Years ago, in the days where I went out a lot in London and could drink most people under the table (I did say it was years ago, ok?) I made a deal with myself. On the way home from such a night I had to give any homeless people I saw some money – if I could afford a few drinks, I could certainly afford to help them. (I don’t want to start a debate on the right or wrongs of giving money to homeless people here. Frankly, I don’t feel I am in a position to tell people that they shouldn’t drink or take drugs when I am on my way home to a nice warm house and bed).
I don’t do much of the going out or drinking these days, but just before Christmas I joined some of the people in my new office for some Christmas drinks. On the way home I saw a man who I see sleeping on The Strand every morning, selling The Big Issue. I bought a copy, gave him a bit extra and we had a chat.
His name is Richard, he’s been homeless on and off for nine years and has been sleeping in that particular spot for a few months after being evicted from a flat he finally got when whichever agency pays rent screwed up and forgot to pay. As a single man he’s now back at the bottom of the housing list. He’s always asleep when I walk past at 7am because he doesn’t go to sleep until 6am so he can be sure that ‘the drunks and nutters’ have gone. He wasn’t drunk or drinking, he wasn’t on drugs…he was just keen for a chat.
These days (as you probably know if you read this blog much) I’m far more likely to spend my evenings like this:
And mostly I make things of very little consequence. I wanted to do something useful though, so I decided to make Richard a new hat. I saw some very cosy snood like hats at a Christmas Craft fair I went to and thought that might work well as it wouldn’t fall off and it would keep his neck warm too. So I copied the idea:
Mum and I went up to London over the holidays and we found Richard. He seemed pleased with his hat and let me take his photo:
Yesterday when I passed him on the way to work he wasn’t wearing it, but then he did tell me when we last spoke that it wasn’t too cold yet…
In case there are any other crocheters out there who might want to do the same, I also made this over Christmas:
It’s to this pattern specified by a charity called SANDS. They support people affected by the death of a baby before, during or shortly after birth and part of that is to create a memory box containing the blankets that people send to them. There’s a knitting pattern too (If you do make one, they have to be in white double knitting wool).
Sometimes crocheting with Norman is more useful than others :o)