This is a merge of my 'Wanderer' blog that tells of two years of my three years on the streets, and a new blog that tells of my life after the Diocese of Winchester ripped through my life for for the last few years on top of the previous serious harm that left me homeless
This is a day to day blog of my life as I continue to survive, work on recovery and on the social problems that I have and try to come to terms with limitless traumas I have survived along the way.
This blog is in tandem with my blog about my experiences in the Church of England

The former name of this blog and the name of it's sister blog are to do with my sense of humour, which I hope to keep to the end, which appears to be ever more rapidly approaching. At least I laughed, and I laughed at the people who were destroying me. Don't forget that.

Here are my books, which I wrote for you if you would like to know more:

Sunday, 30 September 2012

Good evening Bloggys,
I arrived, it was a long fraught journey with the heavy luggage,
but I arrived. I am sitting in McD's drinking much needed tea with painkillers.
I will update you in the morning.
I need to find a sleepyplace.
Good morning bloggys,

The library here was partially closed yeasterday with no wifi, but I was ok to sit in there on my laptop and syphon wifi from nearby and also get some of the book written, a few pages.
Then I went out into the lovely dark night.

I went up to the Post Office cash point to get some money for tomorrow.
When I got back I went down to soup kitchen, I normally avoid it since it got too rough some time ago, but tonight I go and ask them if they have any spare blankets, they don't but they start busily feeding me instead, oh well, I never object to being fed.
Once the rougher people have moved off, soup kitchen is ok and a laugh.

Then I head to my porchway but it is very busy in that area, no way I can settle down.
So I head for the rat alley.

I bed down in the rat alley, unlike the porchway, the people who own the rat alley are against rough sleepers because of the addicts who used to come here, but if I am careful and get up early they will never know I was here.

I bed down on my cardboard in my sleeping bag and with the clothes as a pillow.
It is colder down here than it would be in the porch, and I only sleep lightly.
In the early hours there are drunk people nearby, they are singing 'Jerusalem' word perfect but totally out of tune. How funny.
I should throw a boot at them but I can't spare one.
I have a sore throat. How peturbing.

I doze onwards until the alarm goes off, and I advise it that I disagree, and I doze a bit longer, 6.15 I get up, bin the cardboard and re-pack my clothes and sleeping bag and head off.
it is a crisp clear morning, whatever crisp is.
If you are what you eat then Dave is a crisp.
In the first week in a different town or after being indoors for a few days, my sleep is light and disrupted, it has to build back up to the solid 10 hours that I enjoy when I am settled in a sleeping place.

I get to McD's, there are more drunks this morning and the couple in the next booth to me are drunkenly arguing about each others behaviour and trying to break up but they are too drunk to really end things properly so they start kissing and dozing instead.

The first train is in two hours. I am going to wash and change and have breakfast before then.
I must save some battery so that I can do some writing while I am on the train,
when I am not hanging my head out the window! :)

Saturday, 29 September 2012

Hi Bloggys,
the statistics on the blog have gone mad, has someone actually been reading it or something? :) haha!

Well I just went on the solidarity walk for people in India who have no rights, we walked round the churches and had prayers and readings at each, and I got a free cap.
Had to endure a very formal evensong at the end :( I used to love evensong but I associate it with the people who destroyed me now and I hate it. How much is it to do with God any more anyway?

Anyway, I have just had a chip butty for my supper, popped into the gallery but they are stressed, and they are closing down as far as I can gather, though they have not told me themselves.

Anyway, I realised this morning that the reason I get comments on my accent as I travel around, the reason I have picked up the broad accent local to this area is because of all those mornings at tea hour on the market, listening to and speaking to all the locals with their broad accents.

The sky was a brilliant shade of blue this morning, a blue you only see here, the dazzling light blue, the opposite of the deep dark blue where my home was before I became homeless.
The sky here is huge in the town on the hill and it cheers me up, but I am leaving tomorrow before I get too irritated by people trying to walk through me, they believe in magic in this town, they think they can walk through you, and it hurts when they collide with you.
I don't know why people in this town don't understand personal space and politeness, but they don't.
End of rant.

I went and dumped my bags in a locker this morning, and went for tea hour at the market.

market tea is unique, it is incredibly strong and very full of flavour, it comes from huge teapots and is poured out so strong that you could stand a spoon up in it.

One cup of market tea in the morning opens your eyes wide if they are still closed, makes you hiccup and all of a sudden you start thinking what a wonderful place the world is and how lovely everyone is. It is a tea addict's version of injecting into the vein.

I got through several cups of tea, and a small bacon and egg roll, and then I trotted off to poundland to do some shopping, raiding the bins as I went, I got 3 stickers, which mean I have enough for one and a half cups of tea.

I got to poundland and was disappointed to find they have no wooly hats or balaclavas in stock yet, but I got some socks, some new foam pads for my feet, some facial wipes and intimate wipes for my morning washes, some clove oil to help clear my chest each day (asthma), and some deodorant. I have to try and keep clean and fresh.

Then I wandered back, Cheerful was on his pitch, he was silently holding up copies of the Big Issue, I asked him why he wasn't shouting, and he said it was too early in the morning and the poor old people don't want to be woken up yet. very thoughtful.

I had my wash and changed my socks and foam, all nice and clean and fresh.
The good thing about this town compared to the other one is that there are plenty of toilets in this town so I can wash in peace.

I head for the library at last, and am collared by the Open University as they want me to sign up, I have almost given up on my education now and I wail miserably at them about my failed attempts to communicate with their customer services team, but they are determined to recruit me so I let them send off a form for me and we shall see.

I go on the computer and do some book writing.
Then I go to see if my dental surgery is open so that I can postpone my appointment, but they are closed so I write their number down.

The gallery is already open and I wander in, they are having a hectic day, I help move a light book case and some books, I have a cup of tea and wander on.
I go to one of the churches and they made me a cuppa and asked me where the CAB is, hey this is their town not mine! but I did know where it was. They want me to join a march for justice later, nyarknyark!

I wandered on and up to the daycentre, my friend and his dog were outside, being made a fuss of by a volunteer (yes both of them), and I went in and got tea and a sandwich and came back out, he is in a better mood so I sat with him and he made me feel as if I belong here, here on these streets with my fellow homeless, he said they have some tents on some waste ground nearby, that they will probably overwinter there, that M. is there and that I can join them if I want.
I ask him if M. is ok and he says that M. drinks everyones drink, smokes everyone's dope and is smashed out of his face most of the time.
It is a shame, I saw real hope for him when he stopped drinking and got a flat and started rebuilding his life   :( he has lost all of that.

I tell my friend I am going tomorrow, and we shake hands.

I walk back through town, Cheerful asks me to get him some cigarettes with his money, so I do, and he gives me a full card of McD's stickers for my trouble.

I go into church and my friend is on duty, she sits and chats as long as she can as she is very busy, her life is manic at the moment and I worry for her because of her workload.
I come back to the library.

I have now caught up with nearly everyone, I have seen Gloomy on one of the pitches, I have seen all the street guys and the church guys and the gallery guys and the daycentre guys.
A few people are missing, V. is the most worrying one and I hope with all my heart he is ok and not in prison or hospital or trouble but I cannot find out. Scotty is also missing, but he was missing before I last left here, and the old soldier and his two friends are missing from the outreach lunch.

God bless all my friends and look after them, here or absent.

Good morning bloggys.

Erm, it is hard to write because of the return of the dreaded spasms and shakes in my right hand and arm, it is hard to even hold my cuppa tea.

Well last night I went to the party, I didn't know what to expect but it was nice.
The big hall at the gallery was lit up with candles and lamps and the sodium heaters on the ceiling.

My friend greeted me and offered me a range of soft drinks including a cup of tea! I opted for a pepsi seeing as it is a party.

I drank the Pepsi too quickly as I was nervous, and my friend introduced me to other people including her friend who she shares a Birthday with and is sharing the party with.

Well it was my idea of a nice party, there was quietish music and there were films playing on a projector at one end of the hall.

People were mainly chatting in the bar area and it wasn't too crowded.
There was food but no-one was eating.
so when my friend offered me food I felt a bit embarrassed because no-one else was eating, she assured me that they would eat and then there would be none left for us, so we may as well get ours now.

So we sat and ate, french bread and prawns to start with, oh dear, I hadn't had prawns for years, not since my life was about rubbing shoulders with millionaires, and I said to my friend in a panic 'I've forgotten how to unlock a prawn!'. She cheerfully demonstrated.

It is funny how I am here while my fellow homeless are at soup kitchen. I have never had a normal conventional life, not even on the streets, I am not a conventional rough sleeper at all.

someone came to join us, he was Portugese, and there was lots of Portugese food available so he introduced me to a dish made of raw salted cod with garlic and olive oil. I never really got to eat Portugese food when I used to live among the Portugese, except Portugese loaf, which I liked, but I like this fish dish, tasty but very garlicky. There is Olive bread but no Portugese loaf.
The Greek community used to feed me Olive bread, it is not my favourite but it is good for you, so I ate some.

And the even continues quiet and sober, everyone chatting by the bar and a few of us eating food and laughing and chatting at a table. I only drink Pepsi all evening.

I was just wondering if another good friend of mine is going to turn up because she is a party animal and is friends with my friend, and as I think that, my friend says that our friend will be here at some point.
She is part of my church but she is such a party animal, legend has it that she had to be dragged out of a party one Christmas eve because she was supposed to be serving on the altar at midnight mass and had forgotten!

My friend and her husband arrive and sit with us, they catch up on my news and I catch up on theirs, she goes to get some food and her husband says to me 'do you know what this party is about?'
I reply that I think it is a Birthday party, he tells me it is more than that, that the gallery is possibly beginning to wind down, he points out how empty it is, I hope he is mistaken, the gallery is part of my life, but I know my friend has been struggling to keep it running, he says about the drinks licence, how the party will have to end at 10pm because the licence only allows up to 10pm.
I will have to go before 10pm anyway because my bags are only in the locker until 10pm.

The party remains sober and respectable, my good friend tells me that my other good friend will probably be on duty in church tomorrow, which is good because if I can see her then then I can be off on my way on Sunday rather than waiting for church, no offence to my church but I feel like heading on with my journey.

I leave the party at 9.30pm and thank my friend and her friends and she laughs and tells me to drop by for a cuppa tomorrow.

I go to Tesco and get some antacids and lozenges because I am reacting badly the food, I sick up a lot of the food and feel better. Then I get a cuppa at McD's and collect my bags and go to my porch.
I find two small cardboard boxes as a mattress, and I put my thermal top and new thermal leggings on and climb into my new sleeping bag, using my spare clothes as a pillow.
I am comfy and despite all the usual revellers going noisily past on the road nearby, I fall asleep.

I wake at 1.20 am, I was deaming that there were loads of drunk girls on the wall nearby.
I sleep again.
I wake at 3am and all the saved up distress and depression for a week comes crashing down on me, I knew it would, it has been looming, depression in the daytime from being indoors at night, I have kept squashing it but now it wins, I want my mummy, I want to be safe in mummy's arms, but I don't have a mummy, and I have never been safe in her arms.

