The Selling of Wilf Gaudion’s Field

Interestingly, I’ve been sent a play by Jim Willis, called The Selling of Wilf Gaudion’s Field. Jim tells me it was performed at the Beau Sejour Theatre, as part of the Guernsey One Act play festival. Jim was born in Orkney to Irish parents, but has lived in Guernsey most of his life, and ran a horticultural engineering company for 33 years which put him in close contact with the growers.

This contact informs his play, which is rooted in Guernsey matters of property and ownership, and the tomato trade. What strikes me on first reading (and I’ve not seen this performed) is the effort Jim has taken to faithfully represent a Guernsey way of speaking. Here’s a short excerpt:

Doris: Yer, it’s all round the Bridge, your sellin’ to a Jerseyman. That Mrs.Falla from Holmdene, she says you took a lower offer than Tom Duquemin’s. She says you got no soul, sellin’ our heritage to a foreigner. When I went in Le Riches, the girl behind the counter never lifted ‘er head once to speak to me, just took my money. There was a Jersey pound note in the change! We’ll have to do somethin’. What’re we gonna do?

Wilf: We’ll go to the bank an draw out all the housekeepin’ this week in crappo money. See if they don’t take it. Besides, Le Riches is a Jersey firm, she’s workin’ for the crappos. (Pause) ….Somebody painted a ‘J’ on the number plate of the truck last night and what’s more, they altered the name of our house from Sevenoaks to fiveoaks.

Doris: If this keeps up, we’ll have to sell up an’ move to bloomin’ Jersey.

Wilf: No fyur, it’d be all crappos to us two donkeys………What we’ll do is ask Mr.Critchlow to put an ad in the Press to say the field’s still for sale, that way they’ll know it’s not sold to anyone.

Doris: Is anyone else interested in buyin’?

Wilf: Not yet, but Mr.Critchlow is bringin’ someone around later, says he has cash in hand. That sounds dodgey to me, wot if ‘ees English, or French, we’ll have no friends left.

Doris: I’m off to Lilly to help ‘er bunch,…by the way ther’s a letter come…yer…. cheerie.

By Peter Kenny

I lead a double life. Identity #1. A writer of poems, comedy plays, dark fiction and the odd libretto. Identity #2: A marketing outlier, working with London creative agencies and my own clients as a copywriter and creative consultant.

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