“A very warm welcome to the 241st Post on Zingcreed, a one-year old blog where I seek answers on religious and political questions. Please come along for the ride!”
Peter Turner M.A., M.Sc.
It was mid-day on the 20th January, 2014 as I held the door of Wood Green shopping mall open for a guy; but instead of walking through he looked me in the eye and asked me for money for tea and a bacon butty. He rushed on to tell me his name and assured me he was not a smoker, a drinker or a druggie.
I gave him a quid and offered him the usual bribe of another pound if he would talk to me for 5 minutes about how he came to be a beggar. I told him his account would be published on the internet and he agreed. He was a thirty-something Afro-Caribbean man who looked quite athletic. This is his story.
“I have been homeless for 6 months. I had a flat but I was kicked out because I didn’t pay the rent. It was £50 a week but I only got £62 per fortnight so I couldn’t pay. The bailiffs took my furniture. I slept in the park last night.”
Me: “But it was freezing last night . Weren’t you cold?”
Frank: “Yes. I can’t work because I have injections for schizophrenia. I don’t get benefits because they want me to work. I don’t get enough money from begging- I haven’t eaten for 2 days. Have you finished yet? I need to go to the toilet.”
I paid him the agreed sum and he walked off and was soon lost from view in the crowd of shoppers.