The depression and despair are overwhelming, 3am is not a good time to be alone with flashbacks, it will all ease in the light of day and when I am surrounded by people, but for now it is like a tidal wave.

I leave my things and walk into town, there are drunk revellers everywhere. But no money and no stickers, I look for a bottle to fill with water as I am very thirsty, but I don't find anything.

I go back to my things, it is 4am, I find an orange in my bag and eat that, it helps a bit.

I phone the Samaritans, most times I don't bother because they want to talk about feelings and I am very distanced from my feelings because of my asperger syndrome, I explain to the lady that I cannot talk about feelings very well but that I need to talk to disrupt the distress so that I can sleep again, she is perfectly helpful and tries to understand, and finally I lie down to try to sleep again, with only 45 minutes before my alarm clock is due to yell.

Oh the sky is beautiful and clear, the stars sparkle and I am pleased to be in my porch, my bed is perfectly warm and comfortable but I am still too tense to sleep. The sky may be clear but it is a mild night.
I think 'well at least I slept a bit, and I can snooze at the gallery later maybe'.

I do some exercises, press ups and sit ups, and other obscure army ones, I surprise myself, I can do them. But maybe this is what set the silly shaking in my arm and hand off.

The sky in the east is glowing brilliantly with the dawn and the sky is lightening so that the buildings are silhouetted against it, beautiful.

There is no 24 hour McD's in this town, so I head for McD's for 6am, I expect a whole heap of drunks to be waiting for the doors to open but actually there are just three and I end up second in the que and get my cuppa.

Here I am, and tea hour at the market starts in less than 10 minutes, so I will stash my bags and go to tea hour.

Friday, 28 September 2012

Hi Bloggypeeps,
It has been a bit of a day.

I was tired last night and sank into sleep, I slept in a bed, which always puts me at risk of pain in my injuries, but I slept well and woke up with no pain.

There were flashbacks and distresses but I blanked those out as best I could.
I woke up not as early as I had hoped to, but with enough time to spare.
I had a shower, the shower floor is still dangerous. And I tidied my legs and feet up because I was going to the walking clinic in the afternoon.
I also sorted out my backpack a bit more. It is still too heavy really.
I had lots of tea but didn't get as far as breakfast, I went to the kitchen and the old chap came in and smiled and said good morning. He knows that I treat the place with respect and never complain.

Then off I went into town.
My pal with the dog was having a bad morning and had only sold one Big Issue. So he didn't want to talk.
I went to get a locker, the security guards know me so they picked up the locker book as soon as I walked in. So my stuff is in the locker until this evening.

I went on the computer briefly. Then I went to one of the churches, they greeted me, welcomed me back and asked the usual questions about my travels and made me several coffees. Then I went up to the daycentre and had a natter and two cups of tea, they asked where my pal is and if he is ok, I told them he is out there selling the Issue and is just having a bad patch.

Then I walked up to My church, my friend's boyfriend usually church-sits on a Friday, and he is there today, filling in a form as he waits for people to come into the church, he makes me a tea and I light a candle, he tells me about an interesting course that he is doing in London, and it reminds me of my Mum.
Then I wander off again, eventually it is time for the outreach lunch.

The outreach lunch is an interesting phenomenon, it is at yet another church.
There are three tables at the lunch and the one in the corner is usually where the rogues sit, the one in the middle is where older people often sit, and the one I am on is where the unusual people sit. It is not strictly this way, it just seems to work like this.

I sit down and my pal passes me the bread and butter, it used to be that I had so much trouble gettinjg anything passed to me that I used to get a bit cross, but my pal seems to have taken on the job of passing things, so I get bread and butter, and the volunteers all come and ask how I have been and welcome me back, then they bring me some soup, which is the important thing.
We have bread and soup, then some fruit and cake and tea.
it is a nice simple lunch and the volunteers are lovely.

I walk up and go to the gallery. My friend isn't there but her assistant is, he is feeling very low and gloomy.
I sit and talk to him but he is really down.
So I wander off and check with the dentist to see if I need a checkup, I think my dentist may kill me when she hears that I have lost my mouthguard again. I am supposed to wear it at night to stop me grinding my teeth in my sleep.
I am due an appointment and they make it for when I have to come back this way for my hospital appointment, but afterwards I realise I will have to re-book it as I wont be able to make it.

I go back to the gallery and my friend is there, I ask her what kind of party it is tonight, 'a party kind of party' she replies.
I ask her if I am supposed to dress up, and she says no, no one will, it is her Birthday and her friend's birthday and it is a joint party, lovely.
She says I can bring my laptop and stay all evening in the warm and do my internet, oh well, it can't be a very lively party in that case!

I go off and buy my thermal leggings from Primark ready for the cold nights in the porch.
My old bedding stash is still where I left it, I wonder if any of it is any good still.

I go to the bus stop to head for my appointment. Sadly I never got there. I had forgotten how awful this bus service is, the useless bus company have a monopoly here. I have allowed lots of time but I wait half an hour and by the time the bus arrives at the stop there is such a large crowd that I have to wait for the next one.
The bus crawls through the traffic, really slow, and I look at the clock and I am already late, I would have a brief walk from the bus anyway and so I decide to walk the rest of the way, sadly I simply couldn't walk it, took the wrong turning anyway and after a long walk my legs are too painful and I am too late for the appointment.
It has been so long since I had walking help that I no longer have the phone number of the clinic on my phone.
so I miss the appointment.
I am not happy.

I get back to town and the library is half-closed due to technical work, so I get a chip butty and sit here on my laptop.
I am going to this 'party' in an hour, it starts at 7.30 not 7.

The weather here is cloudy and there has been light rain, but it is due to stay dry tonight.

Thursday, 27 September 2012

When I left the library I walked down to soup kitchen, to see who was there more than anything. My pal with the dog was there, waiting, but I was looking for a few of the others as everyone waited, my friend V. is conspicuously absent from the library or the gangs on the steps and in the squares. I hope he is ok and not in any trouble.
Then I see the other person I was looking for, he doesn't see me, I am shocked at the state he is in, he is hunched up and staggering, talking to an imaginary radio and raging. This is my friend M.

I jump off my stone ledge where I usually stand and wait for soup kitchen and I go to talk to him.
It takes him half a minute to recognize me, and then he tries to hug me, but not our usual friendship hug, he gets carried away, and I have to tell him no.
I ask him what has happened, but he is rambling and incoherent and keeps deliberately mishearing me, finally he tells me that he is homeless and useless.
I am saddened because last time I saw him he was looking great and was sober and actively helping himself to get back on track, and he was housed.

He tells me he is an idiot and he keeps trying to explain that he has been fighting, he is very drunk indeed and keeps wandering off talking into his imaginary radio.

Leo comes over to join us and says he is pleased to see me back and tells me one of the other women has been housed, good, I wish they would house the other woman with the same name as mine, it causes such confusion that there are two of us on these streets with the same name.
Anyway, I ask Leo if M. is drunk and behaving like this all the time, he says he isn't, so that is one good thing, M. starts looking up the tree and telling an imaginary cat to come down.
I distract him by reminding him he used to work with cats, and he says 'yeah there were 104 of the little so and so's'. and goes off on his imaginary radio.

Leo and I have the usual conversation about soup kitchen, he tells me it is still a nightmare and that the hostel boys are still grabbing food off the rough sleepers and there are fights, I thought the organizers of soup kitchen were going to put a stop to that, but obviously not.
Leo goes on about how he tries to ensure that the other rough sleepers, especially the women, get some food, and I applaud him for that and tell him that at least there some of us good ones out here helping each other still. (he thinks he is the only one who tries to share and help, but he isn't :) )

I don't stay for soup kitchen, I go for a walk and breathe in the memories, then I go up to my old porchway, no one else seems to be living there so tomorrow night I will re-inhabit it.

Suddenly I am very tired and I wonder how I will walk all the way back to the old chap's place, but I manage, and I get some hot chicken to eat on the way.

Sleep time :)

moving day

Hi Bloggypeeps,

Well here goes.
Last night at my friend's house I was watching my DVD's until late and then I had the big task of sorting out all my things.  People have been very generous and I have ended up with a lot of food and posessions, but I cannot carry a lot, so I give my friends a lot of things to keep or take to the charity shop, they also kindly agree to return my library books to the library.

Then it is bed time but I am scared of settling down in case I have flashbacks and because I am quite short of breath, I have been for a few days despite using my inhalers.
Eventually I do settle to sleep, and I sleep ok until my alarm clock yells that it is time to get up, I shush it and advise it that I need a little bit more snooze.
Then I get up and scramble to the loo and grab my bags, I now only have my big backpack and a bag with a sleeping bag in it, my sort out last night was quite effective.

I get my wash kit and have a quick wash and change my clothes, my friend washed my clothes yesterday and I had a bath, so I am all squeaky clean;
 my friends aren't up yet, so I plug my netbook in with it's wonderful new power cable, and I do my internetting.

My friends get up, my friend makes me some tea and toast and then it is time to go, I say goodbye to one friend and the other friend takes me to the railway station.

I get my ticket and wait 20 minutes for the train.
I get the train and it is quiet and there is a corner for me and my bags in the corridor, no one disturbs me and I am relieved and grateful. I hate this particular train service, it is a small train and can be crowded, is always hot and usually I feel a bit trapped, despite my usual love for trains.
We stop for a while because of a late running train needing priority, but apart from that the journey goes smoothly and we arrive.

Maybe God likes me for helping a disabled woman up the steps with her bags, because I have a very peaceful walk through a usually crowded area and straight into an empty waiting lift, then I cross the bridge, go down the escalators and onto a bus very easily, this interchange is usually a busy crowded nightmare but I am straight onto the bus and away.

I arrive at the daycentre, there is a pile of post waiting that hasn't been redirected, some of it is unneedful hassle and annoyance but there are letters from the hospital asking me to book to be re-scoped ( a repeat gastroscopy to see how my insides are doing :( ).

Gastroscopies are not my favourite way of spending a day :( but I phone and make an appointment for a few weeks time, should have done it before.
I do like the staff at the clinic who do the gastroscopies, they are nice and pleasant and I can communicate easily with them.

Then I have a shower at the daycentre and the staff chat to me and get me a delicious meal of mild curry with rice and naan bread and a cup of tea.

My friend is there, he used to be a client here, he used to be on the streets with me, but now he works here, and it is funny to hear him ask me how I am from his postion as a volunteer rather than as a fellow street-dweller. He introduces me to the only other client there, a depressed-looking lad, and tell the lad 'This lady is a real homeless traveller!'

I ask the receptionist how two of my other friends are doing, she says that one of them is now housed and doing well and the other is the same cheeky intelligent street-dweller that he always was and she likes him.

