Introduction

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 http://whatreallyhappenedinthechurch.blogspot.co.uk/

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: http://www.lulu.com/spotlight/JJNP

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.



















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