Thursday, 21 April 2011


Last week end I was with my son Charles in New York, and I asked him if he enjoyed himself there.  He said " It is a difficult city, it is the sort of place that if someone falls down in front of you, everybody walks past"  Of course it is a wild city.  You have to be tough, you have to be lucky and ambitious.  You have to have a job.
As my son said this a woman fell  down on the pavement.  Nobody cared and everybody looked ahead.  The woman was roughly sixty,  had no teeth, smelt of urine, and she was clearly ill rather that drunk.  I went to help her.  I obviously did not want to seem like I did not care, after such an observation from my son.  I tried to lift her I could not.  So I called a friend and asked my son to carry her things, a small bag of old clothes neatly packed.
A policeman screamed at her, and said "get up" she looked up as if to ask a question, the policeman's eyes were menacing.  "You heard what I said" he said nastily.  Horrified I went to her rescue and said "She is my friend, I will look after her" and together with my son and pal we took her to a park bench.  I then got her some water and biscuits from the Trump Hotel I was staying in. My new friend asked me if I was English in a very grand accent.  I asked her where she was from, she said Munich.  I thought to myself she sounded so English.  She must have once been very rich.  It saddened me.  How do people get like this?
Later I looked for her in the park with my son. She was there huddled in a corner on the floor.  Freezing. I said "Friend do you need a drink?" She said yes and so I went to find her something warm.  My son turned to me later and said "You are a good person aren't you?"   I said "No, just when you see something like this you can help.
Ever since then I have thought about her, I hope she is okay.
Today I went to downtown Los Angeles, the sadness in glorious sunshine.  So many homeless people.  Yet compared to the people on this planet no so many.  I took photographs.  What was shocking were the hundreds lying on the pavement, sad, dirty, alone and yet not alone.  Nearby were the shelters, large, daunting and underfunded.

With no welfare system America struggles clearly.

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