Welcome to my world!

The reflections and comments of a resident in Southsea, Portsmouth, England.

Sunday, 22 November 2015

University choir celebrates 50 years of singing

University of Portsmouth choir will celebrate their 50th anniversary with a concert on 28 November at St John's Cathedral, Portsmouth.

Conducted by George Burrows, the programme will comprise Hummel’s Mass in B-flat and Mozart’s Symphony No. 41 in C ('Jupiter').

Hummel was a pupil of Mozart and also a great composer in his own right. This is a chance to hear his wonderful mass setting alongside works by his teacher in a feast of choral and orchestral music.

The choir is hoping that many former students and staff of the university will be coming to the event. One notable man, who started the orchestra in 1965, will certainly be there.

Raymond Calcraft joined what was then the Portsmouth College of Technology and found that there was no musical activities at all. Together with various colleagues, including the Head of English, Phil Jenkins, put together a group. He recalls being sent to London with Dr Gillian Lovegrove, by the principal Dr Davey, to buy a piano for the college.

If you are a former student, staff member, or remember attending the concerts of the choir over the years, please bring along some old photographs as the choir would love to see them.

Those interested to find out more can contact the current Music Director, Colin Jagger, on 023 9284 3023.

Date: Saturday 28 November 2015
Time: 7.30pm
Venue: St John’s Cathedral, Edinburgh Rd, Portsmouth PO1 3HQ
Tickets £12, £10 concessions available online or on the door

Telephone: 023 9284 3023

Wednesday, 18 November 2015

Family drawing workshops with Immy Smith @ aspex gallery

The Hampshire and Isle of Wight branch of the British Science Association has teamed up with aspex gallery to present a series of family workshops inspired by science and nature. The workshops will be lead by artist Immy Smith, who is a Leverhulme Artist-in-Residence in the University of Portsmouth Brain Tumour Research Lab. You can find out more about Immy's work work on her website www.immysmith.com

Immy will host informative and fun drawing activities and games, suitable for all ages and abilities. However, parents should supervise their children during the activities and in the gallery space.

1. Saturday 28th November - lichens
2. Saturday 30th January - stargazing
3 Saturday 20th February - the beauty of fractals
4. Saturday 19th March - brain tumour

Time: 2-4pm
Venue: aspex gallery, The Vulcan Building, Portsmouth PO1 3BF

The workshops are free, no pre-registration required and people can drop-in on the day.

aspex gallery 023 9277 8080 (adam@aspex.org.uk)

The event is organised by the British Science Association Hampshire and Isle of Wight branch

Monday, 16 November 2015

Royal Marine to Release Debut Choral Album at Portsmouth Cathedral

After months of work, Royal Marine musician and composer James Dunlop will officially launch his debut choral album, Ascension, with a free concert at Portsmouth Cathedral on Monday November 30th.

The Ascension album is an independent collaboration between young composer James Dunlop and the Portsmouth Cathedral Choir. This 18 month project is the debut album of 26 year old composer James Dunlop and has been funded by the Arts Council England and a crowd funding campaign.

It features 12 tracks of new contemporary choral music composed by James Dunlop and consists of A Cappella works, whilst also featuring the Northumbrian Smallpipe performer, Alice Burn, finalist in the BBC Radio 2 Young Folk Awards, as a soloist with the choir. It features works set to religious text as well as modern contemporary pieces of a melodic, thematic nature.

This is James Dunlop’s debut album and a big leap in his musical career; it shows an extraordinary journey with director Dr David Price and the Portsmouth Cathedral Choir and brings new, fresh works to the genre, as well as a new composer’s voice.

Work on the album has been ongoing for the last 18 months and looks set to be a welcomed addition to choral repertoire. Ascension features a broad range of different styles; from commissioned remembrance works, to a Gregorian chant; a new work based on the Big Ben chimes and an experimental ceilidh dance reel with Northumbrian Smallpipes and choir.

It was recorded on location at Portsmouth Cathedral, Hampshire, UK by Sony and Decca utilised sound engineer Andy Deacon with post production by the award winning Badshot Farm Studios, and is a new, modern collection of works to continue and promote the catalogue of choral music.

Ascension is to be released digitally with all major digital music stores and streaming services, on high definition digital music stores, and physically in two versions, a standard jewel case edition and a hard casebound book limited edition.

