Tag Archives: Lymington

Sanctimonious, Self-righteous, Groupthink

sheepI’ve noticed on Facebook in particular and to a lesser extent on Twitter a tendency towards a hideous self-righteousness that is driving me crazy. My town of Lymington has a Facebook page called Lymington Rumour Control that is supposed to be a lighthearted watercooler (or village pump if you go back that far). The plan was that local people could gossip about local events in a lighthearted manner, share a joke and generally get along with each other.

However, in the past year a hideous form of groupthink has arisen whereby you must agree to the following tropes or be denounced and verbally shat on by the scores of mouth-breathers who inhabit the site

  • Our local community hospital can do no wrong
  • All local shops and business are exemplary and must be supported even if they are feckless rip-off merchants
  • The armed forces are saints
  • Fireworks emanate from Satan’s darkest nether regions and should be banned as they scare dogs, cats and most importantly horses
  • You are a Nazi sympathiser if you don’t wear a poppy for Rememberance Day
  • Cyclists and gypsies should be banned from the New Forest
  • …and the list goes on

What I particularly dislike is self-righteousness of these opinions. Who would want an animal to suffer ? therefore no fireworks for anyone. If we don’t support local businesses we will end up with 23 branches of McDonalds in the High Street.  It is so thoughtlessly binary; A or B, if you criticise the hospital you de facto want to destroy the NHS. There is no debate or nuanced discussion; just for it or if not for, against.

Our local hardware shop Knights closed and people rung their hands in nostalgic outrage. The fact that the owners plan to sell the land to a property developer to build retirement homes is conveniently overlooked. The news was greeted with the same degree of shock as if the National Anthem had been replaced with Gangnam Style and Winston Churchill was gay. Now we have Screwfix, a national chain, that are open longer hours, seven days a week and are, as a result a great deal more convenient. But God forbid you should mention the fact as you’ll be denounced as some disloyal, bourgeois interloper who’s only aim in life is to destroy our precious High Street which as it happens is filled with charity shops and coffee bars.

So my message to the pseudo-outraged of Facebook is calm down and get some perspective or as they say so eloquently in the United States. Take a chill pill.




Newtown Park – Nothing nasty in the woodshed

Newtown Park

If you’re a fan of Cold Comfort Farm you’ll get the reference in the headline. If not, don’t worry and enjoy the photographs. I was lucky enough to recently go on a private tour of a fabulous Georgian country estate near Lymington. The house is managed by a trust who spend a great deal of time, money and energy keeping it in spectacular repair. However, Palladian architecture to one side I was fascinated by the woodshed stuffed as it was with wonderful old tools.

Sadly, it is not open to the public but it was a privilege to see it despite the typical English spring weather.



Too provincial for Heathrow?

There was a time when my wife and I would race through Heathrow with the grace and aplomb of a seasoned world traveler. No searches at security because we knew what we’d packed, then a quick trip to Duty Free before a lightening dash through the gormless masses before reaching the haven of the BA lounge.

Small tasty nibbles and a glass of something sparkling until ten minutes to departure and then we reach the gate and all was well.

Then we moved to Lymington, our beloved, rather sleepy Georgian town by the sea. As noisy as a Benedictine rave and as crowded as Victoria Station during a rail strike. In Lymington a traffic jam is if the car in front has to apply it’s brakes.

So imagine us, country bumpkins, in Terminal 5 last week. There seemed to be tens of thousands of angry,sweaty,unhappy families all trying to stop one of their offspring from dropping their teddy bear or putting their fingers into machinery.

Then the noise. Having poked my head out of the BA Lounge to buy headphones, I was assaulted by shouting families, derricking parties of identically dressed Dutch basketball players and to cap it off a piper started playing the bagpipes to promote Loch Adele or some other fatuous fashion whisky. So I nip into Dixons who had every piece of equipment capable of making a sound turned up to eleven. And to cap it all the security alarm went off.

I grabbed my purchase and made speedy retreat to the BA Lounge. 

So what is the solution? I think Elly and I will have to make monthly trips to London and ride the Circle line at rush hours just to get our eye in again.

By the way I hear there are road works on the A337 towards Milford on Sea. That will add at least 60 seconds to my journey time. Shocking really.


London 1 Lymington 0

It’s not often that I criticise our adopted home by the sea but recently I’ve found just one area where the heaving, stinking metropolis wins hands down. And that is tradesmen.

In London, due to the vast amount of competition for your cash, the average builder, aerial man, gas fitter or electrician will be over the next day bright and early to do the work and relieve you of your hard earned money.  

In Lymington, priorities are different. First he may be one of only two electricians, second he might have a job on so won’t care and third he might be off sailing which in fact comes first.

So short of kidnapping Polish plumbers and busing them down to Lymington, I have adopted a more philosophical mindset. I listen to their excuses and unwind and become uncharacteristically patient. Here is a handy guide for the unwary.

