. I haven’t regretted that decision for a second.”

It’s nice to be important, but it’s more important to be nice

“Southsea Bathing Hut has been privileged to win some great awards. And I’ve left the ceremony early because I’ve got a street market the next morning. Never let successes go to your head. All that matters is making your customers happy. I’d much rather be out having a fun chat with them about our products than sitting at home, patting myself on the back. There’s always more to do. 

I can’t wait to open the shop at the end of May and take things to the next level.”

Posted in: Articles, Local & Community

Black Chalk – A new English Sparkling Wine from Hampshire – Launches

Date: June 28th, 2018

Hampshire’s chalklands are the source for a new sparkling wine which has launched to critical acclaim.  Black Chalk has been created by award-winning winemaker, Jacob Leadley, and currently comprises two wines: Black Chalk Classic and Black Chalk Wild Rose. 

Black Chalk is a family affair, with Leadley’s wife Rebecca partnering on the venture along with her brother, Andrew Seden, and parents.  The Leadleys have lived close to the market town of Alresford, since Leadley gave up a job in The City to retrain as a winemaker back in 2009.  After completing a BSc in Viticulture and Oenology at Plumpton College in Sussex, followed by winemaking experience in Central Otago, Champagne and England, he decided to embark on his own venture in 2015.  He remains on the award-winning team at Hattingley as winemaker, where he has been since 2011 and where he has worked on more than 100 English Sparkling Wines over the last seven years.  

Both Black Chalk wines launch with the 2015 vintage, and are made with Chardonnay, Pinot Meunier and Pinot Noir, hand-selected from the county’s finest vineyard sites.  They are small-batch produced and have an unusually high proportion of Pinot Meunier (34% in the Classic and 47% in the Wild Rose), which Leadley believes is ideally suited to Hampshire’s chalklands. Stylistically, purity of fruit is key, along with structure and a complex, balanced palate. The careful use of oak for a proportion of the wines and time on lees helps to develop this complexity. 

The name Black Chalk derives from the material used by the old masters to sketch initial ideas onto canvas before finalising their masterpiece.  This is reflected in Black Chalk’s wine, where the best locally grown grapes are selected, fastidiously blended and aged before market release.  

Black Chalk Classic and Black Chalk Wild Rose are available at Southsea restaurants Two Doors Down and Restaurant 27

 

The wines are also available to buy via www.blackchalkwine.co.uk (Black Chalk Classic: £35 and Black Chalk Wild Rose: £40) 

Posted in: Food & Drink

Regional Award Winners Look to Scoop National Prize at Wimbledon

Date: June 28th, 2018

The Fuzion 100 Southsea Trophy returned to Canoe Lake Leisure this week and played host to the regional British Tennis Awards (South West) today ahead of the national prizes being announced during Wimbledon. 

Launched in 2015, the Lawn Tennis Association’s British Tennis Awards hail unsung heroes and celebrate the thousands of people supporting the grassroots of the game, whether it’s through education and disability programmes or recreational competitions and community initiatives.

Last autumn, a record-breaking total of 1,460 nominations in 10 categories were cast to recognise the incredible people and places that help kept tennis ticking across England, Scotland and Wales throughout 2017.

Hundreds of county award winners were announced during the winter months, before those winners were whittled down to regional winners. 

The Southsea Trophy hosted by Canoe Lake Leisure, an ITF Pro-Circuit women’s event held for the first time only last year, picked up the award for Regional Competition of the Year having swiftly established itself at the heart of Portsmouth’s vibrant tennis scene.

John Cooke, Director at Canoe Lake Leisure said: 

“The 2017 Southsea Trophy was the very first tournament Canoe Lake hosted. It took place on recently refurbished grass courts and in a brand-new pavilion. Despite the rain disrupting the play for two days, the finals day was a great success attracting over 600 spectators.

“We are delighted to have won the Regional Competition of the Year and will continue to host tournaments that engage the local community.”

Jess Barton, a tennis mad 17-year-old based at Portsmouth Tennis Club was recognised as the Regional Young Volunteer of the Year having originally taken up tennis as a means of distraction following difficulties at school.

Of her award, Barton said: 

“I always loved tennis and one day I decided to go along to my local club and see if I could get involved in some way – that’s how I started. I particularly like helping to coach the disability programmes because it’s so rewarding. 

“I’m very proud of myself for winning this award and really excited to be in with a chance of winning the national one. All volunteers are really important to the future of tennis, especially to inspire younger generations.”

