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Waterstones Portsmouth  - The last day of our Southern Waterstones Tour

Waterstones store in Portsmouth!

Leaving hotel No. 3 of the tour in Southampton at 8.30am.

We had been woken in the night with someone trying to get in our room! Luckily Bob had put the ‘deadlock’ on so the key hadn’t worked. Once you would have thought enough, but when the person trying to get in, in the first place hadn’t succeeded they brought a member of staff up to try to open the door for them! I nudged Bob who was sleeping soundly.’

  ‘What the …,’ he yelled, sitting bolt upright.

  ‘Excuse, me sir, sorry,’ came the reply. Then all we heard was a scurry of feed and the sound of a suitcase being wheeled down the hall way. The fire door shut noisly behind them.

That said, our room in the Antico was really lovely, clean and the bed was six foot wide! The staff, food and service was excellent. We would definately return.

 A lovely model of the ‘Cutty Sark’ outside our room.

The rain stopped for our onward trip to Portsmouth Waterstones. Negotiating unknown roads and reading signs in heavy rain is no fun we’ve found. Bob refuses to have a SatNav – prefering his good old maps, which I must say he is excellent at reading from, and we haven’t gone too far astray on our tours yet. The only exception is when a roundabout (shown on the map) has changed to a junction – totally throws him! ;-)

Again, we were able to park in the loading bay, this time at the back of the shop. For authors this is a real treat – not only does it save on the cost of town centre parking (which can be as much as £12.00 a day this tour), but also means all our promotion materials don’t have to be carried across the town. Sometimes we must look like pack horses as we head for a book signing… I’m sure Katy Price won’t have this problem!

Bob with Matthew Parker aged 9! Matthew has just auditoned for Charlie in ‘Charlie And The Chocolate Factory’ in London’s West End. Good luck Matthew!

Karen called in to see us – and we sneaked off for a cuppa and a good old chin wag. Thanks for holding the fort Bob! :-)


Oh, go on, I’ll have another sweet if I must!

And a real treat for us. Cathy Holc-Thompson (who you heard about on our blog yesterday), called in to see us with her husband Nic. Cathy carried the Olympic Torch in Fareham on Sunday 15th July – a truly inspirational lady. Read all about her @ What a lovely couple they are… 

Hope you enjoy the books Nic (Cathy bought and dedicated them to her husband for his birthday and their wedding anniversary). I’m sure we’ll keep in touch. Hope to see you next time when we’re in Portsmouth! 

And that was our day, our tour, excitement, the unexpected and the rain. We had a lovely time meeting our readers and have made many new friends along the way. Authors who don’t do book signings, don’t know what they’re missing.

We’ll be back again soon with book 3 in the Dylan series ‘White Lilies.’

Home James!

We boarded the Wightlink ferry at 6.30pm and stopped at the ‘Fighting Cock’  on the way home for tea – or dinner as they say ‘down south’.

Refreshed and with a full stomach we were all ready to… start the washing and ironing! :(

Tarra for now!

C & B xx

About Portsmouth! 

Portsmouth is a city located in the county of Hampshire on the south coast of England. Portsmouth is the United Kingdom’s only island city and is located on Portsea Island. The City of Portsmouth and Portsmouth Football Club are both nicknamed Pompey. The administrative unit itself has a population of 197,700, which forms part of the wider Portsmouth conurbation, with an estimated 442,252 residents within wider the urban area, making it the 11th largest urban area in England. At the 2001 census it was the only city in England with a greaterpopulation density (4,639 /km2 (12,015/sq mi)) than London as a whole (4,562 /km2 (11,816/sq mi)), although many of London’s individual boroughs had a much greater density.

A significant naval port for centuries, Portsmouth is home to the world’s oldest dry dock still in use and home to many famous ships, including Nelson’s flagship HMS Victory. Portsmouth has declined as a naval base in recent years but remains a major dockyard and base for the Royal Navy and Royal Marine Commandos whose Headquarters resides there. There is also a commercial port serving destinations on the continent for freight and passenger traffic.

The Spinnaker Tower is a recent addition to the city’s skyline. It can be found in the recently redeveloped area known as Gunwharf Quays.

The Portsmouth Urban Area covers an area with a population well over twice that of the city of Portsmouth itself, and includes Fareham, Portchester,Gosport, Havant (which includes the large suburbs of Leigh Park), Lee-on-the-Solent, Stubbington and Waterlooville.

The suburbs of Portsmouth arguably form a conurbation stretching from Southampton to Havant on the M27/A27 road along the coast, and north to Clanfield on the A3 road.



There have been settlements in the area since before Roman times, mostly being offshoots of Portchester, which was a Roman base (Portus Adurni) and possible home of the Classis Britannica. Portsmouth is commonly regarded as having been founded in 1180 by John of Gisors (Jean de Gisors). Most early records of Portsmouth are thought to have been destroyed by Norman invaders following the Norman Conquest. The earliest detailed references to Portsmouth can be found in the Southwick Cartularies. However, there are records of “Portesm?ða” from the late 9th century, meaning “mouth of the

Porchester Castle at NightPortus harbour”/

The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle entry for 501 claims that “Portesmuða” was founded by a Saxon warrior called Port, though historians do not accept that origin of the name. The Chronicle states that:

Her cwom Port on Bretene ? his .ii. suna Bieda ? Mægla mid .ii. scipum on þære stowe þe is gecueden Portesmuþa ? ofslogon anne giongne brettiscmonnan, swiþe æþelne monnan. (Here Port and his 2 sons Bieda and Mægla came to Britain with 2 ships to the place which is called Portsmouth and slew a young British man, a very noble man.)

