Updated 21 May 2015
Freda Mead of Wool
Freda Mead 1910-2007
Freda was a red-head and lived by herself in a caravan in a wood in Dorset, England.
She served in the War, but wouldn't tell anyone which war.
Freda was a character, and appeared recently on BBC Television.
She died in July 2007 at 97. Freda was a remarkable woman. For more information, please contact:
Deer outside Freda's caravan door.
The Ballad of the Frampton Arms
I love to go a wandering, Faldere, Faldera
Freda Mead of Wool
- There's a lot of noise
In the bar tonight,
The Frampton's full to the brim.
Lots of cheer
To go with the beer,
For the man with the music is in.
- He's tight as a louse
And so the whole house
Rocks with a gleeful din.
It sounds a bit flat
But who cares about that
When there's plenty of cider and gin.
- His feet with rhythmic
Contact the littered floor.
He makes a pass
For the refilled glass
Sometimes a quick pass for the door.
- Ay there's plenty
Of broken glass
Neath the high-hung mistletoe.
Men bawl away
The women sway
And let their figures go.
- But there is a woeful
woman in green
Who is not part of the throng.
She sits with her spouse
As quiet as a mouse
Her lips never utter a song.
- The man with the music
That loud recurring theme.
Young girls gaze
At him through the haze
His blue eyes glint and gleam.
- His glance falls light
For a woman in white
Then he sees the woman in green!
- With a look forlorn
On a face like a faun
A small man jumps into the fray.
With a frightening thump
A terrible bump
He brings the jazz drum into play.
- His eyes are bright
With a passionate light
As he makes his incredible clatter.
The barmaid chill
Looks into the till
"A bit more noise can't matter".
- But suddenly they lose the tune
And call for another song.
Peer into their beer
Shuffle their feet
Where has the music man gone?
- And where is the wilful
Woman in green
Who should have been sat in her place?
Outside in sight
Of a starspit night
With a clean cold wind on her face.
- Oh, they chuckle and whisper
Now in the bar
Though the air is stiff with smoke.
So many a blink
Becomes a wink
At many a saucy joke.
- There's something up
In the Frampton bar
Folk are beginning to grin
For the man with the music
Has taken flight
And the woman in green is with him!
- Time gentlemen please
Last orders now!
The time honoured edict is followed.
Slack fingers grip
For the very last sip
The last drop of wallop is swallowed.
- They all spill out
With laughter and shouts
Of "Goodnight" to meander home.
But an angry spouse
Eager to grouse
Stands out in the cold alone.
- Oh the man with the music
The woman in green
What care they now for a ring.
They find love again
In Moreton Wood
Where they first heard a nightingale sing!
- Theres many a ghost
In the bar at night
Though the Frampton's well above par.
Music is canned
Menus well planned
Everyone drives a big car.
- Where are Slasher Tom
Harry and Don
Amsterdam still in his beret,
Willy the one
His army coat on
Old Mrs Mills very merry.
- Darkie who wanted
To cause no alarm
Charlie with his favourite ferret.
Tony and Jack
Now back on the farm
Having the pint they both merit.
- Bob the codger
Who shot the big badger
(Barbequed somewhere outside)
Aunt Ivy and Pearl,
Keeping their men at their side.
The one with red hair no longer a girl
Now no longer a bride.
- Saturnine Arthur
Who played the jazz drum
With ever increased agitation
Len who popped out
To wave the red flag
For trains at Moreton Station
Jimmy the boss
Of the bar,at his post
Urbane and shrewd
A perfect mine host.
- Poacher, gamekeeper,
Familiar with all kinds of gun
Like the fox gone to earth
Some in the grave
They all knew what it meant to have fun.
Where is the piano
Played by the bard
Where the stuffed elk in the hall?
In the stable yard
The elk wouldn't burn at all.
- So sing "Faldera"
In the Frampton bar
The way the music man played;
That and the sound
"I'll buy the next round"
Will bring them out of the shade!
"The man with the music" was
Billy Evans of Bovington.
Freda was very fond of him. The "woman in green" is probably
meant to be Freda herself. She was a redhead before she started wearing
wigs and became orange! Freda was married to Frank Mead, but was widowed
about 1970. The Frampton Arms is next to the station and Moreton woods.
Mine host was Jimmy Miller and the stag was really an elk.
