Jackie drove me to and from New Milton for the Waterloo train to lunch with Norman at The Archduke.
Before meeting my friend, I walked along Concert Hall Approach and up the steps to the Golden Jubilee Bridge, the supports of which paralleled the structure of a nearby crane.
On our previous visit to the restaurant I mentioned the change of decor reflecting the new jazz theme. Greats such as John Coltrane, Theolonius Monk and Jimi Hendrix now grace the walls.
Norman and I both chose superb sea trout on a creamy pecan risotto, followed by tasty pecan pie and clotted cream, with which we shared an excellent Sicilian shiraz.
On leaving The Archduke, I was drawn to return to the bank of The Thames by the strains a powerful and exciting voice, which was itself unstrained. This emanated from a vibrant, humorous, young woman, who also had the engaging personality to hold crowds transfixed on a day that was cold enough to urge sightseers to keep moving. She is Emily Lee, who is soon to release a CD. She claimed to be suffering from a persistent cough which didn’t appear to detract from her performance. Look out for her.
The train on our return journey was as packed as ever. Three seats opposite or beside me were occupied by the bags of neighbouring passengers. A couple in their fifties approached the seats, looked at them, and said they would sit on the floor by the gangway. They were ignored, and this they proceeded to do. As awkwardly and painfully as usual in this tiny cramped accommodation I rose to my feet, walked over to the people on the floor, and told them they need not be so uncomfortable when available seats were occupied by luggage. The woman said it was very sweet of me, but they opted to stay where they were. I returned to my seat.
I ask you.
I wouldn’t have mentioned the contribution I made to the singer’s collection, but after posting this, I went on to her Facebook page to send her the link to this post. She had already posted her busking session, complete with photograph. This is what she said:
‘Busking next to the London Eye and a £5 note that a lovely guy gave me goes flying straight into the Thames. Damn you wind.’