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Thursday, 15 July 2010

New Forest and Hampshire County Show is coming to Brockenhurst

After a few weeks of beautiful suuny weather we have just experienced a week of dismal weather. However it didn't dampen the spirits of our guests as there is so much to do in the area. Bournemouth and Southampton are only a short train ride away and both have lovely shopping centres, theatres and cinemas. The Mayflower Theatre in Southampton is the largest theatre in the South and you can see ballet, opera, some of the biggest names in popular music and comedy as well as touring musicals many direct from the West End. Les Miserables is coming to the Mayflower from Tuesday 24th August-Saturday 11th September. I saw Les Miserables over 20 years ago in the West End and it was brilliant.

It was my pleasure to open an art exhibition last week of Alan Carter's paintings at The ARThouse Gallery Bourne Avenue Bournemouth. Alan was a great friend of mine and I've known him and his lovely wife Julia for many years. Alan started his career as a dancer with the Vic-Wells Ballet [later the Sadlers Wells Ballet, and now The Royal Ballet]. Alan was a talented dancer, choreographer and ballet master as well as an accomplished pianist, composer and writer. He also had a passion for drawing and painting. He died in July 2009 and we all miss him. He was unique and this exhibition of his paintings 'Choreographics' can be viewed in Bournemouth until July28th or visit

I'm hoping the weather will improve for the New Forest and Hampshire County Show which is held in Brockenhurst from Tuesday 27th July - Thursday July 29th. This annual show attracts many visitors each year. It is one of the largest agricultural shows in the country and there is something for everyone and a wonderful day out for the whole family.

On Wednesday George Barker joined me for lunch to celebrate his 92nd birthday! George is the last remaining Grandson of John Tiller. John Tiller founded the Tiller girls in 1885 so although I've often been asked I'm NOT one of the ORIGINAL Tiller Girls!  George is an amazing character and still plays the viola in the  Bournemouth Sinfonietta Society, he is a whizz on the computer and still drives everywhere.

I'm still enjoying my nordic walking with Karen Guttridge, being able to just cross the road in front of the hotel and walk for miles in the peace of the New Forest, sometimes only meeting a new forest pony or highland cow is a luxury I can enjoy every day.


Thursday, 1 July 2010

Leave the car behind!

I have just returned from attending the British Hospitality Annual lunch at the Grosvenor House hotel in London. I always enjoy these events as I meet up with my colleagues in the hospitality industry and it gives me a chance to exchange ideas, network and enjoy an excellent lunch. I sometimes smile to myself when I am sitting in the Great Hall at the Grosvenor House Hotel in my role as an hotelier, 45 years ago I was in the Great Hall performing cabaret with the Tiller Girls! I go to London by train as it is a first class service to London Waterloo and only takes 1hr and 35 mins. If you book on line in advance with South West Trains there are some excellent deals to be had. If you want to come to The Cloud Hotel and avoid all the traffic 'let the train take the strain'. You can bring your bikes on the train and enjoy cycling in the New Forest. There are some great cycle tracks for you to enjoy and very few hills! Your bikes will be safe overnight in our secure covered bike shed.

Moving on! The New Forest Tour is back. The two open top buses run seven days a week and follow a circular loop including Lyndhurst, Brockenhurst and Beaulieu. The New Forest Tour is the best way to see more, explore more and enjoy more of the New Forest National Park. Passengers can literally  hop on and off the bus at the different attractions. Tickets cost £9-00 per adult and you can enjoy a unique day out without the car.

I have started Nordic Walking on a regular basis with Karen Guttridge of Slim focus. Karen is a member of the Wessex Women. I wanted to do some exercise and this seemed an excellent way of getting fit again as I am in an ideal location for it. We just cross the road in front of the hotel and we are in the New Forest with acres of open common land to walk across, avoiding the new forest ponies, highland cattle and donkeys that are grazing on the forest of course.

The summer hanging baskets are in full bloom bringing a mass of colour to the exterior of the hotel and the secluded garden. I'm hoping this lovely weather will last and we can all enjoy being outside in the fresh air.