Stanza 7 tells of a real event, described in a letter, only the last page of which can be found.
...vegetables and good strong gravy. Apple pie and custard - men's food
The small bar, used by those who couldn't stand the noise or to talk business or have a word with Jimmy before entering the dark dining room, would encounter in a corner between bar and door, one of Jimmy's trophies, a very large, fully antlered stuffed stag, surprising, noble, pathetic.
Thus on the eve of Jimmy's departure, everything had to go and it did, everyone had a souvenir wet or dry.
The fire in the stable yard was already alight, the regulars, well primed from the barrel of cyder on the stand, took turns to revolve the barbecued sheep. People surged from the bar to take part in its consumption. It was decided that more fuel was needed to complete the immolation, and what more suitable than the piano? Willing hands dragged the long suffering instrument from its place, demolished it bit by bit, wedged then flung it under the sheep until the flames rose sky high and the animal was frizzled beyond recognition, almost uneatable.
Nevertheless, eaten it was, and, fired with the success of the spectacle, the regulars demanded more fuel.
Jimmy's patient wife, glad of the opportunity to be rid of the incubus, suggested the Stag
The scene now took on a ritualistic intensity. The Stag, eerily majestic in its dark corner was wrested from its plinth, hoisted high and carried to the firelit yard by its bearers, then flung mightily into the flames where for a moment it remained rampant as if in a last bid for freedom.
But - it did not burn - it would not burn. Its eyes glowed red, but it would not burn.
The onlookers were momentarily disconcerted. The regulars shouted at it, prodded it with sticks, poked at it with a shovel until it fell pathetically sideways into the fire, exposing its distended belly, but it still did not burn.
The would be toreadors stood baffled, then the matador in the shape of Slasher emerged from the stable brandishing a long pointed stake, holding it aloft like a javelin, he ran towards then plunged it into the belly of the Stag.
There was an immense explosion, the whole animal burst into a million fragments, scattering the crowd, before covering them with mummified debris, leaving only a skeleton of wire glowing.
A moment of dismay, almost of awe.
Bill, always aware of tension, braced his accordion and started to play "I love to go a-wandering". Everyone laughed, dusted themselves down and joined in lustily, stamping their feet and more as if to exorcise the Stag's animus.
"Time gentlemen please"
When eventually the revellers meandered home with their spoils, they felt the night air sweet upon the face, two heard nightingales in Moreton Wood and all remembered Jimmy's Stag night.
NB: the stag turned out to be an Elk!
To a Garden destroyed
Here was a garden planted on an ancient site.
No elegant lawn or sedate border.
A vegetable plot on a slope facing the Western sun,
many homely vegetables and herbs, devotedly tended,
proudly defended by one as if part of his native Ireland.
There were chickens and a pheasant or two.
A wonderful conglomeration of trees and shrubs,
bushy, slender, flowery, berried or twiggy
each in its own time and season, most woven through
by climbimg plants, honeysuckle, clematis, ivy,
passion flowers and roses, colour scent and interest
at seeming random.
No formal paths just places where there might be room
for another flower or where she who had special gifts
put lilies where she thought it right.
A leafy rustic profusion on round and about the house.
A small greenhouse, bird bath, bird table
if creeping, clambouring over the odd stone or kerb.
No vistas, but under the older trees
a miracle of snowdrops, a flush of bluebells in Spring,
flourishing under apparent neglect.
No seeming plan, but a joy and a solace to two
no longer here.
Those who destroyed it must be forgiven
for they know not what they have done.
The Stour at Stourpaine
Goodbye, Goodbye to the winding Stour,
It slowly flows like silvered glass.
A mirror reflecting the changing sky,
As time slips by and centuries pass.
A gentle river whose wooded banks
Gave shelter from the wind and rain,
On moonlit nights a trysting place,
For two who loved in Stourpaine.
Pleasant it was in the heat of the day,
To hear the rustle of riveride reeds,
While idly watching the minnows play
Within the rippling waterweeds.
To spy a snake, all sinuous grace,
Swim silently from place to place,
Best of all to get a boat
And slowly row at snail's pace
Past farmer's gates and grazing cows
Beneath Hod Hill where banks are steep.
Under the green and curving boughs
Of languid willows as they weep.
