As promised, I'm going to revisit Winchester....
BUSKER WARS: I'm an early riser, especially when traveling, so in Winchester I would get dressed and get out on the streets. One morning, on my way back home, I sat down on a bench in High Street and watched a busker with his guitar settle in. He was sitting on a bench across from the Butter Cross, close to the gate which came through from the Cathedral - a perfect location. He was quite good, both as a guitarist and as a vocalist so I sat and listened for a while. Just as I was about to leave, I looked up High Street and saw a young woman all in white walking toward us. As she walked, she held up her long skirts with one hand, which displayed her red and white striped tights, and in the other hand she held a bouquet of sweet pea. When she reached the Butter Cross, she climbed to the top step and struck a pose. Ah, I thought, a mime, more street performance. Oh no, thought the guitarist, competition. While he called across to her, in no uncertain terms that she was poaching on his location, she tried to keep in character. Clearly, he was not giving up, and so she tried peacemaking. She walked down the steps, walked across to him and sweetly offered a stem of sweet pea from her bouquet. He wasn't buying it and although he was quieter when he stated his position this time, he was no less emphatic. And so she tucked the stem back in her bouquet, picked up her skirts and moved on down the street.
SMALL PLEASURES: A punnet is a term used in Britain for a basket used for displaying produce, usually in a farmers market or grocery store. It's usually one of those green plastic mesh baskets. Because my reading leans so heavily on British authors, there are quite a few words that I read here, but can only use over there without sounding like an idiot (not that I let it stop me). So I took great pleasure at the farmer's market in purchasing a punnet of small tomatoes. I figure I managed to use the word punnet at least four times during the transaction...and several times more when I got home
DOOR TO THE PAST: In England I take a great many photos of doors and windows. I love the varied architecture and the rose climbing round the door. But some doors and windows are very special because someone special walked through that door each day, or looked out that window to check the weather. It is even more special when you can actually walk through that door, or stand and look out the window. As we walked past Jane Austen's last home, someone approached, knocked on the door, introduced themselves, and was welcomed in. Obviously, they had made special arrangements with the caretakers as the house was not open to visitors. I watched enviously, and I saw someone pull the white curtain aside to peep out the window. Looking out is so much different than looking in.
CHARACTERS: The week in Winchester was really lovely...and interesting...and sometimes very funny. One early morning, after watching the Farmer's Market setting up, I sat on a bench at the entrace to the Cathedral Close. A woman came up, sat down, and started talking. She obviously was lonely, although she was very cheerful. She didn't stop talking for at least twenty minutes. She told me about her uncle that went to America, her son who rarely came to visit her, her upbringing in Manchester, what her bedsit looked like and finally about the surgery removing her right breast - including the fact that she usually wore her artificial breast but had decided not to bother on this morning. At that time, my daughter arrived and joined the conversation - she also lit up a cigarette. The old ladies eyes sparkled, "Oh" she said, "I am out of cigarettes, could I buy a couple from you?" This was followed by the 'discovery' that she had left her purse at home and had no money with her. Of course, she was given several cigarettes, and by the way she lit up and took that first drag, she had obviously been out of cigarettes for a good while. I took her picture, we said goodbye, and walked back home. Much later, looking at my photos, I saw quite clearly that she had indeed left something at home.
DETAILS: They have such wonderful downspouts in England! I have a nice little photo collection of them and this was one of my favorites. But I can't help feeling a little sorry for the pigeons.