The award for Regional Coach of the Year went to Ashley Neaves, Head Coach at Portsmouth Tennis Club, who has built the club’s fully inclusive coaching programme from scratch since his arrival in 2013. 

Of his award, Neaves said: 

“I’m really chuffed, I wasn’t expecting it at all. You don’t do these things for recognition, you do it for the love of it. Coaching is all about inspiring the next generation and changing lives, not just at elite level. I like helping people from all walks of life to get whatever they want from tennis. 

“I can’t wait for Wimbledon next week, there is an amazing day lined up and we should get to see some good tennis.”

Other regional awards presented today included, Club of the Year (Ramsbury Tennis Club), Outstanding Achievement (Patricia Smith), Official of the Year (Jenny Sayer), and Community Venue of the Year (Totton & Eling Tennis Centre). 

Winners of the national awards will be announced at the official Awards Ceremony at The Championships, Wimbledon, on 3 July. 

The Fuzion 100 Southsea Trophy runs until Friday, 29 June and provides a fantastic opportunity to see top talent as the British grass-court season continues to gather pace. For more information and to buy tickets for the remaining days, visit www.lta.org.uk/fuzion-100-southsea-trophy

To find out how you can get involved in volunteering for British Tennis, visit: www.lta.org.uk/volunteering/

Posted in: Sport

Mamma Mia, King’s Theatre, Southsea

Date: June 14th, 2018

Words by Emma Beatty

Mamma Mia, King’s Theatre, Southsea, 12 June
Verdict – camp fun – just go with it, 4/5 stars

Members of the production took a flying visit to Gunwharf Quays and The Emirates Spinnaker Tower. Picture by: Malcolm Wells

Everyone’s got their inhibition level when it comes to audience participation. Mine is set pretty high. But, last night – it got to me, I was arm-waving to Dancing Queen and singing along to Waterloo. It was like mass therapy – everyone was vigorously chair-dancing in a hot Kings Theatre (on the same day – that we’d just watched Donald Trump shake hands with Kim Jong-Il on TV;  it’s a strange world).

Dammit, I spent the last 15 minutes on my feet synchronised with the whole audience. Looking around the room, I was probably the last one up – it was like a football terrace, but for women of a certain age.

ABBA is just so catchy and feel-good, but also that sad, lonely bit underneath: “I feel like I win when I lose: Waterloo”. It’s a potent combination – plus you know all the words from years of relentless wedding discos and Radio 2 exposure. The show was slick, quick and pacey. No time to fidget before the next big song was up.

“Here we go again” – sometimes it’s best not to question and just join in. It was all here – high camp, middle-aged women in slinky satin flares, acting as a veil for true emotion. Belting out these thin popsy tunes as if they were Judy Garland. Maybe that’s why we like it so much – bottle it all up and belt it out, a bit tongue-in-cheek.

Bright lights, bright costumes, slightly nasally musical-style singing (except from the slinky long-legged Helen Ankar who was also a fabulous dancer). It was cheesy, but underneath it felt quite good/poignant on ideas about loneliness, marriage, romance.

The live band (guitars, keyboard, drums) pumped out the decibels through mists of dry ice. The singers did well to make themselves heard. The lead, Shona White as single mother Donna, wringing every scrap of emotion she could out of  “The Winner Takes It All”.

It’s dated, yep:  the songs have been around since the 70s, the musical since the 90s. The plot has to knowingly engineer flimsy excuses to segue into the next corny song.

But, as they say: “Thank You For The Music”.  The confetti ending had everyone beaming from ear to ear as the cast energetically leapt around the stage.

In our interesting political times – we want more of this 70s glamour. I’d be happy to watch the whole thing again tomorrow.

Mamma Mia is at The King’s until 23 June and then tours the UK.

Posted in: Art & Culture, Articles

History Hot Spot- The Kings Theatre, Southsea

Date: June 14th, 2018

Words by: Victoria Doxat Photos: Derek Rogers

Southsea’s Kings Theatre is an iconic landmark and, according to the Theatre’s Trust, is a “theatre of national architectural importance”. The Kings was designed by Frank Matcham, the most prolific theatre designer of all time, and first opened its doors on 30th September 1907. Matcham designed over a hundred theatres including the Brighton Hippodrome and the Victoria Palace Theatre in London and although no two of his theatres are the same, he demonstrated a distinct personal style. Sadly, many of Matcham’s theatres were demolished in the 1950’s and 1960’s but ones such as The Kings, that have survived, are very much admired and many have been refurbished. The Kings now enjoys Grade II Listed status.