Then to bathe in a leafy cave
With dragons dazzling the dragon fly,
Seductively through glinting shade
White and still the lilies lie
Like sultry sirens sweetly laid
But silent on a blue reflected sky.
Then to meander up through the wood
To the top of the hill where a Roman stood
Looking down through trees at the distant river
Seeing it now neither blue or silver but
But dim and dark in the dusky hour
It was goodbye to the winding Stour.
Bird on the roof
Against the walls
The wind blows hard
The needle-fingered rain:
I wonder if the thatch blows off,
Will it blow back on again?
Or will it, eager for its flight,
Bourne off on windy wings of night,
Fly off and out, all straws about,
Finding a voice to sing and shout,
In eager glee at being free,
And will it flit up to the stars,
Madly make a bid for Mars,
Play among the Pleiades,
Frisk about Orion's knees.
Or will it safely come to rest
So I can get back to my nest!
The Scots Pine
I know a tree, a lofty tree,
That grows on a slope near house and heath.
Its tawny trunk soars sturdily
To bottle green of needle leaf.
South wind makes it sing and sigh
So sweetly with a lover's breath,
To murmer "Watch my young limbs fly,
What have I to do with death?"
West wind makes it sob and cry,
To fling fierce tears in gusty grief,
Tossing its plumed branches high
To the grey sky it weeps beneath.
East wind makes it creak and groan,
To shed lame limbs, to mutely lie,
"I'm old, I'm old" I hear it moan,
As wrapt in fear I hurry by.
North wind clads it in a clean
White shroud of chilly snow.
Solemnly its voice is still,
Silently I pass below.
Pandora would have had two fits
Had she but known a box
Could hold so terrible a mix.
Passively we watch it
Turning aside to stroke the cat
Or have a drink
And weeping not at all -
Until, one day we see
A small dead bird
Upon the kitchen floor.
Then the floodgates are opened
All the sorrows of the world
Are in our tears.
If you see the clouds come fast a-riding
Across a wild and windswept arc of sky,
You'll be standing at the end of Wilton Quarters
The LONGMOOR famous Attery.
If you hear a sighing in the heather
That stretches over hills to miles away,
A howling round the quarters close together
That's LONGMOOR on a very windy day.
If you take a sandy path enticing
Down to some sequestered nook below,
Where fronds of bracken grow just right for hiding
From the unromantic who to LONGMOOR go.
If you see a view that makes your heart leap
Of curving downs that hold the new beyond,
Or mist-capped valleys full of distant secrets
And a thousand spear tipped firs come thronged
You will feel a full deep silence
And wooded sounds of gnat and bee and bird,
A cooing a cawing and a humming
Which is the sweetest silence ever heard.
Given to Freda by Bill Evans. The poem is by George Eliot. The paper is a bit crumpled after many years.
----Anyone with more details for publication on this webpage,
please email ----
wrote on 21may2015
Pip Evans asks that this email "not be published
because it is mostly hearsay". It is therefore kept
privately on the webmaster's computer
wrote on 20may2015
I am saddened to find out that Freda died in 2007. However I am glad
I stumbled over her web page and the wonderful poem about The Frampton Arms.
My dad was Bill Evans http://www.rapportband.co.uk/williamevans/ to whom
the reference the man of music refers. Also my mum gets a mention later
as she was Nancy. Unfortunately they are both dead; my dad was first to
go in 2012 and followed a year later my mum. Both were in their nineties.
My father still played music in his nineties.
I wish you would make one amendment if possible to the note about the man
with the music. Billy Evans was from Bovington and not Corfe Mullen. Yes
he lived in Corfe in the last few years of his life but he is best known
as Bill from Bovington. He was demobed in Bovington after being in both
the Royal Marine band and then finally the Tank Regiment band. He then
lived in Bovington until his late eighties. He was known for conducting
the Bovington Bavarian (or Brass) Band. Also as regular entertainer at
Frampton Arms as well as Jolly Sailor in Poole. No one would know of him
as Billy from Corfe Mullen.
I can just recall as a child often visiting Freda and Fred [Frank?] in their
stone farmhouse which wasn't quiet finished. Later I think I visited
Freda once in a bungalow closer to Wool. Like both my dad
and mum she was a larger than life character.
I will put a link to Freda's website from my dad's. It would be great
if you could reciprocate.
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