Diary Of A Busker Day 2253 Friday October 19th 2023 The Buttercross, Winchester.
Another day of intermittent rain, so I get out while I can. I’m not looking forward to the plane trip tomorrow; I think I’m going to snuff it, so I thought I’d try and get out and do one last entry. During the first number, Albatross, or Albert Ross, a couple in their seventies were on the bench opposite, listening (they didn’t have a choice). The man comes across and asks what I was playing; he thought it was very peaceful. He then tells me he used to live here 50 years ago and back then, there was a man who sold newspapers here, at the Buttercross…
“He was always here, selling papers. Been doing it for years, I don’t know how long but as long as I remember.”
“I wonder if he’s still about?”
“Oh no, he was an old man. He used to get the papers delivered to him here…I think people used to keep an eye on him, you know, to make sure he was alright…give him the papers so he had something to do. But he was…a sort of pillar, you know? Everyone knew him…he was part of the scene.”
“You know what, that’s what people say about me now. That I’ve been here so long I’m part of the furniture! I’ve had a few people say the council should pay me. They bloody won’t though.”
“Really? How long have you been here?”
While we were talking, I noticed Don Lavelle on the other bench and he did something I’ve never seen before; he took off his hat to mop the top of his head. He certainly looked hot and bothered, which is something else I’ve never seen before. And then Marcus sat down next to him and they were chatting until Don got up, nodded to me, and left, which again is very strange as he would normally come up to me for a little chat and almost definitely make a donation to the cause. Anyway, I started into Marcus’s favourite Gymnopedie and he came over at the end so I asked him is Don was alright.
“Oh yeah, he’s just going home early, he said.”
“Right, OK, fair enough then.”
Later on, a bunch of young boys went past and one dropped in a coin. I said the usual “thanks” and they started laughing as they walked off. I picked up the coin, which looked totally alien so I called out with a “Hey!” and beckoned him back with my finger. I said “What’s this?” “It’s Czech.” “Czech? That’s no good to me, I can’t do anything with that” and gave him back his coin. And a few minutes later, it happened again, another bloody Czech coin, two in fact. Now, if they were euros, I could take them with me on the morrow…