Just back from an amazing couple of days in Dorset soaking up the heady atmosphere as Weymouth & Portland prepare to host the 2012 Olympics. The excitement in the air is tangible and there’s a real feel-good factor, with the added bonus of glistening blue seas, bright sunshine and spectacular coastline. I had a fab time with some friends and even managed to squeeze in a little work amongst the revelling. If you’re heading in that direction for the Dorset Olympic experience, I reckon you are in for a treat.
Ahhh! Just had a totally unexpected second or two of fame having been mistaken for part of the Olympic Torch cavalcade! After cycling to see the torch passing through Chichester, my husband and I (wearing full-on fluorescent jackets) started pedalling behind the procession heading towards nearby Oaklands Park, only to find the crowd starting to cheer and wave – at us!
Twigging what was happening, I swiftly leapt off my bike and, having had my slightly awkward moment to shine, quickly mingled into the melee of equally soaked but happy onlookers.
The incident reminded me of Jesse Loynes – an inspirational boat-builder – who is experiencing not just a moment to shine but a whole year!
I met Jesse last week during an interview for the forthcoming Chichester Harbour News & Guide – a publication that I thoroughly enjoy writing for.
Jesse, who runs Arbor Yachts Ltd, at Thornham Marina, has been deeply involved with the fascinating Boat Project in conjunction with the Cultural Olympiad. Billed as ‘a living archive of people’s stories and lives’, this 30ft vessel, named Collective Spirit has been lovingly constructed from donated wooden items – each with its own very special story.
Collective Spirit has been built by Jesse, and his dedicated colleagues plus dozens of enthusiastic volunteers, all led by Olympic sailor Mark Covell.
Collective Spirit is currently sailing along the south coast of England in the run-up to the Olympics. It will arrive at the sailing venue in Weymouth and Portland, Dorset, in time for the Games.
Meanwhile, Jesse and his team are working flat out to build the first Arbor 26 – a four-berth high-performance cruising yacht designed by internationally-renowned Rogers Yacht Design and inspired by Collective Spirit.
You’ll be able to see both this sleek new yacht and Collective Spirit at this year’s PSP Southampton Boat Show which runs from September 14-23.
The Clodes are a super fun-loving couple and have worked hard to create this idyllic cottage situated in Emsworth, Hampshire, right on the edge of Chichester Harbour.
It was a pleasure to write about this unique cottage that’s been transformed with the help of West Sussex-based architectural designer Jane Mottershead.
Lavant-based interior designer Becca Mousley of J & B Interiors worked closely with Lorraine to create this delightful home where photographer Brent Darby and I were made to feel more than welcome.
For more information about Jane Mottershead click here
To find out more about J & B Interiors click here
Whether you are two or 102, if you love nature or just fancy switching off and unwinding for a while, I’d thoroughly recommend visiting Lordington Lavender on the outskirts of Chichester. Lordington Lavender is running a series of open days from now until Sunday, July 8 between 10am and 4pm. It’s the ideal opportunity to explore this colourful haven for wildlife and our own little corner of Provence, here in West Sussex.
The £2.50 entrance fee is going to charity and children under the age of 16 are free. Refreshments are available and, if the lady who made the lavender cake happens to read this, thank you very much – it was delicious!
For more information about Lordington Lavender click here
I reckon ferryman Andy Larsen has to be one of the hardest-working blokes in Chichester Harbour. The genial Andy runs a busy ferry service stretching along the Itchenor reach to the Bosham channel from April to the end of October and he’s there come rain, hail or shine. Andy’s passengers range from commuters to walkers and cyclists who are all out exploring the delights of this truly magical area. I’m a huge fan of the ‘Itchy Bosom’ ferry and thoroughly enjoyed interviewing Andy for the Coast Character slot in the August issue of Coast magazine that’s out now. Big thanks to Andy for his time and to the lovely talented photographer Claire Lloyd Davies for her super shot on page 15 of the magazine.
To find out more about the ferry service ring Andy on 0797 037 8350 or click here for further information.
For more details about Claire Lloyd Davies click here.
Wow! Hearing that amazing roar as The Red Arrows hurtle past my office window as Goodwood’s Festival of Speed gets into full swing has just reminded me of a feature I wrote a couple of years ago for Build It magazine. At the time, self-builder Jeff Dobbie had just finished an amazing project. This involved knocking down a property he referred to as “like something from The Amityville Horror” and replacing it with this smart family home (pictured) blending seamlessly into the surrounding West Sussex countryside.
Since meeting the amiable Jeff, he has taken another step along the self-build route and converted a garage block into a rather lovely B & B called Bex Lodge Studio. Now, anyone who lives in the Chichester area can tell you that finding available B & B accommodation during The Festival of Speed is pretty tricky and, I would imagine, that Bex Lodge is already booked up this weekend. However, it’s definitely somewhere to bear in mind for future Goodwood events and, of course, other times of the year.
To find out more about Bex Lodge Studio click this link.
Antonia Ogden-Meade never imagined she’d end up buying the house next door! However, when a For Sale sign went up on this 1970s property, the plucky house-hunter and her husband Mark took the plunge and transformed it into a contemporary family home. I thoroughly enjoyed meeting Antonia (and her friends!) in this impressive house in the pretty West Sussex village of Wisborough Green and discovering how hard work, careful planning and vision have brought a dated property into the 21st Century. They now have a home they love in an area where they feel very welcome. Happy memories of a great day and….the added bonus of meeting Cassius, the family’s adorable Labrador! If you fancy finding out more, this six-page feature is in the July issue of Real Homes.
Very pleased with the coverage given to creative interior designer Amanda Neilson in this month’s (July) edition of 25 Beautiful Homes. Apart from making a fabulous job of her own truly inspirational home, London-based Amanda has been commissioned by top celebrities in the UK and, it’s easy to understand why she’s in demand. It was a pleasure to visit Amanda’s stunning house in North London and to meet her lovely family. Click on the link above to check out Amanda’s website.
I’m delighted that Homes & Gardens editor Deborah Barker is flagging up one of my features in the welcome panel of the current (July) issue. The four-page feature explains how Gloucestershire-based Andrew Davidson became a wood engraver and what inspires this talented yet modest man’s wonderful work. During his career, Andrew has established an enviable worldwide client base and has recently designed a stunning fabric and wallpaper collection for Lewis & Wood.
If the weather’s looking a little dreary where you are then why not pop the kettle on, switch off for a while and check out Elsebeth Gatacre’s dreamy beachside home feature? This fabulous coastal property, tucked away just off West Wittering beach, recently starred on the front page of Coast magazine. It’s little wonder that it was given such prominence since it is a truly amazing transformation with stunning interior design boasting understated elegance with a Scandinavian influence. Garden designer Elsebeth has also made a fabulous job of the coastal garden.
To read the full feature click here.