A Gift from Bob: How a Street Cat Helped One Man Learn the Meaning of Christmas

By James Bowen

In this poignant new tale, A present from Bob, James Bowen recollects the final Christmas he was once to spend at the streets, busking and promoting the Big Issue along with his cat Bob.

In 2010, the elements was once as bleak as his customers. Christmas had constantly been the time he dreaded. Now at the least he had Bob via his facet, yet his health and wellbeing was once negative, and he had no funds for meals or heat. there has been no selection yet to enterprise out onto the frozen streets to earn sufficient to pay for his electrical energy and―with luck―to find the money for a few small treats for Christmas as well.

What James discovered via this hardest of occasions was once to provide his new existence with Bob―and Christmas―a which means it had by no means had before.

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They have been dressed as much as the nines and had flutes of champagne of their fingers. My wager was once that they have been there for lunch and have been simply having the 1st drink of the day. I didn’t begrudge them their meal. I knew that they labored challenging during the remainder of the 12 months. that they had earned it. I didn’t are looking to smash it for them. i used to be approximately to stroll on while certainly one of them noticed me. He simply regarded blankly out, as though I wasn’t there. It simply underlined that feeling that i used to be invisible, a non-person. I didn’t even benefit a raised glass or a Merry Christmas. I felt lovely sorry for myself, but when I’d imagined I couldn’t get a lot reduce, i used to be mistaken. family members with my father have been at an rock bottom at that time. I’d successfully long gone lacking for the easiest a part of a yr and he’d been understandably livid with me while I’d resurfaced quite a few weeks past. I’d telephoned him at his domestic in south London. firstly he’d refused to come back to the telephone, and whilst he did he unleashed a string of expletives at me. He’d had each correct to take action, in fact. He have been nervous in poor health approximately me. We’d exchanged a few heated phrases back the former week while we’d spoken and it were transparent that I wasn’t sought after at his condominium this Christmas. He was once additionally facing difficulties in his marriage to his then spouse Sue, whom he may quickly divorce. I handed a mobilephone field and determined to provide him a choice, reversing the fees. I maybe shouldn’t were stunned via the reception I acquired. Sue replied the telephone. ‘Oh, Merry Christmas, James,’ she acknowledged. ‘Merry Christmas to you too. Is my dad there? ’ I stated. i'll listen her muffling the receiver after which heard a quick alternate of phrases. I then heard Sue again at the mobilephone, nervously clearing her throat. ‘I’m fairly sorry, James, yet he doesn’t are looking to seek advice from you,’ she stated. ‘OK. ’ I felt with regards to tears. I knew I’d been a poor sadness – and extra to the purpose, an enormous fear – through the process the previous yr. yet I couldn’t disguise my harm. ‘You okay, James? ’ Sue stated. ‘Yeah, I’m fine,’ I acknowledged, pulling myself jointly. ‘Happy Christmas. ’ I then hung up. I wandered towards Dean highway, in Soho, the place I knew there has been a short lived shelter run by means of the charity Centrepoint. They knew me simply because I’d slept there numerous instances. there have been a few men status on the door, one among whom recognized me. ‘Oh hi, James, Merry Christmas, mate. ’ ‘And to you,’ I’d stated. ‘Any probability of Christmas lunch? ’ ‘We’re lovely complete actually,’ the opposite man stated yet his colleague interrupted, nodding as though to assert, It’s okay, i do know him. ‘Yeah, in fact, James. Come on in. ’ London was once dotted with refuges like this at Christmas time. They supplied a simple residing area for homeless humans and served Christmas dinner should you sought after it. It used to be a much cry from the fare on provide on the Covent backyard resort, yet at that time I didn’t a lot care. there has been a few ham and a turkey crown, roast potatoes, sprouts, a few stuffing and gravy. It hardly ever in comparison to the feasts being eaten round London and the remainder of the rustic, yet I devoured down a few plates very quickly in any respect then it up with a few Christmas pudding.

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