The daycentre has had severe funding cuts and funding difficulties and they are running a very restricted service, clients can only come here for specific help now, and they have to pay for food unless they are rough sleepers, it must be hard for the staff to see the daycentre so restricted that they have to turn people away unless they need specific help.

Anyway, I leave, and the staff tell me to let them know when I am leaving the area so that they wont worry about me.
I run accross the road and manage to catch a bus immediately but it is very crowded, the bus service here is not brilliant, they tend to run late and get too crowded. So I stand most of the way.
I get into town in time to dash back accross the interchange, and again it is quiet and I get to the station with no stress and get my ticket.
I got a cup of tea at the little kiosk where I used to get my tea, but when I put it down to get my ticket in the station, I forgot it :(

I am on the platform in time for my train and off we go again.

Again I have a surprisingly easy journey, this is the same awful train route but today I get to put my bags in the rack and sit in the disabled area in peace, I am falling asleep by the time we arrive.

Normally when I arrive in this town I immediately feel conflicting emotions of love and annoyance.
Today I don't feel much at all, and no-one blows smoke over me like they usually do, which helps.
People in this town are very gregarious and also they walk much too close to other people, it is an agrophobic person's nightmare, but it is also one of my homes.

Anyway, I continue to be surprised by the lack of irritation and I get the bus up the hill and go to the post office, I am having a lucky day because in the big and busy post office I am only 5th in the que.

I get some money and wander down to the 'old chap' s hotel, the old chap opens the door and looks surprised and then friendly 'your usual place is available' he mutters amiably.

My usual place is a little self contained unit in the back yard, I have stayed there sometimes in illness, crisis or bad weather on and off for years.
I am staying there tonight in order to sort myself out and orientate myself while I check what's going on in the homeless world.
Staying here has caused huge flashbacks and distresses in the past, just due to being indoors, but I am getting better and it is sensible to occasionally stay here.
I check the shower floor, no it is not mended, I wonder when it will break and I will end up in the drain :)

I sit down and unpack and try to sort my poor feet out a bit, I have several cups of tea, oh good, he has got better tea bags. I used to bring my own because the ones here were so bad.

I check my emails, the man who helps me with my walking has replied to my query email and says he has an appointment available tomorrow afternoon. Good, I need that help, I am achy, I wonder if he can advise me about the swelling on my leg, it aches and is a mystery.

I go out and walk into town, I see a few people who I know vaguely but it is very quiet compared to usual, usually I come here braced for someone to shout me over as soon as I leave the station, as I said, this town is dead gregarious.

I walk towards my friend's art gallery, expecting a possible cup of tea, she usually does me a huge mug of tea and we put the world to rights.
But when I get there she is struggling out the door with a bike and a load of parcels, so I grab the door and hold it.
She exclaims my name a bit startled, and tells me she is closing early as she has an appointment.
Oh, no tea.
She tells me that she and a friend are having a party at the gallery tomorrow evening, and she wants me to be there.
'oh', I say 'Is there washing up or something I can help with?' I ask.
But she just wants me to be there.
I don't normally go to 'adult' type parties, ie alcohol, music and dancing. I am too childlike, I prefer jelly and ice cream or food parties, well maybe the party tomorrow will have a buffet.
I have no party clothes, but they all know I am homeless, so if they want me there then they will be ok  with my clothes.

Dammit, I just arrived here and I have a party to go to, whatever next? :)

My friend tells me she will be at the gallery as normal from midday tomorrow so I can have my cup of tea.

So off she goes, and off I go, I walk onto the square and there is someone I half expected to see.
'I thought you hated this town' I say to him.
He grins and waits for his friend to go and get him a coffee, while his dog hoovers it's supper.
'My brother came out of prison and I had to scram and the Big Issue in my town closed down' is his excuse.

He is a travelling homeless man, lives a similar life to me but with a dog. But just as I am always drawn back here despite getting irritated by this place, he is too.

I tell him I am off to the library.
'will you be back for the soupie?' he asks. ( soup kitchen)
'Has it got any better?' I ask.
'No, it hasn't' says his friend.
'I may come back just for the aggro then' I tell them.

The library is every agarophobic's nightmare normally, but today it is surprisingly quiet, it is a good library despite the crowds, and the book selection is excellent.
I pick up a book and go to the desk and ask if they can renew my temporary card but they tell me it still has some life in it, which surprises me, when was I last here? I can't remember.

I log on and read my book as well as typing, just as I used to, and watch the big sky outside turn dark with the dusk as I remember it doing a year ago as this town began to heal me.

Hi bloggys,

sorry I haven't written for a few days but I have been preparing for the move on.
It has been a mixture of saying goodbye to people and ending things and also just being at my friends house, they have looked after me and kept me out of the weather.
The weather has been quite bad some of the time.
I was glad to say goodbye to my drain. It was the best I could do as a sleeping place, but it was miserable.

The next post will describe the move, starting last night and ending back here where I am now :) 105 miles from the town I started off in this morning.

Tuesday, 25 September 2012

Anyone who is new to the blog, the links I add are usually to youtube songs that are relevant to me.
This link above is to a lovely song called 'how to say goodbye'.

Sunday, 23 September 2012

I'm back! time to catch up with the blog!

Sorry, I have been computerless for a few days.

I am going to have to try to remember what has been happening.

On Thursday I must have gone to the daycentre as normal, increasingly irritated by the daycentre and the addicts and alcoholics I was not really happy to be at the daycentre.
I was too ratty to talk to the nurse as scheduled to I opted not to and went on the computer instead.

I think I went for a walk around after daycentre, and went to church for a quick pray.
I got a text from someone from church asking if I wanted to go to a social meeting in the evening, I said yes but warned him I might be very tired.
He said that was ok and he would ask my friend to collect me.

I spent some time in the library but used up all my computer time for the week, and seeing as the netbook is out of action I was then unable to access the internet at all.

After the library I waited in the bus station, it was cold outside, I got various texts and calls about the social and finally I went accross the road to meet my friends in their car, and was confused by several cars pulling up in the spot where they had arranged to meet me, finally they arrived, and off we went to the social, we found out on the way that oddly enough my friend and I have both started studying the same language.

We got there, the social was in a function room of a pub or club type place, there was tea, cup and saucer tea, and lots of people I knew and some who I didn't know, we sat down but I was tired and got a bit confused by everything and everyone moving around and rearranging the chairs, so I went back outside, my phone rang and it was my friend who I sometimes stay with, she asked if I wanted to stay over, and I wasn't sure, so she said she would phone back later.

my friend from the social came to find me and I said I was a bit too tired and overwhelmed, she said she wasn't deeply keen on the social group and asked if I wanted to go, I decided I did but was worried that I had upset things and people and was spoiling her evening, but she said she was glad of an excuse to escape, she drove me up to my other friends' house and we all stopped for a chat, which was very nice.

Then I went to sleep on the floor and slept through the night but with the usual sad and wierd dreams disturbing me.
Thankfully only a few flashbacks in the morning before I squashed them.

In the morning I had some toast and a bath, and then we ventured to the shops and found me another pair of jeans so that I have a spare pair.

Then my friend dropped me off near the daycentre, and I motored in there and cheerfully trashed the place  got some lunch and chatted to people.
One of the staff there had met one of my friends the previous day when he went to support a client at a tribunal because my friend works at the court, so I surprised that member of staff by telling him he had met my friend.

I really don't like the daycentre any more, on the table where I sit there is a woman who is always negative and always right, today she is sharing the delightful details of her cystitis and thrush and bladder infections. I don't mean to be a snob but some daycentres drag me down.

From the daycentre I went on to reading a book in the church, and then to the library to read the papers.

After the library I waited for soup kitchen, not fun since my clean homeless friends moved on, the only people there now are immigrants, addicts and the convicted rapist and his friend who is probably similar, they are the most annoying and intrusive of the lot, I don't like the homeless people or services in this town, there is no community as there is in other towns.
I am lucky though, one of the soup run volunteers comes to talk to me, she brings hot drinks whenever I run out and makes sure I have enough food, talks sympathetically about the weather and tries to persuade me to come to the outreach centre a few miles up the road the next day, it has just reopened and she assures me that I can get a shower and things.

I wasn't going to go back there as it is too far to be worth it, and I would have to walk as my money is running out and I cannot afford bus fare, but these people are very persuasive.
So I decide that as it will take up half a day when I have nowhere to go and nothing to do and town will be crowded, I will go.

After soup kitchen I push though the hoards of partygoing students and go to my sleeping place and tuck down, I sleep patchily light sleep and periods of lying awake, I am uncomfortable but not really cold. It is a miracle that whoever tidies this place has stopped taking away my neatly stashed slab of cardboard and has simply left it alone.

I get up and walk into town, I find 10p, which is better than nothing, I get a cup of tea at McD's, have a wash, sort my backpack and possessions out and fit them into a cheaper smaller locker, and then I start walking up to the outreach centre, they have moved and so I was given a sketchy map of where to, it is all silly, they have moved onto an industrial estate miles away and are claiming to be 'better' now.

I get there and they are not better, the rowdy que is as bad as before, the seating area where they dump us is much worse, and then they tell me that the showers are broken, that they only checked the new showers the day before and that they do not work properly.
Miles of walking for nothing! I am annoyed to say the least.
They bring me some dry toast and almost cold tea.
I decide that I don't like the new outreach centre and won't be struggling to get there again.
I tell them so.

Then I walk out and explore a nearby churchyard to see if it is habitable.
Then my stomach gets upset, which again points to wheat intolerance or allergy from the toast.
I cannot use the churchyard as a loo, and there is nowhere nearby, I hold on and run for the bus stop, I have enough money for the single fare into town on the cheap bus, so I catch the bus, hold it in until I get to the loos in town and then I explode.

The whole morning has been wasted.
I go to the library after getting my last few pounds from the post office.

The library closes at 4pm and I am left with nowhere to go until the evening outreach opens at 7pm.
I walk down to the church.

the homeless woman who I have been friends with is there, but she is not very coherent and starts ranting at me when I tell her that John said she was at his flat she really gets mad, but doesn't make sense, trying to tell me that I have no right to be on the streets because I don't work and she does, Where is the logic in that? She also adds that her work makes her a Christian while I am not.
I am astounded, what on earth?! She doesn't go to church or believe in God, she scorns me for going to church and believing in God.
I ask her if her work is legal and if the tax man knows about it? I know it isn't legal and declared.
But she goes completely loopy and accuses me of attacking her and runs way.
I am very shaken and try to explain to the vergers what has happened.
I know that she would be frightened when I mentioned the tax man as she is not just undeclared but is living here in hiding from some sort of warrant. But I didn't attack her or try to appart from my retort in return for her suddent barrage of completely wierd comparisons.

I was shaken and I was very upset, life on the streets here is hard and I thought that that woman was a friend despite her wierd turns and the scary ramblings sometimes.

Town is so crowded, so I walk down to the station and the barriers are open so I go down to the waiting room on the platform, after any argument or exchange of words I feel the shame and pain of everything that has ever gone wrong, to me my baptism and confessions have never taken away the shame, those of you who know what happened in my life to leave me homeless will know why it is difficult for me.

