The Camperdown Elm


Stream, Running HillStreamI have before mentioned the small bridge over the stream at the bottom of Running Hill.  Today I decided to follow the stream.  As it reached the side of Hungerford Cottage, it tracked the side of the garden and continued along the back of it and the other houses at Seamans Corner, Mare and foalthence alongside the fences to the fields behind the houses on Seamans Lane, eventually running through the field that is home to the mare and foal beside Suters Cottage. Suters Cottage It took quite a few ducks, and a number of trips, to learn this fact.  I made my way home through London Minstead.

Just as I arrived at the Corner, a driver asked me the way to the New Forest Inn.  This, of course, is in Emery Down.  You can imagine the confidence boost it gave me to be able to give her precise directions.

At the tree seat on the green a mother was photographing her family. Family group I offered to take one with her in it, and, naturally, asked if I could also use my own camera, explaining why. Father and sons As, camera raised, I prepared to frame my shot, ‘are you local?’ was yelled from a stationary car with another behind it.  That familiar queue was forming.  ‘Yes’, I replied, turning round. ‘Wait a minute’.  They didn’t, but they did disturb the family group, so I had to take another picture to do the father justice.  I allowed myself to hope the vehicles stayed lost.

HelicopterA microlight had whined over London Minstead.  A, possibly military, helicopter, chugged over the corner.

This afternoon Jackie drove us to Poulner and Bill’s 80th birthday party.  Helen and Bill put on a splendid spread in the garden where Ron was on excellent barbecue duty.  Bill, John, and Stephanie's motherFriends and relatives flocked to their home. Many of these brought contributions of food and drink.  When we left soon after seven, the host and hostess were still going strong.

As the A31 was fairly slow-moving, it being a Sunday evening with holidaymakers returning home from the West country, we took a leisurely drive through the lanes, villages, forest, and heathland of this northern section of our National Park.  The evening light lent a russet glow and dappled contrasts to the landscape.  Various animals, even more leisurely than us, sometimes held up the traffic.  These jams were shorter-lived and more pleasant than those we had just left.

Mare and foal, FroghamA mare and her colt were eventually persuaded to the roadside.  The foal looked back at us as if wondering what we were doing on his road.  He had already learned to use his fly whisk.

Further on, the road was completely blocked by a string of donkeys seeming to congregate at one cottage.Donkeys

Donkeys 2This was the home of Roy who explained that they were hoping for something to eat.  I expressed the view that this was not likely to be in vain.  The very friendly and fit-looking 83 year old then told me about the Camperdown elm.  I would not have known this tree, and neither had Roy until an arboreal expert had recognised it.  It was the creatures’ favourite delicacy.Donkeys being fed

Roy showed me the umbrella shape that his assinine friends had chomped  out of the tree.  He had his own private topiarists.  Donkeys and Camperdown elmThe donkeys pruned his tree, but he wasn’t sure, at his age, whether he would be able to get up to do the same for the rose on the side of his house this year.  He took me inside.  The Camperdown became a parasol, and Roy broke off branches to feed to the animals.

Roy and donkeys

While I was being thus entertained, Jackie waited patiently a little further down the road, where she had to wind up the car windows to keep errant asses’ noses out.

Already amply fed, we relaxed for the rest of the evening.


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