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It’s like a cinema newsreel from 1945/46.  People in a destroyed Europe scavenging the detritus for whatever they can find to keep going. 
And they’re dressed much the same as 70 yrs ago.



From the diary ....

I went out tonight, 8pm 15 Feb, to do a spot of shopping.  I left the block by the “back door” into the yard and, passing by the big wheelie bins there was a guy half in them.  Woolly hat, big coat that from the shape of it was layered underneath, trousers that looked layered beneath too.

He was square built,  middle aged, weathered face with a good half week’s stubble.  Alongside him was a little trolley with a couple of bags on it.  Obviously living feral and looking for something to sustain that.  I dunno what;  cardboard to sleep on, clothes to layer, something to sell to someone else in that situation.

The air was a mist of frozen droplets.

I walked the coupla hundred yards to the supermarket at the top of Tottenham Court Rd.  I passed two beggars on the way, both E.European in dress and face.


2pm 17 Feb,  I walk past the same bins on my way in and there’s a guy half in them again.  A small trolley with a coupla bags on it. He’s slightly built and skinny with it,  and regularly wrapped for winter weather.  Thin faced with a couple of weeks’ stubble.  I’d guess he’d be in his thirties but I could be wide of the mark.

I engage him in conversation, such as it can be, he’s only a few words of English.   Story is he’s Spanish.  No work in Spain, speaks to a mate in London who says there’s work for him here.  When he gets here there’s no work.

I think he grasped me telling him there’s no work in London, there’s no work in Spain, there’s no work in Europe to judge from round here.  So that must’ve cheered him up.



This kinda thing, vagrants going through bins, rough sleeping, has always been around.  In the last year or so it’s really accelerated and now, in my own backyard I observe it as a near daily occurrence.
And I don’t get out a lot.
The Charity collection bins for clothes / shoes donations round here are empty.  They are daily scavenged by people, including my neighbours, thus recycling without the need for a formal structure i.e. shops.





PostScript.

By the beginning of March, Tottenham Court Rd and its environs are so dense with european rough sleepers it’s like a Romanian Rock Festival or something. 



I began stopping strangers, obvious locals, in the street and asked them if they’d noticed all this street sleeping going on.
The answer was “yes” and that was followed by the traditional stuff abt “they come over here to take our benefits and shag our women”.   After I pointed out that you don’t get to do either if you’ve no address we had a conversation abt it. 
Opinion was that there’s no work here, or there (wherever “there” may be) and, for the situation in 21st century Europe to be rag clad vagrancy is sickening. 

“Is there anything on telly or in the papers about it ??”
“No, of course not.”
“Why not ??”
“Cos they lie about everything, the politicians and the media.  It’s not just the vagrants, they lie about everything.”



 

 

Street Sleepers

Seven sleepers, one night around 75 Hampstead Rd

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