I had extended my holiday in Wales, luggage shop in good hands. Beatrice and I working between farm chores on “The Collected Wisdom of Godfrey”. Thrice rejected by Canadian publishers, deemed too “Odd”, “Lachrymose”, “May offend our reading demographic who enjoy beets”, and from Bob Loblaw, who actually read it- more Alice, please, love that Alice. 

I knew Beatrice knew that I knew the rejection stirred anew, painful memories of feeling outcast, in the childhood she and Godfrey shared, but it was late summer, and market day in Batley Town. Adelaide and Benny were already away with their wagon, they loved the market. “Jumpa!, they would shout if a spud or mushroom fell to the ground, to be stashed deep in a poke.  

I reminded Beatrice, as we made our way through the market rabble, that Godfrey’s brief life was of love, and triumph over beets. Adelaide and Benny waited, hand in hand  by the apple crate Godfrey’s sister Alice was standing on, reciting her poetry, Alice’s  gentlemen friend, “Nudge” Giggleswick kept time on a length of rubber hose.   

He was next up to perform, as Alice passed about her tin cup. “Nudge so wishes we include them in The Saga”, I told Beatrice. Her face was as erinaceous as a damp badger….a pan of hot cinnamon buns were dropped, Benny and Adelaide hurrying to scoff them up…Nudge on the apple crate, poured out his soul. He was a pear like chap, an inverted pear, Beatrice agreed, down to his one ruddy cheek, and single tuft of stem like hair…no neck to speak of, and always laughing was Nudge.     

MY ADORING RACONTEUSE- from Nudge Giggleswick    

You can hear Alice’s lamprophony, echo in the hills from Skibbereen, beware her dusty London Cab, speeding down the boring road to Shrule. Her laughter, her guffaw as she liberates caged pheasants, or pours yellow dye into the town swimming pool. We   met at my feet, Alice sold me rubber boots, heart of a prankster- my adoring raconteuse.

Teller of “Clecs” brings me bowls of warm eel broth. The armpit of my linen shirt, as we danced left the damp on her cheek. If eel broth be the food of love, my adoring raconteuse as you told me-  then simmer my manhood, as you did the eels, in the rich stock of your poetry.

A statue on yon village green. Benefactor Tenbrooks Smythe The First. The worst Smythe, as everybody knows- twice a year we dress his statue up in women’s clothes. Cardigan, wool skirt, hat and high heeled shoes. Alice always gets arrested, brave, adoring raconteuse.  She sings, she floods the toilet, bangs her cup along the bars, tells the magistrate demurely that” the bloomers on the statue were not ours.”..

Reprimanded as a nuisance, fined, and with stalwart verisimilitude, happily let loose, I take her hand in mine, my adoring raconteuse. ….

I will spare you all the rest of Nudge’s recital, as he lapsed into what the appalled Beatrice could only report as “Very Bawdy Welsh”.   Adelaide, former royal chambermaid, long gone crimson, stood in shock, love able Benny could not understand a word…more Alice stories..hmm, we shall see.

10 thoughts on “MY ADORING RACONTEUSE- From Worzel

    • Thanks Dianne- indeed, “Clec” is Welsh for teller of tales, “Erinaceous”, well, it means damp badger. Marcia sent me “Raconteuse” early one morning, just had to use it.

  1. so how many new words today. I have been an English teacher for too long and I had to look up erinaceous which then led me to arenaceous and lamprophony. All three words are unknown to WordPress. OK so erinaceous meaning a hedgehog and arenaceous meaning dusty and dirty both fit in with the general feeling. I loved lamprpphony and also, with Walt, the liberating of caged pheasants.
    As for the blindness of Canadian Publishers try Welsh or even as a last resort English. Don’t bother with Australian publishers – if it doesn’t have swearing and sex in it it won’t get a look-in. If I were a publisher I’d be camped on your doorstep.

    • Well there you are, my dear, and thank you. How I so love words- missed the bus yesterday, so at the Anarchist Bookshop, found a copy of “The Book of English Synonymes”, 1917 edition for two bucks. Odd how we all feel about caged Pheasants…back on the publisher’s trail, I will try England.

  2. I agree with wfdec, Sheila: If a publisher, I too would be camped on your doorstep until you agreed to let me publish your manuscript. Though, as you already know, I, too, would request more Alice. Great post, Sheila, and a vocabulary lesson indeed. I looked up the same words everybody else did, and now we are all wiser. But my favorite line? Here ’tis: “Godfrey’s brief life was of love, and triumph over beets.”

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