Sunday 15 January 2012
Wild Hut 2
Location: Graving Docks, by Ibrox, Glasgow
There were also tent like structures scattered throughout this overgrown dockland. They made me wonder what kind of people used this place as a makeshift home. Whoever they were, it was obvious from the junk scattered around the tents that they loved drink & drugs and weren’t too bothered about cleaning up. These areas were tarred with the worst kind of litter – a human slug-trail of lighters, tinfoil, vast bonfires and mountains of beer cans.
It was around midnight when I decided to head to bed. The chorus of children’s voices screaming from the Govan tenements had stopped a few hours earlier, after a similar chorus of wailing parents had called the children home from their windows. A police helicopter hovered past on an hourly cycle. It circled the housing scheme and returned to the landing pad at the same trajectory each time, which coincidently was around 80 feet in the air directly above the shelter. I wondered if they had an infra-red heat sensor which could see me lying there on the banks of the river at -2 degrees on a Saturday night. Even if I wasn’t breaking any laws, I’m sure they could have locked me up on grounds of insanity.
The sky was clear (other than clouds of helicopters) but the stars were diluted by the orange light pollution of the adjacent buildings. The hut’s roof and the surrounding docklands became draped in a white frosting of sparkling ice. I could feel my breath condense on the collar of my sleeping bag and drip instantly back onto my face. I pulled my hood up and moved the sleeping bag down as to avoid these ice cold drips.
It made me think that sleeping rough in the winter was less about dealing with rodents and insects and more about dealing with ice and condensation. The night was crisp, calm and silent. I fell asleep fairly quickly and slept right through until 7am.
When I finally woke, I sat for a while on the river bank, admiring Glasgow’s new riverside museum opposite. This newly built piece of spaceship architecture was inspired by the Clyde’s historic ship-building sheds, echoed through a series of modern sharp pitched roofs. For a very brief moment I felt separate from society. How can striving for less mean so much and why did I feel content lying so primitively in this wasteland? I gathered my thoughts and my sleeping bag and slipped back through the gap in the fence which I had entered.