Welcome to my world!

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

Tuesday, 30 August 2016

UnPOPpable at Victorious Festival

As I walked around the seafront, operation dismantling was going on after the very successful Victorious Festival. I'm not much into the music, but I spent Saturday volunteering with the British Science Association Hampshire and Isle of Wight branch to run some balloon science experiments attached to the "unPOPpable" show.

We were showing kids how to skewer balloons without them popping (unpoppable, you see!), running balloon races and helping kids make their own nebula in a jam jar.

Based on a children's book by Tim Hopgood, unPOPpable was a story of a yellow balloon that was, you guess it, unpoppable! The balloon took an adventure into outer space and when it came back down to earth, magic happened.

The show was the result of collaboration between cosmologists at the Institute of Cosmology and Gravitation (ICG) at the University of Portsmouth and associate artists working with the New Theatre Royal's Creative Lab.

We wanted to create art work inspired by science, inspired by art. The Arts Council England really liked the project and funded it so we can put it all together and showed it at Victorious.

If it was successful, and it was, we might bid for more funding to tour the show around the country.

Sunday, 14 August 2016

Portsmouth is a foodie paradise

This article appears in the Portsmouth View published 12 August 2016. 

Portsmouth has become a real foodie paradise and no one is more pleased about it than me. I love food, not only in eating it, but also in creating meals. So living here is such a delight for me.

The monthly farmers market on Palmerston Road is a must and the next one is on 21 August. It is the best place to find fresh local produce and stock up on delicious cakes, preserves or wines.

Summer also means food festivals of which there are many you can find in this bustling city.

We have just witnessed a Gin Festival in Portsmouth Guildhall, home also to beer festivals. In fact, make a note in your diary for the Octoberfest celebration there on 21 October.

This weekend the Thai Food Festival in Castle Field, a regular feature on the summer calendar, will complement the Kite Festival nicely offering favourites such as pad-thai and fishcakes.

Of course we also have the annual Southsea Food Festival last month. Always a buzzing affair with cooking demonstrations and delightful food stalls.

I’m sure there will be food at the Fratton Family Festival on 18 September as there are many cafes, takeaways and restaurants in one of Portsmouth’s well-known neighbourhoods.

Fratton is rivalled only by Albert Road, Portsmouth’s own ‘curry mile’. There are so many restaurants and takeaways there that in 2009 local councillors were calling for tighter restrictions. I’m sure the residents did not mind the food options available to them on a Friday night!

Ken’s Fried Chicken is of course legendary among our student population.

The city also boasts Michelin-star establishments such as Restaurant 27 and Bistro Montparnasse.

Competitions are mushrooming, so watch out for more opportunities for fine dining.

Gunwharf Quays offers many branches of national food chains with their lovely marina setting.

More than anything, though, Portsmouth residents love their independent shops and restaurants. Luckily for us, there are so many to choose from.

Places like the Sopranos, Belle Isle, Santyago, Meat and Barrell, Pie & Vinyl and Samphire offer some unique food experiences.

On the weekend of 3-4 September, we welcome the first Camber Seafood Festival. Headed by Eric McCloud of Viviers, it is so Southsea and long may it continues.

Further afield in Wickham there is the Taste of Wickham on 11 September and The Gullfest will be happening in Portchester before that on 3 September.

So enjoy the summer!