The Festive Period part II

To continue from below, I also stayed late every evening in the 10 days before Christmas, in order to catch people coming home from an alcoholic night out – it’s amazing how a few drinks can make someone more likely to be generous! By Christmas Eve I had worked long, cold, damp hours and I decided to leave about 5pm. It was really quiet by then anyway; most people get to leave work early and I couldn’t see the point in staying with so few passersby.
In the end I had just enough money to have Christmas and the next three weeks off as I had wanted, although I would have to be very careful with my money. I spent the three weeks very quietly, sleeping a lot at first, then reading and listening to music and cooking cheap but favourite meals. I am still staying in a friend’s flat and it is a real luxury to have heating and constant hot water, along with a working kitchen. Then a few days after Christmas my mum told me that my granddad was moving into an old people’s home near her home in Worthing and that she needed help to clear out his flat at Three Bridges. So on a few occasions in the last two weeks I got an early train down to Crawley and helped to box stuff, telephone charity shops, arrange collections by the local British Heart Foundation people and generally make myself useful (and also stop my mum from freaking out at the sheer scale of the job!). I brought home my granddad’s personal computer that he built himself – at the age of 84! – and it is an amazingly fast and powerful setup and a joy to use. The three weeks went far too fast, but then time off always does, doesn’t it? And then my first week back on the bridge, the temperature rarely got above a few degrees so I had to acclimatise rather quickly. Of course, I’m now dreaming of next year’s break!!

New Pitch for Wednesdays

Just to let you all know that due to the changes to train services at London Bridge station, I have lost between 33 and 50% of my regular customers. They are having to travel instead to stations such as Cannon Street, Blackfriars, and Victoria. Because of this I have decided to sell at Cannon Street every Wednesday morning in the hope that I can see a few of the missing regulars. Every other morning of course, I will be on London Bridge Walk as usual. Sharon

The Festive Period into the New Year

It has taken me ages to let you all know about my Christmas and I feel really guilty about this because the festive period is the one time of year when it really feels wonderful to be a Big Issue seller. Business builds steadily over about a week to 10 days leading up to the big day and it seems like everyone and his wife wants to be nice to you!
This year, the week commencing 15 December slowly started to get busy, like a cold lizard slowly awakening. By Wednesday the 17th it was starting to look a little more alive. I then used my white board to remind people that for the next two weeks Southern Trains would not be stopping at London Bridge station. From that day on my regulars were wonderful; although for that matter, so was everyone else too! It’s guaranteed that Christmas brings out the generosity of lots of commuters. My regulars brought me cards containing a little Christmas money, presents and bags of lovely festive cheer. Lots of strangers (i.e. non-regular magazine buyers) also dropped off lovely little gifts. Now, my only time away from the bridge every year is the time over Christmas and New Year, along with as much of January as I can get away with! Everyone is very broke and miserable after the festive period; more concerned with how much they spent over the Christmas than worrying about me and how I am going to make a living! The mornings and evenings are cold and dark and it is very hard to get people to think about anything other than how bad they feel. So I always take my once-a-year break straight after the New Year and into January, as far as I can afford to survive. A break in July would be much more enjoyable but only at Christmas do I have the extra income to manage time off. I will post this and finish it tomorrow – see you on the bridge – Sharon

2014 in review

The stats helper monkeys prepared a 2014 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A New York City subway train holds 1,200 people. This blog was viewed about 3,700 times in 2014. If it were a NYC subway train, it would take about 3 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.