Over soup and a sandwich Brian peppered me with questions. ‘What’s Manchester like? … ‘Do you like chocolate?’ … ‘What do you think about homelessness?’

That’s an interesting one when you’re sitting in the No Bucks cafe, a converted bus that offers free food, hot drinks and clothes to anyone struggling with addiction or life on the streets.

‘I think it must be, um, hard.’ And desperate and heartbreaking, I didn’t add. Not just because it wouldn’t exactly encourage, but because the mood on the bus was anything but desperate: full of chat and laughter and warm in every way.

I heard about the cafe on wheels from a friend who works at Tiglin residential centre in Wicklow, helping young people to recover from addiction (http://tiglin.ie/home/). It’s a wonderful place to connect with people who share my pavements and breathe my air but inhabit a parallel world to my four-walled, tumble-dried life. Every Thursday night in the centre of Dublin (and elsewhere on other nights) anyone is welcome aboard for a few hours’ break from the streets. Volunteers serve food and drink, chat, listen, offer practical, emotional and spiritual support, and have a laugh with the regulars. Amid the storytelling, jokes and songs there’s an atmosphere of fun and, above all, complete acceptance. How rare and brilliant is that?

Is anyone thirsty?
Come and drink— even if you have no money!
Come, it’s all free!