This won’t come as much of a shock to you, but Duthie Park is not a good place to sleep out in during December.
I took precautions – such as handwarmers strategically placed throughout my sleeping bag – but they were of little use when the temperatures plunged and it started to rain.
But as bad as it was, as cold as my fingers got, and as soaked as I became, I had one thing to fall back on: I knew that in just a matter of hours I would be curled up in a warm bed, freshly showered and comfortable.
Until you put yourself out in the cold you don’t fully understand how lucky we are.
Energetic and passionate performances from KT Tunstall, Amy Macdonald, Kris Drever and, most impressively, Eddi Reader, kept the crowd entertained, but it was the videos interspersed between the performances that provided some much-needed context.
VTs were played to show the work that Social Bite does, and people with first-hand experience of homelessness told their story.
The crowds were enthralled as Richard and Jocky, two guys that have featured in the Evening Express in recent months, along with Jamie, told their stories – including the help they’ve received from charities like Social Bite and Aberdeen Cyrenians.
Putting a human face to these types of stories is important as it helps us relate – and there was no better trio of spokesmen that could illuminate the plight of homeless people than them.
Events like this come in for some criticism, mostly because it’s only one night a year that we don our waterproofs and brave the chill, but for me – and I assume 1,800 others – it adds some perspective.
It was only one night but it changed my outlook, it made me appreciate what I have and made me understand, in some small way, what rough sleepers go through.
This is a fixable problem. Housing First, the initiative that will receive funding from the sleep-out, has all but eliminated rough sleeping in Finland, and, given the right level of support, and the right level of funding, it is hoped that it will do the same here.
Put in that context, one night of discomfort was more than worth it.