Day 2386

Diary Of A Busker Day 2386 Saturday June 15th 2024 Winchester.
When will this rain stop? I managed twenty minutes at The Square before I had to pack up. I quickly put the guitar in the case, closed the lid and moved it under the tree near the bench, went back and put all the other stuff on top of the case and put that under the tree. After packing it all up, it was obvious the rain wasn’t going to let up and I had to work out what to do; go to a coffee bar and sit it out for however long, or go home. 
The trouble is, a couple of days ago I went home but it was a nightmare walking the bike. I was holding the umbrella in one hand while steering the bike with the other. The bike is heavy without the case in the rack AND it’s all uphill on the way back. 
Sod it, the bike’s locked up. I’m going to leave it here outside the museum and get it later…if it’s still here! It’s not actually chained to anything but the dutch lock on the rear wheel mean no one can ride it away. Someone can lift it into a van, though. 
So I come home and the rain stops just as I get to the front door, naturally! I warmed up a bit, had some grub and walked back with the guitar and case…and the bike’s still there.
I don’t feel like setting up in the same spot so I walk the bike through the alleyway to the Buttercross, where Gareth is standing with Casandra and he appears to be in a heated discussion with some man – something about DNA and woolly mammoths. I stand there, waiting to ask if he’s done for the day but he’s oblivious. In the end Casandra says ‘he’s finished’ so I set up.
A group of boisterous women come up. Half are about my age and half are a lot younger. One says ‘It’s her birthday – she’s 21, can you sing Happy Birthday?’ I say ‘well, I’m not going to sing it but I can play it…’ so I do and they all sing along. At the end, one says ‘Can you play Man Of The World, Fleetwood Mac?’ ‘No but I can play Albatross.’ No, she doesn’t like that one. 
It must be just instinct, when a bunch of women come along, that I start Can’t Take My Eyes Off You and I swear it works every
time. They all sing/shout the first verse then go into the chorus but I don’t let them – ‘NO, NOT YET!’ and do the second verse, which they don’t know so someone has to look up the words on her phone, which she does in about three seconds, then they’re off. Then the ‘da da, da da, da da da, da da’ pre chorus bit that everyone knows and then the chorus, which they extend for two more minutes. I just play along with it, I mean, I can’t even hear myself over this lot. I reckon they’ve downed a few bottles of prosecco, anyway, and a few more to come, I’m sure. What a shame the donations come to little more than a pound. Oh well, it cleared my ear passages out!
Next up, I’m doing La Vie En Rose and there are suddenly four men a bit older than me, smiling. At the end, they compliment me but I can’t make out their accent. I think, because it’s a french song, they might be french. ‘Are you french?’ ‘No, German.’
‘Oh sorry…I don’t think I know any German songs. Let me think…no, I’m sure I don’t.’ Then, I suddenly think The Third Man – it’s Austrian, surely that’s close enough! So I go into that and they love it. At the end, one tells me how Anton Karas came up with the melody more or less instantly and Orson Welles was thrilled and said ‘That’s it, that’s the one’ or words to that effect.
Anyway, these chaps are drinking buddies Charly Richter, Jens Weber, Markus Schnapka and Martin Hermann and they tell me why they’re here in Winchester. It was born out of one beer and schnapps night. They even have a leaflet. On the front is a photo of the four of them in a car – Aunty, a 1961 Rover P4 110. The car spent 25 years here, then moved to Belguim and then to Germany, where Aunty has been for the past 36 years. They thought that after all this time, she deserved a trip home so they decided on a tour, from the 10th to the 19th of June, with stops Bonn – Calais – Dover – Canterbury – Windsor – Oxford – Winchester – Hastings – Dover – Calais – Brugge – Bonn. 
They are all very happy blokes and I wished them luck in their tour with Aunty. I don’t know where she was but judging by the photo, she’s in great condition for a 61 year old. Licence number BN P412H.
…and finally, a cup of coffee is handed to me by a mother with her daughter.
‘We thought you looked a bit cold – it’s decaf if that’s alright. We didn’t want to take chances!’
‘That’s fine, thank you, yes it’s alright.’ They want to buy a CD so along with the drink, I’ve definitely got time for them. 
We start talking about travel – I say I’ve just come back from Canada. They’ve been to the States so I say I would like to go to New York City – ‘It’s the only place there I would like to visit. I used to be obsessed with the skyline and drew lots of big pictures of the Empire State Building when I was a child in Canada.’ The mother says ‘New York is one of those places that always looks familiar because it’s been in so many films, you know? It’s bit like London, I always think, because of the tall buildings.’ I never thought of that but maybe it’s true, although on a different (much lower) level!
I got through an hour and ten minutes before it started drizzling very slightly. It didn’t last long but I’d packed up – I didn’t want to take any chances!

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