The theatre has changed ownership many times. It was first owned by The Portsmouth Theatre Company until 1964 when it was bought by Commander Reggie and Mrs Joan Cooper. In 1990 it was sold to Hampshire County Council and was then passed into the ownership of Portsmouth City Council who leased it to the Kings Theatre Trust. The Trust, in liaison with the Kings Theatre Southsea Ltd, undertook to restore and manage the building and over £2.25 million has now been invested in the theatre’s restoration- most of the money coming directly from the theatre’s own Box Office revenue.

The first ever performance at the Theatre was ‘Charles I’ which starred HB Irving, the son of Sir Henry Irving the actor and theatre manager. For well over a century the Kings has provided theatre goers with a wide variety of performances and in recent years has played host to a number of West End touring productions including Chicago and Grease.

In 1974 the Kings gained international fame when the Pinball Wizard sequence of The Who’s rock opera ‘Tommy’ was filmed at the theatre. Elton John and The Who were on the stage and Ken Russell directed it. 

If you would like to learn more about this historic theatre and find out what goes on behind the scenes you can book onto a Theatre Tour at the Box Office.

Victoria is a writer and lecturer and has lived in and around Portsmouth for most of her life. You can read her blog ‘Jelly Nightmares’ at www.victoriadoxat.com

Posted in: Art & Culture, Articles, History & Architecture

Foraging

Date: June 7th, 2018

Words by Tara Kent. Photos: Sarah Brown

My son Alfie and I enjoy watching Masterchef together, and we loved the recent episode in which contestants visited a Michelin starred restaurant, The Black Swan at Oldstead. Chef Tommy Banks has a distinct style, using local produce, and his restaurant is almost entirely self-sufficient, growing its own food and foraging.

Foraging has gained popularity in recent years, and we are lucky to have a knowledgeable supplier in our area. Bellord and Brown was started in 2017 by chefs Jason and James, serving restaurants in Portsmouth and the wider area with fresh fruit, vegetables and wild food. You may have seen their produce on the shelves of The Southsea Deli, on the menu at The Fisherman’s Kitchen, Southsea Coffee, and the Mercer Hotels.

Jason is fanatical about traditional style BBQ, wild foraged food, and its relationship to modern cooking techniques. James, with a BSc in botanical science, is interested in wild food and its medicinal benefits. As well as working with local farmers and producers, they are keen foragers, picking seasonal and wild ingredients for kitchens. 

As a chef, having a supplier who can source local and wild produce helps me to connect with the seasonality of food. We’re currently entering the abundant season for UK produce, so whether wild foraged food, or simple fruits and vegetables, eating locally is a perfect addition to your plate.

Here are some tips for seasonal wild food:

The season for ramson (wild garlic) lasts from April to June; its stems and beautiful white flowers are edible, with the distinct taste of garlic. Try making it into pesto (as in my recipe), or shredding the leaves into a salad. 

Elderflower blooms towards the end of May, but with a very short season; when that ends, Meadowsweet starts to flower. Not as well known as elderflower, these fragrant and pretty flowers spread vanilla, honey and almond scent. Just like elderflower it can make delicious cordials, sorbets and syrups.

The Woodland Trust has advice on its website about how to forage responsibly and sustainably. 

Instagram: @jamesforage  @cureandbaste  @bellordandbrown

I’ve turned some foraged plants into a delicious early summer tart; using wild garlic to make a pesto and pairing it with creamy cannellini beans inside a buckwheat tart. Top with griddled British asparagus and fennel and garnish with foraged flowers; vetch, ramson, micro ramson, viola and wild fennel.

Quick & Easy Wild garlic pesto

(vegan & nut free)

150g wild garlic (ramson*) • 50g sunflower seeds

50g pumpkin seeds • juice & zest 1 lemon

200ml rapeseed oil • salt & pepper to taste

Throw the ingredients into a food processor and pulse until broken down and creamy. 

*When the ramson season ends, switch to herbs of your choice and add 1 clove of garlic into the mix.

Posted in: Articles, Food & Drink

Eight Peaceful Acres

Date: June 7th, 2018

Words by Chris Horton. Photos: Sarah Brown

There is a rather peaceful place in Southsea where you might see a green woodpecker, or even an albino squirrel. A place where, in the summer, sunlight streams through the chestnut trees. It couldn’t be further away from the bustle of Albert Road. A place to walk the dog, a wildlife habitat, or a place of quiet contemplation. 

