Worzel writes, Godfrey’s beloved teacher, Mrs Kromplak, as Beatrice noted was, “something of a tippler”, but a fine teacher who loved Godfrey, and shares this gem from her archive, written when he was eight….Vistors For Tea- from Godfrey.
I Had to wear itchy short pants that buttoned to my shirt. I had to wear a bow-tie, and brown Oxford shoes instead of rubber boots and my heels hurt. Had to sit in a chair while ladies pinched my cheeks and chortled perfume over me. “What a wise little forehead, that auburn hair so wasted on a boy”. “but look at all the cowlicks, and still no front teeth, such a pity”
Such was torture when Ma invited visitors for tea. Sister Alice, paid to behave, I heard the clink of coins she hid away, made her entrance with a shy curtsey, sat at the piano to play. With her back to the ladies Alice played and sang beautifully, only I could see her, tongue out, smirking across the room at me so sweet, And I knew that Simon Fraser, my Siamese cat had caught a large rodent, she oft took prey behind the bookshelf to eat.
Ma had out done herself, with posh tea in the good pot, Eccles cakes, lemon curd, sausage rolls served hot. Every time someone spoke to me, I always seemed to have a mouth full of food. Alice smirked, Ma scowled, in itchy shorts I really tried not to be rude.
Outside in the yard, Beatrice and it sounded like most of the Mulgrews were calling- “Come out for a swim in the creek with us, Godfrey.” Whenever Ma had visitors for tea. Beatrice gave up, I was still sitting amid empty cups and crumbs. Conversation turned to knitting, from knitting to how May-june Yuell, kept a tidy yard but oh, her house was a mess inside, to Mrs Krepts’ whispered “Divorts” , whatever that is to who gets what now old miser, Tenbrooks Smythe the first had died.
Reading this a thought, reminded me, of how endless afternoons were in summer, when my step-mother Mrs Gibberflat had visitors for tea.
When released like a spring loaded thing , I bolted out the door, just as Alice let Simon, my cat with her rat in, behind the bookcase she strode to crunch happily, screaming women fled that day, when Ma had visitors for tea. Alice was delighted, when the cat and I were banished, to the barn, next time Ma had visitors for tea.- From Godfrey.