Took a midweek trip, down to Mudeford, for lunch with some friends. The weather was brilliant, blue skies and sunshine. Needless to say, for this time of year, it was crisp and the wind was brisk

Cottages – Mudeford

Mudeford Quay

Fishing boats still land their catch on Mudeford Quay. Their pots and markers are stacked ready for use.

Fisherman’s Pots – Mudeford

Fisherman’s Pots and Markers – Mudeford

Fisherman’s Pots – Mudeford

After a warming lunch and a very smooth pint, courtesy of the Haven House Inn, we took a stroll around the quay enjoying the low winter sun as it illuminated the Black House and beach huts over towards Hengistbury Head. A couple of swans were enjoying the sunshine too.

Swans – Mudeford

From the quay there are fine views all around …..

View From Mudeford Quay

The Black House – Mudeford

…… and further along the shore towards Avon Beach you can get fine views across to the Isle of  Wight and The Needles.

Isle of Wight & The Needles – Viewed from Mudeford

After a gentle stroll along the prom it was time for a nice hot chocolate at the cafe on Avon Beach before returning to the car and heading for home.

To Avon Beach – From Mudeford

A glorious afternoon spent with good food and good company.

A Day On The Isle Of Wight

A couple of weeks ago it was decided that we, and our Ozzy rellies, would take a trip across to the Isle of Wight. The most flexible way is to take your own car across on the ferry, rather than rely on public transport on either side of the Solent.

Travelling into Pompey around morning peak traffic times is always a bit like a toss of the dice. Albeit late, we eventually made it to the Wightlink ferry port. Luckily, for us, our ferry was late arriving. Apparently this was due to the low tide meaning the ferry had to take a slightly longer route across the Solent. Once loaded aboard, we made our way up to the lounge, where we had hot chocolate and toasties for breakfast. I also took the opportunity for a couple of snaps.

The following pictures show the scene around the ferry.

In the background, above the fishing boats, you can see Viviers Fish Market. They are the suppliers of some truly scrumptious fresh fish. Proof is, as they say, in the tasting and we have recently had some superb Halibut, a couple of Bream and a couple of dressed crab.

Land Rover BAR Team home

The bland looking building is the Land Rover BAR building.  Having now seen it several times, I’m still not sure about the design. It looks like they are waiting for the wrapping to be fully removed, to expose its true shape.

The ferry was soon underway and after a short voyage, arrived at Fishbourne. We disembarked and made our way to our first destination, Osborne House.

Osborne House is a former royal residence, built between 1845 and 1851 for Queen Victoria and Prince Albert, as a summer home and retreat. Now under the care of English Heritage, both the house and grounds are made available to the public. A few pictures are posted below.

Unfortunately, due to filming of a new drama about Victoria and her indian servant, the fabulous Durbar Room was not available for viewing. In addition, photography was prohibited in other rooms as they were dressed for filming. Apparently, any images would be copyright, because the film company had installed some of their own furniture.

After touring the house, we had a pleasant lunch in the Terrace Restaurant and Orangery. Suitably refueled we headed down to the Swiss Cottage

Set For High Tea – Swiss Cottage, Osborne House

and on to the sea-shore via the Rhododendron Walk, dotted along which there are a variety of carved animals and birds.

Queen Victoria had her own “Bathing Machine” in which she would get changed. The “machine” would be run into the sea and she would descend the steps into the bracing waters of the Solent. Also on the beach at Osborne is a decorated “alcove” which during our visit gave shelter from the brisk breeze blowing in off the sea.

Returning to the house we spent some time, and of course money, in the gift shop.

From Osborne House we headed off to view  The Needles, a row of three distinctive stacks of chalk that rise out of the sea off the western extremity of the Isle of Wight. They are also home to The Needles Lighthouse built on the western most stack.

The Needles – Isle of Wight

An unusual sight was this, apparently tame, fox being enticed to feed.

Tame Fox ? – Isle of Wight

Not sure about the fashion statement this guy is making.

It was soon time for us to think about a spot of dinner before travelling back to the mainland. We had already decided to head to a regular haunt of ours, The Folly Inn.

The Folly is a rustic pub perched on the banks of the River Medina, just up the river from Cowes in Whippingham. They serve good food, good beer, are friendly and provide a great location to chill and watch the yachty world go by.


