Diary Of A Busker Day 223

Diary Of A Busker Day 223 Friday April 13th Winchester High Street (opposite Vodafone, Time: 2:40-5:14pm).
There are lots of parents and children out today. I’m watched by three girls, aged 3 to 6, I reckon, for twenty minutes. They’re all eating ice-creams they’ve got from the ice-cream guy who’s right across from me. The smallest has it all running down her chin – “Your friend looks like she’s got a white beard”, I say. Now and then, they all dance about, which people passing by like, before returning to stand in a line, licking their ice-creams – very funny.
One of my regulars – probably the most friendly of the old men I see, comes up after I play Scott Joplin’s Solace – A Mexican Seranade. “Not my favourite!” he says. “Sorry – what’s your favourite?” “Harry Lime”, he says – which I should have guessed as it’s the favourite of ALL the old guys. He then says he doesn’t think he’ll be “here long.” Oh dear. I tell him he looks fine – why does he say that? “Oh…I haven’t been well, I’m eighty-six you know. I think St. Peter will be getting my harp ready, he he!” “Nonsense! You’re still out and about…(I try and think of something humourous)…anyway, are you sure that’s where you’re going?!” “Oh I don’t know if I believe in all that – heaven…” I know I’ve asked his name before but my memory’s so bad I have to ask him again. I also want to ask if I can take his picture as I’m putting together an album of alot of the people I see regularly out here. “I’m Harry – Harry The Dutchman, just say that.” He tells me he’s been retired since he was sixty-three, in 1989 and again he says he’s not well and again I say how well he looks. “Oh well, I used to be healthy, when I was seventeen. I ran the 300 metres in 39 seconds.” He’s very proud of this and I say I’ll let my son know as he’s a good runner – he’ll know what that means more than me! Noticing Harry’s got a hearing aid behind one ear, I mention that I’ve got two. “Oh, I have another for this ear” he says, “but it keeps falling out when I laugh!” I suggest he laughs only on the other side. After some more talk about his age and “the things that don’t work anymore”, which he laughs about, he says he’s going – to meet his wife and can I please play his favourite as he walks off. He shakes my hand, compliments me on my playing, says it’s a pleasure to meet me and he’s off. Whenever I see some of these really old guys – when I watch them walk away, I always think “that might be the last time I see him.” Such a friendly, cheeful bloke – even when he’s obviously not feeling well.
Another old guy comes up in his motorised cart. This is the man who paid me the greatest compliment recently, saying hearing me was one of the highlights of his life(!) And again I can’t remember his name, or that he promised to give me a tape of his son playing the guitar – “I’ll get itfor you after my operation tomorrow.” He says that some bits of metal have moved from his hip to his brain and that’s it’s having a strange effect – it’s causing him to appear to have dementia – his memory’s gone. It’s quite a serious operation they have to do. They have to “get rid of the metal and get some porcelain up there, instead!”
Earnings: £24.20p.

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