I’ve always had a fixation with the UK. I don’t know why, but I love it.
I’m from Portugal originally, from near Lisbon, but there was no work there. I was working in Germany with my brother and when he came to England in ’92 I followed him. He’s in Australia now and although I’ve been back to Portugal I came back here in 2011. From a young age I’ve always travelled: France, Spain, Italy, Holland.
I’ve had a few jobs here in England, firstly I was a cleaner and then I worked in construction in London until I lost my job. My landlord waited for eight months but my arrears became enormous, they got to £8,000, and so he evicted me. I was on the streets in Brixton for a while but in the end my friend in Bristol persuaded me to come here.
He let me stay for a few days but because he was in a housing association place I couldn’t stay any longer so I ended up back on the streets. I’m still on the streets now. I try to find somewhere out of the rain where no one will bother me. That’s the thing when you sleep on the streets, some people don’t understand and think it’s funny to give you problems. Two or three nights a week I go into a hostel if I have enough earnings. It costs about £16 a night but I get a hot shower.
Bristol is a lovely city, if I’d known how lovely it is I’d have come here sooner
I was a carpenter and I’d really like to get back into that one day. I have my CSCS card which is my permission to work on a building site. But I’ve been selling The Big Issue for three months now and I love it. I love being in the middle of all this, with the people. I’ve been getting more regulars. They’re very nice to me, they bring me coffee, bring me sandwiches. Bristol is a lovely city, if I’d known how lovely it is I’d have come here sooner. London is a messy city, lots of people and I don’t like the stress.
I was addicted to heroin for too many years but I haven’t touched it for eight months. I’m feeling really well. I’ve been getting methadone for about six months and I get support from the Compass Centre, they have been lovely. Selling the magazine has helped a lot too. Since my first day, getting my badge and my magazines, my confidence has grown. It’s wonderful, I don’t have to beg. I used to beg in London and it’s awful. It feels really bad and it just takes you to drugs. But this is different.
When I get a roof over my head I’ll definitely get a dog. Definitely. I don’t have any accommodation lined up yet but I just feel that something is going to happen. I wait and I hope. I’ve got faith. Faith in me. I’m a fighter. I don’t stop.
If I won the lottery
First I’d help my friends and then I think I’d just travel. Then I’d get a small business to save for my retirement.
I’m Portuguese but I like English teams too. I like Tottenham and Benfica is my Portuguese team. Mourinho is the best in the world. Sometimes, not all the time. No one is the best all the time.
I’m on my pitch seven days a week from 10:30am –5/6pm
Photo: George BalePero's Bridge, Bristol, UK