1974 - Pretty Wherwell

(A mental picture—seen somewhere in France— by Pte. A. J. Parker, 031635).
(1914-1918 World War)
A. J. Parker left school at twelve years of age to work at the Priory, eventually becoming chauffeur to the Lady of the Manor.

In fancy I walk through the firs on the Mount,
And gaze on the elms too many to count,
The beeches that border the drive through the Park,
And hear overhead the song of the lark.

Below there's Will Smith raking weeds from the rack.
While hoping he'll not find a trout on its back;
Just watch with what care his footway he feels
Over the weir, dropping pots for the eels.

And elsewhere, over the top of the hill,
How lovely is nestling the old water mill;
And I ask our friend Carter, whose feeding the trout.
If that big one I knew is still swimming about.

In the tail of my eye I can just see the spire
Of the ivied old church where I helped in the choir;
And I thought of the people below in the nave.
And wondered how many more sleep in the grave.

A magnificent sight on a sweet summer's day
Is the Test, which is winding its silvery way;
I think of the wild duck which nest in the sedge.
And see Freddy Young at the gap in the hedge.

And gently the hill two motors descend.
And slacken their pace at the hairpin bend;
At the foot of the hill comes a man on a bike.
And all get a welcome from genial Fred Pyke.

I see woods in the distance with oak and with larch,
And Spratt's team of horses come under "first arch".
And woodman Will Monk works with saw in his hand.
And Sandom's just left with a cart full of sand.

The tower of the Priory above the trees shows.
And there's Freelands below with its masses of rose.
The island in front where coots make their nest.
The "Seven Stars" in the distance, where labourers rest.

Was ever a place so peacefully blest —
From turmoil so free, so brimful of rest?
Serene and delightful; no poet could tell
Half the charms of my home, native Wherwell.


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200 Years of Gurkha History

January 19th (2018), 8pm
Talk by Gavin Edgerley-Harris
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