I was born there you know…in that northern most Island. Salt swept, soil too thin for beets to grow. When I met up with Godfrey I was drawn to him in a curious old-lady way. In my small, cluttered book shop he asked if he may, look at the Atlas, top shelf middle row.
He said “I seek a peaceful place where no beets grow’. Odd haircut, ratty kilt, rubber boots, youthful slouch, settled young Godfrey on the shops’ saggy couch. My couch smelled of sweat and damp old dog,but he did not seem to notice or mind it. I told him of Rathlin, and where on the map of Ireland he would find it.
Then I left him to it , sought out teabags, cups and biscuit tin. “I do not like beets, Godfrey said”. “I am setting out a” journey with my life and the wide whirled ahead, but its’ a good thing for a chap to know, there is somewhere I can go when I am old, an Island wild like Rathlin where beets do not grow.
I was born on Rathlin, I told Godfrey over tea, I was born in a stone cottage high above the sea. When time is right I will return one day..perhaps you will end your days there to ? He stretched and rose slowly to but the book away, he said oh to fish from the rocks, sail out boldly where sea and sky meet, sunburned face, wind blown hair, the joy of wading in the shallows, sandy feet. Stand on those high cliffs, count the many shades of blue, green and grey. Oh the stories we will hear and tell end of the day..warm by the fire when the storm winds blow, on salt swept Rathlin, where beets do not grow.
This story was neatly typed, and came from a Margretta, in Galway- it may fill in a gap in the early months of Godfreys’ “Wordy Peregrinations”