I'll Be Home For Christmas

Christmas was the last thing on my mind a month ago. Concern was focused on getting through each day; one by one and then marking another completed week with a sigh of relief. Loosing your home alters your entire perspective in life. You will most certainly feel a loss of identity. "Home" is our haven; a place of safety and family. Time at home is "our time" where we can drop the veneer that we all use as a shield against the outside world. Anybody that has been on the streets will tell you how time becomes warped. Days and nights are so very long and yet, before you know it, you will have lived that way for months or even years. You become a watcher as the rest of society continues the normal schedules of work and weekend, summer and winter, festivals and holidays. You focus solely on getting from dawn to dusk and then (critically) from evening to the following morning. Disconnection will set in as you slide towards the edge of society. The need to apologize for your existence will weigh heavy. You will feel in minority and disenfranchised, disconnected and without prospects. In truth there is nothing unusual about your situation. You are one of many. Homelessness is not of a bygone age from Victorian or Dickensian times. It is very much "of the modern world" and sadly on the increase.

As days turned into weeks and then into months; summer left and winter approached. I had been lucky and (with the support of a few dear friends) had held my ground and not slid further backwards. Work was hard to find but enough came my way to keep my head above water and maintain an appearance of "fallen on hard times" as opposed to street beggar. I was lucky. There were times of "walkabout" but fortunately I had respite with the offer of a roof over my head between them. My health held but as winter approached I knew how unforgiving it could be to somebody in my situation. As December opened people started talking about Christmas. The very word filled me with dread; I would be holding my breath until May. Summer had offered no solution to my predicament, I couldn't see winter promising better.

Just occasionally life will deal you a wild card or, in monopoly a Get Out of Jail Free card. Usually this is "against the run of play" but be ready to accept gratefully and use it. My Wild Card landed in early December. Quite by chance I had bumped into somebody that I have known for a while in business. Although working myself at the time we took a time out and exchanged a few "How are things with you?" pleasantries. By further chance this contact met another person (who I knew only vaguely) the following day and they were talking about a "problem" that the brother of this third person had some 140 miles away.

"You need to talk to Cowboy" said my contact; "He's just the man you need."

So we talked and G'darn my contact was right. It appears that the brother of the fella needs a Cowboy as much as this Cowboy needs a lucky break.

I'll be home for Christmas
Image from the Charimage Pick & Mix Gallery.
So Cowboy and a little dog moved to where we were wanted. We have well paid work here for over a year. More importantly we have a roof over our heads in a very comfortable static caravan which goes with the job. It's not in Yorkshire but "Hey Yorkshire might fill the soul but there are times when you just have to look to your belly!" It doesn't feel like home yet but who knows? By this time next year; It might!

I shall not look back at 2013 with any fondness. It has been a hard year. Has it taught me anything? Sure has:
  • It's very important to have 2 pairs of boots.
  • A very small dog can be the biggest friend AND can fit in your pocket when needed.
  • It's not who you know that's important but who the people you know.. know!
  • It's very important to have 2 pairs of boots.
  • Owning little means that you can travel fast.
  • Eating road kill is fine but pheasant would be better served accompanied by a nice Chardonnay/Pinot Noir.
  • It IS very important to have 2 pairs of boots!

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