Adam Taylor clambers up a small muddy incline to a fort, or "home sweet home", as he likes to call it.
From nearby bushes, he produces all his worldly possessions, soaked through by torrential rain.
He wasn't expecting bad weather yesterday.
Adam, 20, has been sleeping rough in Blenheim for the past month. He has spent time in the stables at A & P Park, but moved on after he was beaten up by a group of people one night. He suspects he was concussed because he only remembers being kicked in the back of the head and hit in the face. His left eye is still bloodshot.
He's also slept at Lansdowne Park, and for the past four nights he has bunked down under a fort in a children's playground.
"It's funny a lot of people laugh when I tell them I'm homeless. If you were a normal person, would you believe someone was homeless in Blenheim?
"I don't wish this upon anybody."
The former Linwood College student says his father kicked him out of his Christchurch home about a year ago. He says his father was angry because he had been convicted of drink-driving and wasn't paying rent.
He spent four weeks on the streets in the Garden City before hightailing it to Blenheim to work for a mate's father, cleaning drains.
Work was only guaranteed until Christmas, he says, but the job gave him a roof over his head because he could flat with a friend.
After that, he had a "good job" earning about $400 a week in the vineyards, hand-plucking leaves before progressing to stripping vines. But work dried up, he says, and with no money for rent, he had to move out of his flat.
He was promised continued work, but has had only one day on the job in the past fortnight, which will earn him $36 before tax when he is paid today.
"That money will just go to food, but I should probably use it to patch up some of these boards," he jokes, pointing to the roof of his "house", which is leaking like a sieve.
Adam doesn't want to go to Work and Income because he thinks he owes it $100.
Things are getting desperate, though, so "I might have to go in and face them".
He also doesn't think there's any point applying for the unemployment benefit, because it would require him to be actively looking for work, but without a cellphone, which he can't afford, looking for a job is pointless, he says.
Last night he was preparing for his coldest night living rough. "I've never been out when it's wet.
"Wednesday and the night before were pretty chilly because the wind has been picking up during the night."
He has a tent, but he doesn't pitch it, because he fears being told to move on by the police.
Instead, he just wraps it around himself.
"I'm not doing this by choice. If I had a chance, I'd be in a nice, warm house with a good job.
"It gets pretty boring. It gets so dark that I can't read a book. I've got no-one to talk to, and I've no cellphone to text."
During the day, you won't find Adam hanging around his home. His gear's all packed up and hidden away so no-one knows he's there before he sets out in search of work. His first port of call is John's Kitchen.
"It's what motivates me in the morning."
There, Robert Hall feeds him bread and a hot cup of coffee. John's Kitchen also provides him with a hot meal on Wednesday nights, and the Salvation Army feeds him on Saturdays.
"Having a meal is amazing when you have been eating bread every day."
Many people don't appreciate what John's Kitchen does, he says.
"A lot of vineyard people go there because it's a free meal.
"They can afford their meal; I can't."
After visiting John's Kitchen, he sets off in search of work, but it's been hard.
He's tried a couple of contractors, but none of them are hiring.
When he's exhausted his resources, he heads to his other hideout the Marlborough District Library where he spends a lot of time on the computers and doing jigsaw puzzles.
In the past two weeks, he's read the entire Harry Potter collection.
"When I was growing up, I never thought I'd be homeless," he laments.
He hasn't heard from his father in ages, and "I miss Christchurch and my family heaps. I've got no friends here; I've lost a lot of friends. No-one should be homeless in this world".
Do you have a job for Adam? Please email him on firstname.lastname@example.org or ring The Marlborough Express on 03-577 2950.
- The Marlborough Express
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