Day 2222

Day 2222 Friday September 1st 2023 Opposite the market Romsey


Day two-two-two-two! Anyway, I was going to go to Chichester today but the train strike put the kibosh on that. Why not get back on Route 66 to Romsey? I can’t remember the last time I was there but it might have been before the pandemic so it’s about time I went back. On boarding the bus, I ask for a return ticket. The driver says it’s £10 but if I buy a single ticket now and another one when I come back, it’s £2 each way. What?! But it’s true – something to do with the government and the pandemic. So I pay £2 and I’m on the way, thinking that must be the only thing in the world that’s gone DOWN in price!

45 minutes later, I’m reunited with Bertie. “Marlon!” he says as I approach his flower stall. “Bertram” I say, because two can play at that game.

“You haven’t been here for a bit, have you?”

“No, I can’t remember the last time…it might have been years, actually.”

“Yeah well, we’ve had a young bloke here, well he WAS coming here, about twice a week for about six months, then he disappeared, haven’t seen him since. He used to stand up, wave his arms about.”

“So, quite energetic.”

“Yeah, he was alright though.”

“Well Bertie, that photo of you is still in my book!”

“Yeah, I know…and your spot’s still there” – he nods towards the old stone Bank entrance.

“Right then, I better see what happens.”

“Yeah, good luck.”


I’d forgotten about the proximity to the road and the weirdness of having no curb and the relentless traffic, which seemed especially relentless today. It was also quite hot so I ditched the jacket – a rare occurrence. A few familiar faces turn up. The first one being the bespeckled and slightly chubby man from the Gospel Hall.

“I didn’t know you played here” he says.

“Well, I haven’t for years but I used to come every week.”

“Right…well don’t play tomorrow morning. We’ve got a meeting.”

“You mean in Winchester?”


“Well, I never play there in the morning, anyway.”

“Oh right.”

Yeah, nice to see you too.


During Albatross, an old woman comes up…”My husband used to like that, he’s gone now.”

“Oh did he?”

“Yeah…and ‘oo did that?”

“Fleetwood Mac, 1968.”

“Oh yes…yeah, no, ‘oo wrote it?”

“Peter Green.”
“Oh that’s right. I like all that stuff from early on.”

“Yeah, so do I. He was a brilliant guitarist.”

“Yeah…I mean ‘ow does someone think of that, of that one yer playin’, in their ‘ead, you know what I mean?”

“I don’t know…he was great, wrote some great things.”

“Yeah, then ‘ee went a bit psychedelic, didn’t ‘ee?”

“He went a LOT psychedelic!”

“Yeah, something happened in Germany…the other chap was affected by it, as well, wasn’t ‘ee?”

“Yeah, at some big house near Munich…too many drugs, weird people and stuff.”

“Yeah, a shame what he could ‘ave done…’ee was a beautiful man.”

“Yeah he was…oh well, we’ve got all the records, and they last forever, don’t they?”


She walks off but comes back in a few seconds “Green Manalishi – I like that one…sorry I’m interrupting you again!”

“It’s ok…yeah, that’s a great one…I should learn it.”


Near the end, Don Lavelle’s wife comes by – she thought I should have set up down the road in that little bit where there’s some benches, because she knows my job better than me, obviously. Who knows, maybe she’s right. Two women walk by, one says “We all love you in Winchester.” I hate to say it but not everyone does! I did a long set – 2 and a quarter hours. Bertie came over near the end and put a fiver in. When I did Tales Of The Unexpected, he did the thing that countless people do – imitating the girl dancing and waving her arms about! In fact, that would have been the first time he’s heard me do that…and Space Oddity and Eleanor Rigby and Cavatina…and Layla. Is that it, have I only learnt FIVE songs in three years?!

Oh yeah, all through the set there was an old woman sitting on a bench in the square with two dogs. I thought she might be asleep or worse because she didn’t seem to move, nor did the dogs. It was only after I finished and went and had a closer look when I realised they were plastic models.


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