You know what it is, every so often somebody leaves the door unbolted, and before they know it, I’m away.
Actually with me it’s more a case of every so often people remember me and ask me to come down to London for a meeting. Therefore my aim is to ensure that I attend the meetings and then get to view the finest sight in London. This is a Virgin Pendolino destined for Glasgow. Best viewed from the inside of Coach B as it pulls out of Euston.
Still I got to London and had to stay overnight, so got to mooch about and discover various things. One was Golden Turmeric Latte. Who ever knew it was even a thing? I confess to not actually trying it, the sign was outside a coffee shop rather more exclusive than I am. Still, it’s good to know that London, apparently the one place in the country which is qualified to tell the rest of us how to live, has got its priorities right. Everybody, apparently, needs their golden turmeric latte.
But anyway I was walking back across Lincoln’s Inn Fields. I remember walking that way about five years ago (might be a little longer) and there was somebody from Pret a Manger giving out free sandwiches etc. The company has a proud tradition of not throwing food away but instead give it to the homeless etc. As an aside I’d mention Greggs as another company who are stalwart supporters of foodbanks and others. But anyway back then this chap from Pret was feeding about a score of people.
As I walked across Lincoln’s Inn Fields there were a lot of obviously homeless or destitute people. There was a stall already set up with sandwiches and suchlike, and I stopped to talk to the person in charge. Apparently now they can feed 240 people a night.
Then those ‘sheep’ are going to say, ”Master, what are you talking about? When did we ever see you hungry and feed you?”
Indeed as I walked round the city, just keeping my eyes open you’d see the tents.
Now I suppose we can blame austerity, or the wicked tories, or whoever you like. But fifty yards from the feeding station at Lincoln’s Inn I noted a bar with an awful lot of well-dressed people spilling out onto the pavement, very few of them clubbing together to buy a half pint of shandy with four straws. Indeed walking along the South Bank I noticed one bar advertising beer and lager at £5.90 a pint. Admittedly I cannot comment on the quality because I never bought any, but enough people were doing.
When did we ever see you thirsty and give you a drink?
Once you’ve had anything to do with the Homeless or foodbanks, you’ll recognise the tents, even the occasional encampments. They’re the sort of tent handed out to the homeless by local authorities with no other housing options. Normally only to single males.
Should you talk to any of these people, the first thing you’ll notice is the high proportion of mental illness, sometimes diagnosed, sometimes perhaps not. Some have done time, some are ex-servicemen. Has it been decided that spending plenty of time out in the fresh air is the best way to help these people?
And when did we ever see you sick or in prison and come to you?’
Still, it must be awful when nobody has any money to help, because of austerity and the wickedness and greed of ‘them.’ (Never us, always ‘them’.)
And as I crossed the Millennium Bridge there were people working on it. They’re going to have the ‘Illuminated River’ as an art project. They’re starting on the first four London bridges but they hope to extend it to fifteen. Apparently it’s going to cost £3 million pounds a bridge.
I wonder how many cheap one man tents and Pret sandwiches London could buy for the homeless and destitute of their city, for that sort of money? How about an art project which produced a city where you didn’t have people forced to camp under bridges and actually got treatment for their mental health problems?
Then the King will say, “I’m telling the solemn truth: Whenever you did one of these things to someone overlooked or ignored, that was me—you did it to me.”
But then for that to happen, I suppose people would have to actually care enough to do something. Obviously some people do, but it strikes me that you’ll find them handing out food at Lincoln’s Inn Fields, and not in City Hall or Westminster. It’s enough to make you weep into your overpriced Golden Turmeric Latte.
What do I know?
You might as well ask the dog
As a reviewer commented, “This is a delightful collection of gentle rants and witty reminiscences about life in a quiet corner of South Cumbria. Lots of sheep, cattle and collie dogs, but also wisdom, poetic insight, and humour. It was James Herriot who told us that ‘It Shouldn’t Happen to a Vet’ but Jim Webster beautifully demonstrates that it usually happened to the farmer too, but far less money changed hands.
I, for one, am hoping that this short collection of blogs finds a wide and generous audience – not least because I’m sure there’s more where this came from. And at 99p you can’t go wrong!”