The battle is attested in early Welsh sources as the Battle of Llongborth. The poem names the Chronicle’s “young British man of nobility” as Geraint map Erbin.

Portsmouth Anglican CathedralIn the Domesday Book there is no mention of Portsmouth. However, settlements that later went on to form part of Portsmouth are listed. At this time it is estimated the Portsmouth area had a population not greater than two or three hundred. While in Portsea there was a small church prior to 1166, Portsmouth’s first real church came into being in 1181 when a chapel dedicated to Thomas Becket was built by Augustinian monks and run by the monks of Southwick Priory until the Reformation. The modern Portsmouth Anglican Cathedral is built on the original location of the chapel.

In 1194 King Richard The Lionheart returned from being held captive in Austria, and set about summoning a fleet and an army to Portsmouth, which Richard had taken over from John of Gisors. On May 2, 1194 the King gave Portsmouth its first Royal Charter granting permission for the borough to hold a fifteen day annual “Free Market Fair”, weekly markets, to set up a local court to deal with minor matters, and exemption from paying the annual tax, with the money instead used for local matters. King Richard later went on to build a number of houses and a hall in Portsmouth. The hall is thought to have been at the current location of the Clarence Barracks (the area was previously known as Kingshall Green). It is believed that the crescent and eight-point star found on the thirteenth century common seal of the borough was derived from the arms of William de Longchamp, Lord Chancellor to Richard I at the time of the granting of the charter. The crescent and star, in gold on a blue shield, were subsequently recorded by the College of Arms as the coat of arms of the borough.

In 1200 King John reaffirmed the rights and privileges awarded by King Richard. King John’s desire to invade Normandy resulted in the establishment of Portsmouth as a permanent naval base, and soon after construction began on the first docks, and the Hospital of St Nicholas, which performed its duties as an almshouse and hospice. During the thirteenth century Portsmouth was commonly used by King Henry III and Edward I as a base for attacks against France.

By the fourteenth century commercial interests had grown considerably. Common imports included wool, grain, wheat, woad, wax and iron, however the port’s largest trade was in wine from Bayonne and Bordeaux.

In 1338 a French fleet led by Nicholas Béhuchet raided Portsmouth, destroying much of the town, with only the local church and hospital surviving. Edward III gave the town exemption from national taxes to aid reconstruction. Only ten years after this devastation the town for the first time was struck by the Black Death. In order 

Round Towerto prevent the regrowth of Portsmouth as a threat, the French again sacked the city in 1369, 1377 and 1380. Henry V built the first permanent fortifications of Portsmouth. In 1418 he ordered a wooden Round Tower be built at the mouth of the harbour, which was completed in 1426. King Henry VIII rebuilt the fortifications with stone, raised a square tower, and assisted Robert Brygandine and Sir Reginald Bray in the construction of the world’s first dry dock. In 1527, with some of the money from the dissolution of the monasteries, Henry VIII built Southsea Castle. In 1545, he saw his vice-flagship Mary Rosefounder off Southsea Castle, with a loss of about 500 lives, while going into action against the French fleet. Over the years Portsmouth’s fortification was increased by numerous monarchs, although most of these have now been converted into tourist attractions.In 1628 the unpopular favorite of Charles I George Villiers, 1st Duke of Buckingham was stabbed to death in the Old Portsmouth pub the Greyhound by a veteran of Villiers most recent military folly, John Felton. The murder took place in the “Greyhound” Public House (popularly known as “The Spotted Dog”), High Street, Old Portsmouth; this is now a private building called Buckingham House and it bears a commemorative plaque to mark the event.

During the English civil war the arsenal at the Square Tower was surrendered by its royalist commander in return for safe passage out of the city for himself and the garrison. The City would become a major base for the Parliamentary Navy during the war. The father of the Royal Navy Robert Blake during the Commonwealth would use Portsmouth as his main base, during both the Anglo Dutch war and the Anglo Spanish war, he died within sight of the city after his final cruise off Cadiz.

On 13 May 1787 11 ships sailed from Portsmouth, to establish the first European colony in Australia, it also marked the beginning of prisoner transports to that continent. It is known today as the First Fleet in Australia.

HMS WarriorPortsmouth has a long history of supporting the Royal Navy logistically, leading to it being important in the development of the Industrial Revolution. Marc Isambard Brunel, the father of famed Portsmouth engineer Isambard Kingdom Brunel, established in 1802 the world’s first mass production line at the Portsmouth Block Mills, to mass produce pulley blocks for rigging on the Royal Navy’s ships. At its height the Dockyard was the largest industrial site in the world.

