How have you coped financially for the last few months?
It’s been hard. I’ve never gone through anything like this in my life. Big Issue North have helped me a lot with money for food, gas and electric with money from the hardship fund and they have helped me sign on for benefits. It’s been nine years since I was last on the dole, and even then I was only on it for a few weeks. But someone in the Big Issue North office said that I would have to make a claim.
‘I’ll start selling again when it’s safe. I can’t wait to get out’
How are things with your family?
My eldest, Daniel, is joining the navy. He’s out of care now. He’s just turned 18. I haven’t seen my other lad, Adam, for nearly four months even though he’s not far away. It’s been terrible. But he’s still in care and even though I can usually see him, because of the virus they say I can’t. My dog, Dave, has just turned 14. He looks amazing although he’s a big fat lump now. And my brother George is doing okay, but he’s fed up of staying in.
Where are you living?
I live in a house on my own. It’s been difficult staying in. I’ve got nobody and nobody can come and see me. I’ve been out for short walks with Dave every day but that’s it. But I don’t believe the kids should be going back to school though and that things should be changing yet.
Why is that?
People are still dying. We have the highest rate in Europe at the moment. That’s not nice. I knew someone, a friend of mine who I have known for 40-odd years – he got the virus and was in intensive care for five weeks. Luckily he survived. I’m missing my darts and my mates but it’s for the best, this situation. The Americans have got it bad as well. That president should be thrown out. He doesn’t care. And Boris should be thrown out.
When you can, will you start selling the magazine again?
They are saying we might be able to start selling soon because the shops will be open again. And I will, definitely, as long as it’s safe. I cannot wait to get out. I haven’t been on a bus for months and I used to get a bus every day. Our Dave hasn’t been going out a lot, so he has a gob on and he’s putting on weight.
How have you been keeping yourself entertained?
I’ve decorated my house again. This is the fourth time since I’ve lived here. I enjoy painting and decorating. I just take my time. I’m really missing football and I can’t wait for the season to start up again. It’s brilliant that Liverpool are doing so well. They are one of the best teams in the world.
Tell us something about yourself that we didn’t already know.
I’ve got a friend in America, he’s 87 and his name’s Bob. You know that Times Square in New York where the big screen is? Me and Dave were on that. Bob paid 10 dollars to get our photo shown on there and everyone who saw it went wild because of Dave.
What have you learnt from the last few months?
It’s opened my eyes, this has. You don’t know what’s around the corner, do you? One moment we’re all leading normal lives and the next we are stuck inside. I’m 52 in July, you know? I’ve been though all sorts but nothing like this. But I have had lots of bad luck in the past.
I got put in a boarding school for three years when I was 10. Someone lied about me and said they saw me smoking so I got the cane for it. My dad has always told me that if someone hurts you, then you hit them back. So I hit the headmaster who gave me the cane and they put me in a boarding school. It was horrible. I hated it. I used to cry my eyes out. I just wanted to go home.
What are you looking forward to when things get back to something like normal?
Being back with my customers again, being back on my pitch. And most of all I’m looking forward to giving my lads a hug, the pair of them.