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Our vendors: George Whyte (The Big Issue, Edinburgh, UK)

By Adam Forrest, The Big Issue

I’ve had quite a few housing problems over the past year. It started with a fire at the place I was renting in Caledonian Crescent in the Haymarket area of Edinburgh. That was in July 2015. After that I moved straight back in, even though I was living in a black shell.

The fire service had said it was fit to live in, apparently. The landlord thought so anyway, and not much repair work was done. I left there in January last year. But then I had a lot of problems with the next landlord at a place in Dalry. I was feeling very insecure about it all and struggling to get by.

I started selling The Big Issue and that gave me a real boost. I’ve met a lot of really nice people on my pitch – people seemed to warm to me and some of the customers have become like friends.

I’ll do a wee dance on my pitch and the staff inside Starbucks will chuckle. I think they like me being here.

I met the author Ian Rankin when he was at the International Book Festival nearby. I’m a big fan of the Rebus books. We had a very nice conversation – he’s a big supporter of The Big Issue. Funnily enough, I also met the actor John Hannah, who played Rebus on TV.

I almost met George Clooney when he was in Edinburgh to support the Social Bite social enterprise – a sandwich chain that provides jobs for homeless people. I waited outside to say hello but the crowds were just too big. Social Bite recently opened a restaurant in Edinburgh called Home and I was invited along for a lovely meal there.

I like to stand at the esplanade at the castle and take photos of the Pentland Hills. But I love all of Edinburgh.

I love Edinburgh. I was born and grew up in the Borders but wherever I’ve gone I’ve always gravitated back to Edinburgh and I’ve been here now for the past 20 years. I used to do a lot of hillwalking around Scotland before I had a heart attack in 2012. I’ve been up Ben Nevis. I’d like to do a big fundraising walk for charity if I can. As I told the folk at the hospital – I’m not dead yet.

I recently got a new place to live in Dalry with a housing association. They’re fixing it up for me. So after a real rough patch, things are looking up. I’m very grateful to The Big Issue for when I ran into problems. It’s been good to me.

My favourite place is Edinburgh Castle. I like to stand at the esplanade at the castle and take photos of the Pentland Hills. But I love all of Edinburgh.

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