Life sucks now and then for all of us. I ended up homeless a few years ago, just before Christmas. That sucks. But not as much as it sucks if you have a baby, and your partner turns on you and her parents do the same. That’s quite a big suck, at this time of year (it’s cold*), Christmas coming up. A bit of stability goes a long way.

I have an acquaintance, who may be metamorphosing into at least a mate. Maybe a friend. He’s had a major ruck with partner and parents (see above), and decided to take a hike. I do not know the details. I just tell you what I know. Saturday night he had nowhere to go.

‘Listen, if I could, I’d let you have my sofa. I can’t. Those are the rules where I live.’

‘That’s kind. Thank you.’

Then it gets quite tragic. I said, ‘I know we aren’t friends, we just know each other. I’d still do it if I could.’

‘I know. And know what? I speak to you more than I speak to my ‘friends’. I don’t really have them. You’re as near as I get.’

’What now?’

‘I’ll be OK. I rather like being under the stars. Not much meat on me** to hold the heat, but I’ll survive.’’

‘Lots of warmth in cardboard.’ I do know this from experience.

‘Yeah. I’ve been homeless before for a year. Cardboard is good. And if you want to build an extension to your house, you just go down Tesco and raid the skips.’

I like that attitude. It’s one of the things we Brits do well, having an attitude that is actually useful, shrug off the how badly it sucks, make fun of it. I hate the situation, like the attitude.

‘If you need someone to yell at, and you may well, I’m good at being shouted at.’

Least I could do, isn’t it?

*Not Michigan or Minnesota cold, but bad enough with no roof over your head.

**He’s built like I was at his age, like an etiolated plant. Like me then, he’s the same colour, something you find when you turn a stone over.