There’s something different about meandering the streets of Huddersfield early on a Sunday morning, getting to work in plenty of time for a 9am shift.
It’s just quiet. Some might say too quiet – because, for a change, there was no police tape across a road, or a police car parked up somewhere because something had kicked off. It was like a whole different town. Just for that brief period of time, this morning, it felt quite nice.
And it was a glimpse into the lives of the early morning dwellers.
I have never seen a group of beggars have a team meeting before. Not until this morning, when they were in a little huddle discussing their tactics for the day before breaking up and heading to their individual patches – all of which were within sight of each other. And I say beggars rather than homeless or whatever because at least one of them seemed a lot better turned out than I would have expected for someone sleeping rough.
Honestly, the way they were grouped together and broke apart was amazing. All it was lacking, I think, was them all putting their arms into the centre of the circle, hand atop hand, and saying “on three, spare change! One… two… three… ” and then crying “Spare Change!” whilst triumphantly lifting their arms aloft in a motivational way.
Meanwhile, in McDonalds, there had clearly not been enough business this morning as my double sausage and egg McMuffin needed some practice and refinement. I don’t want to imply my toasted muffin was sitting around for a while before it met its destiny in my gob hole, but it was not the softest toasted muffin I have ever enjoyed.
Still, you can’t knock a cheeky Maccy’s breakfast on a Sunday morning, eating it guiltily because you know that Carole is heading home, having dropped you off in town, to have a bowl of entirely unexciting Coco Pops.
And then she sends you a photo of her breakfast in a takeaway bag from another branch of McDonald’s with the caption “Oooops” and all the guilt evaporates.
And less guilt makes that second hash brown taste much, much better.