The wiating room is empty as I sit, and I sit in silent isolation for an hour and a half and charge my phone as I sit and kind of relax, I go to the loo once and back to the waiting room and it remains empty.

I am waiting for the time to pass until evening outreach, and it is hard when there is not much money left.
After an hour and a half inhabiting the station, I go to leave but the barriers are down and the station is full of police.
I realise that they are preparing for returning football crowds from an away game.
I walk up to the other entrance, this entrance is open, and there is a valid ticket on the ground anyway.
Sneaking onto the station is one of the only naughty things I do.
When I am most distressed it is where I am happiest, and with the added bonus of the fact that no one can smoke there so my lungs get a break from other people's smoke.

I pass the remaining time before outreach by using some of my meagre cash on a cuppa, and then I go on the shuttle bus and walk down to the outreach.

At the outreach I get a shower and then my pal makes me a cuppa and I have some flat bread and a bit of a cake that someone has donated, and then I sit and try to read my book.

Since my two pals left it has been hard to sit in peace because I get pestered and disturbed by some of the other clients here, and it has got steadily worse, I no longer like the daycentre or outreach, the stress and hassle are too much these days.

Saturday night usually brings an influx of high or drunk people to the centre and there are often fights and threats and arguments and people are turned out or banned, it is a crazy inneficient system that allows them in in the first place.

A game of bingo is started and this always means fights, the peaceful people no longer come here for Bingo.
A fight breaks out between the usual people, with some of the other usual people cheering them on drunkenly from the corner.
The staff inefficiently try to solve it.
And then I am next in the firing line as I have some of the troublemakers hanging over me as I try to read, today is not my day, I ask them to move off because I am not comfortable with anyone standing over me.
One of them swears at me and I tell him what I think of that, he threatens to rip my f***ing head off and I jump up and go towards him, which is the best thing to do if you are threatened, don't run away or cringe, go towards the aggressor.

By the time the staff get involved, there is a full scale quarrel between me and this ex-con who has just come out of prison to threaten to rip my face off and he is backed up by an equally unpleasant man who was encouraging his aggression.

The staff are unbelievably innefectual in dealing with anything and claim that I only 'perceived' that he had threatened me, and that he says I threatened him, how can someone reading a book threaten someone who is standing over them and swearing and threatening them?
I am disgusted and I tell the staff so.
I cannot believe how utterly unfair today has been and that I have been accused twice.
I ask myself if I am going mad and have actually done anything to anyone but I know I haven't and that both the people who have attacked me today have histories.

But I still cry and wander aimlessly round town and know I cannot possibly sleep.

I ask God to be merciful and help me.

Then realisation comes to me in an avalanche, one realisation after another.

  • I remember my friend saying that this city is one of the most violent and dangerous in the country, I have never really thought about it like that.
  • I remember my two friends, one who became seriously depressed and asked the outreach to send him back to his home town and he told me this 'was a bad place to be'. And the other who got himself off the streets after many sleepless nights as his drunken porch mates kept him awake.
  • I realise that though I haven't taken it in, the news here in this city is of constant rapes, murders and other violent crime, and that my friends told me the nickname for this city, which reflects that, but I tried to keep my illusion, as I do with every town, that it is a nice town. Sadly this is not a nice town, and today has shown that.
  • In the past few months I have become more unwell and am sleeping very badly, and I realise that that is because I have to deal with aggression very often, and it is wearing me down and making me angry. Every day I am dealing with aggressive addict and alcoholic beggars who target lone women, who illegally use the Big Issue as part of their attempts to extort money from people as well as lying, and who don't take kindly to me correcting them or advising them that I am genuine homeless and they are not.
  • I have to deal with aggression and being pawed at outreach and the daycentre and there are no other clean people on these streets, at all, in most towns there is a sense of community among the homeless and at least a few clean homeless who help each other out, here there is nothing but addicts and alcoholics, and a few very arrogant convicted rapists, and I hate being anywhere near these people and dealing with the jeers of those who I put straight when they try to beg off me, thinking that I am a normal person because I am clean.
  • I do not have a good sleeping place, I no longer sleep well. I cannot overwinter here as I have no shelter and nowhere safe to stash spare bedding, I hate my drain and I feel unsafe and uncomfortable.
  • I remember a few weeks ago, my friend hugging me when I was far away from this awful city, somewhere where I am much happier, and asking me if I had to return here. And back then as I said that I didn't want to but needed to, I was overwhelmed because I knew with all my heart that I had no wish to return here, but was returning for the sake of my friends here and the help I get here. and I realised as I remembered this that I am in a bad city, it is harming me physically and emotionally, and the benefits of help here are not going to outweigh the constant danger I am in. My friends will remain my friends wherever I go, and I will always come back to see them and keep in touch with them through this blog.
  • I have no affection or attachment to this town, there are few good features, the library is ghastly, the homeless services are clogged with addicts and alcoholics. I have been here too long.
  • I need to move to a town where I can shelter and overwinter.
  • I realised as I thought all this last night that I know where I want to overwinter.
And suddenly after all this I felt calm and better again. I am leaving this town, I am sadly leaving excellent psychological help and a wonderful DEA and some wonderful friends behind, as well as the part time courses I am about to start, but that is all, and it is for the sake of my health and welfare and to ensure that I can overwinter safely.

Calm and sleepy I made my way back to my drain and slept as soon as I lay down.
It was a surprisingly mild night and dry as well.
I woke at 7am, comfortable and calm but not deeply looking forward to explaining to my friends why I am leaving.

I go to McD's and get a cuppa and say hi to my friend who works there.
Then I go to 8am communion and meet with my friend.
My friend seems understanding, we end up in our usual chat with the Vicar and they sadly both seem to agree that the streets and the town here are not safe, are dangerous, and indeed the streets of London are safer.

I was safe on the streets of London, I have suffered more aggression, threats and assaults in this town than on the streets of London, and the lengths of time on both have been similar.

My friend hasn't got time for a coffee with me, but she gives me her loose change, this is enough to get a bagel and a tea and leaves me with a few pounds for locker money as well.

My shouty friends are not around, maybe the police banned them for jumping on the flowerbed, maybe the police should deal with all the drunks who jump on the flowerbed then.

I go to my locker and have a wash and change out of my layers.

Now it is time for church. I am dreading telling my friends that it is time for me to move on.
I go to church and start drinking tea, friends come over and chat, I am not the only marathon tea drinker in this place, there are at least three others.

My friend comes over and I tell her that we need to talk. I am so afraid that she will not be able to understand why I want to leave, but she hears me out and asks if I want to come and stay over today and until I go.
I agree to stay at least tonight, I think it will help.

Now it is time to go and worship, I worship in my place, sitting by the wall away from the main congregation, , it is a good service and unlike last week, I feel able to join in.

During the service my friend brings me communion bread and wine, she is crying, and it breaks my heart, I feel so guilty for having to tell her that I am going, we hug and someone else we know asks what is up and she quietly tells them.

I feel so bad that after the service as I chat to my friends I cannot bring myself to tell them that I am going.

I go back to my friends' house and go on their computer and have a bath and watch television.
We have supper and my other friend rings in case I am at a loose end out in the rain.
I am going to miss these guys so very much.

It is pouring with rain and is going to rain all night.
I am grateful for my friends and their hospitality.

I will never understand the brute stupid cruel and aggressive people on the streets, even though I have spent my whole life with them because of my own status.

Thursday, 20 September 2012

Good morning bloggys,
It is ferociously wet.

Yesterday evening I didn't want soup kitchen and the hassle from the usual suspects, so I got a cuppa from McD's and went to the station to use the loo, then I went for a tram ride seeing as nursie gave me a free day ticket earlier.

came back on the tram but one of the underworld guys was on the tram and it was not a good idea to get off the tram near where I sleep, so I went back into town and went to look for cardboard, I was surprised to see the soup run still out, and one of the regular ladies who does the soup run was there and she saw me, so I stopped to one side away from the a**holes and she brought me several cups of tea and some food.

It was cold and I couldn't find any cardboard, the bin men must have been.

I went back up to my sleeping place, to my surprise there were slabs of cardboard in the factory bin, I thought the factory was closed.

So I wandered into my sleeping place, the forecast is rain at 4am so I was expecting a shorter night.
I put my cardboard down, put my new little pillow on top of the jumpers, I am wearing the thermal vest and long sleeved top and police jumper and scarf, I get into the sleeping bag and pull the duvet over, I am warm enough but not comfortable, for some reason I am never really comfortable here even though I am warm.
I think the probably I don't feel safe here.
And part of that may be the Jamaicans who usually start shouting their pet dog or cat in at about midnight and tend to talk loudly or shout intermittently through the night as well as revving various car engines.

The night is cold but due to warm up as it clouds over and then it will rain.
I fall asleep watching clouds gradually covering the stars, but I sleep lightly and intermittently.
I wake at 3.30am, light rain is falling and making a noise in the trees, I lie there and doze until the rain gets harder, then I get up, 4.15 am, the duvet is damp not wet.
I waterproof the bedding and stash it and walk into town, 5am, I get a cuppa at McD's and walk down to the bus station to take my layers off and have a wash.

Then I go back to McD's for a cuppa and a bagel and to read the metro.

It is getting light, those sheltered in the church room porch are still sleeping, while one addict on the addicts ground is asleep with an umbrella over his head. It is too windy up the hill where I sleep to keep an umbrella up.

I go up and down on the shuttle bus while I wait for the library to open.
Normally the library opens as soon as the civic centre clock strikes, but today the clock doesn't strike, and so we are left out in the rain for an extra five minutes!

Wednesday, 19 September 2012

I went to the drop in for my weekly share of hassle.
Actually it was quite funny when I amazed one of them by telling him I lived in a drain.

The nursies were there and one of them was trying to phone up to refer me for help with exercise and diet as it has not been easy to exercise because of my legs and I have not been much in control of my diet since I have been homeless. But the place he was phoning was closed for a training day, and so we will phone again tomorrow.
I went and had lunch at the daycentre, and then went up to register with a doctor, trying to register temporarily was a disaster, so I went back to the nursies and wailed miserably at them, they are the ones who want me to be registered, so one of them took me back to the doctors on the bus and got me registered, and he let me keep the bus day ticket as well.

Then I went off to do the hateful clothes shopping.
I did it though! I managed to get jeans! and some knickers and another top identical to the one I got yesterday, and some new foam pads for my shoes as I have already killed the other ones.
There, that is my clothes shopping for a century! :/

Now I am in the library, and there is one obsturctive immigrant who seems to be making it her life's mission to get in my way and annoy me.
I forgot to say, my friend brought me a scarf this morning :) just what I needed! And she is looking for extra bedding for me, but I wont see her until Sunday now.

good morning bloggypeeps,
What a cracking morning eh Gromit? Lots of sunshine happening.