Suitably replete, we headed back to Fishbourne for our ferry ride back to Portsmouth. With the autumnal evenings drawing in we were welcomed back to harbour by the Spinnaker Tower.

Spinnaker Tower – Portsmouth

Driving out of Pompey was a lot easier than our rush hour entry. We were soon home and relaxing with a nice cup of tea.


It’s very foggy today.

Taking Gerry to work this morning we drove along the top of Portsdown Hill. No sign of Portsmouth or the Isle of Wight.


The view from my window contains many tree silhouettes and looks very similar to a picture we used to have on the wall. The only thing missing is the dark figures on horseback, looming out of the murk, their helmets glistening and spears at the ready. It’s amazing what ones imagination can conjure up.

Or, perhaps, it’s just the anticipation building on the run up to Season 4 of Game of Thrones……. ??

Winter is Coming !!!

The Inn On The Beach

Today I had lunch at The Inn On The Beach , Hayling Island.

The Inn On The Beach, Hayling Island

Along with my wife, grandson and a longtime friend over from Australia we spent an enjoyable few hours reminiscing and catching up.

The “Inn” provides good food in nice surroundings with a beautiful views across the Solent to the Isle Wight and along the coast from Portsmouth to the West to Selsey in the East. This a great venue regardless of the season.

When we arrived the weather was cold and quite breezy. By the time we had finished eating the wind had dropped and the clouds had rolled away. The sun was dropping rapidly and illuminating the shoreline beautifully.

The following view is to the west and in the distance you can see the Portsmouth skyline including the Spinnaker Tower, the floodlights at Fratton Park and it is just possible to make out St Marys church.

Hayling Beach Huts in the Autumnal Sunshine

This view is to the east and when viewed full size you can just see the Selsey shoreline merging with the horizon.

Hayling Shore view towards Selsey

I believe that, when the conditions are right, the south coast and especially Hayling is as good as any mediterranean location.

Diamond Days

Earlier today I was one of the many,waiting for HMS Diamond to kick off the Jubilee weekend. I joined the crowds all along the “hot walls” although I was stood on the beach. They may be called the “hot walls” but the weather had other ideas, being rather overcast. Nevertheless, there were quite a few folks down to watch and listen to HMS Diamond give and receive the salute. Meridian TV had their cameras on the Round Tower and Sky TV had their helicopter hovering over the harbour entrance. At some point I could hear bagpipes but never once did I see the source.

At this time Diamond was stationary, way over towards the Isle of Wight, while ferries and yachts hustled in and out of the harbour before all shipping movements were stopped. These two patrol craft came out to meet and escort Diamond in.

P275 - HMS Raider
P275 – HMS Raider

P279 - HMS Blazer
P279 – HMS Blazer

A number of tugs came out of the harbour, moved along parallel to the shore before turning about and coming to rest just off shore from where I was standing. These modern tugs can virtually turn on the spot and for a few minutes they pirouetted, performing a maritime ballet.


Eventually, the moment we had all been waiting for arrived. HMS Diamond made her way towards the harbour. The two patrol craft providing an escort. Two of the tugs also lined up, ready to salute HMS Diamond who had started her salute. In this photo you can just see the smoke created as she fired a broadside. I was rather hoping she was going to fire the 4.5″ gun on the bows but you can’t have everything.

HMS Diamond - Jubilee Salute
HMS Diamond – Jubilee Salute

Diamonds salute was answered by several shots fired by the folks at HMS Dolphin (Fort Blockhouse). That gun makes one hell of a bang and you can feel the shock wave as it hits you on its way across the water then again as it bounces off the “hot walls”. Once again the only visible indication is the smoke created by the firing.

Jubilee Salute from HMS Dolphin

As Diamond closed on the harbour entrance the tugs provided a salute of their own by creating water cascades.

Diamond Cascade
Diamond Cascade

As she was entering the narrows between the Round Tower and HMS Dolphin, a flight of helicopters in “diamond” formation overflew HMS Diamond along with an RAF Typhoon.

Diamond Flypast
Diamond Flypast

And finally the crew of HMS Diamond gave a rousing cheer easily heard by the watching crowds.


The end of the spectacle but a fitting start to the Queens Jubilee weekend.

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