The Tears of a Clown

Now if there's a smile upon my face…

Homeless at Christmas

Interesting twist in the tale of a local news story. A local good Samaritan, asked to pay a hotel for Christmas hotel rooms for homeless people but was refused by the Britannia Hotel chain.


Just as an aside, it’s what might euphemistically be termed a ‘budget’ hotel, often with crowds of stag and hen parties in residence and all that entails. it was noted that even dogs are allowed in the rooms. Fair enough.

Yesterday, at 11.45pm an eighteen year-old was stabbed inside the same hotel.

Maybe the Britannia hotel chain need to vet their guests a little more diligently. Say, a few decent people who are unfortunately down on their luck and find themselves homeless…

Stay classy, Britannia.

“They have no heart”: Woman who offers to pay for hotel rooms for the homeless at Christmas has gesture refused


December 22, 2017 Posted by | Ripping Yarns | , | Comments Off on Homeless at Christmas


A pleasant and peaceful Christmas takes me back to thoughts of a year ago, as these times often do. Life was a little different a year ago as I approached the making of plans for the festive period. Christmas Eve, a beautiful (and exciting for some) evening has changed it’s character somewhat in these days of difficulties of getting home from festive occasions due to lack of public transport and expense and this was a consideration in my plans.


A year ago on Christmas Eve I visited a favourite pub of mine in the city of Nottingham, deciding that I would probably walk the four miles home to put the key in the front door lock a little after midnight. A few days prior to the big night I arranged with a chap who would regularly visit the same ‘local’ as me, sharing a friendly chat over a pint or two on many an evening, in the city to walk most of the way home together for company, him living in a neighbouring suburb. We took our long stroll home on a cold winter’s night on the 24th of December last year and bade each other a cheery good night and all the very best for Christmas.

I saw him regularly through the winter still until the Spring months were upon us, before his sudden disappearance in April. The friendly face and character was missed by more than me as people debated where he now was. Over a period of time, I began to hear of sightings of him in the city’s streets and public houses and transport that left me with uncomfortable feelings. Before this I had bumped into him in harmless circumstances twice, once at a bus station waiting for a bus and again in a cosy city centre pub where he appeared fine and professed the same story.

In early December, an acquaintance informed me that the friend had been turfed out of a local shopping mall during the middle of the night after being discovered sleeping in the shopping centre’s lavatories. A few days before I caught word that he was padding around the city’s street all through the night and into early morning.

Of course I am extremely worried for his welfare. Very cold winter weather has recently subsided to miserable wet days and nights and I hate to imagine how it must feel surviving on the streets in such conditions. Indeed those colder nights are potential killers, let’s not make any bones about that. I have taken steps with an appropriate organisation who help the homeless to do what little I can – passing information on about him which was well received and which I was informed was very useful. I am not optimistic about my friend’s circumstances but trying to have faith that something can be done to help him. This all serves to remind me how fragile our lives are.

As this Christmas passes and the New Year approaches, spare a thought for people like my friend. I know you will. May I ask you a favour, if there’s something you can do for someone similar, please do it soon.

December 26, 2012 Posted by | On The Road | , | Leave a comment

Beggar Man

Well, another tale that emanates from a church night once more. It seems to be becoming something of a theme. I was rather taken by a message in the weekly Sunday Message bulletin in Mass last evening at Saint Barnabas Cathedral in Nottingham. It read as follows:

“We have got used to people begging around the Cathedral. How do we deal with them?

This is our advice. It is far too easy to give money. The Clergy never give money. We or the sisters, will direct people to Emmanuel House, (local shelter supported by the Cathedral) arrange transport, give food or drink, advise about shelter, light a candle or pray for them, or just listen to their problems. Giving money may subsidise a serious addiction and encourages them to return to the Church to pester others.

A look at the Gospels will confirm that Jesus gave time, energy, advice, food, healing and much more: but he never gave money!

I have to say this is another issue I’ve wrestled with for a long time, not just in the context of people begging outside the Cathedral but all over the city. Currently, to my eyes, Nottingham seems almost overrun by people begging with individuals stationed at practically every cashpoint, outside the major stores and just generally roaming the streets. Continue reading

May 19, 2008 Posted by | Ripping Yarns | , , , | 16 Comments