How are you doing?*
I’ve been back selling Big Issue North for a few weeks now. There aren’t many students about but I still see my regulars and I am doing okay.
‘I missed selling the magazine and seeing my customers’
What did you do during the lockdown?
I was mainly in Surrey with my girlfriend. I was okay. I had a nice time really. I liked going to the park and taking my dog out for a walk. And before coming back to sell the magazine I was in Scarborough having a rest. I like the Yorkshire coast. I like Bridlington and Hornsea. I don’t have to pay for my drinks when I go to a café in Hornsea because I know the manager.
How did you cope financially?
I was okay. I had some money saved and I made some money doing painting and decorating, even when I was in Surrey. That’s always been my trade, painting and decorating. I bought some new trainers the other week, for football. I didn’t have to rely on the hardship fund.
What did you miss during the lockdown?
I missed selling the magazine and seeing my customers. That’s why I sell the magazine, even though I could make money painting and decorating. I like seeing my regular customers, seeing people who I have known for years. They always look for me on my pitch.
What’s the secret of your success?
You have got to have pound coins available. You need to have change if people want to pay with a note. I always have change on me. I won’t use the contactless card machine. I refused it. I like dealing in cash.
Did you miss watching sport when it was stopped?
Yes. I’ve been watching snooker now. They had a match on at the Crucible in Sheffield. And I’ve been watching the football. At least my team – Liverpool – won the league. I have been a Liverpool fan since I was a kid.
What’s your favourite part of painting and decorating?
I like doing Artex and plastering on ceilings.
Do you have any home decorating tips?
Make sure your walls are smooth. You have to use three grades of sandpaper. Start with a rough one and then get smoother ones. And use a wooden block to do it – but be careful of splinters. A good colour for a living room is waterfall blue. It’s a light colour. When you do a living room you have got to have a feature wall as well. And put backing wallpaper on the walls before you paint it. It helps insulate the walls and makes it warmer. If you are doing skirting boards make sure you sand them down to the bare wood before you repaint them. If you want to do a good job you have to put the effort in.
Do you feel safe on your pitch during Covid-19?
Yes. I’m not worried about getting ill.
Do you have a message for your customers?
I hope you all keep safe and I’m happy to be back.