sitting in Leadbetters, 26 Nov

"Roses, roses" says the man with an armful of blossoms, walking up and down the bar. It may be just about the only word of English he knows.

There's a whole group of them, maybe from an extended family, I see them often talking to each other in a language I don't understand. Sort of modern Eliza Doolittles, selling flowers to the relatively more well off, helping guys pick up girls.

(Somewhere at home I have tucked away a dried an withered rose that a beautiful redheaded girl bought for me from one of these guys, in this very bar years ago, something I could never just throw any, would have to toss into a sacred fire to get rid of.)

"Roses, roses" he says, walks up the bar, back. "Roses, roses." No buyers on this Sunday night, nobody trying to find a new love, so he walks back out into the cold November night, to the next bar I suppose. Sure to be a slow night for him, I think; a slow night to the bartenders and musicians working for tips too, probably. I resolve to tip before I leave.

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