The Model Village

This Easter saw the successful re-launch of a much-loved tourist institution – The Model Village in Southsea. It was once run by a Mr West who also owned the two shops fronting South Parade Pier and wonder of wonders, I used to work for him at weekends. Although work was a sideline – we actually…

Canoe Lake AKA Swan Lake

I used to live around the corner from Canoe Lake – and one day will probably do so again – and regularly walked its circumference on my way home from school. I’ve always enjoyed it on fair days and foul. So just how old is Canoe Lake, which is now a central player and attraction…

Semaphore Relay?

I’ve just seen an interesting little snippet about Lumps Fort, Southsea online. Apparently although rebuilt extensively in Victorian times, Lumps Fort dates back to the Middle Ages – around the 1500’s – and was an earthworks fort. Once you start to look, understanding what you are seeing, the skeletal remains of the fort become more…

#Waterlooville200 – In the news

This week marks the 200th anniversary of the founding of the place where I live – #Waterlooville200 here in Hampshire, close to the coastal city of Portsmouth. Our town was, as one might expect, named after the battle and there are many local reminders named in honour of the key individuals – Nelson, Wellington and…

Portsdown Hill – best viewpoint over Portsmouth

When you visit a new city, don’t you wish you could see its situation and understand it from the air?  You can do so when travelling to Belfast of course but it is quite rare. In Hampshire, it’s uniquely possible, thanks to the long chalk ridge of Portsdown Hill.  The highest point lies within Fort…

Café culture experienced!

I wrote recently about the sudden influx of cafés arriving on Southsea Beach and I have finally made it to eat at the newest, Southsea Beach Café.  We sat outside with The Hound who was immediately made welcome and offered a bowl of water which of course, he turned down scornfully. He was waiting for…

Café culture finally makes it to Southsea!

It’s like waiting for a bus for ages. First one comes and then another in close succession.  So it is with the former catering wilderness that was, until recently, Southsea Beach in Portsmouth, Hampshire – even The Guardian picked up on the new Southsea buzz a few weekends ago. Taking The Hound for walks along…

Country Pub Series: The Bird in Hand, Lovedean

I first wrote about my local – The Bird in Hand – a while ago now but am reprising the post as it has just enjoyed a rather viscious battering from food critic, Tom Parker Bowles in Event Magazine – Mail on Sunday.  I admit, I don’t really go out to Sunday lunch but on every…

For Henry and England – Agincourt 600

In a year of multiple anniversaries, sometimes the lesser-known ones are forgotten.  I hope this will not be the case for the 600th anniversary of the Battle of Agincourt – one of England’s most momentous historic battles which passed into legend, leading Shakespeare to pen his evocative Henry V. As we all know, the history of England…

Take three castles …

Over the last 12 months, I have had the good fortune to visit three castles – all with The Hound in tow – and they couldn’t have been more different. Take Southsea Castle, where in my mind’s eye, I can visualise a stressed and desolate King Henry VIII, standing proudly whilst watching his tried and tested flagship,…