Slight build, sharp features, a determined stride. He carries a Morrison’s bag. People around him wear t-shirts, shorts, sandals. He wears a coat. He stops at each bin, checks its contents as far as he is able, extracting polystyrene cartons, paper bags, bottles; searching for anything potentially edible.
We both sit in the same shelter. He settles and begins to rummage through the contents of his shopping bag. Takes out a polystyrene container, opens it and begins to eat the chips that someone has thrown away. He takes his time.
I look, smile; say that he seems to be enjoying his snack.
He nods, says, ‘Yes, and this carton was virtually full. People can be so wasteful. Don’t you agree?’
‘Yes, people are wasteful, aren’t they.’
‘Indeed, and that’s good for me. All the same…’
He finishes eating, puts the empty carton back into his carrier bag, stands, says,
‘It was pleasant talking to you. Thank you. Now this carton can be thrown away. And for me it’s back to business. You know foraging can be so time consuming, but necessary.’
I watch him walk away along the promenade.