Back home in Wales where Godfrey was born, and I, Beatrice Wambe have lived my life long, dwelt a dirty old man , Godfrey’s Grandpa.
Legend has it he never bathed, and this is his song. He sang, oh the world be nasty, I shall not bathe, until all are equal and lambs safely graze.
Grandpa had his own table in the only tea- rooms that would serve him. For his causes there was no question Grandpa meant well, for love of the planet and hope for world peace, he chose to smell, he was adamant that the bombs not fall, he saved pheasants, and rabbits and badgers. He saved foxes, beautiful heath land and fells. He refused to pay taxes for war, gave his pension cheques to the hungry and poor, he put bugs and spiders outside, but not since 1957 had bathwater touched his hide.
Why dos your toolbox smell of sick? Godfrey asked, while helping Grandad with a boat repair task. Ignoring his chatter the old man looked outside, assesing the weather and checking the tide. Then Grandma joined them as they walked hand in hand, in their gumboots they walked to the house on the hill, as they walked they sang loud and shrill-
“Oh I dislike beets, I dislike school, my boats so fast her tail turns blue-Her nose stays wet, wet all the time, a wet cold nose like mine”. Grandpa was the rollicking kind, when he worked he whistled, he answered Godfrey’s questions in rhyme.
Oft given to outbursts about war and the pompous, the old man was fond of Godfrey and his sister Alice. He laced his tea with “medicinal brandy”, he sang Weavers songs, he told Godfrey stories, of living in peace and an oddly dressed chap he called “Gandhi” .
..Godfrey distinguished himself at age seven, when asked by his Auntie, what do you want to be when grown my dear? He said,”I want to refuse to bathe and appose war, until no beets are grown or cooked ever again anymore. I will refuse to bathe, until there’s whirled peas and lambs safely graze”
As Alice laughed and Auntie sat there in dread, Ma slapped Godfrey over the head, and with the hallway echoing his sister’s laugh,he was dragged up the stairs and thrown in the bath.
Grandpa had known good times, he whistled and sang through the hard. There’s a great deep mud puddle out in the yard, a great deep mud puddle in the ground, Godfrey at 10 years old, stands in the mud looking off down the sound.
He feels the cold through his boots and socks, in the yard of the house where he was born, on the hill it stood down by the docks. Where the boats head out to the North sea swell, his Grandpa has gone to.
He were a peaceful man every one tells him, but my he did smell. Goodbye Grandpa, say’s Godfrey, I do not like beets, where sea and sky meet you will find that peace, goodbye from Godfrey, I do not like beets…