Last night I went to soup kitchen and had some tea, I saved the food they gave me and sued it as part of my pillow again, I really need to get my act together with regards to bedding!
It was a cold clear night and though I had my sleeping bag and duvet I still haven't sorted myself out for the cold yet and I had nothing to put under me on the ground, and no, the duvet needs to be on top of the sleeping bag now that the temperature is down to 4 degrees. And my neck was cold, head was ok as I was wearing a skullcap, but my neck was cold, so I slept intermittently, slept enough to wake up refreshed.

Woke up in the cold crisp early morning, depression hovered nearby but I told the depression that today is Wednesday, Tuesday and wednesday are my best days.
I got up and watered the wall and stashed the bedding, I shouldn't stash it but I hate carrying it into town.
I went to McD's for my cuppa and then went and had a wash, my jeans are full of holes and stinky! I need to get a new pair of jeans and some new pants today, I got a new black long sleeved top yesterdayand I am happy with it, my police jumper is covered in food stains, last night I wore my top and jumper but forgot my thermal top again!

I went to 8am communion with my friend, and she got me a bagel and a cuppa after that.
Then I scurried to the daycentre, hurried into the shower and got all soapy and scented, it is just my clothes that stink now!

I saw the nursies because someone had told them that my knee was being bad, I have to see the doctor and get all referred for physiotherapy.

The rough sleepers drop in is in 45 minutes and in the meantimes I am on the computer in the daycentre and everyone else has fled cos I stink, or maybe not.

Tuesday, 18 September 2012

This song reminds me of when things were terribly bad when I was in London and I was suicidal, sometimes at the moment it comforts me as well.
Those who know, this is a song about my life, it goes back to my sister trying to commit suicide on the railway that we loved when I was 8 or 9, and has always meant a lot to me.
When I die it will be my funeral song.

Hi Bloggypeeps,
I didn't go to art class this morning, not that anyone would mind.
I had a bath at my friends' house and hijacked the laptop and hoped that the headache would go.
My friends have found where to get me a new netbook cable, so I should have that soon.

We went to lunch club, and lunch club was a long lunch club today, sadly one of our members fell and broke her wrist on the way to lunch club, and my friend went to the hospital with her.

At lunch club we had a quiz, it went on for ages.
Afterwards I ended up sitting with one of the volunteers and chatting to her over a cup of tea, she said that she has a spare room if I ever need a bed.

Then I ambled up here to the library, where I live.
Good morning bloggypeeps,
I am at my friends' house, and I think living indoors should be illegal.
I came to my friends house last night after I had been in the library,
I was feeling rather stressed and fragile, yesterday was too much for me,
so I kipped down on the front room carpet,
and had a night of wierd and sad dreams and woke up too hot, too cold and with a headache.
why am I allergic to indoors? if you sleep indoors you don't have to jump up beforeit gets light in order to stay safe, you can doze away on the floor, but it is too hot indoors, even with the windows open, and it brings such sad dreams and lashbacks.

I am having a bath in a minute, the second in a week! how luxurious! :) I need to install a bath in my drain.

Monday, 17 September 2012

I went to see my psychology man.
He was very helpful as usual,
it is only early stages yet but he says he will refer me to the NHS trauma unit, he will teach me some techinques for lowering my distress levels, and he will look at referring me for some of the sports and social courses for people with difficulties. So that is all good news. Progress.
It is hard to progress when you have a noose round your neck that chokes you no matter what you do.
But while I am alive it is instinct to keep trying.

In answer to someone's question why I have to come back to this city when I don't sleep so well here, all of the description above is the reason. I need that help and I have not been able to access it elsewhere despite nearly killing myself trying.

With regards to the college for the disabled, I am going to see if they will admit me in January if it is going to be possible for me to go, that will allow time to overcome obstacles and start to overcome my phobia of indoors. I may go for a residential assessment there sooner if they are willing to admit me, this will allow them to assess my disabilities and see what support I will need.

Anyway, I just had a cuppa in the noisy cafe, which was a mistake, too stressful.

Earlier I had a cuppa at the church and a chat to the nice verger, he calls me 'princess', but no-one could be further from being a princess than me. :)

I forgot something about yesterday.
As I was coming out of the bus station after my wash, someone said 'excuse me' but I didn't think they were talking to me, so I walked on, but they said it again and came after me.

I realised that it was John, a man who lives in a little flat and is part of the underworld because he has problems and lives in poverty. ('the underworld in my world means the homeless and the poor and ill people who are housed but are as if they are homeless due to poverty or illness).

John told me that my friend 'whatsername' was staying at his flat and that I could go and see her if I wanted to as he was off to another city to deal with family issues.

I realised he said 'excuse me' because he couldn't remember my name any more than he could remember my friend's name, we are just nameless females who wander in and out of his flat with no hanky panky and we tidy his flat for him, my friend who is at his flat is the homeless girl who has a cleaning obsession, and he doesn't know how to clean or look after his flat so her company is obviously beneficial to him, though he may be fleeing because he untidies as she tidies and makes her impatient.

He lights a cigarette and I remind him not to let the smoke get me, he obligingly moves off and walks in circles as he talks, he tells me he has just come to his senses and realises how much hurt and harm he has done while he has been ill, I think his illness is some serious mental illness, he tells me he is broken and suicidal to come to his senses and realise he has hurt people.
I tell him that whatever he did while he was ill was not his fault. But he doesn't want to believe me.

He runs off to catch his coach and I realise that I am not sure if I remember his flat number anyway, so I am not sure I will be going up there and disturbing the blissful cleaning fest by putting the kettle on!

Anyway, today I went to the college with my pal, he didn't bring the dog in case he had to leave it in the car for a while and it is a hot day.

The college is nice, it is residential and if I go there I can have hydrotherapy pool twice a week. :) that will help my legs.
I liked the college, but would be a big challenge and there are obstacles, I ended up crying my eyes out in the car park, with my pal trying to encourage me.
I haven't said no to college and they are apparently willing to offer me a residential assessment, but I feel so hopeless and useless about it.

We came back to the city, but I havenn't stopped crying, the memories and distresses being triggered are horrendous.

I went to the daycentre and ate some lunch vaguely and read my book vaguely and talked to the staff vaguely, and in half an hour I will be going to see the therapy man. Oh what fun! :( God I feel awful.

Good morning bloggypeeps,
I am just having a quick hijack of a library computer before I go with my pal to the disabled college to look round.
I am going in his car and we are taking the dog along for a walk. I am worried in case my clothes smell in the car, I have washed them down with deodorant as best I can.

Yesterday afternoon I made new friends. These were the people who took me home for lunch, they are a young married couple from church, I have known the women for a while but have only just met her husband, they are very nice quiet people, my type.
We had a good lunch, and they are avid tea drinkers so that was good.
We also had some interesting things with our lunch such as cactus juice, which they got just for the novelty of it.
They have two georgeous cats and one of the cats loves to play, so I was happy to play with the cat.

I also had a luxurious bath and washed my hair while I was there, and they dropped me off at evening outreach with some home made biscuits and we exchanged phone numbers.

Evening outreach was quiet and felt a bit hot and claustrophobic for me, I was deeply depressed yesterday, suicidally depressed, though I refuse to let myself attempt suicide, sometimes the memories and flashbacks overwhelm me and I just want to die.
Anyway, I chatted with the staff at outreach, and my pal in the kitchen was overwhelming me with tea and explaining to the volunteer who he was training that 'they have to look after me' because I am a 'star', haha, he told them how he came to soup kitchen to stop the guys from hassling me one time when I was stressed. He is nice, so he is entitled to his macho talk.

Anyway, because I have already had a bath and I had some toast and tea, and I can't really talk to the staff, so I wander off.
My church is still having a long-drawn-out evening service, so I go and join in, after the service I end up talking to a few people, two of the shy young men come and chat just generally, catching up, and then one of the other young men comes to talk to me, and he is good to talk to because he isn't too shy or embarrassed, he is quite good at conversation, whereas the others struggle because I am not good at conversation, this chap makes conversation so easy and it helps to cheer me up.
Then two girls, one a friend and who I haven't met before come and talk to me, this also cheers me up. It is nice to know such nice people and just talk, it distracts me, hearing about other people's lives and just making conversation.

Then it is time for me to sort out my bedding, it is getting late, I have to go to the cash point, get money, and get change, then I can open the locker and get my bedding, I am so tired, I get the tram part way, it is raining lightly, has been for hours but it was supposed to stop earlier.
So I get my polystyrene and bed down, and sleep, I sleep all night and wake in the dark thinking I have woken too early again but am relieved to see that I have woken only three minutes before my alarm clock.

I stash the bedding, I almost accidentally stashed it down the badger's sett, I think the badgers would like a soft duvet but I realise in time and grab it back. I am taking a risk stashing anything because it can go missing here.

I walk into town, it is a bright, mild morning, I get a bagel and a cup of tea with my stickers, read the Metro, have a wash, shuttle up and down on the free bus and then here I am.

Sunday, 16 September 2012

I forgot to include my weather update in the last post.
Last night was mild and cloudy with no rain, which helped with peaceful sleep, though there was a cold breeze, and today and tonight are the same, mild and cloudy.
It is dropping down towards winter now though, and even mild can be cold.
Hello Bloggypeeps.

I don't always get computer access on a Sunday, which is ok, Sunday is a church day, but today I am at someone's house, merrily hijacking their laptop.

Yesterday there were people in town doing a petition, they fed me cookies and asked if I would sign the petition, so I did, and they gave me the stickers off their McD's cups so I had enough for a cuppa.

After the library closed I wandered around feeling dopey and achey, and finally got some lunch, at 4.30pm, then I went to my main church and no one was there, so I sat down in a sheltered corner behind the church and dozed off. I slept for an hour and woke up with an hour to kill until the evening outreach.

I got a tea with my stickers and sat in McD's for a while.
When I got to the outreach I was first on the shower list, but my friend from the kitchen nipped in to have a shower first, and so I had my supper, they call it stew but we call it something else, at least there was plenty of tea and bread.

Then I had my shower and became blissfully clean and scented.
The others all play bingo on saturday but I sit and drink tea and read books.
It was fairly quiet, a few immigrants playing pool, a few travellers and assorted people with assorted problems, two old men having a quiet and respectful conversation, no quarrels or anyone really drunk or high, for a change.

A lot of people left early, including me, I was too tired to stay late, and by the time I had got my bags and climbed the hill I was exhausted, I could hear snoring from the immigrant den as I bedded down as usual in my drain and was fast asleep immediately.
I woke at 4am, my dreams had upset me so much that I was crying, which is rare, I got up and went to the toilet, but the dreams had upset me too much and I couldn't settle back to sleep, so I got up and moved out quietly so as not to wake the immigrants.

Going into town was the usual fight against waves of drunken revellers, just as getting out of town was last night, I have nothing against them, they drop money sometimes, but I am grateful if they don't hassle me.
There were two drunk lads who were determined in their drunkenness to have a polite conversation with me, hehe, I like cheeky drunk people as long as they behave, these lads said 'Good evening' as they wandered on, I laughed because it was 5am and I wondered if they realised that.

