Thursday, 10 December 2015

The Camp Tramp...

Today I bumped into the Camp Tramp. That's what I'm calling him. Standing at the check-out in Redhill Sainsbury's buying cakes for the office (it's my birthday today) I engaged the Hal Cruttenden lookalike in conversation. He had bought a box of 18 cans of Stella Artois and was on his way to the beach to drink them. I told him he should have bought the beer from a coastal supermarket and then he wouldn't have to cart them all the way there on the train. Mind you, nowt better than a cheeky can of 'wife beater' on the journey down. I was tempted to ditch the cakes, buy 18 cans for myself and join him for the day.

18 cans of Stella on the beach (or anywhere) would be hard going...
While he was camp, he probably wasn't a tramp. He was more likely a functioning alcoholic with little in the way of work to distract him from the task of heavy drinking. That said, he sported a smooth complexion, there was no sign of a red nose, he was relatively well turned out and reasonably articulate too. He was mumbling, though, and clearly didn't know the meaning of a 'bag for life'. I was happy to enlighten him. I figured he might live in what a colleague described as 'Benefits Towers'. That said, he could be a well-off eccentric. If I see him again, I'll ask some more pertinent questions – not that I asked any when we met earlier today. Right now, I'd imagine he has a carriage to himself on the 1706 Brighton to Victoria train.

On reflection, I can only assume that the so-called 'Camp Tramp' is in the early stages of dereliction. There were no outward signs of rough sleeping so I'd imagine he has a roof over his head – for the moment at any rate – but there's clearly a building tragedy of some sort. With Christmas approaching, I can only wish him well for the future and hope that whatever it is that's bugging him can be solved by a few beers on the beach and that he comes to his senses sooner rather than later. 


  1. Hope you had a good birthday. 18 Stellas? He knows how to live..

  2. 18 Stellas. Not an impossible task if you start early: a couple on the train on the way down there, perhaps a Cornish pasty mid-morning followed by two or three more, then a couple more accompanied by fish & chips, a few mid-afternoon and, well, I'd imagine by then you wouldn't really care. Hang over early evening, an early night and then start over the following morning.