Hello once more, gentle reader! Day five has now dawned and the end of our week is fast approaching. The last twenty-four hours have been draining but fairly fruitful, so spirits are high in the camp despite a night of somewhat disturbed sleep. It amazes us both how anxious we get when trying to sleep - even the slightest thing can set us right on edge. Like on the first night, there are times when every car driving past feels like it's almost certainly carrying large men with baseball bats to our little safe harbour in the porch. People standing around in the street shouting doesn't help much, either.
Following our last post we went to Sainsbury's to buy lunch and supplies (tip: cellulose sponge cloths are the way to go when washing cars - our upgrade to them was a tremendous success). Stopping only to chat briefly with Micky and take on some more water (we tend to be carrying four litres around with us most of the time; there aren't too many places to fill up, so we try to make sure not to run out), we then headed back up to Summertown. We figured if we could wash seven or eight cars we'd make around forty pounds which could see us through the rest of the week food-wise.
The sun beat down on us all afternoon making it thirsty work - especially difficult when you have no nearby toilet facilities, so have to strike the balance between needing water and needing to pee (we thought it best not to urinate on peoples' drives). In the end we managed to wash six cars, though it was effectively seven as someone with a massive Audi paid us double. Very pleased with ourselves, we headed back to the Summertown shops for reduced bakery items (about twelve pounds worth of food bought for one pound - awesome).
As we sat whiling away the evening on a bench in Summertown with our friend Jon, we reflected on the whole experience of the week. Something that has really struck us is the whole thing of how to spend the hours. For us, Wednesday was much more difficult than the other days, purely because we didn't feel we had much to do. I guess there's something about life on the streets that makes it hard to pretend that sitting around all day is a clever way to spend your time. You kind of have to face up to the reality that just making enough money to get by is pretty easy but spectacularly unfulfilling. What is there that's worth doing with the rest of the day? And I guess, for many, the answer is getting drunk or high or trying to sleep with someone.
Maybe in our normal lives it's much easier to pretend that whiling away the hours is a good idea - we can cushion it with movies and video games, hours on facebook, watching neighbours, or reaching for that goal of the slightly bigger pay check, the slightly better car, the girl that's just out of reach, the slightly more comfortable lifestyle. Yet what is it that's really worth spending our hours on? After all, a string of hours is all we've got in some ways. Anyway, I hope for myself that I take these thoughts to heart and that this thing that we've done really changes me in a lasting way.
So, for now, the plan is some more Sainsbury's action (supermarkets are possibly our favourite places at present), followed by hanging out in town trying to get to know people - we'd really like to find a little crew to stay with down here tonight. Other jobs are visiting the Big Issue office to check out what goes on there, trying to bathe ourselves as best we can in the sink of the public toilet, and, we hope, to find a drop-in clinic to have someone take a look at James's various discomforts.
Once again, thanks for reading ;)
Chris and James.