Showing posts from 2017

Portsmouth Guildhall launches first phase of Renaissance Development

Portsmouth Guildhall launched the first phase of an ambitious programme of restoration and development so it can continue to thrive for the next 130 years and be a venue of which the city can be proud.

The exciting Renaissance project will cost £15 million and be completed in several phases over the next 10 years, allowing the Guildhall to raise the funds needed and complete the programme without having to close the venue for long periods.

The initial phase of the project will see The Harlequin Room transformed from a tired and under-utilised space on the Ground Floor of the Guildhall, into a 185 seat/250 standing capacity Guildhall Studio which will create a much needed facility to support emerging talent across the region, develop a diversified arts and classical music offer, create a small conference and meeting space and provide an accessible hub that community groups can utilise.

As a Concert Hall that has seen some of the world’s finest artists perform including The Beatles, Th…

Ding dong merrily!

Ding-dong comes December! Google Dictionary says ‘ding-dong’ stands for a riotous party. I hope everyone is merrily looking forward to this festive season.
This Saturday 9 December check out CURIO: Southsea Creative Pop Up in the Trinity Church Hall on Albert Road.
On Sunday 10 December, the Milton Glee Club will be holding its Christmas Concert at the Guildhall at 3 pm. That evening, the University Concert and Big Band are holding their Christmas Concert at the Royal Marines Museum in Eastney at 7.30 pm.
On Monday 11 December listen to Peoples' Stories Coffee Morning at the National Museum of the Royal Navy in the Historic Dockyard.
On 14 December head to the Live Lounge event in the Guildhall, featuring the Blues legend Paul Jones.
Don’t forget to give ice-skating a go with your family. The ring at Guildhall Square will be there until 2 January. Join the Christmas Elf Trail at the Spinnaker Tower from now until 24December.
Meet Santa at the Groundlings Theatre on Sunday 17 Dece…

Tamsin Waley-Cohen dazzled Guildhall audience

Violinist Tamsin Waley-Cohen was in concert at Portsmouth Guildhall last night with pianist James Baillieu. 
Tamsin gave a superb rendition of Prokofiev's Violin Sonata No. 1; strong, angry and despairing. It was emotional and stunning at the same time. The memory of this concert will linger for months.
In contrast, the C.P.E. Bach pieces were light and capricious in parts. It was a delight to hear the pieces. One audience members said the music was intriguing and surprising, while the Schubert Sonata was subtle and warm. 
Each piece was full of fireworks! It was a wonderful concert and we felt privileged to be there. 

The rest of the Portsmouth Chamber Music season includes:
Ensemble 360 - 29 January
Gould Piano Trio and Robert Plane - 19 March
Marmen Quartet - 16 April

More details from Portsmouth Guildhall

University choir sings Britten's St Nicolas

The University of Portsmouth Choir performs at St Mary's Church this Saturday 2nd December under the direction of conductor Thomas Neal.

The choir will be singing Britten's St Nicolas. The piece was written in 1948 for the centennial celebrations of Lancing College in Sussex. The text to was written by Eric Crozier, and it details the life of St Nicolas, his miraculous birth and his journey to become the Bishop of Myra, a pilgrimage destination for Byzantine Christians in Turkey.

The University of Portsmouth Choir performs at St Mary’s fresh from their highly successful fundraising concert in March, in which they raised thousands of pounds for local charities, including the St Mary’s Music Foundation.

The Solent Symphony, which celebrates their 25th anniversary this year, will once again be accompanying the choir.

The tenor part will be sung by Dominic Bevan, a postgraduate diploma student at the Royal College of Music.

Choral conductor Thomas Neal is a music teacher at the Portsm…

Countdown to Victorian Christmas!