Highland Road Cemetery is one of those places where it feels as if only you know of its existence. An important historical and cultural treasure as well as resembling a beautiful city park in its own right. The cemetery was created in 1854 with 8 acres of land being bought from the renowned Southsea architect Thomas Ellis Owen, who eventually went on to design its layout and the buildings that reside there. Closed for burials since the 1950s, the cemetery fell somewhat into disrepair throughout the rest of the twentieth century. Step forward Helen Strange and The Friends of Highland Road Cemetery, a group of volunteers dedicated to the upkeep and promotion of the cemetery. 

The group offer guided walks on several weekends each year, and carry out research into the people buried there. Although she has no family connection to the cemetery, Helen’s passion for history has been a real driving force in helping to maintain and promote the cemetery, “It has so much history that I want to uncover and preserve” she says, “I research the lives of those interred, not only the great and the good, but also the ordinary people whose lives and deaths made up the rich diversity of the area”. 

Another ‘friend’ of the cemetery, Sandy Butler, has lived opposite for over 50 years, and after being encouraged to attend a meeting, has been hooked on helping out whenever she can. Sandy takes me on a mini tour of some of the more famous graves, revealing a whole host of amazing stories about the occupants and their various lives. From 8 Victoria Cross recipients, to a Hungarian prince and even a mistress (or two) of Charles Dickens, many fascinating backstories, often humorous, are revealed – the man who is buried with wives one, two and three, with each wife having increasingly elaborate eulogies. There are so many interesting stories here, but she must have a favourite, I ask. “That has to be William Johnson, a powder monkey in the Royal Navy.” she replies. Sadly, after decades of loyal service he spent his last years in a workhouse where he eventually died. Thankfully, someone dignified his life by placing his coffin on a gun carriage covered in the Union Jack, with sailors drawing him to his place of rest.

Information Days take place on the 3rd Sunday of each month April to September, 12noon to 4pm. Tours start at 2pm £3 per person.

Posted in: Articles, History & Architecture, Local & Community

Faith in Parenthood

Date: June 7th, 2018

Neill Barston talks to Paloma Faith prior to her appearance at Victorious

Becoming a parent is just about the biggest event in anyone’s life, bringing with it a raft of challenges and responsibilities.

For Paloma Faith, the experience of being a new mum may have left her wondering where her next night’s sleep might be coming from, yet it’s brought a renewed sense of purpose and focus to her music.

“I’m trying to juggle being a mother and a singer. I have no idea how I am managing, but I am somehow,” she laughs.

The 36-year old Londoner has already amassed an enviable career over the past decade that has seen her become the only female artist, beyond Adele, to have three double platinum recordings to her name.

While it’s meant plenty of hard graft, her artfully soulful sound and quirky style have undoubtedly played their part in propelling the Hackney-born star to success.

The singer’s most recent album, The Architect, follows boldly in its predecessors’ footsteps, showcasing her distinctive powerful vocals that have earned comparisons with everyone from ‘60s icons such as Etta James and Billie Holiday, through to the late Amy Winehouse.

The singer is enjoying a comparatively settled phase of her life living with French boyfriend Leyman Lahcine, and it’s apparent that starting a family has directly influenced her music.

“I do feel my approach to music has changed since I’ve become a parent – which does have an impact. With difficult things that are happening in the world, you feel protective and want to make things comfortable for your family.

“I think things are changing in our history, and not for the better, which is something I’m concerned about. I feel there’s a sense of duty to talk about events.”

Much like any other artist in the limelight, her rise has come with the perhaps inevitable burden of being followed around by the ever-hungry paparazzi.

Everyone, from Hello magazine, through to the national red-top national papers, has been waiting to secure pictures of her new youngster, whom she is keen to shield from un-necessary public attention.

Recalling her own childhood in East London, the half-Spanish artist says that she always had something of a creative streak.

“Growing up in Hackney, I was surrounded by lots of different music – from my mum, revolutionary music from the ‘60s such as Bob Dylan, while my dad was really into jazz, which is a big influence”. 

From her early CV that spanned everything from being a life model, cabaret dancer, and bartender, her rich experiences have offered plenty of adventures to fuel her inventive songwriting. She also has a great deal of determination, once walking out on a record contract when the agent refused to stop texting her. Paloma then secured a major deal and recorded her memorable debut album, Do You Want the Truth or Something Beautiful?

“That was almost 10 years ago. I think it is great that I’ve managed to sustain a career, as not many people get to make more than one or two albums these days,” reflects the singer on what she feels is now an over-saturated market.

But as she enthuses, she is not one to rest on her laurels, and ‘likes to mix things up a bit.”

While her towering vocal abilities have continued to garner contrasts with the late Amy Winehouse, it’s something Paloma is entirely at ease with.