Admiral Nelson left Portsmouth for the final time in 1805 to command the fleet that would defeat the larger Franco-Spanish fleet at Trafalgar.[11] The Royal Navy’s reliance on Portsmouth led to the city becoming the most fortified in Europe, with a network of forts (a subset of “Palmerston’s Follies”) circling the city. From 1808 the Royal Navy’s West Africa Squadron, who were tasked to stop the slave trade, operated out of Portsmouth. On December 21, 1872 a major scientific expedition, the Challenger Expedition, was launched from Portsmouth.

In 1916 the town experienced its first aerial bombardment when a Zeppelin airship bombed it during World War I.

In 1926 Portsmouth was granted city status, following a long campaign by the borough council. The application was made on the grounds that Portsmouth was the “first naval port of the kingdom”. Two years later the city received the further honour of a lord mayoralty. In 1929 the city council added the motto “Heaven’s Light Our Guide” to the medieval coat of arms. Apart from referring to the celestial objects in the arms, the motto was that of

Gosport theStar of India. This recalled that troopships bound for the colony left from the port. Further changes were made to the arms in 1970, when the Portsmouth Museums Trust sponsored the grant of crest, supporters and heraldic badge. The crest and supporters are based on those of the royal arms, but altered to show the city’s maritime connections: the lions and unicorn have been given fish tails, and a naval crown placed around the latter animal. Around the unicorn is wrapped a representation of “The Mighty Chain of Iron”, a Tudor defensive boom across Portsmouth Harbour.

The city was bombed extensively during World War II, destroying many houses and the Guildhall. While most of the city has since been rebuilt, developers still occasionally find unexploded bombs. Southsea beach and Portsmouth Harbour were military embarkation points for the D-Day landings on June 6 1944. Southwick House, just to the north of Portsmouth, had been chosen as the headquarters for the Supreme Allied Commander, US General Dwight D. Eisenhower, during D-Day.Old Portsmouth

After the war, much of the city’s housing stock was damaged and more was cleared in an attempt to improve the quality of housing. Those people affected by this were moved out from the centre of the city to new developments such as Paulsgrove and Leigh Park. Post-war redevelopment throughout the country was characterised by utilitarian and brutalist architecture, with Portsmouth’s Tricorn Centre one of the most famous examples. More recently, a new wave of redevelopment has seen Tricorn’s demolition, the renewal of derelict industrial sites, and construction of the Spinnaker Tower.


In the British crime survey of 2001, Portsmouth did not have a distinctly different profile to the other cities in its basic command unit profile. However, for that period it did have a large number of sexual assaults and rapes. A BBC News report in May 2006 reported that it was Britain’s worst city for sexual assaults and rapes, based on the 2001 British crime survey by the think tank Reform. Police officers responded by saying “Police in Portsmouth have worked closely with partner agencies and the city council to develop a climate where victims feel confident to report rape, which is generally an under-reported crime” and that this could be the reason for the increased number of reported sexual assaults. However, in a subsequent government survey, the number of reported sexual assaults and rapes had decreased by 22.8% bringing the rate below most large UK cities.

HMP Kingston, a Category B & C prison is located near central Portsmouth.

 Tourist Attractions

HMS VictoryMost of Portsmouth’s tourist attractions are related to its naval history. In the last decade Portsmouth’s Historic Dockyard has been given a much needed face-lift. Among the attractions are the D-Day museum (which holds the Overlord embroidery) and, in the dockyard, HMS Victory, the remains of Henry VIII’s flagship, the Mary Rose (raised from the seabed in 1982), HMS Warrior(Britain’s first iron-clad steamship) and the Royal Naval Museum.

Many of the city’s former defences now host museums or events. Several of the Victorian era forts on Portsdown Hill are now tourist attractions. Fort Nelson is now home to the Royal Armouries museum, Forts Purbrook and Widley are activities centres. the Tudor era Southsea Castle has a small museum, and much of the seafront defences up to the Round Tower are open to the public. The southern part of the once large Royal Marines Eastney Barracks is now the Royal Marine Museum. There are also many buildings in the city that occasionally host open days particularly those on the D-Day walk which are seen on signs around the city which note sites of particularly importance in the city to Operation Overlord.

The city also hosts the D-Day museum a short distance from Southsea Castle; this museum is home to the famous Overlord Tapestry.

Portsmouth’s long association with the armed forces means it has a large number of war memorials around the city, including several at the Royal Marines Museum, at the dockyards and in Victoria Park. In the city centre, the Guildhall Square Cenotaph displays the names of the fallen, and is guarded by stone sculptures of machine gunners carved by the sculptor Charles Sargeant Jagger. The memorial is inscribed:

—West face

The millennium project to build the Spinnaker Tower at Gunwharf Quays was completed in 2005. The tower is 552 ft tall and features viewing decks at sea level, 325 ft, 341 ft and 357 ft.

Other tourist attractions include the birthplace of Charles Dickens, the Blue Reef Aquarium (formerly the Sea Life Centre), Cumberland House (a natural history museum), The Royal Marines Museum and Southsea Castle. Southsea’s seafront is also home to Clarence Pier Amusement Park.

