So there I was busking outside the Natural History Museum, but if you'd just been in the Science Museum or the Victoria and Albert Museum, you'd be forgiven for thinking I was busking outside them.
Two young Chinese lasses came up to me. One of them was a fiddle player. They edged over from their group and stood next to me while I was playing, just out of view over my left shoulder. They clearly had something to say.
"I like your playing very much." A good start. Her friend was translating because she wasn't impressed by her mates perfect English. A fellow violin student. "Would you like a go?"
"Oh, no, it's been months since I played last." "She worked very hard on her playing since she was three and she's 13 now." "I've had a lot of exams recently and I haven't had a chance to play but I passed all of my grades."
She's 13 and she's grade 8.
"I only got up to grade 5." They looked at me like I had just told them I was an orphan. Mind you, I did kind of say it in that kind of tone of voice. Eventually I talked her into having a go. Given that judging from her size, she probably played a half or 3/4 size violin and that mine is slightly larger than your standard strad copy, she was pretty good.
She's called "Grape". She's going to send me some music, so I think I'll look up some sheet music of some folk tunes and maybe try and transcribe a few of my busking tunes so she can try them out in China.
While I was chatting to them a mum came up with her two primary school age sons. They stood there and I recognized them from another patch. I think it's High Street Kensington, but I'm not sure. They looked like they wanted some music, but I was too busy forging important international connections. I had to apologize to them as they left. Probably lost a customer there.
Then the sweet tones of a saxophone being played extremely well wafted over from the direction of the Science Museum. I stopped to powder my bow and asked a bloke wandering past with his family "Is that a full band down there or what?" "No, it's a double bass and a saxophonist." "Cheeky buggers, I was her first.". He giggled and walked on. That was probably the first time his kids had heard the word 'buggers'. I decided to play on, but the bloody jazz lads were really good. It's difficult to play folk tunes with conviction when you've got something you'd rather be listening to drifting over from the Science Museum.