Black tulips at my allotment I meditated on while busking on the London Underground.
Oxford Circus #2 - 8th May 2016
I arrived to discover I could've busked here at 8 am and probably earned twice the money I'd just collected at Leicester Square which was annoying, but a man gave me 50p before I'd got started, as if to make up for it.
Two little girls; one black and one white whom I assumed were stepsisters, nattered as they dug money out of a purse for me after happening upon my folk fiddling, before the adults they were with hurried them up and off, and a guy with a big black truck of a camera shoved it in my face for a close-up. I shouted after him, "It would've been nice to have been asked," then saw from his expression that he hadn't got the shot he'd wanted. I thought, "Serves you right."
It was overall an unmemorable session, and eventually the intense heat and tiredness made me give up.
Back in the supervisor's office, a towering black member of staff pushed her way in front of me as I was attempting to sign out: Waiting your turn seems to be a concept lost on a lot of people nowadays.
Tottenham Court Road #2 - 14th May 2016
This session marked my accordion's first outing since the winter, and while I was setting up, a young black guy did his droning impression of what he believed accordion music sounds like, which at least he found very amusing.
I recieved lots of smiles - including from Underground staff, plus my fair share of quizzical looks.
I was told by a man that 'Morning Has Broken' I'd been playing was his mum's favourite hymn, so he handed me money in appreciation; a kindly lady said that my music sounded "lovely," and a foreign girl with plaited silver / blue hair emptied a clear plastic bag of mainly brown change into my case.
A pair of plump Scottish women needed directions to Waterloo, so I helped them out by showing them the way on their tube map. Grateful, they threw me some cash, and an olive-skinned bloke asked me if I teach accordion to little kids (no I don't), while a commotion was issuing from behind the blue wall beside me.
Both the Musicians' Union and The Journalist magazines had made for depressing reading on my way into London, and I hoped that during my upcoming trip to Paris, I'd rediscover my passion for music.
Charing Cross #2 - 14th May 2016
As I was signing in, the Asian station supervisor wearing a turban suddenly piped up, "Tom Cruise!... You're going to miss him!" I wasn't sure if he'd been talking to me, but I glimpsed the back end of an entourage all with caps on their heads, and a woman with the words, "FILM CREW" or something similar printed on the back of her bright orange gilet.
Security were ordered to intercept a member of the public in the 'Northern Line' corridor where I was busking on accordion, then a group of people dressed in black guided a crowd into a room embedded into the side of the corridor, disguised with wire mesh.
A blonde teenage boy made fun of me by pretending to conduct an invisible orchestra, but I deliberately averted my gaze, refusing to give him the satisfaction of a reaction, then later spotted a cross-eyed fellow.
I also performed my accordion to a girl in a pushchair with small eyes whose doting mother lifted her hand in time to the music, and wheeled suitcases being bumped loudly down steps onto the platform, began to really irritate me.
Oxford Circus #2 - 15th May 2016
I was getting used to playing fiddle with my wrist in 'neutral', which involves flexing my wrist the opposite way to which I had been doing ever since I was a teenager.
A lady with a grey-streaked mane pulled off her face exclaimed that it'd taken her ages to locate some change for me; I observed a man carrying a ladder covered in splodges of paint, and contemplated dismissing freelance writing as an additional career path given that I'd been reading in The Journalist that even university-educated journalists aren't being paid what they're due.
Looking as if she'd just come from the countryside, a lady in a cheerfully-coloured hat thanked me for my music; a guy on a hoverboard with a blue light on it glided by, and I played Irish folk to a fair-haired girl in a pushchair who was all smiles.
Green Park #1 - 15th May 2016
On the way to Green Park I saw my friend, Mark, working at the stage door of the Queen's Theatre on Shaftesbury Avenue, but didn't have time to stop, and a 'Carpo - Nuts, Chocolate and Coffee' latte gave me the kick I needed to power through on fiddle for another hour's worth of busking.
The black station supervisor told me I could play in the office if it turned out to be too quiet due to the escalator works taking place next to the pitch, however I ended up coming away with more money than I'd anticipated for my next Paris adventure in a few day's time.
Someone with their phone on a selfie stick underhandedly filmed me; a small toffee-coloured dog was being held up in a sitting position to it's owner's face as he headed towards the escalator, and a blonde with brown eyes scowled as she plopped some money in my case, but then as she looked up at me, her face softened.
I locked eyes with a white-haired Irishman. After he'd been listening for a while, our eyes locked again and he thanked me for my music.