Portsmouth is also home to the Genesis Expo, the UK’s first (and to date only) creationist museum.

English Heritage and the Ministry of Defence are in the process of turning the Portsmouth Block Mills into a museum.



 The alarm was set for 5.30 am this morning as we had an early start at  BBC Solent Radio and we hadn’t a clue where it was. Showered, shaved (that’s Bob not me :) ), we left the hotel at 6am. Luckily the rain had stopped and heading into the direction of the town the roads were surprisingly quiet. A cheery road sweeper told us to keep the clock tower in view and to our right, and sure enough we found ourselves opposite the radio station at 6.30 – not bad to say we were both google eyed! Now to find the car park. ‘Round the back and through electric gates,’ we were told by the lady working the intercom who was obviously more wide awake than us. Inside the building was eerily quiet and void of people, but you could feel the ‘buzz’ of the place.

We sat in the ’Green Room’ and waited, for we were going to do a live link to BBC Radio Leeds, as I mentioned on yesterdays blog. Warm drinks on hand Bob had a strong coffee. Here’s a few pic’s of Radio Solent for you!



Bob almost awake for his talk on the cold case reviews in West Yorkshire, after his strong cup of coffee.

At the news desk of Solent Radio

The showcase of awards in the foyer at Solent Radio.

Whilst waiting we had a lovely brief encounter with a guy called Nic Holc-Thompson whose wife was to be an Olympic Torchbearer on Sunday in Fareham. Her story is an inspiration to us all, and you’ll meet her and Nic on our blog tomorrow at Waterstones in Portsmouth, but here is a link to the very brave and inspirational women that is Cathy Holc-Thompson.


Bob’s interview for BBC Radio Leeds lasted all of ten minutes and we were back on the road to our hotel and breakfast. If you’re interested in ‘Cold Case Reviews’ you can listen to it here @

Not to get the day off to a good start and make up applied – and plenty of white eyeshadow in the corner of the eyes, for the appearance that you’re more wide eyed than you really are (that’s me this time not Bob), we set off to find Waterstones West Quay in Southampton. What would today bring we wondered.

Well, West Quay was easy to find – you learn whilst on a tour that choosing your hotel nearby is a godsend. But, finding a loading bay where we were to leave our car was another thing. There are loads of shops! We eventually found the underground loading bay which resembled a ’rubbish tip’ and smelt like one too as it was ‘bin day’! Saying that is was really clean but just like an underground void (similar to the ones at a police station where Bob often did his briefings for a ‘big raid’. Getting to Waterstones was no mean feat either as the  void turned out to have lots of tunnels, like a rabbit warren. Up the service lift and into the shopping centre. Book signing is not all glamour believe me, but meeting the public when you get into the store is.

Southampton West Quay Waterstones staff were lovely! Thank you Sue for looking after us and to Lucy Thompson who was doing work experience at the store - Lucy you were a wonderful host. Thank you for all the tea and coffee’s!


Bob and Lucy Thompson.

The next people we met were not only lovely couple, but again an inspiration to us all. Darren Cockle and his partner Carla. Darren has recently had his true life story published and if you haven’t heard his story -Breast Cancer from a male perspective and life as a single dad through grief and learning to live again yet, it won’t be long before you do.

As one lady (Sarah J) writes in her review of the book – It’s a searingly honest account, Darren Cockle lays bare his heart and soul in this stunning debut. Equally as funny as it is heartwrenching. It’s a true life story that will stay with you long after you finish the final page.

Good luck with the book Darren. You are lucky to have found Carla – a real gem. We will stay in touch I’m sure. Now with a box of tissues handy, we will start reading!

There is always a character at a book signing and today was no exception. A guy came up to Bob, ‘She’s got nice legs,’ he said, nodding in my direction.

‘Yes, she has,’ Bob agreed.

‘Might have to grab them,’ he whispered. Obviously thinking Bob was a store worker and not my co-author.

‘If you do it’ll be the last thing you do, do’ he whispered back. ‘It’s the wife.’ The man scurried off.

‘Sorry love,’ Bob laughed, I guess I lost a sale there.

You’ve got to laugh, haven’t you?

Book signing finished and at tea time (or dinner time to you southerners) we left store and headed to our hotel. Both totally shattered. Isn’t it funny how you get used to not having to get up so early? I remember when Bob could be called out to an incident twice, or even three times in one night, and still get up for work the next day. How did he do it? Goodness knows!

 The Antico Hotel where we were staying was a lovely hotel and the food, gorgeous! If you are in the area and need a place to stay – look no further.

 The staff at Antico!

Sorry Bob I had to ‘grass you up’ with this pudding!

Night All!

Till tomorrow and Portsmouth Waterstones!

C & B x



20 Interesting facts about Southampton

 1. The Pilgrim Fathers chose Southampton as their point of departure from England

and both Mayflower and Speedwell were here in August 1620. Plymouth, in

Devon, only became a departure point when the two ships put in there following

the Speedwell springing a leak.

2. In the Napoleonic Wars, French prisoners, held in the building that is now the

Maritime Museum, carved their names there and these carvings can still be seen.

