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…

Hinton Ampner Bluebell Walk

As the recent and very sad fire damage of Clandon House has shown, the treasures protected for us by the National Trust are not here forever and we should take advantage of them when we can. It was with this in mind that I re-visited Hinton Ampner in Bramdean, Hampshire – one of my very favourite Trust properties…

Quintessentially English – it’s Bluebell time!

Nothing shouts Englishness as much as a bluebell does – a sentiment outlined in today’s Daily Telegraph. They are early, they are bright as a button and it is said that half of the world’s population of bluebells are based right here on our soil. So where can we spot them? Probably in your nearest…

Picture alert! Spring is here!

Every year I am taken by surprise by the early Spring arrival of banks of vibrant yellow flowers – the blooming of the rape seed flowers offering banks of yellow contrasting so beautifully with the bright green of neighbouring fields. So if like me, you feel these vast swathes of yellow enhance our country landscapes,…

VE day – Victory in Europe

The nation will be returning to the 40’s this May to celebrate VE Day – Victory in Europe Day: Friday 8th being a day of remembrance, Saturday 9th – one of celebration – and Sunday 10th, a day for thanksgiving. At the heart of the festivities will be St James’s Park, London’s oldest park and for…

On the trail of Jane Austen …

With the 200th anniversary of the first publication of the novel Emma this year, I thought it might be fun to share some of the “Austen Trail” I have done on my travels around Hampshire and Surrey. I’m sure there’s a lot more you can do but these are the few things that have crossed…

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…

The story of the Christmas Tree

It has to be said, I love a good Christmas Tree.  It brings a joy to my heart with the anticipation of Christmas and the start of a new, better year beyond. I was a little hazy on the origins of the Christmas tree however. It’s a northern Europe tradition, said my brother, and so…