Tuesday, January 12, 2010

If you haven't got a penny, a ha'penny will do

Christmas is coming,
the geese are getting fat;
please put a penny
in the old man's hat.
If you haven't got a penny
a ha'penny will do;
if you haven't got a ha'penny,
God bless you!

The Christmas rhyme is a little late, but the money and the hat are appropriate. This is an old, scanned photograph of a couple of musicians playing under the Old Town Hall between Church Street and the cobbled market. The town was much busier than it looks here, and there were more than pennies going into the (old man's?) hat.

This duo were eventually invited to play in the Shepherd's Purse (now Sanders Yard) restaurant opposite. With my inside knowledge, I can also tell you that the young woman is Swiss, and that she is now a mother and published children's writer.

Busking is very popular in the UK, and is not considered as begging. It is much less common in France, except during festivals and in high density tourist spots like Montmartre, Paris, or Sarlat in the Dordogne.

1 comment:

  1. I don't think we have ha'pennies here but I do recognize the sing poem!