The far off tinkling of a piano greets me as I step out of the front door this morning. I reflect that distant music overheard is sometimes preferable to direct confrontation. As I walk down Mount Sion, the wind brings the sound of a saxaphone. It comes and goes, and because of the hillside and the buildings, it is difficult to determine the source of these sounds. Eventually I find it in the Pantiles where a trio is performing jazz to enliven the first of two Christmas markets which takes place to day.
In the Grove, I notice a collie lying flat, its nose to the ground - the sort of pose you see when collies are managing sheep. This afternoon, it is not sheep, but a football, which the collie is managing. A small boy kicks the ball and the dog pounces on it, caressing and holding it with his paw. The boy tries to kick it away while the dog hangs on to it. The boy eventually kicks it free and the dog pounces again. When the boy becomes tired of the game, the collie lies in front of the ball, its nose twitching.
The jolly grey haired lady whom I often see with her wine and cigarette outside the Grove Tavern is there again. There is a shower of rain, but she is not put off. Someone from the pub dries the seat so that even though it is raining she may sit on a dry place. Somehow I am reminded of a surreal Buster Keaton film called the Navigator, where Buster, in a diving suit goes down to repair the hull of a ship. While under the water, he opens a bag of tools, erects a "danger men at work" sign and begins the job. When he has finished, he fills a bucket, washes his hands, dries them on a cloth from a tool bag, wrings it out and prepares to return to the surface. It must be 50 years since I saw the film, so I may have not have all the details quite right. But Buster Keaton and my new friend are good companions in my mind.