“I’m flattered by comparisons to Amy. It’s not something I am offended by, though I am quite different.

“Amy met me once, she asked if I played an instrument, but I said no, and she said that was a shame, as she would really have liked someone like me in her group.”

Having been nominated several times for a Brit Award, persistence paid off in 2015, as Paloma claimed a long-awaited win in the best female solo artist category.

“It was amazing to win the Brit Award and to finally gain some acknowledgement, but I think there are a lot of people out there doing important work – doctors and nurses who don’t get the recognition they should.”

After starting a major UK tour in March, Paloma is looking forward to her appearance at Victorious Festival on Castle Stage, Victorious, Sat 25th August 

“The only reason I do what I’m doing is because I love touring –  when I’m out there I feel that I’m in the right place,” adds the engaging singer, who may well have a little more to think about with a young child in tow, yet it won’t stop her from enjoying every single moment.

Posted in: Articles, Events

Welcome Home

Date: June 7th, 2018

Lulu Whitmore of Love Southsea, throws open the doors of her family home and talks about the renovations and buying property.

Words by Kate Thompson  Photographs: Charley Whitmore

“I bought my first ever house when I was working as a lifeguard at the Pyramids – while my mates were out partying, I was at home with a copy of House Beautiful magazine dreaming of designer interiors,” quipped Lulu Whitmore, co-founder of Love Southsea, the events, markets and clothing company.

A 10-year stint as an estate agent, which led to her managing major property portfolios in London followed – and Lulu learned a valuable trick or two when it came to buying her own properties.

“It’s all about the layout and the location. I look for something a bit unusual and I really enjoy putting my mark on a home.

“We moved back to Southsea from a Grade II listed farmhouse in Denmead, and it’s the best thing we ever did,” explained Lulu.

They rented their four storey Victorian home in Herbert Road before buying, and Lulu could sense it was going to be a great family home.

“I always get a psychic sense of house – and I can tell when a property feels right,” she confided. But while the bricks and mortar might have been chucking out the right vibes, the décor left a great deal to be desired.

“It looked like a really dated guest house. It was all dark mahogany and Axminster carpets,” said Lulu.

“So we ripped everything up.”

Asked to describe her style, Lulu opted for: bohemian, gypsy gothic.” She delights in colour – and the darker the better.

“It’s very Pearl Lowe. I’ve got a black lounge with loads of colour in it, the bedroom is dark blue and the stairwell is Farrow & Ball’s Railings (a soft black with blue undertones),” she said.

Encouraged by their decorator, who had recently moved to Southsea from Shoreditch, Lulu’s stairwell makes a dramatic statement through the whole house.

“It’s the most grown-up paint job I’ve ever had – and it has made the whole house come together.

“I’ve had 30 or 40 properties, but I have to say I do love the bedroom I’ve got now – it’s the best I’ve ever had,” she said.

Posted in: Articles, Home & Garden

History Hot Spot – Canoe Lake, Southsea

Date: May 8th, 2018

Words: Victoria Doxat

Canoe Lake has not always looked as it does today. The Lake began life as an area of marshy wasteland and open water which was known as the Great Morass (muddy or boggy land). The Great Morass covered a huge area- the whole of what we now know as Southsea Common and beyond. The land was considered unusable.

In fact, the area was described in the City of Portsmouth Records in 1884 as “a dismal-looking depression, strewn with rusty tins, mouldy rubbish and other abominations.” Rather than being the iconic landmark it is today, Canoe Lake was originally a rubbish tip and an eyesore!

There was another, smaller marshy area, known as the Little Morass, near Old Portsmouth and this was drained between 1820 and 1823 to allow for the land to be developed and built on. As Portsmouth grew in size and the population expanded, new land was required for development and so in 1886 the Great Morass was also drained.

In 1884 work had already begun to turn part of the Great Morass into an ornamental lake, a project which took two years to complete. The Mayor opened the brand new ‘Canoe Lake’ on 17th June 1886, and it soon became a popular Southsea attraction.

In a nod to its past life as a salt water marsh, the lake is still filled with sea water which is topped up at high tide when a sluice gate is opened. The fact that the lake is salt water, rather than fresh water, makes it a fantastic spot for crabbing as small fish and crabs are brought in with the tide.

Southsea enjoys one of the mildest winters in the UK. During the Victorian period it attracted huge crowds of holiday makers and became a fashionable seaside resort. Southsea was originally called Croxton Town and only took the name ‘Southsea’ (borrowed from Southsea Castle) to promote itself as a holiday resort. This tactic clearly worked as tourist guide books from the 1900’s have Southsea listed as one of the top UK seaside destinations.

