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Eat me

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The sky was seeded with snow and great white plumes of breath mixed with the smell of soup.

They’d been queuing all day, too tired to talk, stamping their feet inside boots to keep warm. What talk there was ran on the next meal, the cheapest beds and where to get a  shower.

Those with gloves banged their hands together and those without cupped them against their mouths.

Everyone was given the same, a hunk of bread which was soon ripped up to float in a watery but warming soup. They were glad of it and as they spooned out the remains they signed their names on a register. An insurance against them coming back.

The horizon was all tall buildings, the crystal lights of a busy district, but their horizon, down on the shuttered streets, where they kicked about like litter, was the food bank.

Word had got around that the man in charge was a doctor. But this wasn’t medicine, this was food. And this wasn’t a modern clinic which promised health, it was the sodden debauched streets of a city whose only promise was a meal.

The sky was seeded with snow and great white plumes of breath mixed with the smell of soup.

They’d been queuing all day, too tired to talk, stamping their feet inside boots to keep warm. What talk there was ran on the next meal, the cheapest beds and where to get a shower.

Those with gloves banged their hands together and those without cupped them against their mouths.

Everyone was given the same thing; a hunk of bread which was soon ripped up to float in a watery but warming soup. They were glad of it and as they spooned out the remains they signed their names on a register. An insurance against them coming back.

The horizon was all tall buildings, the crystal lights of a busy district, but their horizon, down on the shuttered streets, where they kicked about like litter, was the food bank.

Word had got around that the man in charge was a doctor. But this wasn’t medicine, this was food. And this wasn’t a modern clinic which promised health, it was the sodden debauched streets of a city whose only promise was a meal.

Dr Kevin Hinkley is a GP in Aberdeen.

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