Homeless Diary – Day 5

soup run 82

I woke up and quickly made my way down the scaffolding feeling tired and my body aching. I had also been struggling with illness all week and was not looking forward to the weekend, as I knew it was going to be a long one. I grabbed a metro and went and sat in Piccadilly gardens. I bumped in to Paul my Manager at Mustard Tree who bought me a gratefully received cup of coffee and a croissant. After he left I bumped into Brian, one of our clients at Mustard Tree. I had already spoken lots with Brian previously and he is one of the most gentle, honest guys you are ever likely to meet. He is very open about the fact he is an alcoholic. In fact I think homeless people are some of the most honest people in society today. They know they have problems and they don’t try to pretend that they haven’t. The difficulty is that in terms of them sorting their problems out, it seems to be a little more out of your own hands when your street homeless. As I was speaking to Brian another guy named Gary came up. Again I had seen him at Mustard Tree and he recognised me as ‘that guy who give us a food parcel’ he asked why I was on the street and I told him about why I was doing what I was doing. ‘Bleak isn’t it’ he said. He told me he had actually just got off the street and was staying at a hostel in Gorton but he had just been served a notice to say they were considering evicting him because of some trouble that happened. So me, Brian and Gary sat in Piccadilly Gardens chatting away. Gary had a bag full of beers and was only too happy to offer me one. As tempting as it was at this point I said no so him and Brian sat there and drank them. Brian has been on the street 15 years and is a heavy drinker but he is still adamant he will one day get his own place and get off the drink, but old habits die hard, he has attempted detox before and it hasn’t quite worked and I wonder why it hasn’t happened yet after all this time? Maybe he didn’t want it enough? But his situation is becoming desperate and even he accepts if he doesn’t stop drinking soon it will probably kill him. We sat there chatting away for hours and more guys were coming up and joining us. It was just like say… me and my friends going down the pub for a drink. This was their social circle. Meeting up having a laugh, talking about what they had been up to and discussing the ways of the world, only it was 9:00am and we were sat in Piccadilly Gardens!! After I left them I decided to go back to Cornerstones for another shower knowing it was weekend and most places are closed. After I left Cornerstones I hung around town waiting for the soup kitchen later that evening. After what seemed like an eternity of sitting around doing nothing I made my way to Hoyle Street and waited for the guys to arrive. When they arrived with the food I immediately helped myself to a hot jacket potato with cheese and a hot drink. I was chatting with some of the volunteers when I noticed a group of young kids at the bottom of the street. They were acting quite mischievous and sure enough one of them launched a rocket over towards us. Luckily it didn’t reach. We were waiting for the next one to come but it seemed they had run out. One of the lads got on his phone and amazingly a van pulled up and the kids surrounded it. All of a sudden they started launching more fireworks at us. It was quite distressing I think for some of the guys and quite sickening that supposedly ‘grown’ men could act in such a way that they would load kids up with fireworks so they could fire them at other people. It all seemed very organised and small minded, . I could expect it maybe from the kids but the fact that adults were involved was just shocking. I returned to my sleeping spot after the soup kitchen feeling quite depressed. It was Friday night and I knew it was going to be a long weekend. I just wanted it to pass quickly as my mind was guiltily on Monday when I was due to go home.