Imagine the scene…. John Wright, a famous, mushroom foraging expert is discussing funghi around the trunk of a (circa) 300 year old oak tree, which is located only feet away from where he is standing, just about to host a foraging lunch at Hotel TerraVina when, with an ear splitting crack one half of the trunk just breaks into two and half the tree falls down with an almighty crash… everyone held their breath and expected a movie extra to shout “CUT” and wave the clapper board in front of their eyes….. but no there was no such shout of “CUT” or indeed “TIMBER” instead just gasps of shock and bewilderment at what everyone had just witnessed. Literally the tree had simply cut itself into two and one half had fallen mightily to the ground, sadly swiftly followed some 30 minutes later by the other half crashing down too… it was surreal and almost like watching a banana being peeled how the two halves simply fell away fro each other.
The tree was located in the paddock adjacent to the hotel and had been admired by one and all as a magnificent species. We are all feeling bereft at its’ loss as it has left a huge space between the ground and the sky. It made me think that you can see something beautiful and magnificent every day and yet only take it for granted, only to realize its’ significance once it’s gone. It certainly made an interesting topic of conversation at the lunch that day!
Whilst in a philosophical mood, I have noticed too that we have no pigs as yet in the area of forest adjacent to the hotel despite it being the pannage season- most years we have families of pigs grazing greedily on the acorns and it is a heart warming sight watching the tiny piglets chasing along to be close on the heels of their mummies and then weeks later see them growing fat and round and becoming more and more independent, but this year they are missing and we miss them as they are a constant source of amusement, just as are the donkeys and mules that sometimes meander by, but of course we do have the ponies and deer for the guests to be surprised by – they are the constant and make the forest the special, enchanting place that it is.
Gerard and I were in London this week for Gerard to receive an award- yes! Another one. This time he was invited into the Academy of Food and Wine Service Hall of Fame. Whilst it was lovely to be in London together, as he has been travelling in China and the USA for the past few weeks, (so much washing and unpacking of suitcases!), we were both so pleased to be on the train and arrive at the outskirts of Brockenhurst where you have the most picturesque glimpses of the forest and we felt pleased to be home.
Enjoy the Autumn sunshine
Till next week