We were all nice and warm, armed with tea, coffee and the promise of cream cakes, enjoying each others company. Usually we meet in different peoples homes but tonight our small groups were combined in our 'community lounge' to share thoughts, ideas and enjoy being together.
Suddenly we were aware of someone outside peering in. I let in a man new to me, in his thirties, a little wobbly wearing only a T-shirt. He politely said hello to everyone as he dragged in a bulging sleeping bag looking like a snake with indigestion!
"Alright guv... I'm Marcus" he shakes my hand. He sniffs and wipes his nose on the back of his hand. "Listen I've got a bit of an issue, a bit of a problem..."
That was an hour or so ago. Several cups of tea, and most of the cream cakes later - I've heard Marcus' story and he is right he has got a bit of an issue, a bit of a problem. Sleeping on the streets carrying possessions in a sleeping bag day in day out would be an issue for anyone.
It's a cold night - the hostels are full, but I get hold of the street rescue team and they promise to get to him as soon as they can. Sitting with Marcus as he finishes the last of the cream cakes, I apologise and feel inadequate in that for tonight it looks like it is the streets for Marcus again.
He looks at me. Smiles as he licks his lips free of cream. "Geezer... I know you've done your best..." He looks at the cream on his fingers. In between slowly devouring every last drop of cream in turn from each finger he says "Listen it is just good to now there are places to come where I know I am safe and can chat..."
I look at his now 'cream free' outstretched hand, I realise he wants me to shake it! We shake. He throws the weighted sleeping bag over his shoulders, wobbles backwards and sideways and then walks off into the night.
I wonder what I was able to give him tonight?