Thursday, 30 December 2010

'Keep faith with people and they will join you'

Back in the summer I attended a day-long workshop at Toad Hall (T'owd Hall) and The Medicine House, home of Alan and Griselda Garner and their Blackden Trust.

The Medicine House is a Tudor apothecary's house from Wrinehill which the Garners had dismantled and rebuilt up at Blackden to save it from demolition. It's been on their site now for 40 years.

Griselda Garner took us on a tour of the house and related the story of how Ced', one of the workmen, heard 'voices' within the walls and later discovered something which inspired one of Alan's best known novels. She used a phrase which struck a chord with me, 'Keep faith with people and they will join you.'

I only wish our politicians would stick to that one.

I later wrote a poem about the incident which Griselda was kind enough to comment on and to circulate around members of the Trust. It's called 'Voices' and I've reproduced it here:


'I'm in me own time, in me own time.'
He finds Ced' furtive, without tools, without tea,
distracted like a Tudor servant disturbed
too close to the beef-box in the chimney.

They have kept faith with him and he with them.
And all follow the sequence, pattern
and placing of the numbered timbers.
There are voices. They murmur in the beams,

in the panels, layered, soft and distant,
like breezes. Ced' heard them first, dismantling
this section, and dismissed them - there are knots,
and cracks and creaking. He hears them now

as he resets each joist and cross-beam.
'Keep faith with people and they will join you.'
They keep faith with him and he rewards them,
releases the memories within the walls.

I don't know what 2011 is going to bring. But I reckon if we all keep faith one with another then we won't go far wrong.

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