Diary Of A Busker Day 470 Saturday November 9th 2013 Winchester (Opposite Vodafone, Time: 2:18-4:20pm).
A cold day but at least there’s hardly any wind: the difference between bearable and agonising. There’s also no one else about. No one else playing, that is: there are loads of people – parents/kids.
For the first 10 minutes a young boy with Downs Syndrome dances in front – very happy, he was – while his dad(?) stands on the other side of the street with a buggy. After an hour, which was when I was going to pack up and try somewhere else, I decide to stay a bit longer (not that I was getting loads of money – it was a slight increase on the average but still disappointing, considering all the people about) as the hands are OK…which is good, or I would have missed the drama that occurred at precisely 3:38.
I heard a terrible screeching sound, getting louder and coming from the left. Other people were looking around, too. A few seconds later, and the source revealed itself. A couple in their 30s, the woman just behind the man, the woman providing the noisy bit. They were walking quickly – he was clearly trying to get away from her. I don’t think he was saying anything but she was like something possessed. In fact, you wouldn’t think the sound could be made by a human! I’m sure she was saying actual words but she was so hysterical, it came out as one long scream. It was awful. And all the while she was trying to get him to stop, by pulling on the neck or back of his t-shirt, whenever he went to turn slightly around.
They went around the corner, towards McDonalds, and must have stopped: stopped walking – not shouting, as it carried on, unseen but not unheard, for another couple of minutes, until it faded – they must have gone off. It really was frightening. What a place to have a ‘domestic’! In fact, I said ‘That was scary’ to a woman nearby, and she said ‘Yes, you don’t usually see that kind of thing in Winchester!’ Indeed, you don’t even see it on Jeremy Vile.
During Horizons, Phillip contributes so I thank him. He stops and says a couple of things, with a really croaky voice – something I comment on. He says ‘That’s part of the chemo’. Maybe I should have known that – what an idiot. I also notice he’s wearing a flat cap – something I’ve never seen him wear before. I say it suits him. He starts saying something else and then another man suddenly appears and starts going on about Horizons and Genesis – ‘…it’s good to hear some Genesis…’, and as I’m being momentarily distracted, Phillip says ‘bye’ and drifts off, which I felt bad about. I don’t know – sometimes you never know if you’re going to see someone again. But he seems pretty well, considering. He’s out walking on his own, which is something.
I ended up doing two hours (and two minutes) straight through…and the hands were still OK – that’s because there was no wind. As I’m packing up, a man, early 40s, stops and starts talking about his two Canadian friends, Rick and Christine, who I spoke to awhile back. He says he lived in London, Ontario and went to the UWO*. I said ‘That’s funny, because my father used to teach there!’ I asked him when he was there and he said ‘1987. Did he write a book?’ I said he did – with another man, George Duff – it was published in 1966**. It was a book about applied mathematics: equations that go on for 50 pages! He said ‘Yeah, that book was a sort of benchmark, a main reference…small world!’ I thought, ‘I’ll have to tell the folks about this…and it was only after he left and I was walking across the arbor when I realised it was D. Naylor’s 84th birthday this same day. Weird.
* University of Western Ontario
** Differential Equations of Applied Mathematics – G. F. D. Duff (University of Toronto) – D. Naylor (University of Western Ontario). Published by John Wiley & Sons, Inc. 1966