Tuesday 20 January 2015

Farewell, Godfrey. Requiescet in pace

Spray-painted onto the side of the cattle crush at Standingstone is a white 'Yes'. It's one of the last marks Godfrey made there, when he was preparing to spray 'Yes' onto his blue van shortly before the referendum; I don't think we'll paint over it any time soon. Godfrey - that gentle, modest, self-effacing man - has many memorials, scattered half across the world, but Standingstone, so precious to me and to all of us who live there, is not the least of them. It was he who started the conspiracy, and his steady patient enthusiasm which helped carry us through the complex negotiations which led up to buying the farm. It's right, of course, that his ashes should be scattered at Taliesin which he did so much to create and which he loved so much, but something of him will be with us on our windy hilltop for ever.

We buried Godfrey today, or at least consigned him to the flame. To everyone who was there, I apologise for not staying longer at the wake, but I think you all know how bad I am with crowds.

I'm startled and unsettled at how upset I am.

I'll never call him 'Godders' again.

I'll never again get infuriated with him for being the most unherdable of unherdable cats - and chairing meetings will suddenly get a whole lot easier.

Or harder, because his quiet, patient confidence won't be there either.

At Taliesin, or up in the hazel coppice, he won't be there.

He won't walk unexpectedly over the hill to share a coffee in the little house he helped me build.

He was one of those people of whom you could say without hesitation or qualification or irony that he was a good man; if I could learn to be a little bit like him, I would be a much better man.

He is gone, and we will all miss him.

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