Last weekend Mrs Braysher and I slipped across the border into Suffolk. On our way we took the opportunity to visit the Redwings Horse Sanctuary visitor centre at Caldecott, to visit the Society’s mule, Muffin.
You will recall that the Society adopted Muffin at the start of the centenary to recognise the vital part played by mules in the campaign and he was also made an honorary life-time member of the SCS. As a ‘senior’ mule – 33 next birthday – Muffin has retired from the adoption scheme, although he is still ‘ours’.
Although I live in the same county as Muffin, I’m ashamed to say that I haven’t been to see him since he was presented with his membership certificate back in 2016, so a visit was long overdue. Much has changed at Redwings Caldecott, which has a new reception building and a splendid café and shop. But they weren’t our first priority and we quickly made our way to the paddock where the mule and donkey herd live.
Muffin seemed a little subdued – perhaps as the result of a recent downpour – but he still came to say ‘hello’ and have his head scratched. Hopefully the packet of ginger nuts we left at reception will perk him up! We were soon joined by an assortment of donkeys, keen for some attention, although sadly we didn’t get to meet Noah, the ‘new boy’. If you were disappointed when Muffin retired, you will be pleased to know that he is the new mule in their adoption scheme.
The Redwings Caldecott visitor centre is a lovely place to wander around – although it was breezy the sun shone for us – and there are lots of friendly horses, donkeys and mules to make a fuss of. When you’re ready for a sit down you can enjoy a drink or a meal in the new café. There is also much to enjoy in the surrounding area.
“Albert” the donkey, regimental pet of the 3rd Battalion, Royal Fusiliers being led back to camp after an inspection of the 28th Division by General Maurice Sarrail and Lieutenant General Sir Bryan Mahon near Salonika, 13th April 1916. THE SALONIKA CAMPAIGN 1915 – 1918 (click on the image to see it full size) © IWM (Q 31891)