Being from Suffolk this is an easy one to get to for me. Half hour train ride, into Coach and Horses just behind station for grub and booze (mixed supporters allowed).
It's my dad's 72nd birthday on the 27th December so got him ticket too. My brother and my best mate who lives in Norwich coming as a Ram for the day. Looking forward to it.
Hope we sell more tickets. Very nice City if anyone's staying for longer.
Not going to post too much because I end up ranting but in my late teens I went through a bad stage of depression and ended up on the streets for a short time. My own undoing really. I was angry and deserved to be on everyone's poo list.
But anyway, it was scary. Like proper scary. Do you know how the world looks when you're one of them? When you're on the outside? I can't explain it but it is ducking horrible. You think we live in a civilised country of vast majority of good people but that only if you're 'in'. It felt like you're stripped of any sort of status among the society.
I tell you, I felt so angry and aggressive towards people that it's changed the way I view people for the rest of my life.
I'll never forget going for help. I'd headed down towards London where I figured the chances would be better but I kind of stopped in Oxford for a week or so. I reached out for help and there wasn't much about. I probably could have found a way out but I can't explain how much angry I was. Young and dumb innit.
Anyway, I ended up at this kitchen to get food and there was this guy making jacket potatoes. He was a black fella and had one of those smiley faces. The way he was with everyone made the room like an excitable classroom. The rough sleepers there were laughing out loud at the shittest jokes. Like the stuff you do to kids where you pull a pound out their ear type stuff. The atmosphere was great. I couldn't be angry in there. Just lots of giggling. Then the police came in and arrested some fella for fighting. He didn't exactly go peacefully until the black dude and his assistant had a word and he listened to them straight away. I guess because they saw him as a person.
Then this girl came and sat down with me and you should have seen her. She might have been pretty once but the heroin had done it's work. Sunken eyes, messed up teeth, weird rashes, yellow skin etc. Like a proper movie looking junkie. But she got a Mothers Day card out and started showing everyone. She cried her eyes out about how she'd had her daughter taken off her and how she wants her back. The black fella came and listened to her for a bit and then a copper dropped in (I guess they do that a lot?) and he listened to her. But nobody lectured her or patronized her.
Anyway just made me think that if you read the first part of her life story that you'd think that she deserved to have her daughter taken off her. But I think I got a proper understanding of what despair is. And it made me do what I had to do to come back over to mankind and leave that poor girl in the leper camp. The dogshit of society that were only human for as long as they are in that room.
That's the point I'm making. They're treated like a sub species. If you don't give money or food then it might be decent just to treat them like they're human. Like they still have social needs and boxes to tick. They're not feral!
That's my reason for giving them money over food/drink. I am worried that a coffee, although I'm sure is appreciated more often than not, is kind of making that social abyss real.
Will they spend it on drugs? Drink? Maybe, maybe not. Is there some conceivable kind of butterfly effect where they hurt someone because they need drugs and you've helped their habit etc etc. Yeah. But I struggle to value the life of Mr Public after seeing it from the other side and there's plenty of vile behaviour and intentions between us civilised folk. We pretend a lot. Pretend to care and uphold our moral code. But you know theres so many parasites who hide in our society that will give themselves any excuse to turn a blind eye to something or wrong someone if nobody else noticed.
Dunno if I'm explaining my thinking very well. Social media probably does a better job of showing our ugly face.
But we wish each other good morning, hold doors open and then on the drive home behave like complete cnuts. And we walk past the homeless who aren't worthy of our time. Why not? Because "I'm too busy" or "I didn't hear him" or "he'll spend it on drugs" etc etc.
Sometimes it's nice to just give someone without a house your attention.
Proper preaching here. Lol. Starting pulling out the bible in a minute.
But yeah, there is a barrier between us scumbag that live under a roof and those scumbags that don't. There really is. And being in that room in Oxford was a real eye opener to how kind of divided we are.
I’ve now been informed that many Hostels do have space, but operate a strict no alcohol or drugs rule.
I think many rough sleepers can’t mange their situation without the help of one or both of these.
Its a sad catch 22 situation.