When Ada and Stan bought Apple Tree cottage in a remote village in the New Forest, they had no idea that their retirement dream would become such a special sanctuary for so many people.
Weeks after renovation work was done, this kind couple decided to use the tiny rooms upstairs for income: a B&B. There was a a pleasant front bedroom ( overlooking a quiet road) where, when they left their gate open, a troupe of donkeys would wander in, looking for apple windfalls in their front garden. A cosy sitting-room, at the back, overlooked fields, where their pony, Copper, was kept. And a tiny bathroom completed the suite of rooms.
For twenty years, clients would turn up for the peaceful rest and relaxation the place offered. Many came from overseas: Australia, Belgium, France, Canada. But the majority of their guests were British.
The ‘Visitors’ Book’ was Ada’s pride and joy. All the ‘comments’ were positive. Some people even wrote poems about the delights of their stay. Many people returned yearly. One couple, from Ashford in Kent, had visited 23 times! Others had been for six or seven times. One lady from France wrote : ‘Unique’, after her visit.
They were simple, good people, and they had created a modest, unpretentious oasis of tranquillity. In these tiny, warm rooms, it was possible to forget the world outside, to feel safe and cherished . Utterly at peace. They provided everything necessary to make a visit there perfect: Ordinance survey maps ( for the walkers); storm lanterns, torches ( when the power failed); delicious biscuits , coffees and teas; binoculars; illustrated books and information about the environment. Even menus from the local pubs.