In just 15 days, the largest Christmas festival on the south coast is set to return when Portsmouth Historic Dockyard welcomes back the ever-popular Victorian Festival of Christmas.
The festival is the perfect way to kick off seasonal celebrations. You will be transported to a bygone era where a cast of colourful characters roam the snow-covered cobbled streets. Rub shoulders with a medley of street entertainers, enjoy seasonal refreshments and browse over 150 stalls for perfect gift ideas.
Encounter the ever-popular traditional Father Christmas dressed in green, see Scrooge in his hand-drawn carriage, bump into young chimney sweeps, and enjoy street performances from Victorian magicians and musicians. To top it off, there will be a 35-foot Christmas tree alongside HMS Victory. Historic parts of the dockyard will be transformed into a Victorian-style street, complete with coffin measurers, ladies of the night, street urchins, market sellers and many more.  This year there is a brand ne…

Van Kuijk Quartet performs in Portsmouth

The Van Kuijk Quartet will be performing in Portsmouth on Monday 30th October as part of the Portsmouth Chamber Music Series.
Currently BBC New Generation Artists, the Van Kuijk Quartet’s international accolades boast First, Best Beethoven and Best Haydn Prizes at the 2015 Wigmore Hall International String Quartet competition, First Prize and an Audience Award at the Trondheim International Chamber Music Competition, as well as becoming laureates of the Aix-en-Provence Festival Academy. Further to this, they join the ECHO Rising Stars roster for the 2017/2018 season.

Since their formation in 2012, the ensemble is already an established presence in major international venues, performing at the Wigmore Hall in London, Auditorium du Louvre and Salle Gaveau in Paris, Tonhalle in Zurich, Musikverein in Vienna, Berliner Philharmonie, Tivoli Concert Series in Denmark, Sage Gateshead, and at festivals in Cheltenham, Heidelberg, Lockenhaus, Davos, Verbier, Aix-en-Provence, Montpellier/Radio F…

Southsea Library

I love reading and grateful that the city has a good collection of libraries. I often think it's the one resource that is worth spending money on. 
Libraries give people access to knowledge and leisure. Whether you are an extrovert or introvert, there is a place for you in the library. Whether you are highly educated or just started learning, the library is for you.
I go to the library to read novels, literary genius or pure chick-lit depending on my mood and inclination. I look up holiday destinations and even use the maps on the holidays themselves.
At the library I spend hours looking at books for ideas to decorate the home or learn a minor DIY needed to be done. I cook many delicious meals from books borrowed from the library. Most of all, I learn. Every single thing I read in the library, I learn from.
This week I read 'Homegoing' by Yaa Gyasi about the slave trade and displacement, and the finding of your soul's home. What will you learn this week? 

Portsmouth home of the arts

As appeared in Portsmouth View, October 2017 edition.

Portsmouth is home to the arts and this month you can see just what a variety there is for everyone to enjoy.

The fifth “Created in Portsmouth” arts and craft trail will take place the weekend of 13- 15 October and will feature a number of exciting local artists showcasing work in their studios.

See the work of painter Lizzie Cornelius at her Hotwalls Studio, or Myrtle Clark Bremer at her home on Pelham Road. Popular graffiti artist, My Dog Sighs is exhibiting above the Wedgewood Rooms.

Details from their website

Along the way, make a stop at many of the area’s great cafes. There is The Canteen at Hotwalls, Bread Addiction on Elm Grove and Casa de Castro on Albert Road, as well as Hunter Gatherer further along near Highland Road.

Every third Wednesday of the month there is a free, drop-in interactive Story Time session at Fort Nelson. Great for the under 5s, the session on Wednesday 18 October start…

Art Walk in Southsea

Saturday is chores day, but I cannot miss the Created in Portsmouth arts and crafts trail, which saw local artists and crafters opening their studios to the public.

I had very little time so briskly made my way to Darlington Road, where bookmaker and paper artist Adrian Munday was opening his front room to showcase some of the fabulous books he has made. The photographs of the books were enticing enough, but to actually feel the books yourself was quite something. I know I have a thing about stationary, but these books were exquisite!

Adrian's mother Shirley also had her crafts on display and she was an amazing woman who has a passion of beading and embroidery. You cannot miss her enthusiasm for the crafts and she couldn't avoid infecting me with her delight in crafting. Safe to say that I could not walk away without purchasing one of her beautifully crafted beaded bracelet.

