Saturday, December 22, 2012
A Christmas Tale: The Solitary French Horn Player
The last Saturday before Christmas dawned under leaden skies and deteriorated into torrential rain. In need of fresh air and exercise, we decided to walk into Durham city along the river Wear. The rain hammered on our umbrellas and the fast-rising river swirled past, the colour of brown Windsor soup. After almost an hour's walking we had only met one other person who had ventured out into the rain and wind.
As we rounded the final bend in the river we thought we could hear music, but at first we couldn't see where it was coming from. Then we spotted him - a solitary French horn player standing in the bandstand near the cricket ground, across the river. There was no one else in sight.
We paused to listen while he produced a lively rendition of the hymn 'Thine is the Glory'. When he'd finished he glanced in our direction. We waved, he waved back. We would have cheered, but he would never have heard us across the river, with the sound of the wind, rain and rushing flood water.
We turned to walk on, as again he struck up a tune: Ray Noble's 'The Very Thought of You'.
Soon, when we glanced back into the murky December mist he was barely visible and his music was overwhelmed by the sounds of wind, water and traffic as we approached the steps up to the busy shopping centre.
Sheer magic. We don't know who the solitary French horn player was, but he made our day.
Merry Christmas to all visitors to this blog.