3. Southampton has the oldest Bowling Green in the world dating from before 1299

and it is still in use. Every August a unique competition takes place there for the

Knighthood of the Old Green, the winner being entitled to be called ‘Sir’ within the


4. Southampton’s Cenotaph is the ‘model’ for the Cenotaph in Whitehall, London.

Sir Edwin Lutyens took his design for Southampton, simplified it and it became

accepted as the design for London.

5. The Ordnance Survey moved to Southampton from London in 1841 following a

fire at the Tower of London where they had been based. They have been in

Southampton ever since and in 1846 a detailed colour map of the town was

produced by the OS, a unique and fascinating reference source for local


6. Southampton was the first local authority in the country to call its offices and town

hall a Civic Centre.

7. The long railway tunnel into Southampton Central, from the east, partly follows

the line of an intended tunnel for a canal that was never completed.

8. St Michael’s Church has the oldest brass lectern in the country dating from

around 1350 and which is in the form of an eagle. It was originally the lectern in

use at Holy Rood Church and was rescued in 1940 when that church was largely

destroyed in the Blitz.

9. In 1554 Philip of Spain arrived in Southampton, stayed 3 days, heard Mass at

Holy Rood Church then left in heavy rain with 3000 men on his way to marry

Queen Mary at Winchester Cathedral on 25 July.

10. The cockerel on top of St Michael’s Church is hollow and, when work is done to

the spire of the church, a note is put inside the weathervane.

11. On 1st May each year, May Day is welcomed in by the choir of King Edward VI

School singing from the top of the Bargate.

12. The area called The Marlands, on part of which stands Southampton’s Civic

Centre, is a corruption of Magdalene Fields, once the site of a leper hospital

dedicated to St Mary Magdalene.

13. Southampton has a Court Leet that still meets once a year and the Mound, where

the Court Leet was held in medieval times, survives on the northern part of

Southampton Common. On the day of Court Leet the Sheriff of Southampton

takes part in the ceremony of ‘Beating The Bounds’.

14. Southampton’s Victorian Cemetery on the south west side of Southampton

Common is the second oldest such cemetery in the country owned by a Municipal

Authority and retains its original buildings from 1846.

15. In 1946, Southampton was the departure point for six voyages of the liner Queen

Mary taking 9000 GI Brides and their 4000 children to New York.

16. Southampton had one of the earliest municipal water supplies in the country. In

1420, the town took over a fresh water supply, the pipes for which were originally

laid down by Franciscan Friars in 1304. One of the Friars’ stone Conduit Houses

can still be seen opposite the main entrance to the Mayflower Theatre,

17. Henri Portal, a Huguenot refugee, escaped to Southampton from France and in

1724, in Hampshire, founded Portals, the company that was granted leave to

produce paper for Bank of England notes.

18. The Mayor of Southampton is also Admiral of the Port and, in procession, the

Silver Oar of Admiralty is carried with other Civic Regalia.

19. In the 15th Century, the Water Gate Tower, at the Town Quay end of the High Street, was leased, at times, at an annual rent of one red rose but the lessee was responsible for repair and maintenance of the tower in time of war.

 20. The hymn writer, Isaac Watts, was born in Southampton and educated here at  King Edward VI Grammar School then in Winkle Street in the Old Town. His  statue is in Watts Park, facing the Civic Centre and, at 8am, 12noon, 4pm and

 8pm after the hour has struck from the Civic Centre Clock Tower, there can be  heard the opening bars of Watts’ hymn ‘O God Our Help In Ages Past’. 

21. The writer Jane Austen and members of her family lived in Southampton between 1806 and 1809. A new Jane Austen Trail is linked to a series of plaques in the Old Town tracing her associations with Southampton.



You may have heard Lymington mentioned before on this blog, for this is where we arrived on Monday by ferry from the IOW.
Three Wightlink ferries have run from Lymington to Yarmouth since the 1970s, named after Anglo Saxon Kings: Cenred, Cenwulf and Caedmon. In February 2009 they were replaced by larger vessels built in Croatia, Wight Light, White Sky and White Sun. These ferries are owned by the company that also owns the M6 Toll. They run on average every hour, from a port south east of the old town on the far side of the Lymington River.

Today we are signing our books at Waterstones on the High Street. For avid fans of ‘DI Dylan’ you may remember we came here last year and since some of our readers couldn’t be here in person, there were already books ordered and waiting to be signed. Thank you! 

 The Team at Lymington Waterstones with Bob!

As soon as we arrived the mobile rang. BBC Radio Leeds want Bob on air tomorrow morning to be part of the a week of programmes they are doing on cold case reviews and Crime and Justice in West Yorkshire and beyond.  We have to be at Solent Radio for 6.45am tomorrow morning… now I’ve just to tell Bob what I’ve agreed he’ll do! ;-)

 Carol book signing!

Lymington has a long history in fiction. Do any of you remember Howards Way or Worzel Gummage? The 1980 Christmas special of the ITV children’s show Worzel Gummidge was filmed in the town during the summer of that year. During filming a sudden wind blew the titanium dioxide that was being used as a replica of snow into homes, shops and businesses, causing damage and a large compensation bill for the producers, Southern Television.  It is also mentioned in The Children of the New Forest by Captain Marryat and features in the historical novels of local writer Warwick Collins (namely The Rationalist and The Marriage of Souls) and The Forest by Edward Rutherfurd.

