Diary Of A Busker Day 314 Tuesday January 2nd 2013 Winchester High Street (1. corner of Marks & Spencer, Time: 10:42-12:10pm, 2. opposite Vodafone, Time: 3:05-4:12pm).
An unusually early start today as I fancy doing two sessions, however, I want to come home in-between, to warm up and have some soup – a proper lunch break. I start up with Somewhere Over The Rainbow, as Henry Gray’s daughter, Sally, has contacted me about playing it on Thursday at the end of Henry’s service at the church down the road. I’m actually very nervous about it and I WILL be nervous when the time comes(!) so I’ve written some of the music out, so if I have in a mental block – which is very likely, I’ll have something on a piece of paper.
The temperature’s not too bad – I can manage an hour and a half before my right hand stops working – not that it works well at the best of times. I decide to go home…but I’m waylaid by one of my old bloke regulars – a non-coinage contributor but always happy to dispense advice. In this instance, it’s how to keep my hands warm. ‘You need those things – they look like lighters…what’s the famous make?’ ‘Ronson?’ ‘No.’ ‘Zippo?’ ‘Yes, that’s it. You light the petrol – I know it sounds crazy but the heat will warm your hands up. They sell them in the outdoor shops, they’re about £18.’ ‘Right, well, I might look into that’ He’s not finished – ‘Or you could know someone who lives in the town – visit them, you know. Cultivate a friend, take around a bag of coffee, so you wouldn’t have to go home.’ ‘Hmm.’ ‘Or don’t wear gloves – wear mittens. Your fingers are all together, you know? Or curl your fingers ’round your thumb – that’s what we learned in the army. Or the other thing – rob a bank!’ ‘Yeah, hmm…’ ‘Of course you might get caught and sent to jail.’ ‘Yeah you see, that’s it – and I’d kill myself before I went to jail.’ ‘Yes, I think I would – that must be the worst thing that can happen, hmm…oh well, I won’t keep you any longer!’
About three hours later, after some tomato soup at home, I’m back. And I’ve been thinking lately, after hearing about Henry I’ve noticed there’s a few other really old people I haven’t seen for a few weeks – Delia, for instance. I know she had some bug the last time I saw her. And Walter, who I usually see down at C & H. And as far as Ralph goes, I’m sure he’s died – I haven’t seen him since the summer.
Sally turns up, who I’ve only seen once before and don’t recognise – she has to say who she is. She’s with Peter, who I’m assuming is her husband. She again says how my cd gave comfort to her dad in hospital. I’m very humbled. She asks if I’ve been able to contact Peter Seal, the reverend bloke who’s carrying out the Thanksgiving service. I’ve been trying to get hold of him to ask where I should set up – I wouldn’t mind doing a little dummy run-through, today or tomorrow, just to see if my extremely small amp’s loud enough. In fact on the way down, before my first set, I went in the church as it was open, but there was no one around. I should have just set up and tried it out then. Anyway, a minute after Sally left, Henry’s carer Ahmed turned up! I told him about Sally asking me to play. He says he thinks he might be posted somewhere else – Romsey, he thinks, and might not be able to make the service, which would be a shame as he was very close to Henry, right to the end.
Apart from seeing Sally and Ahmed, it was a waste of time coming back – £8.53 for playing over an hour. A grey, depressing day. There was a moment of relief when a drongo came up during Here Comes The Sun – ‘That’s just taking the piss!’ he said, in a rather hostile tone, I thought. In fact, I thought the next thing that was going to happen was he was going to hit me – who knows. But he laughed and said ‘Good on you, mate, you carry on!’ Ahh – he wasn’t going to hit me at all.