Homeless At Christmas 3 The Christmas Cracker

Drying out my socks and boots

Ok that’s got you flumxed. Why on earth have I chosen a picture of my stockinged feet on my hat? More to the point why have I got no boots on and my feet on my hat! And what’s any of this got to do with Christmas crackers?!!!

Think it’s time for Billie to explain. My feet are in a bad way, I’ll spare details as you may be eating but the upshot is the inside of my boots are wet and this is making the state of my feet worse. SO I’ve taken my boots off and put hand warmers inside in an attempt to dry them out. But surely there must be a place homeless people can go to dry out their stuff a bit I hear you cry. Well yes there is for most rough sleepers and hostel/B&B dwellers but it seems the people who run these places don’t really like humans.

Anyway it’s Christmas and as an act of political defiance I’m going to have a really good one. Here’s my plan: midnightmass or Watchnight service as it seems to be called in Scotland then I may bed down for a bit on the main street as it’s got CCTV cameras or may go to somewhere outside the city centre as I usually do. I’m going probably have a lie-in or lie-over as you can’t really have a lie in if your outside. Got to get the terminology correct language is important you know. After that I will spend the day eating myself silly at a community centre which a UK wide charity has taken over, this charity is opening the centre for 5 days between tomorrow/Christmas Day and New Years Day or Hogmony as it’s called up here. I’ll be able to see a podiatrist at the centre plus last year they had crash mats so you could catch up on some shut eye. There will also be music, hairdressers, games perhaps but what I’m really looking forward to is the books that am amazing Edinburgh based charity gives out to the homeless. StreetReads books and the volunteers provide a welcome escape for me, intelligent chat and intelligent reads.

Billie, I hear you cry we want to know about the Christmas Crackers! Hold on I’m getting to it. Thing is there are some very good people who try their very best to make sure everyone has a got Christmas, they must think to themselves everyone has crackers with their Christmas dinner, everyone wants presents at Christmas so every meal has crackers and folk go overboard with presents. It’s good but there is a small downside you have to carry everything to your storage space if your lucky enough to have one. This is not really a problem for hostel and B&B dwellers but can be for rough sleepers. There’s lots of different types of homelessness you see. The folk you see in the street begging aren’t necessarily rough sleeping, they may be in temporary accommodation but there still homeless. Some beggars have permanent housing but are out of work so the begging income will help with bills and food. Yes some are addicted to drink and drugs and use the money for that but I don’t judge it’s better for people to be able to consent to parting with their money than addicts to remove people’s right to consent by stealing. I’m going to upset some people now shoplifting is not a victimless crime it’s stealing same as taking money out of someone’s pocket.

In Edinburgh there’s also another group who beg, people from Eastern Europe. Within this group there are some who are forced to beg who don’t get to keep any of the money. I’m pretty sure that some of them have no choice as to whether or not they come here. There are also people who take the money from them both of these groups like to sleep in the night shelter for the homeless. Hey why should they have to sleep outside they are forced to sit outside and beg all day for no money. I’ve tried to do what I can to help I got one of these people who I’m pretty sure was forced to come here. She made it clear that she had a faith when they pointed upwards and said in charge. There’s only one God/Goddess/It/They all I know is there’s a power of goodness that runs through everything and everyone.

It’s Christmas Eve and I’m drying out my boots with hand warmers. Earlier I had to normalise the fact I was so tired (didn’t sleep last night I charged my phone instead, was busy trying to stop services targeted maltreatment of myself). I sensed someone near me I opened my eyes and a young boy was standing near me looking concerned. I tried to say cheerfully this is my house his face fell further so quickly I asked about Santa he told me, in that excited way only young children can manage, what he hoped Santa would bring him. Of course I replied with an equally excited WOW. They looked like such a wholesum family mum, dad, his little sister as well. I told them all I was permanently wild camping and gave the instructions I always give big brother’s “your job is to look after your little sister and make sure any boyfriends/girlfriends are up to scratch” I then told his sister her job was to make sure her brother didn’t get too big for his boots. I wished them merry Christmas told the mother I didn’t want any money. When they had gone I burst into tears I’d normalised the completely unacceptable state of this country for those children but what sort of sod would I be if I hadn’t?

At the moment I’m trying to show compassion to the two young people who have decided to sit next to me. They are quite loud and have a green glass bottle with them. I did try to talk to them but as she just seemed to want wind me up. I sensed the pain behind the anger. I stayed quite and let her run out of steam, then she shocked me by apologising. I forgave her and had to explain that when you forgive someone you don’t have to repeatedly forgive the same thing. I could tell she was sorry. We talked I hope she understood on at least some level that she’s not to blame for doing something she has never been taught is wrong.

I’ve sort of lost the thread of this post now. It was going to be about how homeless services have done there best to cancel my Christmas I’ve had one dinner in the street while my friends sat inside and another I had a worker tell me to F Off at. But all that seems completely unimportant now.

I feel incredibly grateful that I was able to help start the process of untangling the knots that an evil man who, if I was violent and into revenge, needs something doing to him with a rusty spoon. I’m really having to control my anger at this man not just because of physical actions he did but were not discussed but because of the psychological actions and web of lies he’s spun to the world, inside this lady’s head and to himself. I’ve been around long enough to know that physical wounds heal much more quickly than psychological wounds which even with treatment can fester and get so bad they become contagious.

The only cure for psychological wounds is tender loving care. That is extremely hard to give as it involves putting your needs and problems so far into the the background that they are not even in your sphere of consciousness.

Any way I hope you all have an amazing Christmas I reckon I will, I was given the chance to care tonight.

As for the crackers well they are always cheap with not much of a bang and most folk don’t bother that much with them but some do. However can someone please tell me what, as a rough sleeper, I’m supposed to do with a Christmas tree shaped cookie cutter?!!!

HAPPY CHRISTMAS

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