Monday, 24 April 2017

Holly Hill Park

I've lived within a mile of Holy Hill park for 12 years and have never visited until last week. The historic parkland preserves around 35 acres of woodland, ornamental gardens, a grotto and lake which were part of the Holly Hill estate. Created around 1870 it's believed that Joseph Paxton laid out the gardens which diverted a small tributary of the Hamble river on the eastern bank of the Hamble.

The entire park is very peaceful and relaxing, especially so down near the lakes which are populated with ducks and other wildfowl and I understand terrapins which must have been introduced to the area.

There's a splendid carving, I hesitate to call it a totem pole. Presumably a more recent addition.

Well worth a visit

Friday, 21 April 2017

Low water stroll

We took a stroll along the shore from Hill Head to Lee on Solent at low water recently on a fine but slightly chilly day in early spring.

It's interesting to see how the landscape is revealed at low water, the sculptural effects of the tide and currents, the wild life, undisturbed far away at the water's edge.

Sarsen Stones (Tertiary Quartzite) littering on the shingle beach below the tide marks , apparently carried down and deposited during the ice age.

Details of some more recent structures reaching out into the Solent and which require a warning marker at high water.

Despite the pressures of development all around, this little stretch of the Solent remains quiet and connected to nature.

Monday, 17 April 2017

Waterside retreats

Walking along the foreshore by Hill Head a few of the houses have summerhouses or I guess you could call them cabanas on the edge of the shingle beach.

Above definitely a cabana, if it had palm roof it could almost be a tiki bar, then again if you look closely there's a wood stove to keep things warm which is probably just as well given our climate and the fact that all these huts face the prevailing wind.

Modern garden building design (above) meets North African inspired concrete (below)? There are two of these structures which apart from the decorative bricks over the door and windows made us wonder if they were wartime structures?

Any one of the above would be a great place to watch the sun setting over the western Solent with a beer or glass of wine and something cooking on the barbecue.

Friday, 14 April 2017

Nautical Names

Which also demonstrates that the Bursledon Blog is committed to diversity and equality.

Tuesday, 11 April 2017

Scuba Do

Finally having waited three long years to be old enough and tall enough to try scuba diving, Joseph went along for a "Bubblemaker" try a dive session at our local Andark drive school on his eighth birthday.

He was the youngest by a long margin, and got a little nervous earlier during the briefing when Mummy had to fill in the disclaimer which acknowledges all the risks involved with diving.

But once in the pool with the rest of the group he followed the instructions and was soon getting his confidence

After a few more exercises he was away and loving it.

Unfortunately PADI doesn't allow open water diving in the sea until he's 12, but there is a "kids diving camp" in the pool coming up in June which mum will be booking him onto.

Mum and Dad were watching from the poolside  thinking we might have to dig out our old diving gear which has been in storage for a long while.

Monday, 10 April 2017


A brief automotive interlude - an immaculate Myers Manx beach buggy.

Bruce Myers is credited with original VW based beach buggy using a fibreglass body back in 1964 since when over 5000 have been built.

While Chichester harbour isn't exactly southern California, and the opportunity to take this out on the beach locally is pretty limiting, it's certainly a nice way to get out and about on a spring morning- cue Beach Boys

Saturday, 8 April 2017

Birdham Gaffers

Spotted at Birdham Pool on a bright spring day, not quite ready for the season, the blue boat below is curiously called Black Lady, perhaps her black transom is a clue to a former colour scheme.

Definitely black in working boat colours, I did read the name but forgot to write it down.

This may or may not be a gaff yawl, but I'm betting that it is when the mast comes back from presumably winter work, very pretty.

Thursday, 6 April 2017

Hot diam

No,not a spell check error but one of the one design Diam 24 trimarans spotted down at Hamble Point recently.

the design was prompted in part by the choice of multi hulls for the Americas Cup, and no doubt some of the other extreme racing machines which have emerged in recent years.

High tech, high performance, one design multi hull for a crew of 3 to 4 which disassembles and can be stored in it's own box container between races. Looks like a lot of fun.

Monday, 3 April 2017

Visibility Poor to Very poor

The marine forecast definitions for visibility are:

Very poor - less than 1,000 metres
 Poor - between 1,000 metres and 2 nautical miles

It was probably on the boarder line maybe just over 1000 meters at the entrance to the Hamble, normally there are clear views across Southampton water to Calshot and Cowes on the Isle of Wight beyond.

Saturday, 1 April 2017

New hi performance sailing boat using stepped hydroplane technology

The stepped hydroplane concept, normally used on motor boats introduces air below a boat's hull so that less of the hull is in contact with the water and more area is planing

Spotted this on a trailer in a local marina recently with what at first sight looks to be some kind of  new fangled jet drive, but in fact on closer inspection was revealed to be based on the same principle as the stepped hydroplane, namely to introduce air onto the trailing edge to reduce friction and increase speed.

Clearly this latest design is a much more sophisticated method for controlling and intoroducing differentiated air pressures into the water flow.

At the bow the retractable bowsprit combines what look like water pressure sensors as part of the system.

Can't wait to see it in action.

Thursday, 30 March 2017

Dumb and dumber

We stopped off in Brockenhurst recently and took the opportunity to see the controversial cycle path.

Quite why anyone thinks that a cycle way which is less than 20 yards long and makes cyclists exit directly onto parked cars has any value, much less the £6,250 that Hampshire County Council actually spent is beyond me.