Having had such an inspiring visit with these two I thought it would be churlish to skip the studio on …

Slow cook Sunday

Now, of course Sunday lunch is what everyone talks about on Sundays. A chance to sit with the family, over a long hearty dinner, communing and getting ready for the week ahead.
I love to cook on Sunday and today I bought a large leg of lamb and made lamb apricot. The recipe is simple but the lamb has to stew for at least an hour and a half.
The sauce is made up of basic soffritto, or chopped onion, carrots and celery sticks. Added to it some tomato puree and chopped dried apricot which all combined into a lovely orange sauce at the end.
Keep the recipe simple, after all, Sunday lunch is about sharing and caring with your nearest and

Love, Nina

Just finished reading a book entitled "Love, Nina" and really enjoyed it. The title caught my eye as my niece is called Nina.
Written by Nina Stibbe, the book is a series of letters she wrote to her sister at home detailing her time working as a nanny in London.
Her language is fun and it makes a very effective autobiography. By putting in some conversation in dialog format she avoided awakward description and kept the story fresh and honest.
It's an interesting read and as a student of creative writing I find the style interesting. Dialogues are hard unless you have a very good command of personalities and tone of voice of various characters.
Have a read, it's funny in most part and a very diverting read.

Sole surviving D-Day landing craft gets restoration go-ahead

LCT 7074 to be focal point of The National Museum of the Royal Navy’s affiliate Portsmouth’s D-Day Museum thanks to £4.7m from The National Lottery

For the first time ever an original Landing Craft Tank (LCT) will be on display at the D-Day Museum in Portsmouth. This has been made possible thanks to an investment of nearly £5m from The National Lottery and has been planned to coincide with the 75th anniversary of the landings in two years’ time.

The D-Day Museum is an affiliate of The National Museum of the Royal Navy which is managing the project. Due to reopen in 2018 following a complete refurbishment, the D-Day Museum offers a much more in-depth narrative on the events that took place in ‘Operation Overlord’ on 6 June 1944 and looks specifically at the Royal Navy and how its crews coped on that day.

Over 800 LCTs with the capacity to carry 10 tanks or equivalent armoured vehicles were involved in ‘Operation Neptune’, the naval element of ‘Overlord’. The largest amphibious ope…

Portsmouth students help promote City to cruise ship companies

Students from the Faculty of Creative and Cultural Industries produced an innovative 360 degree video to promote Portsmouth’s world-class tourist attractions to some of the most important decision makers in the cruise ship industry at Europe’s premier cruise expo, Seatrade Europe.

Portsmouth International Port is pushing for more cruise ship visits in the coming years and the video was part of a new #portsmouthtakesyouthere marketing campaign, highlighting a range of exceptional experiences offered in the City and on holidays from the port.

The new immersive 360 degree video has been produced with the University’s Faculty of Creative and Cultural Industries, giving students the chance to promote key sights and landmarks in the City. The interactive marketing material gives viewers the chance to get an all-round impression of some of Portsmouth’s most famous attractions.

Toby Meredith, Media Production Manager at the University of Portsmouth, said, “It has been a great opportunity for …

Ten-minutes prawn linguine

I just love to cook and it's nonsense when people say you need a lot of time to cook a meal. As a working professional with an equally busy social life, I do sometimes find myself having to rustle up something quickly.

You can find the following ingredients quite easily at your nearest Tesco Express:
Prawns - 150 g pack serves 2 generously and 3 at a stretch Linguine - 75 g per person Garlic - 1 clove, crushed and diced Red chilli - 1 medium, diced Butter - 25 g Parmesan - 25 g, grated Sliced spring onions, if available - it just makes the meal a bit more moreish Half a lemon

Boil some water in the pan and add the linguine. Set the timer to 10 minute as it takes the linguine 8-10 minutes to cook. Then melt the butter in a pan and add the spring onions, garlic and chilli. Fry it gently and as the timer shows 3 minutes to go, add the prawns and salt and pepper and drain the linguine into the pan with a little of the water to keep everything moist. Only cook the prawn for 3 minutes s…

Winter short breaks, explore the cultural heart of the waterfront city of Portsmouth

The historic city of Portsmouth has plenty to offer visitors for a special winter short break. Stroll the Historic Dockyards which will be transformed into a snowy Victorian street market for the annual festive event. Soak up the city’s cultural atmosphere beginning with a visit to the birthplace of Charles Dickens, the great 19th century writer and the city’s most famous son. The City Museum is home to the largest collection of items in the world relating to Conan Doyle and his famous detective.