I went to the lockers and stashed my bedding and thankfully used the loo.
Another night safely over.

Then I went back to McD's for a cup of tea, as usual there are drunk people larking about in there, and a sober van driver laughing at them.
I am getting much too used to these early hours and drunk people!

6am, the church gates are open, so I go and doze in the corner where I was yesterday, funny that I always sleep for exactly an hour here.

7am, I return to McD's for another cuppa, how predictable I am.

8am, time for early communion at church with my friend and breakfast with her at McD's afterwards.
We sit and talk about the streets of London from a homeless and non-homeless perspective and are surprised how much we see as similar.

Then I went to see if my shouty friends were out, but due to the RAF parades they were not, the shouty people are evangelists who jump up on the flowerbeds and preach very loudly, they are the only evangelists I have ever got on with, they actually do some good sound preaching.

Then I go and have a quick wash and exchange my dirty jumper for a clean teeshirt and jacket and head for church, my trousers are in a bad way but I have no spares so I just spray them with deodorant.

I am still feeling a bit off colour so my big noisy church is almost too much of an ordeal, and I strugle but survive.

Afterwards I sit on the wall and watch the traffic, Sunday traffic is all about angry drivers hooting and yelling, but some people from church come along and invite me back for lunch, and here I am hijacking their laptop.

Saturday, 15 September 2012

For those of you who are switching from the old blog to the new, I will not be mentioning flashbacks and dreams so much in this blog, they are still very much present but this blog is almost purely about survival on the streets, less about the traumas.

Good morning bloggypeeps.

Yesterday I stayed in the library and got some writing done etc.
The library closes early on a Friday, so I went to the railways station, I have a train addiction, a railway addiction and occasionally I need a fix.
So I had a short chug along the line to a nearby town, and decided that that town is ready for demolition, and so I came back.

As soon as I got back it was time for the soup run, the Friday soup run is the best one of the week, usually there are a lot of nice pastoral people and good food and chocolate and toiletries.
And yeah, it was ok today but not outstanding, I drank lots of tea and then wandered off after being prayed for because I am still not well, and the painkillers are making me a bit woozy and out of it.

I got my bags and went up to my drain, I went part way by tram and was fascinated to find that I can play my little computer game better than ever while I am in a painkiller trance, I set a new high score!
It is a cold night, fairly clear with fluffy clouds rushing about.

I realised I had forgotten my thermal vest and skull cap. but I think that if I get too cold I will put on a spare jumper from my 'pillow'.
I find a sheet of polystyrene which will just about help to keep my back and head warmer.

I take a painkiller and bed down in my sleeping bag, jumpers as a pillow, polystyrene as a part mattress, and the duvet over me, the problem with the duvet is that it is white, and normally I am hidden in the shadows of the drain but now with a white duvet I am not so well hidden, I will have to get a duvet cover :)

I sleep, until 3am, and as usual this mystery wakening puzzles me, I get up and make a bit of a hash up of going to the toilet and then I lie down again, the voices nearby are those of the Jamaicans over the road, they never bother me, they don't jump the wall, well one of them did once but he simply apologized when he realised he had disturbed me.

It is cold but I am warm enough, I doze off eventually, and dream sadly of my family, my sister, it is funny how she is often in my dreams, a year older than me, she resented me and made life miserable for me for coming along when she was still a baby herself and taking all the attention, she and I were forced to share a room always and so despite never being close as sisters, we were physically always close in the same room, and so she often haunts my sleep.

I wake with the alarm and doze again, it is Saturday and the sky is blue with fluffy cloud, the cockerel is crowing and the air is crisp and cold, it is actually 6.40 before I move out, which is late for me but I can get away with it on Saturdays, and I go down to the graveyard to pee because there are immigrants sleeping nearby and I need privacy.

I get on a nice clangy tram and ride down to the other side of town to drop my bedding off in a locker.
I am very fond of the trams, they are my noisy giant pet caterpillars and I love watching them zoom down the hill as if they are about to be overtaken by their tails and I always thing they huff crossly at me when I scoot accross the tram lines. I rarely get trams, but because I am not as energetic as usual it helps me.

I go to the lockers and sort my things out and take my medicines as I sort. I sort out a day bag with snacks and toiletries and my computer equipment.

7.40am, wow, time is flying, off I go to McD's for breakfast, a bagel with philadelphia light and a cup of tea, I sit and try to use my netbook, but the cable is truly knackered now, I manage to get the netbook to work for long enough to transfer my writing to a USB stick so I can continue the writing in the library or daycentre on the computers there.

Then I stand on the steps and nosily watch the world, the world nervously watches me back, including a random man with a Bible who is walking along the gate and a new homeless man who is wearing sandals! homeless people do not wear sandals, I must send him a penalty ticket.

8.15am, I go to poundland to get deodorant and mouthwash.
A man comes past, schitzophrenia or drug use, he is angrily saying 'what is the point of good teeth if you have a lobotomy?' he reminds me of my pal 'Natter' when he was complaining that there is too much mustard in the world, I am not laughing at these people but the things they say can be startlingly funny.

Time wanders by and I wait for the library to open, when it does I have my wash in the toilets, change my socks and underwear and feel so much better for that.

The library is my office, it is where I live a lot of the time, it's a pity that my office couldn't be more private though, the whole world lives in the library, particulalry ex-cons and people with drink and drug problems, because everyone is allowed in the library, it is one of few places that released sex offenders can hang out as well, so it can be a bit uncomfortable sometimes, especially when people incorrectly try to tell me that my computer is booked to them, and they stand over me when I am working, the computer system is foolproof and a computer cannot be booked to two people at once.

Anyway, enough of the whingeing, what do I do in the library anyway, well I have this book to write, so I do that, I can do letters and emails, I go on facebook, I go on the prayer forum, I can study online or apply for courses online, etc etc. And every so often i can get a drink from the vending machine, only 40p.

The daycentre is closed at the weekend but there is three hours of outreach on weekend evenings, this is presumably to keep us lot out of the pubs and clubs, but actually it means I rarely get to church on a Sunday evening, but the three hours means I will get a shower this evening and some supper, and I like the evening outreach, I can read and drink tea there.

By the way, I am not addicted to painkillers, I use a low dose as necessary and I hope to be off them again within the next few days.

Speak to you later bloggypeeps.

Friday, 14 September 2012

Hello bloggypeeps.

It is Friday.

I missed two things out yesterday, the police did tell the outreach who did tell the daycentre that I had been sleeping down there where the addicts sleep. I think the daycentre would have been surprised as I am always way out of range of any addicts or police or outreach, so I explained to them what and why.

The other thing was that I saw the junior homeless nurse and he did some routine checks. But it is the other nurse, who I saw today who is the one who can help.

After I left the daycentre I went to church to see if there was a cuppa, but no one was around and I felt so ill, I went outside and a text came through from a friend asking how things were, I told her, and she asked if I wanted to stay over at their house, I said yes please, and so she said 'come after 7pm.'

I spent some time in the library and wandering around, this illness makes me a bit confused and clumsy and hot, so I wander about outdoors and bumpinto things.

Eventually it is time for me to catch the bus, and I go to my friends' house, I have a cuppa and we chat and then I go to sleep on their front room floor, which is where I sleep because sleeping in a bed aggravates my injuries and can leave me in bad pain, and I am already in pain.
I have the windows open and I can hear the rain and wind howling outside, it would have been another bad night if I had stayed out.

I sleep a straight 12 hours from 9pm to 9am, only waking to tell my alarm to be quiet, I forgot it was set and the phone is charging just behind my head.

Being indoors I always wake up feeling hot and dry and with the maddest hair possible from rolling about in the night, it makes my friend laugh.
I also suffer flashbacks and despair when I wake up in a house, but today is not too bad, i try to squash the memories as best I can.

My friend does me some tea and toast, and I check my emails as she has a bath, then I have a bath, and then we have another cuppa and she drops me off in town as I want to see the nursie.

My friends had been storing some things for me and I take those things to a locker when we arrive in town, I am now using two lockers, that is rather too much for someone who is happy because she owns nothing! so I vow to sort my things out later.

I go to the daycentre, the junior nurse is there but he phones the senior nurse who is only just up the road, and the senior nurse comes to the daycentre while the staff joke about me needing two nurses to hold me down! :)
The senior nurse is an exceptionally skilled and knowledgable man, better than any doctor I have ever met, and it never ceases to surprise me that he does the work he does, when he could so easily be holding a much higher position elsewhere, but I have an inkling that he may be a Christian and that may be why he does this work. His female collegue who I chat with is a Christian, but she is off for three weeks now because she is getting married. :)

Anyway, I talk things through with the nurse, he prescribes my necessary meds and painkillers, so now I will start getting better, I shouldn't have been taking over-the-counter NSAIDs anyway, they are the only ones that help with the pain but they also impact badly on my other problems such as the asthma and internal injuries, potentially harmful.
He also delights my heart by saying we may be able to lower my dose of asthma meds, I have been on a strong steroid and long acting reliever combination for some time and I believe it is bad for me and my peak flow has improved so a lower dose would be good.
There, that's bored you with the meddyfacts.

The daycentre is quiet, I chat to the staff, I always like chatting to them, and I have a cuppa and read my book, there is one immigrant who likes to torment me, and as I sit next to where someone's dog is tethered, the immigrant and I are telling the dog to savage each other and this is funny because the dog is a dopey old thing and the lady at the desk wonders what we are doing because she can't see the dog from the desk but can only hear us saying 'kill, kill' to it!

Lunchtime, some boring chips and some delicious pasta bake, yummy. One of the other female clients has brought some yogurts in from the other daycentre and a member of staff comes to join us and we make him feel ill by talking about medical things to him because she has recently had a suspected blood clot.

After lunch the daycentre closes, this is due to lack of funding and is the same in most towns now, it is good in a way because it encourages independence.

I go to church and light a candle, I don't stop to ask for a cuppa, I go to pick up my meds. Nursie has prescribed 100 painkiller tabs! so he obviously thinks I'm safe and stable, good, I am.

I go and get a nice cuppa and take my meds, oh the relief! I then go to my lockers and merge my stuff into one of the big lockers, cant afford that for long.
I rub menthol on my aches as well, and get the things I need for the rest of the day, and then off I shuttle to the library.
My friends have family staying for a few days now, so I am back out on the streets but I can afford to get to my  remote sleeping places where I will be less vulnerable.

Thursday, 13 September 2012

Yesterday evening I was supposed to be going to a church meeting at 8pm, but soup kitchen is also around that time, so I sent a message to the meeting saying I may be late, they were ok with that.

soup kitchen was early and so I walked to the meeting drinking my tea and eating my supper.

During the meeting I felt really ill, more and more ill and unable to concentrate, well, three nights with barely any sleep would do that, and the other problem is that my insides are raw and I am out of medicine, and trying to take painkillers for the headache makes my insides scream.

