Sunshine on Leith


The bridge, Great Junction Street. Sitting next to the water of Leith I meet a red bearded Glaswegian. He tells me his name is Willie. He also tells me he’s an alcoholic. He has lived rough on and off for the last twenty two years, except now he is in a B and B. His support worker says he’s ‘not to fuck it up, scuse my language’.  He has wandered all over the country, lived in some of the places I have but in very different circumstances. He recalls a holiday he took with his brother. They decided to walk the West Highland way. Starting at Milngavie they reached only as far as Balmaha, stopping at the local shop for a bottle of Buckfast, which they didn’t have, so drank some cheapo white wine – ‘pure squeezed your bum cheeks together’. Anyway it was raining so they gave up . He wants to try again some day. I give him my sketch which he scrumples up and puts in his pocket. He offers to buy me a can of juice as he is away to the shop anyway for some cider. An exchange of kindness, as he wanders on. As do I.

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