Last weekend I was in Windsor; a city full of history, beautiful buildings and full of tourists admiring the castle and watching the changing of the guards. There was lots to see and take in but the resounding memory that I find myself reflecting on over and over is that of homelessness.
Walking up the slope with the castle on one side, shops and restaurants on the other, there was a man who looked about 25 sat in a doorway, further up were three people lying in sleeping bags like human cocoons. What struck me so much about this was that even though they were so visible they were equally invisible and the invisibility prevailed. There were people stood in crowds trying to view the changing of the guard yet at their feet were other humans so clearly struggling with the basic needs of warmth, food and human interaction.
Many people who are not homeless but experiencing loneliness will have shelter, food, a pet, a television/radio, access to books, computers. They may feel excruciatingly lonely but I wonder how heightened the feelings of loneliness would be if you take away the shelter, food and so on. OR would there be a feeling of solidarity with other people in the same situation that may lead to a network of friendships. I don’t know, but it got me thinking.
I hope the cafes that are running Chatter & Natter tables will welcome people from all walks of life to sit at them and we are going to make a real push to tell people what a Chatter & Natter table is and where and when they are on. If you have a roof, tent or just a hat over your head; if you wear a suit or a sleeping bag, everyone’s day can be brightened by interaction with another person.