In Tom Clancy‘s Patriot Games, a Wightlink ferry heading from the Lymington ferry terminal is intercepted and a prisoner is extracted in heavy seas. Several men on board the ferry are murdered.

It started off not such a bad day… as we embarked from our hotel – The Stanwell House Hotel which was conveniently more or less directly opposite the store. There was no parking as such… so carrying the luggage and promotion boards was quite a task but the food, staff and hotel far made up for the inconveniece. We were offered a lift with our luggage by Lucy from the hotel who was not even on duty and Alexis you are a star! WE will be back!

This was outside our room – an omen perhaps?

 Even I don’t remember using one of these, although I do remember using the blue carbon copy paper to make duplicate copies of custody sheets and such for court files … them were the good old days! (Or not!)

Our hotel last night…

Today I got to meet my best friend from childhood – Hello Daniella! Bob very kindly suggested we went for a cup of coffee and a cake… big mistake. We could talk for hours! Luckily, for him Pipi (Daniella’s childhood nick name only had an hour for lunch). See you soon BF!

Around 3pm the heavens opened. What a shame for the lovely people we had been speaking to all day who were there on holiday. At least they had ‘DI Dylan’ to keep them company when they went back to their hotel rooms and caravans

A bit more information for you about Lymington.

And now we set off for Southampton, through Beaulieu and past the famous motor museum. We were going to call there for dinner but it is far too wet. The New Forest looks more like a swamp.

For now,

 Night All!

C x

The earliest settlement in the Lymington area was around the Iron Age hill fort known today as Buckland Rings. The hill and ditches of this fort still remain, and an archaeological excavation of part of the Walls was carried out there in 1935. It has been dated to around the sixth century BC. There is also another supposed Iron Age site at nearby Ampress Hole. Evidence for later settlement (as opposed to occupation) however is sparse before Domesday. Lymington itself began as an Anglo-Saxon village.[1] The Jutes arrived in what is now South West Hampshire from the Isle of Wight in the 6th century and founded a settlement called limentun. The Old English word tun means a farm or hamlet whilst limen is derived from the Ancient British word *lemanos meaning elm-tree.[2]

The town is recorded in the Domesday book of 1086 as “Lentune”. About 1200 the lord of the manor, William de Redvers created the borough of New Lymington around the present quay and High Street whilst Old Lymington comprised the rest of the parish. He gave the town its first charter and the right to hold a market.[3] The town became a Parliamentary Borough in 1585 returning two MPs until 1832 when its electoral base was expanded. Lymington continued to return two MPs until the Second Reform Act of 1867 when its representation was reduced to one. On the passage of the Redistribution of Seats Act 1885 Lymington’s parliamentary representation was merged with the New Forest Division.

From the Middle Ages to the nineteenth century Lymington was famous for making salt. Saltworks comprised almost a continuous belt along the coast toward Hurst Spit.

In the eighteenth and early nineteenth century Lymington possessed a military depot that included a number of foreign troops – mostly artillery but including several militia regiments. At the time of the Napoleonic Wars the King’s German Legion was based here. As well as Germans and Dutch, there were French émigrés and French regiments[4] were raised to take part in the ill fated Quiberon bay expedition (1795), from which few returned.

From the early nineteenth century it had a thriving shipbuilding industry, particularly associated with Thomas Inman the builder of the schooner Alarm, which famously raced the American yacht America in 1851.[5] Much of the town centre is Victorian and Georgian, with narrow cobbled streets, giving an air of quaintness. The wealth of the town at the time is represented in its architecture.

Lymington particularly promotes stories about its smuggling history; there are unproven stories that under the High Street are smugglers’ tunnels that run from the old inns to the town quay.

Lymington was one of the boroughs reformed by the Municipal Corporations Act 1835. In addition to the original town, 1932 saw a major expansion of the borough, to add Milton (previously an urban district) and the parishes of Milford on Sea and Pennington, and parts of other parishes, from Lymington Rural District – this extended the borough west along the coast to the border with Christchurch.[6]

Under the Local Government Act 1972 the borough of Lymington was abolished on April 1, 1974, becoming an unparished area in the district of New Forest, with Charter Trustees. The area was subsequently parished as the four parishes of New Milton, Lymington and Pennington, Milford-on-Sea and Hordle.

 Lymington today

Due to changes in planning legislation, many traditional areas of the town have been redeveloped; older houses have been demolished and replaced with new blocks of flats and retirement homes. In a Channel 5 programme, Lymington received the accolade of ‘best town on the coast’ (in front of Sandbanks) in the UK for living, due to its beautiful scenery, strong transport links and low crime levels.

Lymington New Forest Hospital opened in 2007, replacing the earlier Lymington Hospital. This is a community hospital and has a Minor Injuries Unit but no Accident and Emergency. The nearest emergency departments are at Southampton General Hospital which is 16 miles (25.7km) away or Royal Bournemouth Hospital which is 14.5 miles (23.3km) away.