The Ascension album will launch with a concert in Portsmouth Cathedral on the evening of the launch day, Monday 30th November. Doors open at 7pm for a 7:30pm start and is free to attend. The evening supports the Royal Marines Charitable Trust Fund, The Roberts Centre and Portsmouth Cathedral.

As part of the album launch, all of the sheet music from the album will be released for free at www.riverwoodair.com for one week commencing Monday 30th November.

Thursday, 15 October 2015

36 hours: Jutland 1916, The Battle That Won The War

The National Museum of the Royal Navy (NMRN) has announced its major contributions to commemorate the centenary of the Battle of Jutland for 2016, highlighting the pivotal role played by the Royal Navy.
This follows the Government’s plans to mark the milestone which were released earlier this week.
Commemorative events for Jutland 2016 start in Portsmouth Historic Dockyard with the formal opening, on May 24th, of a blockbuster exhibition “36 hours: Jutland 1916, The Battle That Won The War.” As well as being a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to bring together material from across the UK and Germany, the exhibition is linked to the other significant NMRN launch in 2016, namely the opening of HMS Caroline in Belfast.

HMS Caroline is the last survivor of the battle and following the receipt of the largest Heritage Lottery Fund grant awarded in Northern Ireland, the ship is being transformed into a world class heritage visitor attraction in time for the national centenary commemorations of the Battle of Jutland on 31st May 2016.
Head of Heritage Development at the NMRN, Nick Hewitt, said: “The Battle of Jutland is the Royal Navy’s defining moment in The Great War, and perhaps the largest sea battle in history. It’s the only event in the national First World War centenary programme which is wholly naval in character, and at the NMRN we’ve pulled out all the stops to put together a comprehensive and exciting programme of activity to mark it. As a naval historian, it’s a great privilege to be involved in a once-in-a-lifetime event like this, and I’m absolutely sure our visitors will be as engaged by this epic, tragic story as we are.”
Director General of the NMRN, Professor Dominic Tweddle, said: “We are delighted to be working in partnership with the Department of Culture, Media and Sport. One hundred years after the fleets of the Imperial German and Royal Navies fought the defining naval battle of the First World War it is essential that we mark and commemorate the incredible sacrifice made. Our Great War at Sea 1914-1918 programme of exhibitions and events is succeeding in demonstrating that the First World War was also fought at sea around the world and that our Naval supremacy ensured that the war was won.”
Director of Visitor Experience at the NMRN, John Rawlinson, said: “The story of the Battle of Jutland is a dramatic one which few know about. However it was the battle that won the war. Whilst debate rages as to who was the decisive victor, one thing is sure, it changed the course of the First World War and ultimately led to the British defeating the Germans.”
The NMRN is working in partnership with the Imperial War Museum for the exhibition. This, with the opening of HMS Caroline, will make a massive contribution to visitors’ understanding about the battle; the personalities involved, the men who served and the impact it had on a war-torn Britain. The story will be told in real time and draw upon the latest exhibition design to engage and stimulate visitors of all ages.  Anyone who visits is sure to be inspired, but most importantly we will ensure that all those who served and died in the battle will remain in the forefront of people’s minds in the centenary year.  

More information from  
Lewis Brown on 02392 894558 

Friday, 28 August 2015

Living with dementia

Today it's all about dementia. The newsletter on my inbox read:

World Alzheimer’s Day is taking place on 21 September 2015 and Alzheimer’s Disease International are encouraging everyone around the world to get involved in an event to help raise awareness of dementia and challenge stigma.

Here in Southsea we can join a new fortnightly session to be held at the King's Theatre (No. 28 Albert Road) to help people understand dementia more.

Red Sauce Theatre has researched and created a forum theatre piece that will help people to learn more about what it's like living with dementia.

This afternoon I had a quick chat with Rachel Goodall from Red Sauce Theatre and I hope to come along to her sessions as dementia affects us all and we both agreed that it's important to learn as much as possible and to have time to share our understanding and experiences with each other, particularly with those caring for people living with dementia.

Thursday, 27 August 2015

Best Burgers in Southsea

Where can you get the best burger in town? My vote still goes to the ABar Bistro! The meat is very juicy.

