Dear Diary,

I managed to avoid the worst of storm Doris by taking a little trip away last week. So luckily I wasn’t blown into the river along with my guitar and microphone stand!

The wind had already started to pick up a few days before so I found myself facing a few “Marilyn” moments while busking on Monday, not to mention getting my hair into an absolute state.

Despite it being a particularly windy day, (if you’re interested in the weather specifics, the wind was up to 20mph with gusts of up to 30. My usual cut off point is 15mph because that’s when I start to lose flyers to the breeze and the noise of the rustling trees picks up on my mic and I barely can hear myself so 20mph is too…oh…you’re not interested? Fair enough.) there were lots of people about. I think half term was staggered across the country this year so a few schools were still off and the atmosphere was perfectly busy without feeling hectic.

I was happily playing to nobody at all, with a few appreciative passers by, when one of my favourite things happened. A little girl sat down cross-legged on the floor. Not a rare occurrence but one that always fills me with joy when it does happen. It’s such a decisive gesture. I take it as the most precious token of appreciation to be given the attention of a child.

The next thing that happened is rare but magical. Her mother; a young, pretty, well-dressed and well-to-do woman looked down at her daughter with an expression I couldn’t quite read. I prepared myself to watch her scold her little girl, “don’t sit down there, it’s filthy”, “no darling, we aren’t stopping here for long, up you get”, “what on earth are you sitting on the ground for?”

But I read this woman and the situation all wrong. This beautifully dressed mother in her white trousers sat down cross-legged next to her daughter, pulled her up onto her lap, squeezed her tight and beamed over at me, nodding her head to the music.

Many other families followed suit and soon I had a cluster of parents and children sitting down on the ground to listen. It was such a thrilling sight and I loved this lady for being so far from who I had guessed she might be.

I spend every day watching people, and they still manage to surprise me.


P.s. Thanks Geoff Martin for the featured photo! And for braving the wind in order to take it!



4 thoughts on “Storm Doris

  1. It’s the Charlotte Effect. I’ve seen similar things happen a number of times when you’ve been playing. Sure it’s about the accuracy of your voice, guitar playing and choice of songs but there is an added element which few buskers have, the warmth of your personality.
    You spread a feeling of happiness and that is the Charlotte Effect.


  2. I consistently enjoy your music and stories Charlotte. I relate to your recent experiences with the girls that you met while playing. A few years ago we had a grandma, mom, and three daughters move next door. The girls were 8, 11, an 14. The youngest, Brianna, and I were instant pals. “Playmates” her mom lovingly called us. We played tag, hide and seek, catch with a ball, and a few other un-named games we invented. There is something exceptionally touching to me when a child likes and trusts a late middle aged man well enough to come knocking on the door to play. Sadly they moved out if town leaving me with happy memories that I replay from time to time. It never fails to give me a grin or chuckle (as your stories do).


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