Southsea’s mild winters and the sheltered position of Canoe Lake is why nowadays, Canoe Lake is known as a ‘swan’s nursery’ and during the winter months you can see anywhere up to a hundred juvenile mute swans in residence. As well as the mute swans, you can also find a huge variety of other birds including mallards, tufted ducks, Mediterranean gulls, cormorants and little grebes enjoying the comfort and security that the lake provides.

 

Victoria is a writer and lecturer and has lived in and around Portsmouth for most of her life. You can read her blog ‘Jelly Nightmares’ at www.victoriadoxat.com

Posted in: Articles, History & Architecture

A Tasty Meal Served with Lashings of Love

Date: May 8th, 2018

Words: Kate Thompson

“We provide food, love and support for homeless, vulnerable, and lonely people, often living with addictions.

Volunteers: Annette Nash, and Claire Gilham

“We don’t ever turn anyone away,” said Lesley Wenden as she prepared for the regular Thursday night meal at the Lifehouse in Southsea.

She is supported by a band of volunteers who give up their time to help serving cooked breakfasts every Wednesday morning, all with a side order of care. And an evening meal every Thursday, at their premises in Harold Road, just of Albert Road.

As Lesley describes the care and attention that goes into providing food for up to 40 people, it is clear that she and her team are devoted to helping others.

And she is quick to point out that they rely on kind donations of food too.

“We get a car boot full of meat supplied every month by Maurice Twells from his butcher’s shop in Portchester Precinct – there must be £200 worth of meat; it’s wonderful, and that allows us to provide a nutritious meal on a Thursday. “We also have a Chinese meal for

40 people donated once a month from the fantastic Ed Lau, and The Tenth Hole regularly donates their beautiful cakes,” she explained.

 

Volunteers: Hilary Frost, Annette Nash, and Lesley Wenden

 

Lesley manages the project, and has been involved for the past four years. She says there have been many encounters with the people she helps that have touched her heart.

During the recent harsh, snowy weather, a vulnerable street drinker arrived at the Lifehouse looking as though he had trekked through Alaska, complaining of suicidal thoughts.

“He was clearly in a bad way, but we were able to help him, and that’s what I call a success story.

“The most important thing is we love them – it doesn’t matter what has been happening in their lives, we just love them.

“And hopefully they realise there is someone who really cares,” said Lesley.

The Lifehouse is a registered charity and it relies on donations. If you would like to find out more go to www.lifehouse.org.uk

 

Posted in: Articles, Local & Community

Reflections From a Newcomer

Date: May 8th, 2018

Words: Neyda De Arcos

I have to admit I was terrified when the plane landed. I looked at Oliver like a scared deer and he looked back at me, squeezed my hand, and said: “It’s okay, you are safe now”. 

I had just left my books, my studies, my family, my country, and my life behind. I was excited, afraid, happy, and sad, all at the same time. 

I looked out of the window.

I saw a sea of meadows and fields with different shades of green. I saw houses and trees.

Breathe, Neyda. 

It was September 2017. With my heart beating madly I started my new life in a new country by the side of the man I love.

A new beginning

I introduced myself gently to this city. I opened my heart and I told my story. That’s how you start a friendship, with honesty and vulnerability.

I fell in love with Portsmouth and its buildings; the streets, the food, the beach, the people and the forests.

I shared my music and my language with the city, because I carry with me all the colours of Venezuela and Spain: my dad was Spanish and my mum is Venezuelan.

And the city opened its arms to me with laughter and said: “Tell me more”, and invited me for a pint of beer and fish & chips, and told me to come on Sunday, so we can have a roast dinner. 

That’s how our relationship started.  

Six months later

I have found a beautiful life here. I consider myself very lucky.

I’m surrounded by incredible people and the city has become a good friend. 

Some days are better than others: sometimes melancholy wins, but England comforts me with a splendid sunset and a cup of tea. But it’s not easy. 

I left Venezuela because I wanted a future, so I could help my family to have one too.

My country is falling apart due to a terrible crisis that is killing people every day: there are no medicines, food is extremely expensive, and inflation is around 13,000%. 

When you move to a different country, everything is new: the taste of water, the weather, the food, the language, the people; everything.

You will need to take any job you can to support yourself, pay the bills, get a phone and contract so that you can talk with your family back home.

You will need to grow a thick skin for many reasons along with the constant question of your broken heart: “Will I ever see my family again?”

Crossing oceans takes courage and a lot of strength, but we do it because we want a life that we can’t have in our own country, through no fault of our own.  

