“No one round here sells it”

We’re not even through the front door and Ruth has thrust a copy into Frances’ hands. “Page 48, page 48!” she says as the inserts start to slip out of the magazine.

Ruth is the director of mentoring charity, Reclaim, and has known Frances since she was 12. She’s practically a surrogate parent and, as such, is possibly more excited this morning than either Frances or me.

After Frances has leafed through the article, and exclaimed ‘Wicked!’ more times than there are pages, we are eventually allowed in.

“I’ve already been out to try and get one,” says Frances, “but no one round here sells it. They said, ‘Why, do you read the Guardian?’ And I’m like, no, I’m in the Guardian!”

Hassan is dressing Mia on their bed. She smiles a broad smile and seems genuinely happy to see us. “Good morning Hassan,” says Ruth, “Good morning baby Mia.”

“There’s a picture of you half naked,” Frances says to Hassan as she sits next to him to show him the piece. “Look Mia, there’s you.”


They are in a rush this morning. Ruth is doing a zip wire challenge for Reclaim and she has managed to get Frances a place too.

“Have we got time for a brew?” asks Frances.

“A quick one,” replies Ruth.

“837,” I say, checking the WordPress app on my phone. “837 views on the blog so far today, from all around the world.”

“837!” exclaims Frances. “You’ll be checking that all day now.”

“I know. Sad, isn’t it?”

There are new pictures on the wall: some of the photos I gave to Frances on my last visit; a group one of Hassan’s family and a couple that Frances has had since childhood.

“That’s the one I robbed from school, and that one with the writing on was when I was about seven.”

I’ve brought Frances five copies of the paper, so she can give them to her family and friends. “I’ve been to four different newsagents this morning and bought five copies from each,” I admit. “I didn’t want to clear out a single newsagent in case someone I knew came in to buy the paper!”

“The back seat of his car is just full of Guardians,” laughs Ruth. She’s right. It is.

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