Down & Out In Bournemouth & Poole Day 12: Cold & Getting Colder

20090115_dc1_20081228_1034_041 robin in blackberry thicket(r+mb id@576)

The weather has turned cold and is getting colder, my face doesn’t change colour with any alteration in heat the way Richard’s does. Though he appears to be pretty oblivious to the cold unlike me, I shivered and shook and cursed my way through forty minutes of waiting for the Salvation Army Soup Kitchen to turn up. In the last week we have been there every night and in the last week without fail wolves have turned up.

These wolves are pretty human, the difference between them and those sleeping rough? Well, lets see, there’s the wolf who’s moved down from Manchester, because for some odd reason folk up there aren’t fond of him. So when he moves down to Poole what does he do? Attempt to set himself up in business as a drug dealer, and who does he initially importune with his wares? The newly homeless.

Then there’s the wolf who wants to make his next promotion, he’s a little somebody in the Police C.I.D but he’s in need of a result, so what does he do? Trail small time prostitutes around town at night and trail ‘suspect’ homeless during the day. How do I know? A little Red Robin told me. I’m glad he did because when you’re homeless? You’re suspect.

Then there’s the wolf who fastens himself to a local charity looking out for those who are trailing behind the other homeless, all vulnerable and lost. He has his chatter down pat, he’s a new convert to the cause of Christianity. This wolf has an excessive pride in his muscular physique, inordinately, given that he’s a new and flourishing member of a highly devout church. Oddly he seems to resent the notion of doing what his fellow Christian believers are doing, serving food to the homeless. Also, he has a lot of street knowledge tripping easily off his tongue for a ‘Christian’.

Then there’s the wolf nobody sees coming, this wolf can be seen walking his velvety black Terrier Puppies in the little Georgian churchyard that sits around the back of his palatial dwelling. He is cheery and has a benign plump smile and warm handshake for everyone, even the people he loathes. He knows the value of everything and the worth of nothing human or humane.

His business practices are the reason there is little in the way of a policy for housing those who are made homeless as a result of domestic violence, child abuse or simply the concluding of work contracts. Does he ever consider the homeless or those who sleep rough?

Not really, since to him they are the authors of their own difficulties. Has he ever considered dealing with the profusion of rogue landlords who lure their tenants in and then rob them of their belongings and in many cases their decency and dignity? No, because there is no profit in it, and besides in-between housing foreign students they rob other unwitting tenants only sporadically.

Has he considered the provision of a homeless persons shelter or a youth hostel? No, since that would be tantamount to enabling the undeserving poor. Has he considered that any child or grand-child of his might potentially wind up in this position? No, because they live in the ‘posh’ part of town and that part of town fairly reeks money and opportunity. Is it too harsh to define the attitudes of this wolf as callous, ruthless and self-serving? Well is his perception of those who sleep rough, as being cynical users of services the charities would do well not to provide, any less harsh than my perception of him?

To my mind this wolf is worse than all the rest, because if he softened his position there wouldn’t be a pimp, drug pusher or predatory thief who would find it easy to make victims out of those who sleep rough. One push of the button from this wolf would have them running in all directions. In fact his callous and ruthless indifference is part of the reason why all of these other wolves exist.

Would I describe the guys I have met who sleep rough as sheep? Nope, they are fairly decent human beings and they shouldn’t be, not given all the muck thrown at them by affluent wolves.


‘Moreover our eyes failed looking in vain for help’

Lamentations: Verse 17; Chapter 4

Big up to the Cornish Bakehouse in Poole which, rather than dumping produce left over at the end of the day, gives it out to the homeless. May their capitalist profits increase fifty fold!!!!!