That’s why I’m so grateful: I’m painting a new chapter of my life, not with the colours of fear, but with the colours of hope and opportunity.

Thank you England for showing me new colours, and thank you for accepting mine.

Posted in: Articles, Local & Community

Face to Face

Date: May 8th, 2018

Talking to people with passion for what they do.

  

Ken Wharton-Emms was born in Birmingham in 1962, joined the Royal Marine’s Band in 1978, after leaving in 1987, Ken has worked as a freelance musician ever since.

Were you a child prodigy? No. My father died when I was young and his friends paid for me to go to a boarding school where music was compulsory. I loved it straight away, and knew that music was going to be my career in some way. 

What instruments did you play first? I began with the clarinet which I went on to play in the Royal Marines Band, also the violin, but the saxophone always seemed very glamorous and exciting. Also, I wanted to play jazz, which the sax is ideal for – so I taught myself. It’s now the instrument I play the most.  

Isn’t the sax really difficult to play? It has that reputation, but all instruments need a lot of work to make progress, but I guess compared to brass and a lot of stringed instruments, the sax is more difficult. 

What training did you have? The Royal Marines Band was equivalent to a university education. We had to play an orchestral instrument (violin), and marching instrument (clarinet). It was very exacting but set me up for life. 

Any big breaks? I formed an 8-piece band called the Alpha Connection which was very successful, we played all over the world, about 250 gigs a year from Park Lane in London to Paris, Amsterdam, and Berlin. Unfortunately, by 2006 the market for comparatively big, expensive bands began to wane and we disbanded. 

Do you play with any bands today? Yes, Soul Suspects, led by Lee Brophy, is a fun pub type band; and The New Party Collective, with Kieron Young, which is a bit more formal. We play at weddings and charity pubs such as The Wellington, I also do some private tutoring.   

Advice for young musicians? There’s no getting around it, you need to put in the hours. Music lessons are just a starting point, you need to then go away and practice, but if you love music, it shouldn’t be a chore

Your favourite piece of sax music? A tune by Joe Jackson, who comes from Portsmouth too of course, it’s called ‘Loisaida’, which one of my students introduced me to – it’s great to play on the sax.  

kenwhartonemms@hotmail.com

Posted in: Articles, Local & Community

Loving Albert Road

Date: May 8th, 2018

Words: John Worsey. Photos: Maison Manning

Daniel Nowland in The Southsea Deli, 4 Victoria Road South

There are several reasons why the table in the window of The Southsea Deli recently became one of my favourite places to sit. For starters, the view is great whichever way you’re facing. Look into the shop and give your tastebuds a healthy portion of inspiration, as you take in the carefully curated selection of tempting food and drink. Look outwards, and you’re at the gateway to Albert Road – a road that is always inviting and often surprising.

What seals the deal is the memory of a warm, enthusiastic conversation I had at that very table, with four Albert Road business owners – Neil Williams of homeware and interior design gurus Bureau of Change and Rose Clover; Russell Ison of speciality coffee roasters Home Coffee; Debbie Parker of Southsea institution Bellamy’s (for antiques and much more); and Daniel Nowland, proud owner of the new Southsea Deli, which had been open less than a month when we all met up in March.

We were there to talk about what makes Albert Road such a special place. Our chat flowed freely, fuelled by shared enthusiasm for this hub of truly independent businesses. It seems a rare privilege in today’s nation of identikit high streets, to have a road like Albert at the heart of the community, providing products to meet just about every need. To my mind, the table around which we sat encapsulates so much of what’s great about the area.

Bored of Southsea, 23 Albert Road

Daniel explained that he purposefully chose to have just one large, square communal table in the Deli. It accommodates eight people, and everyone can see everyone else, from every angle. It is designed to spark conversation and, in Daniel’s words, “It is magic.” He told us, “The amount of new friendships that have begun around this table in our first month is amazing.” Debbie, who has experienced this as a customer, agreed.

In designing his seating arrangements as a conversation engine, Daniel was driven by the sense that people “Don’t want to live like this anymore, walking along staring at their phones and not talking to their neighbour.” Perhaps longing for a way of life that’s more community-orientated is part of what makes Albert Road itself so appealing: a modern high street in the old fashioned style.

Debbie Parker in Bellamys, 83 Albert Road

Debbie has had her shop on Albert Road for thirty years. Bellamy’s is now in its third premises. The business has evolved with the tastes of its customers, and she now serves the grandchildren of people who first came to her to deck out their homes in the 1980s. In that time, Albert Road’s fundamental character has endured. She told us, “I have seen tremendous changes, but I have to say that now it is at its most vibrant and interesting. It’s the unique people who run the businesses that make a difference; I call them Albert Road treasures.”

