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This HUB is inclusive and open to all. On this HUB "we make the news". You can share your stories and news as we build community in Watford and the surrounding areas of the South West Herts district... including: Watford, Rickmansworth, Croxley Green, Northwood, Bushey, Oxhey South Oxhey, Carpenders Park, Kings Langley, Abbots Langley, Garston, Leavesden, Chorleywood and Harefield.
It’s the last day of the Summer holidays One of those
gorgeous pre-Autumnal days where the sun shines brightly but the gentle breeze
cools. A great day for sitting and chatting.
Simon sits in front of the old BHS store with Bella, his dog.
I notice his well-used Subway cup, a few 2p’s making dull shapes on the bottom
of the white, waxy container. I immediately fuss his dog, as he feeds her
snippets of a pie, and as I admire her beautiful tortoise-shell coat. She looks
healthy and well looked after.
Looking a little tidier than some rough sleepers, I notice
Simon wince in pain. He has a problem with his back, exacerbated by sitting on
the floor. His bedding seems to do little to alleviate the problem.
Being a curious soul, I ask him how he got here and am
pleased that he was willing to allow me to write down the gist of our
conversation in this blog, providing that his identity isn’t shared.
A : “Six years.”
Q : “What’s that?” I enquire.
A : “Six years I’ve been on the streets now.”
All I could say in response was “Wow.” It sounds like a very
He used to run a little business; he is an underfloor
heating engineer. Living with his father and brother, he lost both family
members in quick succession. Within a short period of time, his son also passed
away and he “lost it all”.
Q : “Why can’t you be rehoused?”
A : “They won’t take the dog.”
As an animal lover, I can completely understand this,
however it raises an interesting point. Why should service providers take on
his dog? One of my dear friends has just rented an affordable flat which
stipulates no animals…she would love a cat but accepts that she can’t afford a
property that would allow this (i.e. renting a house/flat or getting a
mortgage). She is sad but sees this as a choice.
I don’t know what the answer is. Animals can be every bit
our best friends in the same way as humans can, and given the amount of loss in
this man’s life, can you see why he wouldn’t want to let her go?
I thank him for telling me his story and drop some change in
his cup. The rights and wrongs of giving to be discussed in another blog post.
An aside to that…people have asked, how do you know these
stories are true?
I do however, have means of corroborating some of the
stories, as I spend time regularly getting to know the homeless people of
I’m undertaking this project with honesty, so if I find a few ‘tall
tales’ retrospectively, I will add corrections in the next blog.