A Lady Called Anabel

I met Anabel a couple of weeks ago, the day before our current Corona lockdown. She was selling The Big Issue on Buchanan Street. At first I thought she was handing out fliers for some show or other – she had a theatrical look about her. But no, it was The Big Issue. I bought one and we got chatting.

She’s kind of…unique. Tiny, bird-like, seemingly fragile and yet incredibly strong. As with anyone who finds themselves homeless and on the street, she’s been through a lot. But meeting her was the highlight of my day. Not because her resilience impressed me, though it did; nor because she was so open and friendly and brave, though that too. It was an indefinable something, a connection I felt the minute we began to talk. You know that way when you unexpectedly discover a soul mate and everything they say makes complete sense and relates to something in your own life…

Moments like that seem part of a different life now. Now that we’re stuck at home keeping our distance from everyone else. I have to confess that I didn’t personally look upon it as much of a hardship, being a somewhat anti-social character not much given to hanging out in pubs and other crowded noisy places. So staying at home and not having to feel guilty about it actually suits me just fine. Or so you would have thought.

Truth to tell, unsociable sod that I may be, I’m not really very good at it! I find I miss having places to go, things to do. Even when I’ve had to force myself to get up and out, it’s always worth it in the end because there’s always that unexpected conversation or chance meeting – like the one with Anabel – that takes you out of yourself and reminds you that humans are indeed social creatures. Even me!

So there I was last night banging away on my saucepan doing the Clap for Carers with all my might and feeling that sense of involvement with all the other people who were out on their doorstep doing the same. We waved at each other before we stepped back inside. It felt good to be connected.

And this morning, for some reason, I’m finding the way cleared to do what I’ve been putting off for a while now – write in this blog. It’s not a big thing, but when you keep putting it off it becomes a huge barrier. And when normal inertia is added to the thought that now you’ve got lots of time and no excuse not to get on with it, it somehow becomes insurmountable. But I tricked myself today, I just started writing before I had time to think about it.

And there you are, I’ve managed to conjure up some thoughts about my take on the catastrophe that’s obsessing the whole world right now. It IS like being in some apocalypse movie – things were different before and may never be the same afterwards, who knows? But I’d like to think the afterwards will encompass taking a walk down Buchanan Street and finding Anabel firmly ensconced in her pitch just outside the House of Fraser selling The Big Issue in her utterly charming and unique way.

Click this link to read about Anabel, by kind permission of The Big Issue and the lady herself.

Anabel, 65, House of Fraser, Buchanan Street, Glasgow


6 thoughts on “A Lady Called Anabel”

  1. Thanks so much for this. Once again I feel so in tune with everything you write but what you have is the gift of putting thoughts and feelings into words with such skill that I feel that my own thoughts and feelings are validated. You are indeed a kindred spirit. Thank you and Anabel for sharing her lived experience. She sounds like someone who is able to take the positives from her situation and look forward not back. In my e experience a rare gift indeed

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Kindred spirit, yes exactly! You say that it’s a rare gift to be able to find the positives and not look back. That’s so true, and yet in a way its not about trying to get away from what’s happened to you, but rather accepting it, embracing the pain and allowing it to become part of your progress.


  2. Lovely story as usual. Your nostalgic posts are a joy to read at a time like this!

    Trust you and all your sisters are staying safe. Can’t believe how many years have passed since I lived on Kersland Street.

    Graeme Dempsey


  3. Lovely story as usual. Your nostalgic posts are a joy to read at a time like this!

    Trust you and all your sisters are staying safe. Can’t believe how many years have passed since I lived on Kersland Street.

    Graeme Dempsey

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you kindly, Graeme. It seems like only yesterday that you were that little boy in short trousers sitting outside by the railings with your wee brother! We are all fine, in fact met up by Zoom only a week ago. I hope that you and yours are also staying safe.


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