Updated 21 May 2015

Freda Mead of Wool

Return to Home Page

The Works of Freda Mead

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.

Where to find

  1. The Ballad of the Frampton Arms
  2. To a Garden destroyed
  3. The Stour at Stourpaine
  4. Bird on the roof
  5. The Scots Pine
  6. Television
  7. Friendship
  8. Longmoor 1942
  9. Freda in the ATS 1941-45
  10. emails

"The Frampton Arms" is a local Pub in Dorset with a long history

The Ballad of the Frampton Arms

         I love to go a wandering, Faldere, Faldera

                    Freda Mead of Wool

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. His feet with rhythmic Sensuous beat Contact the littered floor. He makes a pass For the refilled glass Sometimes a quick pass for the door.
  4. Ay there's plenty Of broken glass Neath the high-hung mistletoe. Men bawl away The women sway And let their figures go.
  5. 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.
  6. The man with the music Ever plays That loud recurring theme. Young girls gaze At him through the haze His blue eyes glint and gleam.
  7. His glance falls light For a woman in white Then he sees the woman in green!
  8. 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.
  9. 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".
  10. But suddenly they lose the tune And call for another song. Peer into their beer Shuffle their feet Where has the music man gone?
  11. 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.
  12. 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.
  13. 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!
  14. 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.
  15. 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.
  16. 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!


  1. 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.
  2. Where are Slasher Tom Harry and Don Amsterdam still in his beret, Willy the one His army coat on Old Mrs Mills very merry.
  3. 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.
  4. Bob the codger Who shot the big badger (Barbequed somewhere outside) Nancy, Grace, Aunt Ivy and Pearl, Keeping their men at their side. The one with red hair no longer a girl Now no longer a bride.
  5. 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.
  6. Poacher, gamekeeper, Soldier, knave, 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.
  7. Where is the piano Played by the bard Where the stuffed elk in the hall? Lustily charred In the stable yard The elk wouldn't burn at all.
  8. 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.

Longmoor 1942

    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 ----
Pip Evans 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

Pip Evans 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.



Compiled, formatted, hyperlinked, encoded, and copyright © 2004, John Palmer All Rights Reserved.