I cycle to my pitch [selling spot] every day. I’m not very happy if I don’t get out on the bike every day. Cycling is like a drug. I’m [thrilled] with my new bike, the one I got for Christmas that was made to measure — it suits me just right.
My pitch is a nice quiet part of Glasgow, and I get on very well with the staff at Morrisons. It makes your day a lot easier when people stop and talk to you.
I’ve always said that whether they buy the magazine or don’t buy the magazine, if someone takes five minutes out their day to stop and have a chat, then that’s worth more to me than any pound coin in my pocket.
I like to be my own person. I’m a bit of an outdoors man, and if there’s time I’ll head to Pollok Park and do a bit of fishing in the River Cart. One of my big passions is hill walking. On a Sunday I’ll go out to Milngavie to do the first section of the West Highland Way, one of Scotland’s great walks.
Sometimes I’ll go away camping for longer. It only costs me the campsite fee, my dinner money, a couple of tins of beer and an ounce of tobacco to keep me going when it gets cold.
Scotland has some amazing views — some of the sights can take your breath away. I’ve done lots of charity walks for good causes: I’ve lost count of the number I’ve done, and the amount I’ve raised.
I’ve given to the Royal Hospital for Sick Children in Edinburgh, Yorkhill, Children’s Foundation, Alzheimer Scotland, Sense Scotland: all close to my heart.
I rely on the loyal people that buy the magazine, the people who know me; the people who trust and believe in me enough to keep putting their name on my sponsor sheet.
The Big Issue has helped me pull myself out of a hole I never thought I’d get out of, back when I was heavy on the spirits.
I lived in Edinburgh for 10 years, and when I hit the bottle things spiraled out of control. I ended up homeless, went to the Salvation Army hostel and was there for a year. I said to myself, ‘I’ve got to get away from here and get my life back together.’
The Big Issue gave me a lifeline, and I held on with both hands. I’m proud to wear this badge.