Return to London: Homelessness

Hello all. I have most certainly and irrefutably returned from Edinburgh. It was a LOT of fun, and I managed to keep a diary, daily, of what I’d seen and experienced, which I’m sure I’ll upload in time. I also kept a video diary throughout the whole trip, which I shall have together in a few weeks.

Today was my first, proper day back in London, and it was a very odd one, at that.

Despite its oddness, I doubt you could call it anything remotely related to fun. Indeed, it was quite a boring day. Since my family, in my absence, decided to go to Sweden for a week, the day before I returned to England, I am the king of the castle, so to speak.

I drove to the local Sainsbury’s to stock up on supplies, as I’ve effectively been living on nothing other than breadsticks for the last 24 hours. I parked outside the store, but before I went into the store, I had a few more errands to run; I wanted to visit the health food shop, for some vegan niceties, as well as run to the bank. On my way back to Sainsbury’s from the health food shop, I encountered a homeless man.

“Sorry sir,” he said. “Can you spare me 20p so I can buy a drink?” I asked him why he couldn’t get some tap water from one of the pubs down the road, and he replied, “I can’t, sir, I’m living on the street, sir. Can you give me some money to buy a Coca Cola?”

I told him I’d get him a drink myself. I’d much rather make sure he gets a drink, instead of spending any money I give him on drugs, or alcohol, or the like. I walked a couple of feet, to a restaurant close by, and asked for a bottle of water. The only water in bottles they had was rather gourmet.  ‘Hildon – Delightfully Still’, read the blue label on the front, as opposed to ‘dreadfully still’, I assume. It was in a glass bottle, too. Suffice to say, I paid more for it than I’d like to pay for water.

I returned outside, and I saw that the homeless man had gone. I asked another homeless man, sitting outside the health food shop if he knows the man. He replied, which a firm, “I keep myself to myself, really.” He did tell me he’d seen the man turn the corner, in the direction of Sainsbury’s, so I hurried to said corner to search for him. I returned to the homeless man, defeated, a few minutes later. I asked him if he wanted the water himself, but he declined.

On I went to Sainsbury’s, before being accosted outside the store by a woman who asked if I had any money, as she needed to buy nappies for her baby. She didn’t look particularly homeless, and I was again suspicious. As I was talking to her, a passer by put a five pound note into her hand, not stopping to talk to her. I congratulated her, and went on my way.

On my way out, just after I’d loaded my car with the shopping, she approached me again, asking if I had any money. I told her that she’d just gotten a note from someone, but she insisted she needed at least £7 to buy nappies and baby food. I tried arguing with her, but in the end, gave her a pound, which was all I was carrying. I still doubt she needed the money, or possibly that there was any baby involved at all. I’m a sucker for masochism, though. I’d be feeling worse than I am now if I didn’t give her any money, I’ll bet. I’m a very odd one. Beware.