Garbos Hair, 11-13 Albert Road

 

Jenni Catlow in her shop Tango Tea Collectables, 3 Albert Road

 

Neil & Liz, in The Bureau of Change & Rose Clover, 2a Albert Road

Russell echoed this: “The nice thing about Albert Road is the sense of community. Premises are never empty long, and when we hear a new shop is opening, all the traders are excited.” He added, “There is so much character to Albert Road, it’s a bit like the Lanes in Brighton.” For the business partners behind Home, Albert Road was a no-brainer of a location. Their blend of top-tier coffee, plus vegan and gluten free food, was immediately a big hit with the community. Now, three years on from first opening their doors, they are planning a third branch.

Southsea Models & Games, 69 Albert Road

Neil is no stranger to independently minded retail destinations, having previously run a successful shop and interior design practice from London’s Portobello Road. He agreed with Russell that Albert Road is reminiscent of Brighton’s quirky Lanes, but it was its resemblance to the Portobello of days gone by that drew him here. These days, Portobello is a mix of multinational chains and empty windows, with small businesses driven away by high rents. Having seen Albert Road, Neil was inspired to open a shop again. It hadn’t been part of his plan. He just wanted to enjoy a day trip. But after one visit, he was hooked. And now, happy customers are hooked on Bureau’s home style know-how and the expertise of resident florist Rose Clover.

Posted in: Articles, Local & Community

Review: Giovanni Pernice: born to win

Date: April 24th, 2018

Written by Emma Beatty

Verdict: Fab-U-lous

I’m a BIG fan of Strictly Come Dancing; I camped out at four in the morning in Elstree to get tickets. But, I didn’t think I knew much about ballroom. I thought I only liked Strictly for the drama, the judges, the sequins, the amateurs and the eliminations, like the lovely Debbie McGee.

So, when I got tickets to see Debbie’s partner, Giovanni Pernice, at the Kings I was a bit, unsure. A whole show with just one dancer? Won’t it be a bit samey? Isn’t he a bit of a show-off anyway?

I was, dear reader, very wrong. It was fab-U-lous. It turns out I like Strictly for the dancing. It was slick, spectacular and really quite sophisticated, running the gamut of the SCD repertoire from the cha-cha to the rumba, American Smooth to the foxtrot, jive and tango. I didn’t realise I’d picked up so much vocab from TV. I spotted a Samba Roll and the Pot Stirrer twirl that Brendan (now departed) inflicted on poor Charlotte Hawkins –  little SCD references here and there woven into the choreography.

It was eye-opening to see just professionals. I’m used to the typical singer/dancer/actor on stage, but these were far superior movers –  lithe, bendy and bouncy with spot-on precision and expression. They danced very together as a group too. His partner is Luba Mushtuk, assistant choreographer on ‘Strictly Come Dancing’. Alongside were ‘Dancing with the Stars Ireland’ professionals Giulia Dotta, Kai Widdrington, Emily Barker, and Curtis Pritchard. Choreographed by SCD’s creative director, Jason Gilkison.

How did it fill the two hours? Giovanni narrated his life story in his singy-songy Italian accent with a pretty sharp wit and comic timing. Going from his birth in Sicily – and his love of his mama – to early years as a dancer in Spain – cue Paso Doble and rumba, to arriving in London – big Bob Fosse-inspired West-End musical numbers— to getting his job on Strictly.

This final third recreated big group dances from Strictly. Then three of his best dances with his last three partners – Georgia May Foote’s jive, Laura Whitmore’s waltz in that wafty yellow dress, Debbie McGee’s salsa with the dare-devil arm-between-the-crotch twirling lift (he explained that in some detail).

My only complaint really was the music, pre-recorded by big-name singers, was too loud and tinny. This show is touring lots of regional theatres for a few months, so I guess they’ll have to adjust the music at each.

Overall, Giovanni reminded me a bit of Gene Kelly – same broad smile and easy, relaxed style; he doesn’t look like he’s making any effort. But, my companion – a bit more knowledgeable about dance than me – said not; that Kelly was very ‘down in the knees’ and Giovanni is much lighter-toed and ‘naughtier’ (he did keep taking his top off).

Overall, I hate to gush, but it was a great show, and Giovanni’s surprisingly witty to boot. If you like Strictly, go see.

It’s at the Isle of Wight Medina Theatre on Wednesday, 27 June.

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