Wherever I Lay my Hat


(I have many hats: they keep me warm in this delightful weather we’re experiencing).

Thanks to the generousity of my friend who came and found me in the library today, I shall have a hot meal tonight. It’s nice to know that some still trust me (notably those who know me best) and believe in me, whereas others doubt me and advise – in public – against helping me, as I should help myself. Well I’m doing that but it’s taking time and in the interim I’m grateful to those who are lending a helping hand. Any money I’m given is not spent on alcohol and tobacco; it goes on food, laundry and the odd essential purchase (candles for example). To my donors, thanks for trusting me. The monetary gifts I receive are not squandered and I keep myself busy, sorting things out, reading and writing and therefore not drinking.

Today was a typical day: up at 7am to do my ablutions (I still take pride in my hygiene and appearance), then to CRI for Breakfast club. Thereafter some food shopping. Most of the afternoon is spent in the library, writing, reading the newspapers and books. At 6PM the library closes, so I head to MacDonald’s for a Saver Meal and a coffee. Therein I read my book (almost finished Everything You Know by Zoe Heller) and write some more. Then it’s on to The Angel Centre or Wetherspoons for coffee, more reading and writing. Tonight it was Wetherspoons, where I drank just coffee and used their free wi-fi, as I do MacDonald’s.

Punters leave glasses half full but I resist the temptation. I can sit around until closing time if I wish on certain nights: I’m getting better, making progress and remaining strong. I’m not deserving of the doubt held by some.

I’ve documented my expenditure – even kept receipts – so if my friend wanted to check where the money went, she could. She trusts me though; otherwise she wouldn’t have been so generous. She knows I go to the library as she reads this blog. She then took the time and trouble to visit me, hold my hand and talk to me. The financial gift will go some way to help me along while I sort out the bigger picture. The issues I’ve had there have been documented here previously. I don’t name people on here as I like to protect the innocent from the naysayers. My friend reads this though, so if she wishes to reveal her identity via a comment, I really don’t mind.

I’d not seen my friend for probably 20 years before today but time and distance make no difference to true friendship and we talked as though we were picking up on a conversation we finished 20 years ago. She didn’t question or judge me; I wish there were more like her.

On Friday I’m due to pick up some clothes from the ex-parents: these will be very kindly thrown out onto the front porch. I was never abusive to them; I stayed with a friend who was unwell to help her and give my parents a break. They took that as me throwing everything back in their faces and threw me out into the cold and wet two days before Christmas: what spirit. I’m grateful for others more caring for helping me to help myself and believing me.

The path ahead will be long and in places, dark but I’m looking forward. I realise I’m unlikely to get my old life back and I’ll be choosy about which aspects I wish to regain. There are people I’ll re-build bridges with but others with whom I’m happy to leave bridges burned.

Still in ‘Spoons, I’ve noticed a few more tips for the homeless:

  • Half-eaten meals: gather them up and claim you have a dog.
  • Half-smoked cigarettes in the garden: claim that the dog smokes.

There are a couple of guys sitting opposite me discussing pork (chops and bacon etc.): I’m reminded of Pulp Fiction. These two are really annoyingly loud though and I’m trying not to let the fire extinguisher on the wall remind me too much of Irreversible.

With the possibility of moving to Tunbridge Wells next weeks comes farewell to Tonbridge. I shall miss certain friends, venues and facilities but Tunbridge Wells is bigger and has more to do and find. Tonbridge hasn’t been very helpful to me thus far, so my parting gesture my be to piss in the street and Goodbye Yellow Brick Road.

So thanks again to my supporters and believers. To those who abandoned me, I’d say this: if that tree falls in the woods, does it make a sound if you’re not there?

We shall see where I end up laying my hat next week.


As an aside, I read in The Guardian today of the ongoing trial of Rebekah Brooks in the phone hacking scandal. I hope she’s put away soon, for as long as she’s at large, Bart Simpson is in danger. 

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