I have to slip out of the meeting halfway, I feel really bad about it.
I don't know what to do, no money left.
so I sit in the warmth of the bus station and formulate a plan, my bedding is in my locker and if I open the locker I will lose my last pound and not be able to keep anything in the locker overnight, and that means carrying a heavy load around with me, there is no way I am going to get up the hill to my sleeping place.

I decide to sleep nearby on the ground where the addicts and alcoholics use and sleep. Sounds crazy but actually I do know what I am doing.
I get my heavy baggage out of the locker and go through my things, I throw away a lot of my food parcels tins and things I cannot use immediately, it's a waste but I am in immediate crisis and I cannot carry everything without compromising my health more.
I find some pain relief cream and rub it into the pain, that helps without upsetting my stomach more as the painkillers earlier did.

I end up with just the heavy backpack and two bedding bags.

As I start walking I meet one of our church leaders who wasn't at the meeting earlier and he says he will explain to them why I left, and he promises to keep me in his prayers.

I go to the place where I am going to sleep, it is an old churchyard, people sleep there because it doesn't disturb anyone.
I choose a dark corner, it is well within screaming distance of a busy road and pavement but despite it having a bad name, I have a feeling I will be ok here, the other people who sleep here sometimes usually arrive and fall down in a stupor over on the slope.
this is a risk, I have lost my charger so my phone is dead, so will be a question of yelling if I need help.

In my dark clothes and skullcap I look like a man anyway. I put my thermal vest on under my jumper.
I put my backpack down alongside me, between me and the wall, then I get into my sleeping bag and use the extra jumpers as a pillow and put the duvet over the sleeping bag, how highly cosy! My backpack is under the duvet with me and so it looks like myself and my bag are a couple sleeping side by side under the duvet, and no one in their right mind disturbs a couple of rough sleepers.

I sleep, thankfully, gratefully, but probably not very deeply, I am in pain even in my sleep.
I wake in the dark early morning, needing the loo, there is a rough sleeper on the slope nearby but he is far enough away for me to have privacy. I have one of those little devices that allows me to pee standing up and descreetly, so he won't know I'm a girl as I water the wall, he starts snoring anyway, so I lie down again and try to sleep, I doze lightly and I am in pain, then as I drift off I hear voices, not the schitzoprhenic type! It is two police officers questioning the rough sleeper, he says something about a 'bloke over there' and gestures in the direction of my corner, the police come over to me and tell me that they are just doing a check on rough sleepers for the outreach, (lazy outreach! they are meant to be out here themselves!), the police take my details and shine their torches away from me when I whimper about the light hurting my eyes, police torches are very bright.
I ask the police what the time is, and they say 5.30, and I say that it is nearly time for me to get up anyway.
They wish me well and wander off.
It is the first time in my years that the police have found me rough sleeping, I would not normally sleep were I have just slept, my sleeping places are unique, hidden and out of town, sleeping here was because it was a crisis situation, but even so, they don't move people on from here, they were simply seeing who is out and who is vulnerable and who needs help, and I am already registered with the outreach here and engaging with anyone who cares to help me, so there is no problem.

I get up, the other guy is snoring again. I don't mind that the police woke me, my money is in the account this morning and what more delightful waking up can you have than two hunky poliss offissas giving you their undivided attention before you go for a long and luxurious cup of tea in McD's? :) Especially as my phone battery is dead so my alarm wasn't going to wake me.

So the day starts on a more cheerful note, I have slept, a bit, I have stayed safe, I have money and I will have a cuppa.

I get some money and I sit in McD's and drink tea and use up the battery on my netbook by doing some writing. I also briefly charge my phone in there, this phone is useless for battery, runs out all the time. I take painkillers and am surprised to find that they do not upset my insides and they do help.

I see a trail of rough sleepers wandeing down the church steps, the police car is outside, sometimes the police move that lot on if they misbehave, or sometimes they run off when the police arrive because they don't speak much english between them and probably don't know what to do when they see the police car?

I get a copy of the Metro and read that over a coffee that I get with my stickers.
Then I take all my luggage and stow it in a locker, yay!

I go to the pound stores and get new knickers and socks, foam pads for my shoes, and medicines that will help me feel better until I get my prescription meds tomorrow, I ran out :( stupid me.

I don't feel like going to the library, I stay in the shopping centre and drift, physically and mentally.

Then it is daycentre time, and I stagger in there.
The staff book me in for a shower and take me for my shower before breakfast, but there is a gatecrasher, someone who is not on the list and shouldn't be in the shower, so I have to wait until after breakfast, it kind of throws us all off balance, the shower rules are strict and usually I am first. The person in there shouldn't be there.

I am not hungry but I have breakfast, my friend in the kitchen has found me a new mug, it is so big that some people say it is a potty, we fill it up with tea and wow, what a lot of tea!

Then I get my shower, and as soon as I come out I go into a daycentre users meeting.

The meeting is positive.
Then when I get back downstairs and start reading I am told there is a letter for me, it is a benefits letter, and nothing remarkable, I end up discussing benefits and work and things for ages with a member of staff, it is nice to chat sometimes.

Then I escaped from the daycentre, back into the wild.

Wednesday, 12 September 2012

A tired few days

Here goes with the new blog, I will start on Saturday night.
saturday night, lying in the corner of the wall looking at the stars before I fall asleep.
The more I look at the stars, the more the sky seems to grow and the stars multiply.
Then I say a prayer of protection and I sleep.

I wake up at 5.15am as my alarm goes off,  I silence the alarm, check that I am safe and thank God, and I lie there dozing until 6am, thankfully without severe flashbacks, then I get up and sort my luggage out and head for McD's, it is another beautiful morning, just getting light and the air is clean and fresh.
at McD's I get a cup of tea and a bagel, this is my breakfast when I can afford it.
I sit upstairs in McD's and write until the little machine runs out of battery and then I go to the toilets for a wash, which consists of wet wipes, mouthwash, deodorant, toothbrush and paste, all the usual things, and a change of socks and underwear, though I can do very little about my trousers, they stink.

It is time for 8am communion.
I like this service because it is quiet.
Someone kindly makes me a cup of tea when they see me come in before the service starts.
The service itself is uplifting, a good start to what it going to be a long day.

After the service I am also allowed to make myself a coffee, and between the 8am and 9.30 services several people talk to me, I am still a bit surprised because people are so nice to me, it is still hard for me to believe that people can be nice, because of all the terrible things that remain in my memory of not so long ago, when things were bad and people were so hurtful.

I walk down to the other church for the main morning service, and again I am welcomed kindly to the main morning service, though there is sad news of the death of one of the congregation, which puts an air of sadness on the service.

everyone is so nice that again I am surprised, there is coffee and cake after the service, and then it is time to say goodbye and I am off to the railway station.

I get my bags out of a bush on the way, I am carrying a heavy load, two bags and my backpack.
I get the train and am warned it is going to be a long hard journey, there is engineering work on the line and part of the journey is by bus.

I have snacks with me that I have been given, but I have nothing to drink, I had no time to sort out a bottle of water, so I look in the train bins, find an old bottle and fill it with tap water, not tasty but prevents dehydration. It is so hot on the train.

I love travelling but because of the agorophobia it is also terrifying for me, this journey is no exception and I walk up and down the train, but on the bus part of the journey I have no option but to sit crammed in like a sardine.
After 3 hours and 40 minutes the train pulls into London.
London is my idea of a nightmare, when I left the streets of London I vowed never to return to them.

I struggle through the crowds and try to adjust, I know that I will adjust somewhat but I feel vulnerable carrying all my luggage, too hot and tired.

I use my last bit of change at the cheap cup of tea stall and gratefully drink my tea, then I have to work out how to cross London, I have £20 in my Post office account but the cash machine was broken where I set off from and there are no PO cash machines here in central London, I can look for a dropped travel card, which I often used to find, or I can walk accross London.

I find no travel cards or valid tickets, so I start trying to walk.

Unfortunately I quickly realise that I wont make it however hard I try. And I don't want to sleep rough in this part of London when I am feeling ill.
I get as far as a corner where some stewards are, they are there to help direct people who are here for the paralympics, I ask the steward if I can sit for a while and he says yes, so I feel safer, he chats to me and asks if I am feeling dizzy, I tell him that I am and that I am asthmatic and not breathing well, I take my inhaler and he gets me a bottle of water, then he looks at my bags and asks if I am a rough sleeper, I tell him that I am and that I was trying to cross London and cannot make it.
He gets his rucksack and fishes out a squashed sandwich and some snacks, and asks his colleague if they have any left over food or water, they do, and so I sit and eat and drink and I start to feel a bit better.

When I feel able to, I get up and thank them and they wish me well, I start to walk back towards the station, and I feel sick and tired again, I sit down and I vomit all the food.
Thankfully I don't choke, and so I wash the vomit away with water and disinfectant and wait to feel better, when i do I get up and start walking again.

I walk through the square and see homeless people in every corner, every porch, every few yards, I can't see anyone I know, a big issue seller turns to me, about to shout his pitch, realises I am not a customer and sheepishly turns away.
I walk up the steps but I see no point, the people in this cathedral treat us all as a nuisance, the cross I wear and the fact that I only want prayer will make no difference, so I slip in and light a candle, bless myself and go back out without speaking to anyone.
A steward comes out and tries to drive the Big Issue seller away.
I walk back to the station.

There are no dropped tickets but there is a pound coin on the floor, treasure hunting the big stations never comes up with nothing.
I walk up and down, more and more tired and unsure what to do, so I text a few of my christian friends and ask for parayer.

It is getting late and I will miss the last train.
I remember Phil getting me through the barrier with no ticket when he explained to the operator that I was homeless in the bad weather and neither of us had money but he had a freedom pass and he wanted to get me to his house, how they simply praised him and let us through.
I walk up to the barrier and ask the operator if they can help me because it is a difficult situation, she sends me to see the supervisor, and at first he seems annoyed and skeptical, and I don't blame him, but he checks my ID and background and disabilities and phones control to have me let through and I will send them the money on Thursday.
I get there in time, leap aboard a train and off it goes, thankfully it is a train that has opening windows, and so I stay in the corridor with my head out the window, my luggage is safely stowed and I have water and snacks that the stewards gave me, they had nearly finished their shift and assured me that they had been given loads of food, so I feel ok with that.

It gets dark and I enjoy being on the train, it is another long journey and at one point I have to change trains.
Eventually, at nearly 10pm, we arrive.
I put my bags except my bedding bag in the locker, using the pound I found, and then I stagger up the hill, into my drain, and I lie down to sleep.

The wind is howling and roaring, all night it blows through my bedding so that I cannot warm up or sleep.

At 5.15 on monday morning when the alarm goes off, I stay lying there, resting but not sleeping, until 6am, then I head down the hill, I get some money from the cashpoint, and I get a bagel and a cuppa at McD's.

I sit  in McD's reading the Metro, and let time pass, then I go and have a quick wash as I will shower later, then I go and catch the free shuttle bus and buzz round town until the library opens.
In the library I check my emails and do some reading, then it is time to go to the daycentre.