Other places I can recommend for a good burger is Le Cafe Parisien. Here you can choose between a beef, chicken or vegetarian burger. Each topped with some lovely battered onion rings.

As people have preferences and probably been to many other places in Southsea, please feel free to add your recommendations in the comment space below.

Looking forward to hear from you!

Monday, 24 August 2015

Sudoku helps fill the time on a rainy day

It has been pouring down with rain today and as soon as it started looking like it would stop, it starts again! I have a book to read, so it's fine. But if you don't feel like reading what would you do?

You could do some Sudoku. It's not difficult and it does not require any skill in maths. All you are doing is filling in the spaces with numbers 1 to 9. The trick comes with the arrangements. Try the easy ones first and then move on to a more difficult ones. It's all about learning slowly how to spot for the answers.

It's a game young and old can do, but it does require some amount of memory. It can, over time, help you sharpen your memory too as you keep using that part of your brain.

You can find books and books of Sudoku or your daily papers would have them too. I only buy the papers once a week, but sometimes it has a bumper edition of games and there will be several Sudokus.

You can find Sudokus online too, where you can time yourself doing it and notice how much you improve.

Or take it easy and grab a free copy of the Weekend papers at Waitrose and tackle the weekly Sudoku.

Enjoy filling in those boxes!

Saturday, 11 July 2015

Four ways to cook chicken

Keeping to the barbecue theme, chicken drumsticks are perhaps the easiest part of chicken to cook on the barbecue. It's easy to handle at the bone end.

What to do with your chicken is very easy to answer! Here are some of my favourite flavouring:

Oyster Sauce - this very versatile sauce liven up any chicken dish, whether you stir fry it or stick it on the barbecue

Teriyaki Sauce - The Japanese answer to a barbecue sauce and it's simply good!

Honey mustard - a tablespoon each of honey and wholegrain mustard for 8-10 drumsticks would give it a continental flavour.

Garlic and chilli - this must be my all time favourite and the best combination of flavours in the world; try it for yourself! Add some lime for a Thai twist.

Light the barbie, or on a rainy day, eat it indoors with your pretty picnic plates.

Saturday, 4 July 2015

Barbecue time!

Summer is about enjoying the long, warm days and not stuck by the stove cooking labourious dinners. That's why the barbecue was invented!

The simplest possible way to do the barbecue is to buy some sausages and burgers ready made in the supermarket. Foodie me, however, prefer to know what goes into my food.

Making your own burger should not be difficult. Some prefer plain meat which they flavour later with tomatoes, lettuce, a slice of bacon, or a chunk of Stilton.

I tend to mix lean steak mince with onions I have chopped up and caramelised in the pan with a spoonful of oil. Then to flavour it I raid the fridge for leftover chutney, chilli sauce or apricot conserve (my favourite!).

You want to keep the mixture moist and to stick it all together, add an egg and mix well. This mixture is very good if you want to cut out gluten from your diet. Ready-made burgers often have rusk or breadcrumbs added for volume.

What better to drink in the hot summer evenings than the very British Pimms. Add plenty of ice, chunks of apples, strawberries and cucumber ribbons, and Bob's Your Uncle!

Have fun and enjoy!

Friday, 3 July 2015

What's interesting: Hair Peace

When Victoria competed in beauty pageants for her award-winning show, Major Tom, a hairdresser advised she wear hair extensions.

Freaked out by wearing a piece of somebody else’s body she embarked on an extraordinary adventure to find whose hair this was.

The outcome is a true story about the search for three unrelated strangers from India and Russia connected by DNA.

Hair Peace aims to look at how one woman’s situation through birthplace, class and religion can be so radically different from another’s, yet still be so inextricably linked by having worn the same hair.

Victoria’s boundless curiosity takes us on a serendipitous journey around the world, meeting a real-life baddie, a saviour in the shape of a Bollywood financier, the most expensive wedding to have ever taken place, a Celebrity Big Brother contestant, forensic crime scene investigations and hair.

Lots of hair.

Sacks of it.

“deceptively thoughtful fun” (on Major Tom) Lyn Gardner, The Guardian 

Thursday 9 July 2015
8pm, followed by a post-show chat in the bar
The Spring, Havant 
Tickets £10 from 023 9247 2700