Aviation history in Southampton

Solent Sky Museum

We were on holiday in East Dorset and it was raining and rather cold. So we decided to drive over to Southampton and with a little trepidation we decided to visit the Solent Sky Museum. The warm and friendly welcome was a welcome respite from the cold weather.

We’re not really into aircraft, but decided because of the weather it was the right time to visit an indoor museum. It was either this or learning about the Titanic at the SeaCity Museum. Solent Sky won out because it was cheaper!

White Quadplane

The enthusiastic volunteers were really friendly, helpful and knowledgeable. They really made our visit, helping us to sit in the various cockpits and describing the history of the different planes. As well as history they also talked about the science of flight and flying. Our children were engaged and learnt stuff. Actually we also learnt stuff too, the history of the blitz on Southampton and the Spitfire factory was moving and well told.

Our favourite plane was the huge Solent Sandringham, the Beachcomber, that dominated the museum.

Short Sandringham

With it’s huge wingspan you couldn’t miss it. What was really nice was that we were allowed inside the plane and sit on the seats and feel like what it would have been to be a passenger on a flying boat in the 1950s. One of the excellent volunteers allowed us up into the cockpit to sit in the pilot seats.

The children trail was fun, yet challenging, and actually a really nice prize at the end. Before we knew it we had spent two hours exploring the various aspects of the museum including a section on the local police and fire services.

RAF Tiger Moth

It was excellent value at £17.50 for a family of five and nice of them to recognise that sometimes families number five. We had an enjoyable time at the museum and would love to go again (as we gift aided our entry, we get free entry for a year), so we might.

In the end we ran out of time…

Yesterday saw the end of the great Shaun the Sheep hunt.

In the end we managed to find and photograph 62 out of 70.

A combination of weather and traffic in the end stopped us from completing the challenge. Thoiugh we did do it, it wasn’t that much fun to trudge through the rain and the mud finding Shauns. Also we had to go to Bristol to do it, and the M5 was too often a slow moving car park.

Over the next week or so I will post the photographs of the Shauns we did managed to capture.

There is an opportunity to see them all (with the London Shauns) in both Bristol and Covent Garden over September.

Travel Nightmare

Worle Station

What with the bad weather and all that I wasn’t expecting travel to work today to be smooth and easy.

I have recently been catching the train to work, it takes twice as long as driving, but with current fuel costs it is slightly more economical and I can do a lot more work on the train than in the car!

I got into the car to travel to my local station (not got a bike sorted out yet) and my usual trip was disrupted due to excessive flooding on Summer Lane Bridge. It was closed and as a result I got turned around by the police. By the way the bridge, which is a railway bridge, was not flooded, but the approach road was. Getting to the station was a little more difficult, but luckily it was early.

I had checked the trains before I left home, some had been cancelled, but not my usual train, so went straight to the ticket machine and got my train ticket. It was literally seconds after that I found out my train was cancelled. At that point I needed to make a decision. Did I get back in the car and drive to work or wait until the next train. According to the disembodied voice on the platform the next train was an hour later. I wasn’t entirely confident at that point, if I could get a refund if I didn’t use my train ticket. So deciding to wait for the next train, I went to get some coffee. Alas not much choice near Worle station, my first choice, Sainsbury’s wasn’t open, so I went into McDonalds! Not really where I wanted to go, but I got a coffee and they did have free wifi, so got on with some work.

After about forty minutes I ventured back to the station to catch the train. Disappointed to find that this one was marked as delayed with only a few minutes to go. I did wait, but in the end with the train been delayed by about twenty minutes from departing from it’s starting station and the result would mean I would miss the connection at Bristol Temple Meads and so would be even later into work, I decided to give up and work from home. Even then due to traffic chaos (caused by not one by two bridge closures) it still took me nearly thirty minutes to drive the two miles home!

With all the weather we’ve been having, I was also concerned about not just getting to work, but getting home again. It wasn’t really a nightmare, not like some of the stories I have been reading about, in the main as I decided that in the end it was going to be better not to travel.

Tomorrow, it’s a bit more challenging as I will be going to the Forest of Dean, driving as it’s impossible to get there by train. Wish me luck.

“the cafe on tv at weston super mare is it real”

Noticed in the blog stats one of the search terms used that resulted in someone finding my blog was

the cafe on tv at weston super mare is it real

I suspect my recent blog post on the filming of The Café was the reason Google directed them to my blog.

There is no real Cyril’s, it’s a fabrication, just a set, but they do film in Weston-super-Mare.

The Café

The café building itself is just a set, it’s not a real café dressed at Cyril’s but a set built for filming and when done, it’s broken down and taken away until the next season (if one is commissioned) is filmed.

The Café, Series 1 – The Café

The Café, Series 2 – The Café

The Café

The Café, Series 1 – The Café

The Café, Series 2 – The Café

This evening they were filming down on Weston-super-Mare seafront for the Sky series, The Café.

The Café

This is a comedy that is shown on Sky.

Filming in Weston-super-Mare

Funny, touching and a little bit romantic, too, The Café is a brilliant new comedy from director Craig Cash, and co-writers and stars Ralf Little and Michelle Terry. The Café is a sweet sitcom based in Cyril’s in Weston-super-mare. Run by three generations of women, gran Mary, divorcee Carol and daughter Sarah (played by Michelle Terry who co-wrote The Café with Ralf Little), Cyril’s sees all sorts on the seaside front, from gobby hairdressers to living statue Kieran. Meanwhile Sarah meets up with old sweetheart, Richard (Ralf) who has hopes of re-kindling their romance.

The Café

Of course there is no real Cyril’s, it’s a fabrication, just a set, but they do film in Weston-super-Mare.

Filming in Weston-super-Mare


Apart from the awful rain coming down, which I guess they weren’t expecting, if they planned to film in July, what they did have was a high tide…

The sea

You could actually see the sea in Weston-super-Mare (aka by the sea).

Grand Pier at Weston-super-Mare

Normally, because of the extremely high tidal range, you rarely see the sea all the way up the beach. The pier is usually never “in” the water and all you can see is sand and mud.