One thing I can definitely say about being on the road is that it opens your eyes to the cruelty of nature.
I was walking down the high street of Bridlington, an easterly seaside town. I was contemplating my lot and thinking how oddly they seem to twist society, almost maniacally away from compassion, when a baby starling suddenly landed at my feet.
I looked at the poor helpless creature, obviously having fell from the nest prematurely, unable to fly. I thought I must help it, then what, what could I do? Surely any second now a parent would bundle it back to safety.
It took three maybe four seconds to decide and to walk by. I stopped and thought, no, I have to do something! I turned back just as a seagull swooped down from nowhere and attacked the sqawking desperate mite. It grabbed at the neck and began thrashing.
I shouted, mortified and feeling poweless and guilty and it took off with the chick in its beak only to have two other seagulls meet it in mid air and begin to tear the carcass.
To compound the utter miserable desperation of the situation, an adult starling, I thought the parent, landed where the chick had been seconds earlier. It searched frantically a few seconds then took off for the nest that was dug into a crevice in the brickwork.
That’s how quickly it can all be over. I looked around, arms lifted up to the heavens but hardly anyone had noticed. It cut me to the quick, that in future, if you have any opportunity to do good, any, then do it now, immediately.
But then, we move tramps on from doorways these days because and I quote a councillor, “they’re not aesthetically pleasing and bad for business.”