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This is a question Tightwads

There's saving money, and there's being tight: saving money at the expense of other people, or simply for the miserly hell of it.

Tell us about measures that go beyond simple belt tightening into the realms of Mr Scrooge.

(, Thu 23 Oct 2008, 13:58)
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Fall From Gracies...
I was 12 and living rough in London. Most nights I dossed down with the large group of homeless guys by Waterloo Station; there is safety in numbers and it helps to keep warm if there are more of you. I got particularly friendly with this one guy who called himself Maggot. No one ever got a clear reason why he was called Maggot, but the rumour was it was because his willy was unusually small. Either way, it didn't matter to me, I'm not homosexual and neither was he. What I liked about him was he didn't drink. He was one person I could talk to sensibly. He kept me as grounded as was possible under the circumstances.
After a couple of months of pretty much only talking to each other we had best part of each other's life stories off each other. At sixteen, he'd had quite an interesting life so far. What captured my imagine the most were his tales of the orient. He used to tell me about Tibet an awful lot and, with his youthful exagerations, it sounded magical; this whole flat country up a mountain. A beautiful mystical kingdom in the sky. Eventually he got bored of me asking him to tell me the same stories night after night. He decided, he told me, that we would go there. Homeless and broke I asked him exactly how we would manage it and he proposed being stowaways. It seemed stupid at first. No one gets away with being a stowaway these days, surely. Well, when you have nothing to lose and are too young to get in any real legal bother, it is surprising how cocky you can be. Furthermore, if you are cocky enough, it is surprising what you can get away with.
The train ride was easy enough. We travelled mid day, and back then guards mostly only worked during rush hour. It was the boat that presented a problem.
We had chosen to bum around on boats until we got that far because, well, it was the only option; airports are far too secure to stowaway on planes. We went to Portsmouth dockyard first. It was a shockingly easy journey to France, but nowhere near as pleasant as the stowaway stories you read as kid make it seem. We hid in a container, it was as simple as that. We found an unlocked one and hid in it. We didn't know exactly where we'd end up, but we figured if we could get to Europe it's all landmass until the Orient so it had to be easy.
Well, between rat infested cargo containers, jumping on and off trains that were moving and not being able to beg for not knowinig the languages, it was not easy, but it was possible.
We got beaten up by xenophobic local homeless a few times and a few times we got accepted by them and given food and shelter. I turned thirteen in Turkey. I fell in love with a girl for the first time in Russia and I couldn't even talk to her. I travelled accross Kazakhstan without washing once. Which, frankly, seemed to be the way to do things there as a foreigner. Every white person I met there smelt of sweat and shit and had the lines in their faces brought out by the ground in dirt.
We'd had trouble eating in Kazakhstan due to food poisoning and things only got worse in China. There simply wasn't enough food for the people who lived there, let alone a couple of foreign homeless beggars. Maggot got sick. We were kids and we were scared and we didn't know what to do. We figured if we asked for help we'd get in trouble as we'd heard all sorts of horror stories about what happens to the homeless in China. Thinking he was dehydrated, we made sure he drank a lot, but the water was puddle water and, looking back, probably only made him sicker. He died in China. I had to leave his body where he died; an alley in China. I couldn't find the alley now if i wanted, I'm not even sure what town we were in. I've never known what happened to him. Frankly, the only interesting thing about him to whoever found him would have been that he was white. People died on the streets a lot there.
Suddenly, the adventure became very real. Up until then it had been a game. It had felt like I could wake up and it would all turn out to have been a dream. But not anymore. I was in China, with no means of getting home and no one to even talk to.
That was when I bumped into Bill Owen. I was asking anyone who looked vaguely English if they knew how to get to Tibet. The only person who talked to me, the only person who made eye-contact with me, even, turned out to be Bill Owen (Last Of The Summer Wine's Compo). It was freaky when I realised who he was. By then he was buying me breakfast in an English theme café. He got a cagey version of my story so far (I wasn't ready to tell ANYONE about Maggot, for example) and decided he'd take me to Tibet.
He was there on holiday in a camper van, essentially bumming about, so the trip to Tibet was no skin of his nose. Tibet, to my young eyes, did seem as magical as I'd imagined. In the gift shop on the way out, I asked Bill for a chocolate bar shaped like a roulette wheel that had "I went to bet in Tibet!" on the wrapper. They were reduced to 25p as they were short dated. He said "No", the tight arsed cunt.
(, Fri 24 Oct 2008, 14:52, 13 replies)
I agree.
This is pertinent.
(, Fri 24 Oct 2008, 15:06, closed)
My eyes!
(, Fri 24 Oct 2008, 15:11, closed)
ParagrARSE more like.
(, Fri 24 Oct 2008, 15:14, closed)
This is the best thing that has ever been on QOTW

(, Fri 24 Oct 2008, 15:12, closed)
Hell yeah.

(, Fri 24 Oct 2008, 15:13, closed)
*wipes tear from eye*

(, Fri 24 Oct 2008, 15:26, closed)

(, Fri 24 Oct 2008, 15:27, closed)
This is so beautiful
(though it hit me very close to home because I did travel across Kazakhstan without washing once - good lord, perhaps it was me you met on your brave adventure).
(, Fri 24 Oct 2008, 15:31, closed)
is this getting made into a movie?
(, Fri 24 Oct 2008, 15:40, closed)
This was fantastic
Quite a brilliant story.
(, Fri 24 Oct 2008, 16:19, closed)
At least
You didn't meet idiot boy posh biker Charley "Ewan is me best mate" Boorman on your way across Mongolia.
(, Fri 24 Oct 2008, 16:38, closed)

(, Mon 27 Oct 2008, 17:33, closed)

Pure liquid wonderment
(, Mon 27 Oct 2008, 18:05, closed)

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