It is worth reading this beautiful post by Sarah Salway, a writer who visited Bere Mill last year. Here is an extract of her experience and her poem Scrumping:
Bere Mill in Hampshire has a rich history. And I use that adjective on purpose, because it was where the Huguenot family, the Portals, made the paper that was used for Bank of England bank notes in the early eighteenth century. There are still traces of the mill, and also importantly, apple trees. I hadn’t known before that the best wood for mill machinery was that of apple trees because it is both strong and flexible. Isn’t that wonderful?
Imagine, my father always said
on our Sunday walks, less
an invitation than an instruction,
and because I was too young then
to know that nature’s ‘what if?’
would always trump ours:
the golden section; ants milking
grasshoppers; the bee queening
it over her own slave kingdom,
I loved his games – gold coins lying
under trees like windfalls, to have
a million pounds and spend it in a day.
I wish he’d lived long enough
to hear how Bank of England
notes were milled with apple wood.
How he would laugh. Imagine,
he’d say, money really does grow
on trees, and forever after, I could try
to catch him out lifting his wallet
to his face, trying to inhale a wealth
he only dreamt of, fortune’s wind
at last blowing its fruit his way,
a scrumper, my dad, to the end.