Postcard from Chippenham

Everyone reckons I’m bringing the hot weather with me. Whether or not it’s down to me today’s another bakingly hot day, and this morning I hitch hiked from Oxford to Chippenham. And I have to say for my first try at hitch hiking in …. years it went extremely well. I set off from Oxford at around 9.00, and got a lift in about 3 minutes. The guy who pulled over for me was James, the son-in-law of an Anglican Vicar who, it turned out, has a new role in the Oxford Diocese to help support pilgrimage – yes! – and he spotted and recognised the pilgrim scallop shell on my backpack. He also runs a restaurant in the Cowley Road that I remember passing, called Atomic Pizza, which was always packed. He was on his way to Bristol for a meeting with his new restaurant manager there.

So after another lift from the M4,where I also waited all of about 5 minutes,  I got to Chippenham in plenty of time for the drop in session at Doorway which I had hoped to be able to visit whilst on these travels. It was great to finally meet Lisa and her team, having been in touch with her on Twitter for almost the last 2 years.

Here she is with Kev, her Support Service manager, at their office.

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And here is one of Lisa and me outside the office, taken by Kev.

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I’ve spent the day with Lisa, chatting and comparing notes on homelessness services, and have really enjoyed our conversation. At the drop in – where I should have taken some photos but forgot – I also had some really good chats with the volunteers and some of the guys using the Doorway services.

Homelessness services pick up on the failings of society, and especially on the shortcomings of statutory support toward the vulnerable. And Lisa is such a good example of someone who works and campaigns on behalf of the people who other people don’t care that much about – the awkward ones, the challenging ones, the misfits, those who don’t have much in the way of family or friendship networks backing them up.

As always there is so much more to say, but it’s nearly dinner time, and I’m going to have to leave it there. I can’t keep my hosts waiting! I am though keeping notes and will hopefully be able to expand and expound further on some of this stuff, before the trail goes too cold.