I’ve been considering how many things, that everyone used to do have become lost arts. This line of thought started this morning again as I was fixing my rucksack. I used the lost art of sewing to fix the clip back to the lid of the bag. It’s a good bag why would I want to throw it away and get a new one when 5minutes sewing is all it needed?
You have to look really closely to see the grey thread of the stitches. The kit cost less than £5.00. I’ve had it for a few years, extra strong thread and a set of sewing needles. I keep these in a plastic coin bag you get in banks, keeps it dry and together in my pocket. In an emergency I can use the lit end of a cigarette instead of scissors to cut thread. I have to admit that I should of sewed the clip back a week or so ago but it’s done now.
Thing is when you use a lost art people seem amazed. Why would people be amazed that someone like me, a rough sleeper, takes enough care of my belongings to use the lost art of sewing to fix my bag? I’m surprised that there are so few people that fix their stuff choosing to buy new instead. The world seems a bit upside down to me sometimes. Hey I have to sleep rough in a doorway so what would I know!
I remember the circumstances I brought my sewing kit, it wasn’t to fix anything of mine but the coat of another rough sleeper. You up for a true story readers?
At the time I was living in Carlisle can’t remember what type of horrendous accomadation I was in but destitution, bordem and my caring nature, had lead to me becoming a trusted part of the homeless community. In that town it was the library that people with nowhere to go would spend their time. The librarians and me got to know each other. I’d buy peppermint tea from their self service machine and read a book.
The homeless and destitute used to come to chat with me. There was one librarian who described me as the mother Terrier who all the little Terrier pups (homeless and destitute) used to follow. I quite liked that metaphor.
It was one of my pups whose coat I fixed. He was rough sleeping and hated it. Our arch nemesis, manager of council homeless department, was using every method possible to exclude him from housing. The man had his problems and sobriety was alien to him. The police custody and local prison staff knew him but he was decent to me. (A few months later he chose to be arrested so he could say goodbye to me. The Laughing Copper was extremely close to tears.)
Anyway one day I noticed that his coat was badly ripped under the arm. The damage was along the seam, an easy fix. I don’t know how it got ripped, I didn’t ask, I didn’t need to know.
I offered to sew his coat up. He was incredibly grateful at this offer. We arranged to meet a few hours later in the library. I brought my sewing kit and waited, I think he was late.
The level of trust wasn’t enough to leave the coat, what would he of work outside anyway. The result was I sat in that public library and repaired his coat.
Lost Art of Friendship Building
I miss my terrier pups in Carlisle most have, like me moved on and one turned on me in quite a nasty way but that’s life. The one who turned had no idea about the lost art of friendship. This could be because his parents had very little understanding of the art of parenting. He had lots of brothers and sisters who the police and prison staff knew extremely well. It was almost like the Police, courts and prison staff were the parents of this family. It’s sad, heart breaking when this happens. The pup that turned was no stranger to drugs or prison staff. They did their best to help him but I’m not 100% sure he’s still alive.
However I have seen the result of positive parenting by police and courts. I may of also had a small hand in the positive parenting. This is a lady I’m proud to call my friend. First I used the lost art of caring. I was new to the city of Edinburgh. Knew nobody there had never stepped foot in the city before. Was scared, traumatised and tired. All I had was my Big Issue tabard and address of the office. They allocated me a quiteish pitch. I slept in the night shelter which moved around at that time. I calmed my mind by mediating standing on my pitch. Talked to customers, charity workers and other homeless folk. Slowly I found my feet.
Luckily I understand the lost art of friendship, and know that using substances hinder it. When you use drugs and alcohol to hide from trauma and life, these substances become your master. They own you. These masters force you to do things you don’t want to do. They change who you are. Regular readers will know my master is Life.
Well it was in a homeless day centre that I first met this lady. I can’t remember the exact thing she did that made me tell her how proud I was of her. There’s been so many things that make me extremely proud and honoured to call her my friend. I reckon she’s proud of herself now for what she’s achieved. I truly hope she has self worth now as she’s earnt it!
This lady had only ever been patented by officials. First social workers were her parents. By the time I met her it was Police, social workers, doctors, sheriffs and judges. They hadn’t done a very good job. The level of drug and alcohol she used would put the stock of a chemist shop to shame.
I remember when she told me a man had offered her a drink and she had said no. The broad smile on her face was a priceless gift. The first time I told her I was proud of her I could tell from the look of bewildered wonder that it was probably the first time anyone had said that.
The last time I saw her it was in Edinburgh court house. I was waiting for my appearance, she was with her lawyer waiting for hers. The parenting measure being used was a drug treatment order. The sheriff and social worker use the parenting technique of regular contact. My friend looked healthy, gave me a hug when she saw me, smiled from ear to ear and told me she hadn’t taken crack or any other drug for 2 weeks.
I saw her when she came out of court the sheriff and social worker had been pleased with her as well. Hope she’s still doing well, haven’t seen her for a while. I hope she knows how proud and honoured I am to be her friend.
Lost Art of Manners
A big part of the lost art of friendship skill set is another seemingly lost art. The lost art of manners. I get threatened a lot. I’ve lost count of the amount of times I’ve been threatened with murder and extreme violence since I became homeless. Strange it never happened before. In fact before I became homeless people used to say “hey Billie do you remember that time you saved me life”. People have saved my life a few times as well. Give and take, helping and being helped is central to any friendship. If these things are missing then you don’t really have friendship you have dependency which is not good. Tastes bad.
As you can probably guess I’ve not been murdered yet, luckily. That said I have no doubt that there is quite a long que of people who want me dead. Sort of takes the wind out of the sails of a thug when your response to threats of murder is “there’s a que you know your at the back”.
It’s not everyone some conform to this behaviour because they don’t realise there’s any other way of being. The parents they’ve had be it officials or biological have missed out that part of parenting. I refuse to respond to threats by doing what the threatener is demanding I do.
If however I’m asked to do something by someone asking nicely and treating me dignity and respect chances are I’ll do what they want. It’s not only nice to be nice it also achieves a lot more than threats of violence and abuse.
For example if someone is calling you all the names under the sun turning the air a nasty colour. Telling you that they are going to do all sorts of violence, are you really going to want to help them in anyway at all? Imagine someone is doing this and demanding directions. How many miles in the wrong direction would you send them?
The homeless of Edinburgh have started to realise this. The use of basic manners and niceness has risen massively. Reckon you could even say there’s been a revival of the lost art of manners. It’s beautiful to see.
Lost Art of Self Care
So many lost arts. Here’s another lost art of Self care also called looking after yourself. I’m getting better at this but the level I need to do this to is greater than my current circumstances allow.
Too many people go straight to the expert without thinking about what they can do for themselves. I don’t go to an expert, like a doctor, these days because I have learnt how to understand my body and how to fix most aliments myself.
Recently I’ve been bad at self care and have become a bit rundown. When I say a bit rundown I probably mean quite physically unwell. I haven’t been drinking enough water and have waited too long between toliet breaks. I’m trying to rectify this now. Been flushing my system with water and ensuring I use the loo more often. I’m going to get an earlier night tonight so won’t cover any more lost arts now.
It’s been a crazy and heart breaking night tonight which I only have praise for the police after. It’s not the police’s job is all I’ll say.
Night readers grand dreams.