“We’re all a bunch of misfits but we fit in here,” said Warren “you seem a good addition to our band” he went on. There are certain times in one’s life where the most seemingly insignificant of conversations can mean a lot more than it would appear on the surface. It was a touching sentiment and one which I shared, in the couple of days since my arrival I feel I have settled in for myself and with those around including the regulars who have been here for up to a few months. It’s a group that has a lot of laughter, horsing around, dead pan comedy and everyone’s enigmatic little traits. Everyone is quite different and yet here we all find ourselves. It is easy to see how one might apply the misfits term and yet realistically the fact that people do fit in here gives them a chance to belong if only for a short while.

I don’t know if it is one of those short term things, in a way like Rostock was where because there is a finite amount of time the pressure to conform is a little less, no past and in a way no future, carpe diem in its truest sense. As a result the appeal of staying here is quite tangible and understandable when viewed superficially. However one cannot forget that for the regulars here life is not without its trials. Work is the principle cause of this since the money that we all depend on to survive is tied up with being able to find the work. Here work seems to be sporadic and sometimes scarce to non-existent. John, for example has lost his job as shop security because he was subject to the last in first out strategy. Ironic really when you think that Edinburgh is currently in a high state of alert especially the shops on Princes St. Warren does catering agency work, so when something comes up he can be ok for a couple of days but a lean time can be costly and the quality of the work is variable. I remember the agency side of things only too well and I tend to be thankful that, hopefully, that part of my life is behind me. Elias is quite quite mad, he makes me laugh all the time, his laugh envelopes his whole person, he smokes pipe tobacco and uses polish swear words in tandem with his native spanish. He cleans the toilets here with gusto at stupid o’clock in the morning. Renata is the impromptu mother of the group, made so because she actually works in the hostel doing the reception desk, because she has to be responsible much of the time it makes it all the more amusing when she lets her hair down. She is another part of the new EU member states popullation influx coming in and doing back-breaking jobs for little remuneration. And then there’s James…

James is the ringleader when it comes to the horseplay, a mad old queen with appaling taste in music but potfuls of charisma, he lives here because it was a toss-up between him keeping his flat or his horses keeping their stables, the horses won out and I respect him standing up for his principles on this one. James is definitely the hostel’s enigma and I had chats with him on a variety of subjects. He has fox-hunted and is very pro that activity, but anti hare coursing and badger baiting. His principles when it comes to rural life are based on empirical experience so I have no problem with him holding them, I just choose to disagree with some. I’ll be here a week in all and I know I’ll never figure James out. That’s the way it should be, preserve some of the mystery of all the characters here, retain the idea that when I leave there’ll be lots of stuff going on that I’m going to miss out on. That’ll make me appreciate all the more having been part of it albeit for a short time.

Friday & Saturday nights were ones you simply had to be there, the sort of madcap antics fuelled through a haze of drink and dope. As I had my camera ready and movie mode I will now have snippets to share and preserve for posterity. It was the ideal way to capture the moment, unfortunately having now filled up my entire microdrive I need to figure out a way of downloading the pics so I can continue snapping.

I never did the way of life of going to a place unplanned and seeing what happened. I should have done it, would have been a good way to get around and find things including perhaps myself. Even inter-rail was boundaried by the fact that it was only for a month so it was but a microcosm of what it could have been. You stay no more than a few days anywhere, rarely longer than a week in 1 country. Of course I could have decided to take my inter-rail card and travel around with a view to staying somewhere when it was done, but that was a step too far too great a risk.

Since some of the people have been here for weeks, even months, it has given the place and them a sort of stability and routine. The reasons they have ended up here are as diverse as the people themselves.