Wednesday, May 4, 2011

A beautiful sky, a wonderful day, whip crack-away

We were coming to the end of the Easiest Easter Holiday in Living Memory TM, classified thus because the steaming weather meant you could go to the park every day instead of seeking waterproofed and expensive diversions. But we’d now been to the park rather a lot, and there’d been a small incident in the Bell Lane Rec when someone forgot it wasn’t her own back garden but rather a public utility and words were said to someone else who was sitting on the bench she had come to regard as her own. Ahem. So as Thing Two and I hastened away in search of alternative fun, my eye was caught by the brightly coloured posters of the Climate Change campers at the old St Anne’s school site. Or ‘Calamity Camp’ as Thing Two read it, a charming fusion brought on by his five-year-old reading skills and his recent viewing of Doris Day’s Calamity Jane.

The person who does all the curly colourful sign-writing at environmental camps and festivals sure has got the market sewn up. Quite literally, as the lettering is often stitched onto sheets. The smiling dreadlocked lady who was knitting at the entrance invited us in to look round. There wasn’t a huge amount going on, but everyone was friendly and it was nice to be in a place with a lot of sitting down – sitting-in, I believe is the technical term – and where was no-one was arguing about benches and land ownership. Oh hang on, yes they were. A nice chap, doing a masterful impression of Tom, Reggie Perrin’s son-in-law, explained while washing up that they’d originally occupied the site to raise awareness of climate issues via peaceful direct action. I think he said peaceful but I was distracted by trying to stop Thing Two interrogating Tom as to why he didn’t have a dishwasher. In the end I took some peaceful direct action of my own, by stopping my child’s mouth with a vegan flapjack. Tom explained that the police had thought they were protesting about the imminent demolition of the school buildings. Bet that officer went ‘oops’, because until he told them, the calamity campers knew nothing of this proposal. Naturally they immediately added it to their protest roster. I asked Tom if the camp would consider also protesting about an unattractive gazebo going up in my neighbourhood but he said it was ‘outside our remit.’

Thing Two swallowed the last cake crumbs and asked to go home. Having been mainlining Easter eggs for the last two days he was now showing clear signs of withdrawal. Cold bunny, I suppose. We bade farewell to our new friends, and sang Whip-Crack-Away! as we walked home. Passing Bell Lane, I noticed my bench was still occupied, but I took no action, peaceful or otherwise. Early tomorrow morning I would return with a flask and hold a lengthy sit-down.

Beth Miller, 28th April 2011. Published in

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