THE BALLAD OF SARAH AND GODFREY- as told to Beatrice

As oft reported in  83″ it rained a lot, it rained down on Godfrey. It fell from seemingly clearish skies, it bleached the sheep this rain. It swept him off his old pink bike, into a nasty storm drain. It swept Godfrey by way of a goat and a volleyball net, into the arms of one who would  pass as he did into legend, a love he rarely spoke of but would never forget.

In the wake of some big floods in Arthur’s Pass, he made his way north to the South Island Hamlet of Rai, to a shabby old school house hostel, bunk beds stacked four high. It smelled of baked beans , but it had been a long time since Godfrey was warm and dry.

A fair haired woman sat alone at a table, alone she sat there was no one else there. She was playing self-scrabble, and Godfrey joined her, when she beckoned to him and the only other chair. Her name was Sarah, from Northern Great Britain, she beat him at scrabble and after 3 days, it was raining and Godfrey was beaten at scrabble and smitten… It poured down rain, Sarah did not complain, they went fishing in a leaky canoe, they raced up the mountain behind the small town, the roads were closed, the floods came down, even Prince Charles, supposed to drive by and wave had to fly..

.At the height of the flooding they sat up till three, then set out arm in arm to the outdoor loo for a wee, they stepped off the step in the dark into two feet of wet , running water that swept the odd pair, past where the hostel goat was tied, into the volley-ball net. The laughter and screaming and bleating of poor “Vivian”  the goat, woke the neighbor, a drunkard, “Old Bugger Joe”,shut up Godfrey he yelled from his high window.Godfrey used his kilt wadded up as a float, to rescue them selves and the pitiful goat.

All three warmed up by the fireplace inside, Godfrey said, I must tell you I dislike beets, goats dislike the wet they have thin skins and hide. Oh Sarah he wrote in a poem next day,” Let us run off together out past Golden Bay, live free in the shadows of Takaka Hill you and me, I will build you that Cobb House you spoke of over looking the sea”.

Sarah wrote him back,” my dear friend Godfrey, I am bound for Greenham Common you cannot come with  me”.” Our mutual destinies, will be for the cause of  Whirled Peas”.” I will live in the mud, I will eat burnt bean stew and potatoes, we will stop the missiles, I will never forget you”.” We will re-claim the common, but before I leave, may I have the remains of your kilt ? destroyed in the flood to weave..” I will weave a wool rainbow through the 9 mile fence, a reminder to all of your strength, love and goodness”

” When I got down to Greenham and heard this story, I wrote the Long Ballad Of Sarah and Godfrey. At every gate was a welcoming fire, at every gate she wove threads of plaid wool in the wire. For the Peace Women, Soldiers, the M.O.D., she wove a plaid rainbow, she wove for Whirled Peas, she wove it for Godfrey….Any Peace Women out there, feel free to communicate, that our joy may be shared.

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