Monday, 16 August 2010

Video: Throwing Pots In Selborne, Hampshire.

I know that it has been a while now since i promised you all a video of my visit to the Selborne Pottery. I filmed this short video on the mobile phone to show just how easy it looks for a professional potter to throw a simple clay pot from scratch. Robert, the potter gave me a quick tour of his studio, the original post you can see here. So, at last, here is the video....

Saturday, 14 August 2010

Where Have All The Pubs Gone?

On my travels around Hampshire, I am the Hampshire Traveller after all, I have noticed a few things. One of them being the hub of community life, especially in rural areas, the good old rural country public house. Many have been around for as long as the town or village has been in existence.

However, country inns and pubs now face their biggest challenge. Pubs around the country and indeed in Hampshire are closing their doors at an alarming rate. Depending on who you talk to, there are many reasons for this. Drinkers are staying at home with less money to spend on evenings out. Alcohol is cheaper to buy in the large supermarket chains, government red tape and high alcohol duty rates. They all have a part to play in the demise of the good old English pub.

Always a good sign ....

So, will the rural village pub survive? I think so, just not as many as before. With tastes changing in what the pub goer wants from a night out will change the look and feel of many rural establishments across Hampshire.

Local ales and other drinks such as ciders and wines are very popular with younger drinkers, and more such drinks are regularly being made by small local producers around the county. I certainly think the days of rural pubs selling a limited choice of drinks are long gone as people are now much more mobile than before, and can easily choose where to go.

Rural pubs ... enticing.

Hampshire pubs are also a good place for locally produced food. Good local produce can easily be resourced from around Hampshire, and todays pub goers actively look for this in the menus. Good pub food is a must for any rural establishment, as most visitors now expect this service when visiting a rural pub. Full blown restaurants are one thing, but good, honest down to earth pub grub remain very popular.

With Hampshire being a mainly rural county, there remains a great many places to visit with great pubs, food and drink, to be found. So, if you find a good country pub with a warm welcome and a roaring open fire, then treasure it and use it. Make the village pub once again the hub of village life ... before it's gone forever.

Paul Martin.

Monday, 9 August 2010

Watching The RNLI Coming Home.

Portsmouth RNLI station is situated at the entrance to Langstone Harbour, Portsmouth, Hampshire. A busy little station covering the South Coast and the Solent, possibly one of the busiest sailing and shipping areas in the UK.

RNLI Lifeboat returns safely.

Whilst out for a walk along the beach today, I had the pleasure to see the lifeboat returning safely from another call out.

Coming back home ...

Next weekend sees an open day with displays from the team and other RNLI volunteers. The open days make for a great day out by the coast and are very well attended. So come along and lend your support.

Paul Martin

Thursday, 5 August 2010

A Walk Around New Alresford, Hampshire.

I had no particular reason for visiting New Alresford, other than to have a pleasant afternoon walk around somewhere i haven't really explored yet. The first thing you notice is that it is a very good looking town with wide main streets and a colourful disposition. Built mainly in the Georgian era, the town is made up of village type cottages, town houses and old coaching inns from times gone by. It is possible to still look along the roads and imagine what this town would have been like hundreds of years ago, without the modern traffic and street furniture that tend to inhabit the squares and main roads today.

Looking down Broad St, Alresford.

Pound Hill, West St and Broad St are the main areas of interest that will hold your attention. At this time of year the roads are colourful and bright and sometimes a bit too busy traffic wise, but a pleasant place to be nonetheless. A stop for coffee at an independent coffee house was welcome and i spent a good half an hour or so sitting and watching the people go about their business.

Beer and food....

If you are in need of more sustainance, there are a few old coaching inns on the main roads and square, perfect for good food and fine ales, wines and more if the mood takes you, beer gardens and a little sunshine make for a pleasant experience. There are of course a good variety of cafes, cake shops and tea rooms to choose from, all within a short walk from each other, so you don't need to walk very far for a change of scenery.

Walking around the town i also discovered the church of St John the Baptist, the churchyard of which holds the graves of soldiers of the Napoleonic wars, including French prisoners of war, and a variety of other historical buildings relating to the Second World War, including a house that used to be the Headquarters of the 47th infantry regiment of the US Army. One of the main attractions though is the nearby rail station that attracts steam lovers from all over the world, as it is part of the Watercress line, and is busy on a daily basis with steam locomotives, lovingly restored by volunteers, and a good reminder of how our transport system was before Beeching.

Steam locomotives ... popular.

I also had the great pleasure of walking the mile or so of the Millenium Trail along the banks of the river Arle, a sparkling chalk stream that runs along the valley at the bottom of the town. Walks and trails criss cross this area, and other walks can be joined from here, but on a warm sunny day it was great to see the wildlife and plants that live and grow along the river banks.

So it was a pleasant surprise to come upon the Fulling mill, which straddles the river, and was built around the 12 - 1300's but is now a private residence.

Fulling Mill....
The river Arle....

So, i would recommend the visit to New Alresford, even if for just a short stroll along the river banks and a coffee stop on the flower lined streets of the town with a frothy latte, and a large piece of chocolate cake. If the weather is with you, you will not have a more relaxing afternoon.... Enjoy.

Paul Martin

Monday, 2 August 2010

Dinosaurs On Southsea Common.

I have no idea why or who is behind this exhibit on Southsea Common, however, whilst driving along the coast road it was hard to miss ....

Apparently, it is made to scale, and is a true representation of a dinosaur that roamed the earth millions of years ago. I have no idea how long it will be there, so get yourself along to Southsea Common, Hampshire. You can't miss it.

Paul Martin