ADELAIDE AND “The HEDDLU”- The 54th Wisdom of Godfrey- Bye Beatrice.

I am a goat-herd- no judge of high art, and have endured mild rollicking for calling Alice’s poetry “dreadful”, “Lament For Tenbrooks” is my poem, dreadful, then so be it.  

To pick up where “Curmudgeon Summer” left off, in Alice’s wake, I expected Adelaide and Benny home, as they oft invited themselves for Sunday dinner. The two never left to wander without their wagon, and precious plaid steamer trunk. I knew they were hiding, could smell smoke of their campfire that night. Monday, I read by the hole the old rogues had been digging in the sheep paddock. 

Midday they appeared, sidling around  the house to wash under my hose. Adelaide spoke first, innocent face looking up. “We were in town for market day, that lardy banker tossed us out for washing watercress we dug up, in the sink in his bank loo”. ..and pushed our wagon off the sidewalk.” “When he hared off in a posh car, this great, heavy bag fell out the back, at Benny’s feet.  

“It may hold enough for a yellow house, we were afraid to look in, and get done for stealing, or for keeping, so we reckoned burying it, we’d not get done for finding , like treasure”. Indeed, it was embossed with the stamp of Tenbrooks Smythe The Third’s family bank. Blue canvas, with a heavy zipper, I hefted the bag, it crinkled.  

“Why did you two bolt? I asked Benny.  “We saw that big, black car, and thought it was the Heddlu come for us”. Adelaide and Benny feared nothing, only “The Heddlu”, the Welsh police, and all other figures of authority.   “Feh, I scolded them, that was Alice, kneeling in the wet grass, I opened the money bag…

Inside, neatly packed, was Tenbrooks the bank manger’s dinner. Sardine sandwiches, slightly worse for wear, three squashed fairy cakes, an ex sausage roll, two dead cheese scrolls, cracker dust, and the Cadbury Fruit and Nut bar Tenbrooks had eaten every day of his life, albeit now melted into the sardine wodge. There was a paperback novel, with a somewhat lurid cover, and Tenbrook’s liver pills.  

Solemnly, we buried the packet of banker’s dinner, tidied the hole, and went back home to a big feed of “Eggy Toast”and Tenbrook’s story, a most unpleasant character from Godfrey’s and my shared childhood.   


When Tenbrooks Smythe The Third was a lad, oh, a fine horse he did ride. Alone he was though, for he scorned our shaggy ponies, and was first in our village, a house with flush toilet inside.

A toilet, a toilet, all shiny and new, it must have been lonely for you.  I will not forget all the beets that you threw, at Godfrey, the malice, the pain. The posh leather boots your Ma bought you in Spain, teacher gave you highest marks only due to your name.

A future decided by wealth before you were two, being the third, must have been lonely for you.

A toilet, a toilet, your own indoor loo, vivid in my memory nasty things you’d say and do, freeze a beet, fill it with sharp rocks, kick Godfrey, who was much smaller than you in the buttocks. And neath the school desk where he sat, place yellow liquid or a fresh cow-pat.

A toilet, a toilet, in a big room of your own, how often, Tenbrooks, did you sit there all alone?.

Was his posh house painted yellow?, asked Adelaide. Will the Heddlu still come get us? “Pity the sandwiches, added Benny, “I quite fancy sardines”.  Sufficiently dreadful, I decided.

In times like these, blessedly rare, I thought, what would Godfrey do?, besides laugh a really long time, and a lot.  He sought a higher wisdom, in all he’d come to know- this one he taught me, from a chap he called “The Digger”long ago.  

THE 54th Wisdom of Godfrey States-  “If you wish what you dream for to grow, the patient farmer taught me- “Godfrey, dig a proper hole”. “The scent of rain, fresh turned soil and sun will warm the soul” “Cultivate your dreams wisely- and dig a proper hole”.

10 thoughts on “ADELAIDE AND “The HEDDLU”- The 54th Wisdom of Godfrey- Bye Beatrice.

  1. An under ground pipe was leaking and I scratched and squirreld and could not find the leak but narrowed it down to be under a rose. All day I toiled, but could not find it. Eventually I picked up the saw and cut the rose to the ground and chucked it on the heap for burning. Then I dug up the rose itself and replanted it in the garden. Then I dug a proper hole. Now I have fixed the leaking pipe.

    • I wonder what made the impudent hole in the pipe? Your diligence and wisdom saved the rose to, good job. May the literary revolution rise to include The Proper Hole, in all our lives. Thank you, you inspire me.

  2. For pipe and root. At eve when I walk home from the bus stop, I pause in Bastion Square, old bit of the city, to admire a pair of dandelions growing out a crack in the cobbles. Every year, they endure, the only dandelions, facing west over the harbor. Often as I pause, other humans have asked if I am alright. Sorry your root caused undue labor and wetness, but a root strong enough to pop a joint is admirable in an odd way…

  3. LAMENT FOR TENBROOKS is not dreadful; rather, it is the finest poem featuring a toilet I have ever read and I like the way it made us realize that the tormentor was the tormented while Godfrey’s life of appreciation was the happier. And the combined wisdom of the ages resides in Godfrey’s 54th: “Cultivate your dreams wisely- and dig a proper hole”. If I were the crafty type, I’d create a needlepoint pillow carrying that message for all who sit on my couch to see. Or perhaps I’d knit it into a scarf to wear to town and broadcast Godfrey’s wisdom more widely. Well done, Sheila, as always.

    • Good morning Janet, and Happy Easter to you and Joel. It is not easy to write a “dreadful” poem, the tears in my eyes are detrimental to spelling. “Tara”, my home is being renovated, covered in Glad Wrap for new windows, all but myself, and Mr Ghostly down the hall are leaving, I do hope they save the bug chandelier, or dig it a proper hole. I knew you would appreciate a fine toilet poem. I have another work ready, but must move everything away from my windows on Easter Sunday..odd request yes, cheers, thanks for the read.

  4. Oh dear, from the past I know the helpless feeling when a landlord makes decisions that affect my comfort. Many questions: was the bug chandelier saved, are the windows improved, is there deafening construction noise, will you be able to continue living at Tara with it’s fine view?

  5. Thanks Mercy- I enjoy drape-less, scaffolding view, with no cable, and 3 days sans toilet. I propped Godfrey’s suitcase, and the old plaid trunk up to block streetlights, it is like an aquarium by day, ship at sea by night. So far so good for the bug chandelier..Thank you.

    • Thanks Mercy- all summer apparently, but our side is being done first, I do worry about Mr Ghostly down the hall, who cannot abide anyone in his room, and his drapes being removed. I now give thanks every night that my home includes a toilet….even the bus stop has been shifted..aak!.

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