Closer to home we have the famous A27 disappearing cycle lane, which suddenly stops half way down the hill from Sarisbury Green. You have to wonder what the road planners were thinking, do they expect cyclists to just vanish?

In reality the cycle lanes stops as the busy road narrows, pretty much just when you need the protection of a cycle lane and on a stretch of road notorious for speeding.

Forgive me but what kind of dummies implement this nonsense. Compared to other European countries our provision for safe cycling is laughable. 

Sadly it's not something confined to our area either , NY cycling blogger Eben Weiss  frequently and humorously writes about the badly designed and managed cycling routes in his home town. and don't even get me started on zebra crossings

As is demonstrated by many other countries, cycling and especially with development of electric bikes, can become a viable, sustainable and not to mention healthier transport alternative, but only if it's made safe.

We really need to do much, much better.

Monday, 27 March 2017


Dilbar at 157 meters is apparently the biggest super yacht by volume, estimated to have cost around  US$ 600 million, she can probably accommodate 40 guests and a crew of 80. - details not publicly shared by Alisher Usmanov who is believed to be her owner.

While Dilbar towers around the more regular leisure craft, the super yacht scene is nothing if not about ego. In stunning blue and white, neighbouring Madam Gu perhaps trying to demonstrate that size isn't everything when it comes to sheer style.

Or perhaps not, something which may or may not bring a smile to the face of her owner or designer, Joseph remarked that it looked like the cartoon boat from the Cars 2 movie.

Friday, 24 March 2017

Barcelona Bikes

It's probably because we're relaxed and have more time but I seem to notice interesting motorbikes when we're on holiday.

This Montesa was parked near our apartment in Barcelona. Montesa is better known for off road trail bikes, but this is a commuter bike which I think was called the Impala made in the 1960's amd 70's.

While I was taking the picture a man came up to me and explaied it belongs to his brother who runs the local bakery, deli where we had breakfast most days, sadly he wasn't there when we visited to find out more details.

A BMW R60 in great condition, if I see one of these in the right condition and the right price I'm going to buy it - probably my third or forth mid life crisis.

There  were a lot of these electric mopeds running around, including one which nearly ran me over (can't hear them coming - must look around more). If we had better weather, think less rain I'd be more than happy popping down the shops on one.

Not sure I'm that keen on these, fantastic technology and all that, there were a lot on hire zooming up and down the seafront.

Monday, 20 March 2017

Friday, 17 March 2017

More Mo boats

My recent post about my friend's motorboat prompted quite a few comments and while I confess that motorboats aren't really my thing and I've been annoyed by excess wash on more than a few occasions, I'm maybe more tolerant than fellow blogger and film maker Dylan Winter, so how about some of these for excess down in Port Vell Barcelona

I can't decide if this is hi tech boating or high security based on the latest stealth destroyers the Royal Navy have been building

Like them or not, there are more than a few of these monster boats lining the quay of what was once the old commercial dock.

Dilbar - the big daddy of them all was clearly too long for a stern to berth, either that or the lorry's wouldn't have been able to deliver.

Thankfully among all the excess there is still room for more modest boating.

And not too far away from the super yachts were a few of my kind of boats.

Monday, 13 March 2017

Dr Who

I can just about remember hiding behind the sofa when Dr Who first came on the telly back in the early 1960's. It's amazing that given the tiny black and white telly we had in those days that it was so scary - although there was a great episode I seem to remember when the Doctor ran some Daleks over with a dustbin lorry and we all cheered.

Fast forward more than a few years the Daleks are still around but the new generation are not finding them quite so intimidating.

Friday, 10 March 2017

High water Brockenhurst

The perceptive and those who know their geography will already be aware that Brockenhurst is a delightful village in middle of the New Forest about six or seven miles from the sea.

What with Storm Doris and the general heavy rain we've had of late the top of the Lymington river was in full flood.

There was quite a current running under the road bridge which spilled out across banks.

I was thinking hopefully the owner of this property doesn't need anything from his greenhouse, but maybe it's the latest thing in hydroponics.

Monday, 6 March 2017

Churros con Chocolate

Churros are something of a Spanish signature breakfast dish for holidays and lazy weekends. A little like crispy doughnut sticks served with a very thick melted chocolate and milk drink, more typically from Madrid, but downtown in the old gothic quarter of Barcelona there are more than a few cafes which serve good churros.

Who knows maybe Joseph will get his own foodie channel on youtube,

While on our gastronomic tour of Barcelona we also found these in a local bakery and absolutely had to try them, apparently originating from the Valencian town of Alboraya, they were delicious.

Friday, 3 March 2017

Quick break in Barcelona

What I like about Europe is that it isn't all that big but it's very diverse, so less than 2 hours flying time away we enjoyed warm spring sunshine while Storm Doris raged at home.

Probably all too familiar the modern and colourful Santa Caterina market  above, while the view from the redeveloped bull ring has more traditional views across Placa Espanya and Montjuic below.

Over the years I've spent a lot of time in Barcelona both working and on leisure, the city never fails to fascinate, as an example how many major cathedrals have ducks and geese wandering around in the cloisters?

Of course the attraction might be the waterfront area of Port Vell just at the end of the Ramblas.

Barceloneta was once a poor and slightly run down area where fishermen lived until the Olympics started redevelopment, you'd need to catch a lot f fish to live there now.

Quite apart from being a great place to visit, the people are so friendly, I lost count of the number of people who stopped to give us directions or advice or just talk.