Thursday, 9 February 2012
Andrew Templeton is forty seven years of age, although looking at him you would be forgiven for thinking he was older, His hair is tired, grey and wiry and despite being ritually combed it sticks out at all angles. His skin is weathered and thin; his eyes are a dull blue and have a kind expression to them. Carefully groomed nails extend from his gaunt, delicate hands. You can see every bone and artery under his skin. Mr. Templeton dresses as well as he can even though his clothes are very old, well-worn and patched or darned accordingly. He wears a navy blue Duffel coat fastened with odd bits of string or rope and random toggles. His trousers are of tan brown corduroy with patches on both knees. His boots are scuffed and the laces don’t match.
Andrew Templeton is of no fixed address. This isn’t to say that he’s between homes and currently staying with friends; it is to say that he is homeless and has been for the last three years. As a consequence of this Andrew has very few if any friends, or at least he doesn’t have any friends as someone of a more fortunate disposition might describe them. There are some people at the local outreach centre who are friendly to Mr. Templeton and give him a cup of hot soup whenever he asks. Mr. Templeton is well aware that these small gifts have kept him from death’s door on more than one occasion. This fact does little to lift his spirits. If there’s one thing that Mr. Templeton detests most its being in a position where he has to depend on others. Andrew is not your average run of the mill tramp; he never begs or even busks despite having been quite an accomplished musician in the past. Andrew tries to be as self-sufficient as possible; he refuses to burden himself upon others. To this extent he has become quite efficient. He has found himself a place to stay of sorts. On the edge of a hill about three miles out of town is the ruins of an old tin mine. He has now made this cave like dwelling his home. In fact over the years Mr. Templeton has made this dank dwelling into something remotely cosy. There’s an old piece of plywood used as a door, inside on the right hand side there’s a desk with one drawer; on top of the desk is a plastic cup filled with candles. This is his only source of light after dark. In the centre of the desktop is a large bowl with a smaller bowl stacked inside it; inside the smaller bowl is a fork and a spoon. The larger bowl is used for washing and general cleaning whereas the smaller bowl is used for eating. Andrew carries a three inch penknife which he uses for almost everything from D.I.Y to cooking food. At the back of his cave-like room is a single mattress covered with a bright pink Barbie sleeping bag which Mr. Templeton lovingly refers to as ‘The Mrs.’ including the clothes he wears this is the extent of all Andrew Templeton’s possessions.