Lymington is famous for its sailing history, and in recent years has been home to world famous regattas such as the Royal Lymington Cup, Etchells Worlds, Macnamara’s Bowl, and Source Regatta. The strong tides make it a challenging race track, and together with the shallow depth of the river has resulted in Lymington losing a lot of regattas to the Central Solent, principally run from Cowes. Nevertheless, Thursday Evening Racing takes place with up to 100 boats registered to race every Thursday night during the summer, hosted by the Royal Lymington Yacht Club. Started in the 1990s, it has become increasingly popular.

There are two Sailing Clubs in the town, both active. The Royal Lymington Yacht Club, founded in the 1920s as the Lymington River Sailing Club, now has over 3000 members, and now plays host to major keelboat and dinghy events. The Lymington Town Sailing Club, founded in 1946, plays host to the popular Lymington Winter Series known as the Solent Circuit.


Jul 11, 2012


It was sunshing today! Yeah!

We left our new friends at ‘Our Living Room’ … but we’ll be back guys! :) If you’re going to stay in Bournemouth we can’t recommend this place highly enough, and the hosts can’t do enough for you – like being at home with a house full of staff to spoil you! Wonderful!

We battled through the one way system in Bournemouth this morning, which was not a joy! You know what it’s like when you can see the place you want to get to, not 100yrd away, and can’t work out how to get to it? Well it was one of those moments with a big concrete precinct between us and Waterstones! Being resourceful I used the dumb blonde routine and a taxi driver very kindly showed us the way. :-)

The staff at Waterstones were a joy to be with. We had a great spot infront of the double doors – a proper little ‘Authors Corner’! Lisbeth the Events Manager was introducing her avid readers to us all day. Stephanie looked after us too and Lisa the Manager invited us back – what more could we want?


Bournemouth Arcade Waterstones


Carol, Events Manager Lisbeth and Store Manager Lisa

Chloe is doing work experience at Waterstones and had her picture taken with Bob. She was a busy little bee all day!

Bournemouth Waterstones in the most glorious of surrounding of the Arcade. We were actually in the window! :)

 We left Bournemouth at just after six o’clock and hit the road again for Lymington where we are book signing tomorrow. The car parking in Bournemouth is expensive at £11.90 per day and since the store has no loading bay it is a trek to the store with promotion boards and stock. All part of the fun though! We did nearly have a fit when we got back to the car park to find that both ticket machines had broken down… There was no way to pay for our stay and no one there to let us out! eek! Luckily a council employee came to our aid. Thanks Matt!

 One customer who was on holiday when we visted Lymington last time is travelling all the way from Oxford to see us for a signed copy of ‘Consequences’, how lovely is that? And Kim, one of the writers from the Our Living Room Writers we met on Tuesday night is coming from Bournemouth to see us too. Looking forward to seeing you both. :)

Bob and I are staying at Stanwell House Hotel tonight. The hotel is directly opposite Waterstones in Lymington – hence the choice. Living out of a suitcase isn’t all it’s made out to be … imagine packing up every morning and moving your belongings around every day!

Stanwell House Hotel is lovely, lots of history to the old place and we’ve even got a four poster bed but the other guests downstairs in the bar/restaurant are so noisy that until they go I don’t see us watching the television or going to sleep. For all its pomp and grandeur give me ’Our Living Room’ anyday! Miss you guys!

Tomorrow I have a real treat as I am meeting my ‘best buddie’ since I was 7 yrs old for lunch. Bob has kindly said he’d hold the fort for an hour … Bless him…

Till tomorrow guys & girls!

Night All!

C & B

Did you know that in Bournemouth on 12th July 1910 Rolls Royce co-founder Charles Rolls became the first British man to be killed in an aircraft crash? He was a true aviation pioneer, having crossed the channel by balloon in 1906, and made the first two-way crossing of those same waters in an airplane only a month before his fatal crash . Rolls made more than 200 flights in his Wright Flyer, made under license by Short Bros. Perhaps that usage was the cause of its tail breaking off with deadly consequences for the pilot.

Did you know that Percy Shelley’s heart is interred in St Peter’s Church , Bournemouth? Its arrival there was rather late: Percy Shelley drowned in 1822 while boating off Livorno; his body washed ashore and was cremated on the beach. His friend Edward Trelawny somehow grabbed the heart from the flames and presented it to Mary Shelley who kept it with her thereafter. It was only when his son, Percy Florence Shelley, died in 1889 that he and his father’s heart were both placed in the family vault.

Famous Bournemouth people:

Anthony Blunt
Hubert Parry
Radclyffe Hall
Virginia Wade

Waterstones Poole, Dorset, England – And The Home of Poole Pottery!

The first day of our southern tour of Waterstones and we’re in the most delightful spot – Poole, Dorset.

We left ‘Our Living Room’  at 9.30 after having a lovely breakfast made by Andy, in delightful surroundings with marvellous hosts.’ You won’t know this but our host has a  part in the new film ‘Looper’! You’ve got to meet Andy! :)

The beautiful ornate front door of ‘Our Living Room’.


