It’s an autumn weekend, although the gorgeous summer-like conditions indicate otherwise, and the royal town of Windsor is packed to the brim, almost bursting at the seams.
Town roads resemble parking lots, sidewalks bustle with life and people queue as far as the eye can see to enter Windsor Castle, the oldest and largest occupied castle in the world.
Overran by tourists, one can expect to wait at least an hour before entering a castle renowned for its grandeur and opulence in a royal town richly steeped in history.
Planes descend overtop of Windsor Castle at regular intervals on their final approach to London’s Heathrow airport, their engines emit a constant hum adding to the quaint and idyllic town’s bustling aura.
Some families are clearly put off by the mere sight of the never ending line, turning around and going back from whence they came. Nevertheless, most tourists and locals display sunny dispositions reflecting the perfect weather and are unfazed by the queue resembling a Disney Land attraction.
The same, however, cannot be said for one particular shopkeeper, whose uncompromising and devilish stare is only matched by his dour and gloomy personality.
An ominous cloud coincidentally encroaches overhead with an eerie darkness, blanketing the sun and erasing a near-perfect autumn afternoon.
Locating an ideal spot to capture an image, I rested my laptop and camera bag against a pole metres from the vendor’s souvenir stall. Bending down to retrieve my camera, the stoic character asked if he could help me with anything.
I thanked him for his concern and, thinking nothing of it, returned to my principle concern. I switched my camera on and focussed in on the subject at hand.
The fiendish oaf demanded I leave the area and remove my gear if I had no intention of making a purchase at his makeshift stall. His ramblings continued like a madman who was long off his meds. I half expected froth to form and saliva to spray.
Making a mountain of a molehill, this irascible tyrant accused me of loitering and threatened to call the police, trying his utmost to impress upon me his inherently bullish nature.
How can one loiter, I pondered, while trying to take a photograph of an iconic castle on public property in one England’s most renowned tourist areas? If I was loitering, so were hundreds of other passers by. In fact, anyone holding a camera must be engaged in some sort of criminal activity.
I couldn’t help but laugh at his outrageous behaviour. Eventually I took the photograph I would have captured five minutes earlier had he not made a scene that quite obviously dissuaded numerous other tourists from shopping at his souvenir stand.
The fiendish ogre had quite clearly become his own worst nightmare, estranging many potential customers.
And in this case, as frowned upon and misguided as it usually is, one would have been right in this situation to judge the book by its overtly ugly outer exterior.