Stay in one of the city’s many boutique hotels such as the Mercer Collection of seven unique properties in Southsea - relax with a cosy spa treatment, and indulge in delicious food and wine from all regions in the many varied pubs offering local ales and top class restaurants such as No27 and Montparnasse, or the quirkier Pie & Vinyl. No Man’s Fort in the Solent offers a completely different experience in one of three fortifications built during the Napoleonic Wars and now offering luxury…

Portsmouth Black History Month Film Festival

Portsmouth Film Society presents its seventh Black History Month Festival season of films. PFS presents the work of four special films in the Eldon Building, Middle Street, Southsea during October.
The festival is supported by the University of Portsmouth's Multicultural Staff Forum and Student Union, as well as Film Hub South East, an exhibitor focused organisation formed in 2013 as part of the BFI Film Audience Network.

Last year’s blockbuster Hollywood film Hidden Figures will open the festival at a special event that will also be attended by the Lord Mayor of Portsmouth and other dignitaries, on Wednesday 4 October.

Hidden Figures recounts the lives of a group of African-American female mathematicians who served as the brains behind the launch of astronaut John Glenn into orbit.

The next film, Loving, celebrates real-life courage of a couple who challenged the law against inter-racial marriage in 1967 Caroline County, Virginia. This will be screened on 12 October.

I am Not You…

International Comic Con Comes to Portsmouth in 2018

The best in comic book, TV, film and pop culture entertainment comes to Portsmouth on Saturday 5th and Sunday 6th May 2018 as Portsmouth Comic Con, International Festival of Comics hits the South Coast!

In one of the largest regional events of its kind, this brand new convention will celebrate the art of comics, illustration and the worlds of TV and film, providing fun for aficionados, lifelong fans and families alike. Glimpse behind the camera of Doctor Who, with one of its leading prosthetic makeup artists, see behind the scenes art from HBO’s Games of Thrones and dress in your best cosplay - prizes will be awarded on the day!  

Portsmouth Comic Con, International Festival of Comics will feature some of the most important comic writers and artists in the industry, with many creators appearing in the UK for the very first time. All guests have worked on some of the biggest properties in genre including Star Wars, Game of Thrones, Doctor Who, Superman, Batman, Wolverine, Judge Dredd, In…

The Spirit of ’67: Portsmouth’s Summer of Love and its Legacy

We welcome a new, temporary exhibition which opens today at Portsmouth Guildhall and is available until 8th January 2018.

The exhibition, created by Dave Allen and hosted by the Faculty of Creative and Cultural Industries, marks the 50th anniversary of the so-called ‘Summer of Love’ with a focus on Portsmouth in the late 1960s and the legacy of those interesting times.

The familiar histories tell tales of Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, swinging London and young people with flowers in their hair and bells round their necks, traveling in their thousands to San Francisco’s Haight Ashbury district to join the hippies there. The histories of those times also tell us that after the explosion of colour and new sounds of 1967, the following year’s revolutionary spirit became more political and less peaceful, leading to some terrible events in the immediate aftermath such as Altamont, Manson and Kent State.

Dave Allen’s book, Autumn of Love: How the Swinging Sixties & the Counter…

Portsea Lost Heritage Walk

The Portsea Lost Heritage Walk will be held on Saturday 23 September 2017, 10.00 from Portsmouth Historic Dockyard Gate on The Hard, to St John the Evangelist RC Cathedral, led by Dr Ann Coats, University of Portsmouth.

The walk will last 2-2½ hrs with a break halfway
The distance is approximately 0.8miles/1.3 km.
If the weather is too bad on the day the walk will be cancelled and rescheduled.

Aim of the Walk: to gather ideas and opinions from the public via a short Questionnaire about what heritage places should be included in a Heritage Trail, what might improve green spaces and how to link these places by walking.