I go to the daycentre and sign in, no one makes a fuss to see me, which is ok, the place is nearly deserted because of an event in town.
I am first on the shower list, and before the kitchen even opens I am in the shower, using lots of shower gel and conditioner and soap.
Then I go to the kitchen for my big mug of tea. my friend who works in the kitchen goes through a lot of expressions and splutters when I walk in, then he demands an explanation for my latest absence.
The barber is in, and despite really being there to do the mens' hair, he did such a good job of my hair last time that I ask if he can do it again, and he obliges, he is a nice old fashioned gentleman, and though he claims to be nervous of doing ladies' hair, he shapes and layers and thins my hair brilliantly and I feel amazing when I see it in the mirror.
Then I ask the staff if there are any clean socks or pants I can have, and there are, so I change.
I head out of the daycentre as it is not good to spend too much time sitting around in there.

I walk into the church, my friend is sitting there, she has been homeless longer than I have, but she is clean and well spoken and polite.
She demands to know where I have been for so long and says she thought I had been back in hospital, and I remind her that she was missing for three weeks before I left, she tells me she was blitzing someone's flat, she compulsively cleans houses and flats for people, it's an obsession.

She goes to ask the verger for a cup of tea for us both, and then goes to the loo, the verger comes out with the tea and kindly welcomes me back.

I sit and drink tea with my friend, and then I head to the library and answer and write emails about meetings and boring stuff until the end of the day, as usual.
The weather forecast is bad.

In the square there are homeless people and a few youngsters playing guitars and chatting, I wait for it to get dark and then I walk up the hill and go to my sleeping place, I am deathly tired and the wind howls but I doze, then I get up and move to the trees to shelter, the zip on the sleeping bag is broken and the blanket hardly helps, at 1am the wind dies down and it starts to rain torrentially, the trees don't protect me, so I get up, my bedding is soaked so I dump it.

I walk into town and go to McD's for a hot drink.

McD's is full of drunk people, which is usual for the 24 hour McD's, they take ages to order and they clog up the counter, but I manage to get my cup of tea.

as I add the milk and sugar I am approached by a woman who claims that her car has broken down and that she needs a few quid to go and get petrol.
I wish these addicts would give it up, their stories are so inconsistent, she is pretending to be honest by showing me a council bus pass as ID, but you are not allowed a disabled bus pass if you have a car, and why would you be in town in the middle of the night with a car with no petrol? she looks and sounds like an addict, and her partner does too.
I tell her I'm homeless, I don't say anything more, and she turns away. They target lone females, and they know that if they claim to be homeless and hungry then people will usually offer them food, not money, hence the silly car story.

I go back out into the rain, I go to the lockers and the toilet and put my bag in the locker and dry my hair a bit.
The bus station is warm and bright and busy and a number of people are sleeping as they wait for their buses and coaches.
I am tempted to sleep here but I am too hot and I don't want to chance being told off, because the staff here know me, not that they have ever told me off, but who knows?

2am, you have to think of it as only three or four hours until morning.

I vomit some of the tea I just drank, then I'm hungry.
I use my last pound to get a cheeseburger from the equally clogged McD's up the hill, the security guard looks at me and looks concerned but says nothing, he can see I am not one of the drunks.

I go back out and I find a pound lying on the ground in the wet, wow, a cup of tea!

I walk accross the square, treasure hunting for coins and interesting things, there is nothing, a drunk man stops and asks me what the marquee in the square is for, I tell him it is an art exhibition and he wanders off again.

One of the alcoholics is asleep in a doorway, no blankets, no covering. He will be dead if does that much longer.

There is only one in the church room doorway, the only decent shelter in town, I climb up and sit in the church porch, it is small and uncomfortable but I may be able to doze.
sometimes this small uncomfortable porch is occupied at night, but not tonight, I watch another drunk homeless man stagger up the road and I hope he doesn't want the porch, it's ok, he doesn't.

I close my eyes but I can't even doze. I remember sitting here once and dozing in despair one afternoon, hungry, tired and hopeless, and I remember Chris coming and waking me up 'you 'omeless?' he asked gruffly, I replied that I was, and he imvited me to sit with 'him and his friend', both rough sleepers, and since they were obviously clean and quiet I did, he introduced me to his friend Gerald, and Gerald handed me a sandwich and we all went to McD's for a cuppa, I remember sitting there, all struggling to communicate, Chris only spoke softly, so did I, I am a bit deaf, and Gerald isn't English, so we struggled to communicate, managed to communicate, and became friends.
Then one day Chris felt sad and tired and asked the outreach to help him get home to his home town, and they did, Gerald was ill a lot and finally moved into his friend's flat.
so here I am alone in the same doorway.

3.30am, no sleep.
I went into McD's and asked for a cuppa, the guy tells me that they are only doing take outs, no dine in, but the security gaurd pokes his head round the corner and tells the assistant to let me sit in, I am very grateful for this.
I sit in and turn my little computer on and write a few pages of work and drink my tea, then I check my various websites and emails and post a prayer on the forum, a prayer for sleep!

4.45, time to go, the battery on the computer is dead, there is a woman crying on the wall, she doesn't seem drunk or anything, I ask if she is alright and she says she is ok so I assume she wants to be left alone and I leave her alone.

I walk down to the bus station, the overnight travellers are sprawled everywhere in the warm bright bus station, I sit down, the next thing I know it is 7.10am and no-one has hassled me as I slept, the place is getting busy, the driver of the free shuttle bus is walking over to the bus and I stagger after him and get the free bus.

I shuttle up and down town until the library opens, and then it is daycentre time.

At  the daycentre I tell them about my wet bedding and they show me some spare duvets and say I can have one, then to my surprise they find me a sleeping bag instead, usually sleeping bags are spoken for the minute they arrive at the centre, they are in high demand.
The daycentre staff also give me some meal tokens on credit, I paid them faithfully last time so it seems to be ok. Meal tokens mean I can get breakfast or lunch here for free. But I will pay for them when I get my next lot of money.

I have a shower and then immerse myself in art class, which is all paint and pastels and banter, I don't produce any quality art but I enjoy myself, and we get a cup of tea as we work.

Then I hurry off to join my friends at lunch club, it is nice to be there and talk to everyone, it is a bit overwhelming at first but I settle back into it, I wish I wasn't so tired.

We have a nice lunch and then they hand me a food parcel, oh I am spoiled, there are packets of chocolates in it!
My friend gives me some pound coins for the lockers so I can store everything.

Then I go back up to the church.
One of the vergers is there, I expect him to be a bit grumpy but he says to me 'what is it? tea? two sugars?' I say yes please. Sometimes when several of us come in he says 'you are all having tea with two sugars, like it or lump it,if you don't like it, tough!'

He gets my tea, and a friend who is sitting in church comes to talk to me, then we are joined by the other verger, a very nice man, and we sit and chatter.

Then I go to the library to do my writing and reading.

The library closes at 7pm and so there is an hour's wait until the 'basic' soup run.
I have a poorly tummy so I spend a lot of that time in the bathroom!

Cold  clear evening, waiting for soup run, some chavs start playing with a football and hitting everyone and everything with it, how annoying.
Basic soup run comes, and is quite good, they have a lot of food and they are determined to give me more than I can use, too many sandwiches or too much fruit is no good because it spoils easily or attracts rats before I can eat it all, and I have meal tokens for the next day anyway.

I go back to my sleeping place, but there are too many people around, so I walk and look at other sleeping places, there is nothing much available, I walk through the huge dark graveyard, miles of it, I keep losing my way in the dark among the crowded graves, the only other person out there is a shaven headed man with a pit bull type dog, he moves off when he sees me, maybe he thinks I am a ghost.
On such a cold night the graveyard is not going to provide anything sheltered enough or dry enough to sleep in or on or near, and most of it is not safe enough, I only sleep within earshot and reach of help in case I am attacked, and the only places in this graveyard that fit the criteria are too vulnerable.

The walls of the graveyard creak as I walk past, and I stumble on tree roots in the pitch black, I lose my way and wonder how I will get out because I am getting too tired, I start singing 'Guide me O Thou Great Redeemer' as I wander through the dark and within minutes the streetlights are shining on me and I am back alongside the road, I see the man with the dog again, he doesn't look homeless but as he disappears among the graves yet again I wonder if he is the ghost here.

I walk back up to my sleeping place, after dealing with my upset stomach again.
I jump into the drain and bed down as it is now safe, but I have forgotten to get cardboard and pillow material, so I am not comfortable, I use my soup kitchen food parcel as a pillow as I hardly ate anything.

It is cold, too cold to bed down with just a sleeping bag, so I spend another fairly wakeful night, this time I sleep lightly some of the time but I wake up aching with cold and tension at the usual time.

I head into town, no money so I sit in the bus station and drink some cartons and eat snacks, then I go to the ladies, and then I head for church.

7.50amMy friend is buying matches at the stall, I say hello to her and she tells me she needs matches in case there are no candles lit in church. We go into church and join the communion service, then as we walk out and are discussing how I get my laundry done, the vicar stops for a chat and wants our opinion of changing the service times.
Then my friend comes to McD's with me, she has an appointment but she wants to get me some breakfast, she gets me a breakfast wrap and a tea, I have never had a wrap before so I am curious about it, my friend goes off to her appointment and I go to the daycentre and ask if I can dash into the shower and have a quick shower before I have to go to the jobcentre.
They allow that, and I hurry off to the jobcentre, nice and clean.

I arrive at the jobcentre and am surprised at the crowds, the centre was meant to open at 9, but because of a big meeting, they are opening at 10 instead, I try to stay out of the crush and am very relieved when my pal who works there comes to get me and leads me through the crowds to his office. He knows I don't like crowds.
We talk about a few things and we arrange to go and view a college that we are both interested in me attending.
Then off I go back to the daycentre, back to my book, my friend pokes his head round the kitchen door and gestures 'cup of tea?' I nod and stagger over there and someone asks about my leg, I tell them it seizes up when I sit down.
I get my cuppa, and I ask the staff if I can have one of the duvets as I was cold last night, they say I can and they get a black bag for it.
Then I go to the rough sleeper's drop in, which is mainly a medical thing with two male nurses and one female, there is also tea and cereals there.
I drink tea and chat to the nurses, it is quiet there today, no-one hassles me, it is usually bad with addicts and alcoholics.

I go back to the daycentre and have lunch, one of the staff talks to me, asks where I have been and how I have been.
Then I read my book until closing time, daycentre closes after lunch due to funding cuts, most of them do these days.

So I go and put my bags away, using the pound that my friend gave me this morning for the locker, I take my computer and a change of clothes and some snacks and go to work in the library.
It is cold outside, with pelting rain, but it will be cold and clear tonight.
I will hurry to church soup run tonight and then on to a meeting at my church.
I am out of locker money so I am going to have to carry everything tonight, and I am already tired and achy and feeling ill.
never mind, I am blessed really.