I don’t know where to start. My head is a nest of bees and I’m trying to find that one bee that stole the other bees tiara. Yes, bees are really quite bitchy when it comes to glittery goods.
Today I rose to consciousness just after 10am. I very shamefully sat snuggled flicking through my phone, watching videos, till 11am. Sadly it is a deterioration of yesterday where I was up and ready by 10am. I slugged out of bed reluctant for a shower but knew it was (definitely) time to get moving. I showered, again was amazed at the power of my tiny hairdryer, and left the flat as soon as I was ready.
The sun was blaring, but, being the smart individual I am, I still carried a jacket and coat. If anything, it could be used as a picnic blanket later on.
I packed my laptop away and all the folders that screamed look at all this work you could potentially get done, ooooooh. I carried 3 uni assignments, my welcome pack for Challenge Leader and my laptop that I’m blogging on right now. Oh & a Cambridge edition of Literature and the Environment which seems oddly appropriate as I walk through sunny nature.
Arriving in town, it was busy. There were men in suits eating their sandwich-on-the-go, women pushing their prams and dragging their crying children, teens on scooters, and plenty of old lady’s walking their teeny tiny dogs.
My solitary and country lovin’ side said let’s get a Tesco luxury picnic and head back to the pretty river at Wilmslow Park. I wanted to scrap the work in cafe’s idea and just sit in the sun by a pretty stream. I did listen to that voice until I realised I may miss the WiFi and I had about 3 hours to spend without enough reading material to last. I compromised, still bought a picnic from Tesco and plodded to a bench where I would devour a full punnet of strawberry’s to myself.
After I’d enjoyed my romantic-picnic-4-1, I let the lure of coffee beans & fudge cake pull me towards Wilmslow’s very own Cafe Nero. On route, however, I was stopped.
By a sales guy.
I’m usually one of those duck-my-head-walk-the-other-way-or-kindly-say-no-thanks passers by but recently there’s a lot of people simply wanting a natter (and then to take my money). Plus, I spend the majority of my days on my own whilst visiting Wilmslow and wasn’t going to turn down some social activity to satisfy my sanguine.
This young man, Shane, aged 24, lured me in with the possibility of talking about my day and my life in general. It’s always the best way to please me. I have a soft spot for myself.
“Can I ask how you are today?”
It’s got to be one of the best lines. Who’s going be that guy to turn around and not respond to an act of kindness. (This #TopTip is going to be used when I begin fundraising on street collections, for sure.)
What happened next happens a lot – I was asked my age and without being the ripe age of 24 or over I would not be able to sign up/donate to their charity. Regardless of this, this ‘sales guy’ claiming eventually to ‘not be a sales guy’ kept me chatting and he began to talk about the charity he was fundraising for: Shelter.
I had never heard of this charity but knew from the name they had the focus of many: tackling homelessness. This charity has a helpline for people on the verge of or already having lost their home. This is men, women, families with children.
What surprised me the most, is when the young man I was speaking to told me he was in fact homeless. He didn’t look homeless. He looked clean, healthy, and had a cheery chatty nature. And he was Scottish and had a beard. And he was fundraising.
He explained there were many definitions of ‘homelessness’ and he was currently couch-surfing. He was sleeping from couch-to-couch each night and squatting in different places in Manchester.
He had been in the Army. And on exit, found he was suffering from PTSD. It made him a drunk, lose his job, house and girlfriend as a result.
Sometimes issues such as homelessness are so vast we only know the generally understood stats and common stories. I am asked regularly if I have any spare change by men and women on the streets cocooned in a sleeping bag, and sometimes say sorry I haven’t got anything and sometimes I say here you go or go buy them a sandwich or a drink.
But speaking to Shane, was not just great because I was in need of a natter, but it let me speak to someone easily about their experiences and question what had led them to make their home the streets. And it led me to wonder why he was so interested in my story and also was willing to tell me his own.
Loneliness is such a huge struggle despite so many people are always around us. We assume the person pulling is over on the street for a chat is only out for our money. I get, yes, it is a big motivation. But perhaps we miss many opportunities to learn people’s stories because we turn our nose down to the wrong people. We only make friends with who we know we relate to. We only talk to someone we feel comfortable talking to.
I’m going to give you lovely readers the chance to visit their website and perhaps donate a few pennies if you get a moment. I made a donation of £5 today, because every bit counts. And unlike others that need it more, I won’t miss that £5. Evidence to support that is I’m about to go buy an extraordinarily priced slice of chocolate cake that comes close to that donation amount.
My day always surprises me with what I can get up to on my tod in little Wilmslow.
Admittedly I always end up spending more money than intended. But this instance is for the greater good and therefore excusable. The chocolate cake on the other hand, is because I wrote this blog post and so deserve a treat 😉
Below are some photo’s to show the fun I had yesterday with my fella in the Sunday sun. Spring is coming!!!
I’m keeping my fingers and toes crossed for a BBQ tonight – hopefully our British sun holds out!
Follow me on Twitter to see if we make it happen & also witness the shot of my beautiful chocolate cake- https://twitter.com/BethanyJoy18
Have a great evening guys and gals! Please pop your email in the box on the home page if you want to receive an email when a new post is up! 🙂