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On the road again - 10 - The New Forest, part 3 - Work and Rufus Stone

The next morning, I bade Tony farewell and headed on. I continued on to Brockenhurst, where I stocked up on groceries. I wasn’t sure where to go next and started to think about matey who had offered me some work.* I decided that I had plenty of time; “I’m in no rush. Earning a few bob for a week or two might not be a bad idea.” I telephoned the number I had been given. A short conversation ensued. I made it clear that I was only stopping for a short period of time. I was told that I could stay for as long as I wished. I would have somewhere to park, rent free, as well as being fed and watered daily. I would also be paid a small sum in exchange for a few hours work. If no contracted work was available, there would be plenty to do around the yard. I agreed and was given directions to the property on which I was to stay. It was back in Verwood.

I found the property easily. It was on the main road through town. I turned in and was soon met. The first thing I noticed was that the place was like a scrap yard, except that scrap yards tend to be tidier! There were hazards everywhere. We agreed a spot on which to park. I parked the caravan, unhitched and parked the truck alongside. By the time I was done a cup of tea and a ham sandwich appeared. I thanked matey. He said that they would be having their dinner soon and would include me. Again, I thanked him and said that I was fine as I had plenty of food. However, a pie and chips from the local chippy appeared later on.

The next morning, matey appeared with a ham sandwich and a cup of tea. He said that he would need to go out to scout for some work. He asked me to stay behind and clear out an area he showed me. I agreed. I asked about facilities. I was shown a standpipe!

The spot I had been asked to clear was a pile of scrap and wood. Besides the metal and wood, there were a number of different materials, particularly, plastic. There were overgrown brambles and tall grasses. And a child’s Gypsy wagon! All partly buried in a mound of dirt.

I spent the day, digging the little Varda out. I cleared the scrap and chopped back the brambles. A hundred yards further back, the yard opened up. It was horrendous. Huge piles of rubbish everywhere. At one spot, there was the charred remains of the a huge bonfire. Matey had been burning all manor of toxic materials. The footprint of this fire was huge; a good 30’ or more across! To one side, I began to sort the various materials into separate piles with the intention of working out a deal on the disposing of it all. As you know, I have the ideal truck to make light work of its removal and what’s more, there’s cash to be earnt on the metals. Beyond the yard, the land became grassed. The property then stretched back over rough terrain for another two hundred yards. After that, there is a small copse surrounded by a fence. It was here that I was to use for my toilet needs.

Around lunchtime, I was brought a ham sandwich and a cup of tea by the lady of the house. We chatted briefly. She seemed pleasant enough. In the evening, matey appeared with a meal of pie and chips from the local chippy again, and a cup of tea. I was given £20 for my effort. I showed matey the little Gypsy wagon and said that I needed help to move it to a safer position as it was so fragile. I offered to restore it. I also mentioned getting rid of the scrap using the truck. No interest came forth. Instead, he said that would think about the wagon and will burn the rest. I was surprised and not surprised, especially when he went on to tell me about how he doesn’t get on with his neighbours.

The following morning, I had a ham sandwich and a cup of tea brought out to me. I was asked to continue as I had done the previous day, this time including a container box. I did as bad. In the evening, I was brought egg and chips for dinner and a cup of tea. No £20. I said nothing other than a polite thank you. “It’s just as well I have some real food!”

The next morning, again, I was brought a ham sandwich and a cup of tea. I was asked to continue as I had. Realising what was going on, I said, “Are you paying me at the end of the week?”

Matey became agitated, spouting, “No! I paid you the day before yesterday.”

I said, “Yeah. For that day.”

Matey then said, “There’s no work yet to pay you.”

“So you expect me clear your yard for free while you 'look' for work?”

I was then told in no uncertain terms to vacate. There was no argument from me. It didn’t take me long to be ready for the off. I had found an old pair of tongs that I had put to one side with the intention of asking matey if he would be kind enough to allow me to keep them. I decided that I would have them anyway and besides, he has no idea that they even exist.

On the way back out of town there is a supermarket. I pulled into the car park, got a few groceries and had a look at the map over a cup of tea. I decided to just head straight back to where I had left off.

Back at the Stoney Cross junction, I turned north into the Forest. I followed the road, bearing right at a crossroads and keeping the wooded area to my right, I eventually came to another crossroads, where another right turn took us into the woods. The village of Brook appears once out from the woods. I found a right turn that doubles back from the main road that was narrow in places and quite windy. Not far on from a purpose built pub called the Sir Walter Tyrell a large parking area appears. I swung in.

Opposite the parking area a stone memorial marks the spot where an Oak once stood; the tree from which it is alleged an arrow rebounded into the heart of King William II. The arrow having been shot by one Walter Tirel who immediately did a bunk to France pretty sharpish. The truth of what happened is, of course, open to conjecture. Either way, King Billy croaked it right there.

The cats and I spent a lovely quiet day the next day. We went for a wander. The cats particularly enjoyed exploring the woods.



*see entry On the road again - 10 … … 1 - The edge of Broomy Plain

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