Following the Dockyard Wall, we shall locate the vanished sites of the Brewery, the Daniel Street Chapel, St John’s Church and St John’s RC chapel. Three streets: Marlborough Row, Gloucester Street and Frederick Street were taken into the Dockyard in 1944. What do street names tell us about Portsea’s history?

It will connect heritage and green places and explore quest…

Blogging from my mobile

So excited to be able to blog from my mobile phone! We hope this means that you will see more blogs about events and life around Southsea from this page. If you have any news or events you want to share, please email the details to

Meet Cressida Cowell

One of the most eagerly awaited children’s book of 2017, THE WIZARDS OF ONCE publishes in September, launching a brand new series by Cressida Cowell, author-illustrator of the 8-million-copy-selling How to Train Your Dragon series, which has inspired a generation of readers as well as a DreamWorks’ movie and TV franchise of the same name.

The Hayling Island Bookshop in conjunction with Portsmouth Grammar School are delighted to announce that they will run one of Cressida’ Launch Tour Events. The early evening event will take place at the David Russell Theatre, Portsmouth Grammar School, High Street, Old Portsmouth on September 26th starting at 5pm. The new book is suitable for children aged 8-12.

Each £12.99 ticket entitles the attendee to one copy of the new book and hear Cressida talk about her new series. Cressida will hold a book signing after her Talk. Ticket holders will also receive a poster. A selection of Cressida’s other books will be available to purchase, with cash, at …

World-leading artists for Portsmouth

The new season of Portsmouth Chamber Music series kicks off on 25 September with the incomparable pianist Paul Lewis.

Lewis has a busy international career, appearing in concert halls around the globe. He is renowned for his performances of the Viennese masters, and we will be treated to favourite works by Beethoven, Haydn and Brahms.

Then on the 30 October, we welcome back the Van Kuijk Quartet which so captivated the Portsmouth audience last season. First prize winners of the Wigmore Hall String Quartet Competition in 2015 they will perform string quartets by Mendelssohn, Janáček and Ravel.

Violinist Tamsin Waley-Cohen has been touring the great UK and European concert halls last year as part of the ECHO Rising Stars series. Her partnership with star accompanist James Baillieu sees a programme of Schubert and Prokofiev sonatas sandwiched between works by C.P.E. Bach in their 27 November concert.

Welcome the new year with the series’ resident Ensemble 360 on 29 January, with a prog…

The Adriatic: Piran and Portoroz

I submitted this short article to the Telegraph Travel section on 30 May 2017 and it was published in the papers on 3 June 2017. Events of that day meant that I didn't remember it again until much later. Sadly, I still cannot find a copy of the original. My first published piece in a major newspaper and I have nothing to show for it except the e-mail from the Editor letting me know that my letter was picked to win the main prize.
The Adriatic
Reading about the Kempinski Palace Portoroz in last week’s Travel section reminded me of our beautiful weekend in the town and nearby Piran. We stayed in humbler Maygut hotel up the hill and the shortcut took us to the main road by the Kempinski. The promenade takes you all the way to Piran.

I remember the sea shimmering like a thousand little diamonds and the large orange orb that was the sun sinking in the background. Below us the town of Piran was slowly lighting up. We had climbed up to the battlement, intrigued by its outline from the edge…

Marie Curie launches volunteer ‘Helper’ service in Portsmouth

Marie Curie is celebrating the launch of its Helper service in Portsmouth and is calling on people to consider volunteering a few hours of their time each week to support local people with terminal illnesses and their families.

The charity is looking for people who are interested in becoming a ‘Marie Curie Helper’, a volunteer who can visit someone with a terminal illness in their own home to provide companionship and emotional support, as well as practical help. While it has previously been available in other parts of the country, this is the first time that people in Portsmouth have been able to benefit from the service.

Marie Curie Helper volunteers give around three hours a week of their time to offer a friendly ear and the opportunity to talk through any worries. Volunteers also help by providing practical support, information about local services and enabling carers and family members to take a short break.

