I first saw him one late June evening, as I was pedalling home around eight o’clock. He had found a sheltered spot in a corner of the old Bacup building in the rue Belliard and made up his bed there. He was sitting up and reading a book. He was there every evening thereafter, and before too long he would give me a cheerful wave as I pedalled past. During the day, I noticed, there was no sign of him – he cleared everything away methodically and left no mess. After a few weeks of waving good evening to one another, I stopped one eveningĀ and gave him a bag of surplus food from one of our events. Thereafter I’d stop two or three times a week, give him some food or a little money, and have a chat. He had been staying in rent-assisted housing. He had moved to a slightly better flat but hadn’t told social security of his change of address. They had stopped his payments. He had found a friend prepared to pre-rent a flat, filled in the necessary paperwork and they had promised him that by the end of September he would again be receiving payments. In the meantime, though, he had no alternative but to sleep on the street. There was no animosity in his account of what had occurred. During the day he did odd jobs – washing up and the like – for a restaurant/bar in the Gare du Luxembourg. Although he smoked, he didn’t drink and he proudly told me that he had already saved up almost enough to pay back his friend. The weekends were the toughest, he told me, because his string of occasional visitors like me would dry up but he’d read old books and newspapers and do the Sudoko puzzles. In mid-August he was taken to hospital with heat exhaustion but otherwise he was there in his corner of the Bacup building every evening, ready with that cheerful wave. And then, last Wednesday evening, he was no longer there. This was good news. It meant he had moved back into accommodation. But I couldn’t help but feel slightly sad that he’d gone and I miss his friendly wave as I pedal past.