Unfortunately it was raining.


Bob & Carol at Portsmouth Waterstones


    Bob with Ellie Groves whose on work experience – Hi Ellie!

Waterstones Poole – Just outside the Dolphin Shopping Centre - before the deluge of rain!

 Bon with Gillian and Gavin who were on holiday from Bradford!  Hi guys! Hope the weather got better for you or at least ‘DI Dylan’ kept you entertained.

More info on Poole!

But for now it’s back to ’The Living Room’ and we’re off to Cafe Rouge for our tea!

The Westbourne Arcade where we walked through to get back to ‘The Living Room’.


Poole Harbour is the largest natural harbour in Britain. It was formed at the end of the last ice age when what was a valley was filled by rising seas.

Did you know that what can be regarded as the world’s earliest radio station was set up by Marconi at the Haven Hotel , Sandbanks in Poole? He built a transmitter there in 1899.

Did you know that Sandbanks in Poole is the most expensive place to live in Europe? Even during the financial crisis one plot was advertised in 2009 for roughly £10,000 per square metre.

Famous Poole people:

David Croft
John Le Carre
Thomas Bell

Poole is also famous for it’s pottery. and this site gives you more information about the pottery and images of designs.

This is a piece that Carol’s mum and dad bought in the 1960′s. We understand it is called a Conch Shell.

Tonight we have met the local ‘The Living Room Writers’ who were meeting here. Lovely to meet you guys & gals! Good luck with your writing! Remember keep writing through the ‘sticky patches’! :) I know we’ll keep in touch! :)


Well it’s late now – so till tomorrow… We’ll be back with the update on our days book signing at Bournemouth Arcade!


Night All!


C & B

Ahoy! We’re Over The Solent to Bournemouth!

It doesn’t seem two minutes since we were on the Wightlink ferry to the Tonbridge Arts Festival, but here we are again. This time however we are doing our favourite crossing, from Yarmouth on the Isle of Wight, to Lymington. The ferry left at 11.15 and you have to be at the harbour for half an hours before departure. Now when did we ever go by the book! We made the ferry by the skin of our teeth. In fact it could have been our own charter! It’s exciting. It’s busy. It’s not raining! Yeah!


 All on board for Yarmouth!

Going towards Lymington has so many happy memories for Carol as it is where she went to school. Well, in Pennington to be exact – Priestlands High.

It was one of the first comprehensives and lucky or unlucky as the case may be the children born in 1960/1961 were the first to sample the new schooling structure which was undertaken in the 1973 reorganisation of local government in Hampshire.

Priestlands School is now an Academy School in Pennington, Hampshire, England. with around 1230 students aged 11–16.The school is also a specialist Arts College.

We took the scenic route through Milford On Sea again to capture those childhood memories for it was where Carol lived from the age of 7 – 12yrs old.

This is Carol outside her Junior school where she was head girl and captain of the house of Patrick – it wasn’t all good. She lost her ’Head Girl’ badge the first day she was presented with it and her ‘House’ always came last at the sports day. On one particular sports day she remembers running away, not wanting to receive the wooden spoon on behalf of Patrick House yet again – scarred for life, would they allow wooden spoons for losing teams in school these days?

And Carol’s best friend from them days and still in contact today 40 yrs later – Daniella Lazzeri – Pipi to her friends. And you will be seeing Daniella again on Thursday when we meet up once more.


We’re staying in a cute Guest House in Bournemouth that has been highly recommended to us, for two nights. It’s called ‘Our Living Room.’ It’s not far from the two Waterstones in Poole and Bournemouth locations and so the start of 11 am means there is no rush and we can have a look around the shopping centres first.  We’re getting the hang of the tours now. :-)

Our hotel – ~We were welcomed to The Living Room by Sarah and Anna with a complimentary cuppa. What delightful ladies. Nothing was too much trouble. We even did our telephone interview with Terry from Express Fm – 93. 7 from their home phone line – and what a lovely guy he is too! Thanks Terry!

Each room is individually decorated with it’s own character and our suite is lovely and cozy. It has a real home from home feel.  What stuck me immediately about the place is the cleanliness and all the fitments, are all of quality. This doesn’t smell like a hotel smells, it smells like a home! Horray! We have mints in our room and ornaments! It is obvious to Bob and I that the owners Andy and Anna, have not just renovated this guest house with all it’s antique furniture, which is quintessentially English as a place for people to stay but as a labour of love, and a home for them and their two small children. The description of the residence on the internet is ‘ its a gem’ and it REALLY is…

Here’s some pic’s of inside – although they probably don’t do it justice – it’s gorgeous.

Just a corner of ‘The Living Room’ lounge area.

And another!

We went to Cafe Rouge in Westbourne where we had our evening meal! Staff were all from France and what a team they are! You don’t need to guess what Bob ordered do you? Yes, steak as usual, well done with french fries! The desserts were to die for – yes, I had to indulge in a waffle, warm pear, vanilla pod ice cream and warm chocolate sauce… mmm…


Night All!

Till tomorrow and our first book signing of the tour – We’re taking you to Poole in Dorset. :-)

C & B x