Down & Out In Bournemouth & Poole: Day 9: I keep losing stuff


I keep losing stuff, sometimes it’s that picture in  my mind of how well fed people looked last time I saw them, sometimes it’s the picture of how healthy. Then of course there’s the money I keep giving away, today I didn’t have money though I did have painkillers, the person I gave them to needed them.

He’d collapsed on the high street with liver failure, he’d been admitted to hospital and then released with nowhere to go. Well, when I say they had nowhere to go that wasn’t exactly the truth, Pete’s B & B is hardly no place, it’s sanctuary and it’s a hearty filling breakfast in the mornings and it’s gentle understanding…from a distance. But when the money runs out, there’s no hostel for the homeless to go to & no emergency housing, however ill you are you’re back on the streets.

I keep losing stuff, the five foot seven teenager I saw last week is so rake thin this week that I barely recognise him. A. has gone missing, I hope that he has a job, has found a home, and is doing fine. Some folks who seemed healthy last week look like they’re falling apart this week.

Meanwhile, on the high street three guys profess to be collecting money for war veterans. and you have to admire their manner of doing it. Each of them is dressed in military camouflage gear though they are not soldiers, each of them edges closer to anyone looking vaguely ‘Islamic’ or simply ‘ethnic’  when they pass by, I think they think the anti-foreigners sentiment might aid their money collecting. Each of them carries a green bucket, one of them flinches when I hum a UAF anthem ‘Follow your leader’. Why do they bother me? It has something to do homelessness in Poole & The Real Chinese.

‘The Real Chinese’ is the name of a restaurant, at lunch times it does a fairly cheap buffet deal, all you can eat for £4.95, so loads of families queue up outside the restaurant at lunch time…during the week. In short, mums and dads with their kids have made this restaurant’s buffet their main meal of the day. Imagine, kids that should be at primary school or an academy, queuing up with their parents for a cheap buffet Chinese-style meal. I suspect some of these families are homeless which is why the kids aren’t in school having a school lunch.

You’d never guess it if you visited Poole Borough Council’s Housing Department, because it’s barely full, the town centre however, is very busy with families at times of the day when it really shouldn’t be. From time to time a family will book into the B & B, dad is edgy, mum looks resentful, her face full of unspoken recriminations, the kids as per usual really couldn’t care less, it’s all an adventure. Think I’m kidding? Come and find out.

Tonight we’ll be sleeping rough, in a concrete car park, hopefully with blankets, we’ll definitely have loads of warm clothing and books.