Can I come over and have a look this week – I may pop in in the next 20 days

How big a job is it – unless you want the Great Wall of China we’re looking at next year

September any good for you – Let’s pretend but I’ll be sailing then anyway

I’m a bit busy at the moment – Give me your number and I’ll pretend to write it down and then never call you

It depends on the weather – because if it’s half way decent I’ll be sailing not doing your guttering and if it’s not good enough for sailing you won’t catch me up a ladder

That’s not something we normally do – If I can’t hit it with a hammer it’s not for us

To give you an idea, I asked four companies to quote for a big refurb job. Two companies turned up and never sent quotes, one sent a quote so massively inaccurate he hadn’t read the spec. When I pointed it out he said Excel has broken and trebled the price. The last one is great and we hired him.

So if you’re an entrepreneurial tradesman who wants to live somewhere wonderful, come to Lymington. You could become very rich.




I’ve got crabs and I’m proud of it

Lymington is famous for many things; sailing, civility, wildlife, zero crime, the world’s most cathartic newpaper (Lymington Times), sunshine and crabs. Yes, just off the shore are thousands of the little chaps and a child with a string and a paper clip can fill his bucket any day of the week.  Sadly, the British don’t care, so Lymington sells it’s catch to the French and Spanish and apart from a sad little stall in the Saturday Market you can’t buy a fresh crab in Lymington. The reason seems to be that the citizens of France and Spain love our crabs and snap them up by the ton but the British see them as a bit too much like hard work. So in a semi-obsessional quest, I determined to find a local source. After a pint or two at The Ship I got into a conversation with a fisherman who had telltale remnants on his deck. He pointed me at Steve who runs ‘the small blue boat over ther’ and in turn with Joan who owns S&J Shellfish in Wallhampton (across the river). If you’re a crab addict head for 

S & J Shellfish
Snooks Farm
Snooks Lane
Hampshire SO41 5SF


01590 688501 Magnify telephone number


So on Saturday, we stopped off for some light strawberry picking and then met with Joan. Joy, bliss and unlimited happyness.  The local crabs are fantastic, cheap (£4 each) and fresher than pulling them out of the Solent yourself.  She’s just started selling direct so get yourself down to Snooks Lane as fast as you can. She also does local lobsters if you give her a day’s notice. Say hello lobster, goodbye bank balance. 

Is the best thing about Lymington the lack of pepperoni in your letterbox?

Having made the decision to split our lives between London and Lymington, I was wondering what I would miss most about the 24 hour-a-day life in London.  In short the answer isn’t much.  Yes, I like living in a place that has cinemas, black cabs and airports but I don’t miss the following.

  1. My letter box being stuffed with offers of hungryman gargantua pepperoni pizzas (2 for 1 on Thursdays) or free local newspapers full of mugging stories
  2. I shed no tears for the smell of McDonalds in a lift
  3. I don’t miss being stopped by tourists and asked if I speak English
  4. or pubs near football grounds selling drinks in plastic glasses
  5. I have no nostalgia for litter nor the half-wit school kids who drop their takeaways on the pavement
  6. I enjoy the lack of perpetual road works and being cut up by Lebanese plumbers in eleven year old untaxed vans
  7. I appreciate cyclists who ride for fun rather than some sort of political statement
  8. I like it when the local issues that matter are the scout troop and the seawater baths rather than rehousing violent sex offenders near schools.
  9. I love waking up to the sound of bird song not burgler alarms.

So if nostalgia hits me and I need a reassuring connection with the past there always the Bosphorous Kebab shop next time I’m in London. With extra chilli.



Ahoy there Sir Bufton-Tufton: Or how I’m learning to dress for the country

When you live in London, you can wear whatever you want.  Walk down Greek Street at 9am in a full body PVC bondage suit with a zipped mask and nailed collar
and you won’t be a freak, simply someone heading back from a late party. Wear an Andian hat and the chances are you’re either a Peruvian resident or a new
media wannabe.  This complete anonymity has always appealed to me, as I’m what my wife would call, sartorially challenged.

Then we bought a house in Lymington, a town on the edge of the New Forest and also a major sailing centre.  At the same time, I inherited a lots of what you
might call classic English country clothing.  This included Barbour jackets, tweeds, corduroy and Tattershall shirts. For those who don’t know this look,
imagine a cross between Brideshead Revisited and PG Woodhouse. So I donned these clothes not confident that my non-urban wardrobe would work but hoping I
wouldn’t look like a complete jerk.

Last night we drove down from London and headed straight for our local pub in Lymington, the Mayflower. I walked in wearing a tweed jacket, Brookes Brothers yuppie shirt and cords.  I felt like a retarded American golfer wearing tartan trousers and a sun visor.  Everyone else was in rugby shirts, shorts, stripped shirts and jeans. In a moment, I realised my brand references weren’t Barbour but Heni Hansen, not Aquascutum but Musto. Luckily, I didn’t have to switch on my neon sign which reads ‘Hello, I am a tosser’.  I think they got the message anyway.

So today we hit the sailing shops and I apologise in advance to my colleagues.  Sir Bufton -Tufton just got nautical. And don’t get me started on Waitrose – I am enslaved.