Beatrice here, I suppose I must be the “Serious” part of Godfrey’s saga, I who have taken in Adelaide, The Chambermaid and her Larrikin partner, Benny, and yes, their beloved old plaid steamer trunk. It is the 4th year since Godfrey’s passing, Adelaide spends most of her time, when not down the market, cleaning. I have forbidden her throwing anything out, or touching the framed photo of a photo of a painting – a youthful Godfrey, on horseback, hanging above my hearth. In tattered wrapping, it came in the post, from Australia, long ago, not even Godfrey knew who sent it….a missing piece of his early years away. I had dreaded Godfrey’s prank happy sister, Alice, meeting up with the odd Benny and Adelaide, they did, however, and found each other delightful…Alice sold Adelaide her new red shoes.
“I wear important shoes, I do, they clack on wet, clean floors of the cafe’, so special they ensure me the table by the window, it won’t be wobbly, or sticky, or drafty from the doors, my tea and bun will be hotter than yours” “The sales girl, Alice promised to sell me shoes of splendor, ” A Pommegranite shade of leather, soft as a meeting of three wallabies, resting in the shade together” “Hello, Forever! Time will never wear away the thick, and sturdy laces I choose, for my new red shoes.
Adelaide- sang as she worked, sang of her shoes in a voice so far off key as to be a key unknown. When not down the market, she insisted on cleaning up my old puce house they have made home. As I feared, she revived my dead plant, she obliterated cob-webs, old friends disappeared. Benny and I built a “Sleepout” for the two, a humble hut twixt chicken coop and pathway to the outdoor loo. They painted it yellow, first dry day of spring, dragged their plaid trunk out from neath my canoe, I no longer knee-capped my self on the thing.
I was writing today…Adelaide came in, this canty, old survivor, bowlegged with joy, no longer so annoying to me, came to show off her new shoes, and to ask, “Who indeed was Godfrey?…(She had never shown slightest interest before). Feather duster in hand, she had torn up for rags, a shirt I had kept that Godfrey wore. I was learning as the years passed, to let go of dead plants and ragged shirts, but it came slow. “He was an odd little boy who disliked beets, grew into an odd young man, who still disliked beets, a vagabond like you and Benny, he made the great transition in 1985, neath my pear tree, Worzel and I are keepers of his story” “Well, spoke Adelaide, down the market as as you know, we oft scrounge old books from the jumble stall barrow, haul them home in our wagon, (though the way is fair steep), we are building a bed of books on for to sleep” “Today I found this very old, hand bound diary in the heap”. “Journal on The Road to Dover”- by Godfrey”
Adelaide held out the leather bound book to me. Gobsmacked, I sat back, indeed it was his first, part of the missing years spent a wander, seeking wisdom, over the sea to Australia. “Said Adelaide, Worzel had my trunk in her window display, we were meant to locate it as we were this ratty book in the bargain bin today”. “If I did not have my new red shoes to wear, I would not have been, down to show them off in the market square”,. “Full circle works in odd ways yes, thank you Adelaide, and I opened Godfrey’s journal, browned with age.
Unafraid- By Godfrey- “I never knew Borscht, Godfrey wrote. thought I’d seen the last of beets when I left my valley home. I’ve a world to explore, a long, ocean crossing to be made, so I say, trust in life, face bowls of Borscht and beets unafraid. Unafraid- of the sea it is not in my destiny to drown. Unafraid- I have nothing to tempt thieves should I stray to a lugubrious part of town. Unafraid- what is in the dark is also present in the open light of day. Unafraid- of nasty things I’m sure to meet- let the beet grow where it may. Unafraid- of caves, cable swing bridges, moths, pinchy bits of seaweed that tickle my behind, I ruck my kilt to the wind- Unafraid, that it be torn asunder, for I am not ashamed of what lies under”
Unafraid…a very early work of Godfrey, written as a shivering 16 year old, his first night on the road, somewhere south of Tharn. “I slept under a tractor in a hay barn, he wrote, a long nights wisdom, one of many I discovered early on.. And the future is yet another story… thank you from Beatrice. .