It’s been quite a while since I saw a proper tramp. You know – a person with no home, job, or money who travels around on foot from place to place as a vagrant, carrying all of his worldly belongings along with him. I say “him” only because I’ve never, ever seen a female tramp. We used to quite often see tramps years ago walking our rural county roads, and I remember being a little scared of these strange-looking individuals, with their tatty clothing, long matted hair and unkempt beards.
Imagine then how gobsmacked I was last Friday to come across this little scenario in our local market town –
How times have changed. I stood a while observing, just checking that I hadn’t made a mistake. Being a serious midlife people watcher I really couldn’t do anything less could I?
Sure enough, it seems that in January 2016 there is a new breed of English tramp. He no longer travels on foot; he has acquired a bike. All of his worldly goods are travelling along with him (no change there), but these days they are in sturdy “bags for life” from a well-known local store. And this modern-day tramp has somehow managed to accumulate some readies for himself, enough to require a building society bank account to keep it in. Amazing.
Or maybe he qualifies for benefits, and needs a bank account to access the funds?