Having spent all day stressing about jobs, accommodation, studying etc, the soup run really helps put things into perspective.
I arrived and one of the volunteers was now sporting a tag on his ankle. He told me he had been in jail for 9 months previously, drug related, and the tag came about from 'taking the rap for a mate' regarding theft. He could not come with us on the soup run as he now has a curfew to be home for 8:30pm.
When we arrived at Hoyle street I saw the two street working girls who I am usually quite scared of. They were actually really approachable this evening, one said, "ohh I wish I was wearing your hat, I'm so cold, earlier I was in shorts and a see through top."
It is a nice hat.
They were starving, and couldn't wait to eat. The girl Meg, was really concerned about Matty, who sits in the car. I have photographed his hand, giving the finger. She said he has had another stroke and he shouldn't be allowed to drive his car. She said he has to use his hands, to lift his leg to press the break. She explained that he does not have permission from the doctor to drive and he doesn't have a license. She wanted us somehow to get his car taken off him, but also mentioned without his car he couldn't get to the soup run to eat and would probably be arrested. She kept repeating "don't say I told ya. Please don't say I told ya!" Apparently Matty had smashed a bottle towards her and tried to knock her down, although she still thinks the world of him.
I asked where she was staying tonight and she shrugged her shoulders. She said she can stay at Matty's as long as she brings in £40 of crack. She said, "but I don't wanna work tonight."
It's such a shame.
Everyday people say that, "I don't wanna work." But the meaning can be so different.
There was a good crowd tonight, maybe 50 people?
There is a man I always see who I think looks like a proper homeless guy! Backpack, Hoodie, sleeping bag etc. If you were to draw a homeless person...
I have always wanted to talk to him, but he's pretty quiet and keeps himself to himself. Tonight he said, "can I have a bit of hot chocolate in my coffee?"
I said, "excuse me?"
He said, "it's really nice." I poured a bit in. He said, "wooow that's enough." I said," Oh sorry, I wouldn't want to ruin your coffee!" He laughed.
Another man backed him up! It is really nice you know... you should try it!
By this point I felt obliged.
For your information... It is very nice.
A couple arrived, the woman was obese and she and her partner were very drunk. The woman had a bruised face, all down one side, from her head to her chin. Her eye was badly swollen and everything was black. I have seen a bruise or a black eye before, but never the whole side of a face. She had been very badly beaten, repeatedly.
I later found out she was 3 months pregnant.
As I watched them sitting on the kerb, starring into space, struggling to sit up, I couldnt help but think of her unborn child. They will be sleeping rough tonight. For the sake of that baby I hope someone gives them accommodation fast.
A woman came storming up to me, "I was about to give up on you!" she shouted. "Me? what, why?" I asked. She yelled, "I was here at a quarter to 6!" I said, "We don't usually come till 7:30?" She said, "Well, I wasn't going to come back, but I'm out on a walk, so you're lucky!"
I wasn't sure how to feel? Confused, guilty, sorry ...... or lucky?
A woman called Alice arrived in tears. Her mouth was swollen like a snooker ball. She has an ulcer with an abscess on it. The pain is unbearable and i don't know what she is going to do about it. I hope she gets help.
I walked over to talk to Matty in his car. He is so smily and chatty its hard not to like him, but I know he's a bad egg. I asked him why he smashed a bottle at Meg and tried to knock her down. He said, "She pissed me off." I asked, would you knock me down if I annoyed you?" He said, "I would never physically hit a woman with my fist."
I told you he had morals.
I asked how she had upset him, he said, "just drugs n stuff." At this point the man sitting in the passenger seat said, "I knew I'd seen you before, at the day centre!" Matty tried to explain to him about my project about communicating with your hands. He didn't explain it very well, and the man now thinks Matty talks to his hands.
I didn't correct him :)
As I was talking to them a blond man turned up in a truck. He walked over to the tables, he didn't want food or a drink, he didn't speak, he was just observing. A police car then slowly pulled up. I watched Matty get very edgy. He focused on the police car and stayed totally still. I said, "you look a bit edgy there Matty..." He smiled and winked.
The police man said to our leader, "do you want me to move the gypsy on?" It turns out the man observing was a gypsy who was trying to offer homeless people jobs in construction. Apparently he recently employed people to work down south for two weeks and only paid them £20. That is why the police were following him.
The man in the passenger seat was looking at the police man's gun. He said, "I have a gun." I said "really? Is it on you?" He said no. I asked why he needed a gun, he said because his friends get shot in town. I said, "there was a murder near where I live recently." He said, "over by the Salvation Army?" I said yes! he said "I live there!"
As it was time to clear up Timmy arrived. Timmy is very creative minded. I said, "Where have you been Timmy, you're late!" He said he had been boxing in London, World Championship, he won, knock out, one punch.
I said "goodbye" as it was time to go,
he said, "wait, I'll give you my number"
I lied, "I've already got it"
He said, "not my new one"
I said, "I havn't got my phone on me"
He said, it's ok
he pulled from his pocket a tiny piece of paper, already prepared with his name and number.
he said, "give me a call"
I lied, "Ok"
He has written is name TiMmy
I won't call him, but I'm keeping the piece of paper :)