I've given in. Thar'y'go. You read it right here. Giving in, as The Bear, aka, Er'Indoors, will tell you, is not my forté.
She should know. They don't call her the Bear for nothing.
S'cuse me for a minute.....
Ah. She's just read that over my shoulder, and would like me to point out that she doesn't look like Les Dawson. Hmmmm.
Where was I? Ah yes. Giving in. Sorta.
As I've posted before, I've had a string of people who seem to think I'm a bit of a nit-wit, and to be completely honest, they're 'on the make'. But I do realise that amongst the rabble are those that do have genuine need, often short term, aren't substance abusers and find it painful and embarrassing to ask for help.
They're easy to recognise. A few more visits than usual, for a coffee and no more, and stopping less than an hour. They never ask for anything. Never complain, and are often fiercely proud.
But as the visits get more frequent, and the weight loss and pale complexion become chuffin' obvious, I can't just sit there and watch them fade away.
My Bear has a heart of gold. She'll grumble, she'll give them a nervous twitch, she'll feed 'em cup after cup of coffee. (Interesting combination). And boy, is she blunter than a very blunt thing.
But she's even been known to nip out and drop a mysterious plain brown envelope through the odd letter box, after demanding someone's life history.
"Sweets, have you seen my wallet? " "I'm sure it will turn up Wheelie". Yes, it does. Bulimic.*
Heck, she's even been known to take tea and sandwiches out to the Community Service young lads picking up litter in torrential rain.
When and if I help someone out, I prefer a less direct approach. Raiding the fridge, freezer, tins cupboard, veg rack and eldest sons supply of rather awful reduced-price-supply of 'snack pots' he always forgets to eat. It's surprising what you can make from an (urk!) snack-pot, some beans and peas, an oxo cube, some veg.
I don't mind cooking it for them, if they've no gas or electricity.
Now, I have a family to keep, bills to pay, and oldest son is about to move into his own place. That isn't going to be cheap for us. So I've had to tell Bear, no more money out.
My impulse, is to say sorry, can't help. There are churches and organisations I can refer them to. Jesus Army, Sally Anne, Archer Project ect, ect.
But as Bear points out, that doesn't deal with immediate need. So we've agreed that when she shops, she puts a little extra on the shopping list of non perishables, and if anyone needs to know what to do with a few basic breads, pastas, veg and cheap meats, she'll show them.
What pisses me off is that in 2010 UK, the people in need are no longer the smack-heads, blow-smoking, piss heads. They are families with young kids, pensioners and singles on low minimum wage incomes being thrown out to loan sharks. Not as you would imagine, wastrel, not-interested-in-a-job unemployed. Those are a minority now.
Sorry about my language :(