Rachel Hatcher, Marie Curie Helper Service Manager for Portsmouth, said:…

The Making of a Royal Marines Commando

‘The Making of a Royal Marines Commando’ exhibition finds new home in Action Stations at Portsmouth Historic Dockyard and is set to open this Saturday 12 August 2017.

You will find a permanent new gallery describing the training of Royal Marines Commandos has been relocated from the Royal Marines Museum in Eastney to Action Stations in Portsmouth Historic Dockyard.

‘The Making of a Royal Marines Commando’ takes visitors stage by stage through the 30 weeks of RM Commando training and gives them the opportunity to step into the boots of a RM Recruit.

Using a broad mix of interactive exhibits, from high tech ones like an SA80 rifle simulator, to finding out how to fold your shirt ‘Globe and Laurel’ style, the exhibition requires active participation from visitors!

The exhibition also includes a range of objects especially acquired for the exhibition, including equipment used by Mountain Leaders, Snipers and Aircrewmen.

Perhaps the most striking aspect of the display is that most of the n…

Yomper statue to stay on Eastney seafront

The board of The National Museum of the Royal Navy has agreed unanimously to keep the Yomper statue where it is on Eastney seafront.
The resounding “yes” followed a year-long public consultation which gathered over 3000 responses from across the country.

The Yomper, sculpted by Philip Jackson, has become a very popular feature of the Eastney seafront. It dominates the entrance to the Royal Marines Museum and was originally commissioned as a marker for the museum, the galleries of which are now closed to visitors. It was unveiled by Lady Margaret Thatcher on 8 July 1992 on the 10th anniversary of the Falklands conflict. 
Following the award of a £13.85 million grant in May 2016 from the Heritage Lottery Fund to create the country’s newest national collection at Portsmouth Historic Dockyard, it was announced that a new Royal Marines Museum would open in the historic dockyard. It was feared this would prompt the removal of the statue from its current location to the new museum when it o…

Fried skate wings

A fried skate or ray wing (I don't know which) can be really delicious. It's also a fish dish that doesn't have any bones to deal with. Great for someone who hates dealing with the bones.

Pat dry the wings on kitchen paper. Then dust with plain flour mixed with Paprika powder, salt and pepper. Then shallow fry for 5 minutes on each side or until the edges are dry and crispy.

Serve with mash, jacket potatoes or simply with steamed vegetables for a very quick dinner.

Top 5 National Trust events this summer

My latest National Trust magazine has just arrived, full of information on the various properties and activities they are offering this summer.

Here are my favourites for the ones near us

The Great British Dog Walk (really?) at New Forest Commons
Sunday 21 May, 11 am to 4.30 pm
Fun for the family promised with adult tickets costing £10, available from 01844 348101

Family trail at Hinton Ampner
Saturday 27 May - Sunday 4 June, 10 am to 5 pm
Explore the grounds during the half-term holiday
Suggested donation of £1

Rose season at Mottisfont
Throughout June
The roses will be in full bloom and there will be free talks with the gardeners at 2 pm daily

Feast Festival at Waddesdon Manor
17-18 June, 10 am to 5 pm
Experience music, dance and interactive theatrical performances while enjoying fabulous food and drink.
Entry £5 for adults and £2.50 for children

30-hour record Millathon at Winchester Mill
17-18 June, 10 am to 4 pm
Watch the millers attempt a new record of 30 hours non-stop milling.…

Five things to do in Venice

I had the chance to travel to Venice recently and was totally in love with the city. It has been on my bucket list for a long time and I kept talking about it, so my husband about it?

I'm a well-read traveller and like to check out what the place has to offer before I go. Our public library in Portsmouth is great at stocking up travel books. In fact, borrow one with a map and you don't need to buy any when you get to your destination.

It's good to check out places you may want to see, or any that you may skip. Travel books also have useful information on opening hours and advice about buying entry tickets to museums and attractions. However, information changes all the time and so do try to find the latest information online too.

Websites like Tripadvisor will have feedback from recent visitors and so more up-to-date. But don't be swayed too much by online reviews. People's tastes are different and what is bad for others, might be good for you.

1. We wer…