Well, we found the NALCL banner, we mustered three other cat lovers who were

  • non-aligned
  • not in on holiday in ROME (what is it with Rome? Must it thwart my plans for ever?)
  • not looking at overpriced flats in Deptford (sorry, West Greenwich) with their mothers*
  • not refusing to go on account of the march being jointly run by the Stop The War coalition who are a bunch of bastards and anyway, they’ve got family visiting
  • helping friends to move to a slightly smarter bit of Hackney (I believe this is possible)

So that was me, Mr P, Mum and Adara then. And Ceej. But including Ceej would imply that she had a choice in the matter.

*Actually, I remember looking for flats with my mum when it was still possible for a single woman on £16k to find something quite reasonable. Mortifying. BOTS was suitably punished, I feel.

On the bus to Victoria, Ceej and her nan sat next to an elderly man who gave her a pound coin for sweets. Mum told him off for spending his pension on spoilt children, and he told her that he had plenty of money, houses all over the world, and just likes pottering around London with his Freedom Pass. Mum looked sceptical, so he explained that he was a retired trapeze artiste. He’d travelled all over the world, and was Burt Lancaster’s stunt double in Trapeze, because he was the only person who could do the triple roll mid-air thingy that was the key tension point in the film. So he had plenty of money, and spent his days doing charity work and travelling on the 436. Amazing, eh?

As usual for CND demos, there were more people than I thought there would be. Ads marvelled at the sheer variety of socialist organisations, and we all wished there was a Non Aligned Lefty Dog Lovers’ banner so that we could yell “Splitters!”. Lots of people grinned and pointed at us, and lots of people with very fancy cameras took our photo. Ceej woke up while we were still hanging around at Speakers’ Corner, and was unimpressed. Once we set off though, we moved at a fairly brisk pace, and our feet came back to life.

The coppers liked our banner, and we got plenty of waves. I particularly liked the way the Trot paper sellers scowled and refused to acknowledge us (apart from one nice young man who took a picture with his camera phone). There were the usual intense arguments between bearded men about the future of communism. A handful of spotty teenage anarchists (bless!) waved their home made banners and accused the other protesters of betraying the cause by using oil-financed design technology to make their faaancy banners. I agree that our banner was made from a couple of cheap sheets from a linen shop in Woolwich that probably originated from a slave labour factory in China somewhere – and the acrylic paints probably weren’t organic, but watercolours would have run something terrible…

We got down to Haymarket at about 4pm, and decided that we’d had enough of crowds, dancing Hare Krishna types, and Woodcraft Folk playing with giant flags. So we took a right, and went for a cup of tea in the ICA. Except that we didn’t realise until it was too late that you had to pay £3 to get to the cafe, and their offhand staff didn’t have any plain crisps on offer. Still, we were entertained by some German art students, discussing the exhibition with great intensity.

We got home at about 5.30pm, in time to see Ireland completely demolish the English. Poor old Mr P didn’t know whether to laugh or cry, given that Ireland is his second team…

In other news. The Baron has agreed to my ludicrous pay demands, so I’m there for another year, I think.

And my baby cousin Gemma gave birth to a little girl on Friday 23 February at around 3am. Yay! No name yet. I think the poor girl is a bit tired after 48 hours in labour. Bloody hell, I’m a sort of great auntie (G is my cousin Uli’s daughter)

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