Sunday, 30 November 2014

A Busy Saturday: Marches & Entertaining

Silver Hill, an ancient street in Winchester, is up for redevelopment. It looks a mess and it does need a facelift, but many people aren't happy about the plans the council has put forward and even less happy about their apparent unwillingness to listen to that public opinion. As a result, a local county councillor set up a petition to gauge public views, and following that has put together a campaign to challenge the plans and hopes to get a new set of designs put forward that suit the city better.

Yesterday it was Marching Day. Over a thousand people met up at the Rec, collected balloons, whistles and banners and marched to the Guildhall to protest the design and call for a better one. I was at Uni in Winchester years ago and lived there for several years afterwards and I feel very connected to the City. I've seen the current council plans and I don't like them, so we went along to lend our support. Here is one of the stewards, kindly allowing me to photograph her sign which shows King Alfred, the 9th Century King Of Wessex, whose capital city Winchester was.


The last time M went on a political march was several hundred years ago and it was over student loans. Their chant was 'Maggie, Maggie, Maggie- OUT OUT OUT!' so he was looking forward with keen interest to what ours would be. It ended up as 'Save Our City- We Want Change!' which we all yelled out cheerfully as we walked along the streets while whistles blew and drums banged. 
M (our resident chants-for-political-marches expert) thought this wasn't as good as it might have been, but we decided a good March Chant has to be short and punchy: you couldn't, for example, yell out: 'we want better plans that are more aesthetically pleasing, affordable and mean young people don't have to move out of Winchester as soon as they leave home because only bankers from London can afford to buy a house here.'

M was also hoping to be Kettled, but as the two policemen in attendance turned up on bicycles I told him I thought it was unlikely. He still kept a half-hopeful eye out for riot police with shields and batons, but I reminded him this was Winchester, the kind of place where you are more likely to be accosted by an old Major with a bristling moustache wearing a tweed jacket over a pair of canary yellow corduroy trousers than angry youths with attitude. As if to prove my point for me, at that exact moment a man strolled past playing a saxophone....



There were also lots of dogs protesting the plans and I rather regretted not having brought P and T....


 
This is Snoopy. He was sitting listening to the speeches very attentively. Isn't he lovely?

 

M once spent a night in police cells in Bristol after a mildly raucous student night out. It was a complete over-reaction by the local police who took exception to a group of young lads out enjoying themselves in DJs after a 21st birthday party, and so slung them in the cells. When he rang his dad the next morning after they'd been let out to tell him why he'd be late for Granny's 80th birthday bash, Bob said: 'have you really just spent the night in the cells? How exciting! Tell me all about it!' 
Our boys think this is the coolest thing dad's ever done (or ever will do), and so L, who had come with us on the March, was hoping to get arrested. He tried his hardest to achieve this long-help ambition by waving his balloon frantically in front of every news camera we walked past, but alas no policemen were near enough at the time to consider it a Breach Of the Peace dangerous enough to warrant incarceration.

South today interviewing Kim
Walking through the streets of Winchester

There were a few heckles from people as we went along but broadly speaking everyone was good natured. I was keen for L to come along and see democracy in action and that you can make a point powerfully and peacefully. I think he rather enjoyed it; he asked me whether I thought kids might get into politics after being on a March and he's been telling his skype mates all about it ever since. He kept the balloon, but I put my foot down when the banner nearly came home with us too :o)


A group of kids did a fantastic street dance outside the Guildhall before the speeches

There were news cameras everywhere and reporters darting in and out of the crowd doing interviews





This sign made us smile. Henderson is the name of the development company, it's also the surname of friends of ours, so I had to take a picture :o)
King Alf, standing guard over his city and the Protestors
The Guildhall
I remembered (for once) that I can shoot videos on the i phone, so I did one for you all, so you could get a sense of the atmosphere outside the Guildhall....



The March made the local news last night, which we recorded just in case we were on it and we were! For all of a millisecond. So of course when the Grannies and Grandpas came over for supper last night we all sat down to watch it and everyone roared with laughter and cheered when we came into view. I did warn them not to blink or they'd miss it. Ma had already seen the footage from the early evening news and hadn't noticed us at all :o)

L made his famous lemon tart for pudding, which went down well, and I made an Eton Mess with strawberries. Pop had a bath before everyone came because she was extremely smelly after her walk. She came out looking all white and fluffy and had more pick ups and cuddles as a result than she's had in ages.


I had a last minute panic about shoes just before everyone arrived (the women among you will understand this). I was going to remain comfy after a long day and wear boot slippers but decided this would be just too scruffy, so I had to borrow a pair of L's slightly-damp-because-not-long-out-of-the-washing-machine black socks because I couldn't be bothered to put tights on and my thermal socks would have looked ridiculous. I think I got away with it.


We had a lovely evening but I was Rather Sleepy by the end, so while M took Ted out for a wee Pop and I fell asleep illegally on the sofa.....

Is that a DOG on the sofa?
Today, the sun is shining, M has planted a Hornbeam hedge at the top of the garden and has gone to B&Q to get me a plug-in radiator for when I'm working on the laptop because it gets cold and we're resisting putting on the heating, and I've been taking pics of the garden birds who are here in their droves, so I will leave you with them and wish you all a peaceful remainder of the weekend.


 
 
 
 

Hope everyone is well?

CT :o)

29 comments:

  1. Brilliant, I love a good march! Giggled at the thought of being kettled by 2 policemen on bicycles. I think the last one I went on was against the Iraq war, we all sang peace songs, not quite as catchy as Maggie Maggie Maggie OUT OUT OUT :)

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    1. I think M was more disappointed than he let on at not being kettled :o)

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  2. I went on a massive CND march in London in the early eighties. I really believed we could change the world and make it more peaceful. Now it's no longer popular to rid the world of nuclear weapons.

    Great pictures!

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    1. That's a really good point Dave. I'm not sure when Nuclear as a power source became almost socially acceptable. I well remember the CND marches and protests of the 80s.

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  3. We don't do marches in Suffolk, or at least I've never heard of one anywhere.
    Our two eldest were both at uni in Winchester. H at Art college and M at King Alfreds so we spent some days there in the early 2000s. A lovely town. One graduation in the cathedral and another in the guildhall. I hope your march has persuaded those in charge to sit up and take notice.

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    1. We marched past the Art college, and I was at King Alfs in the early 90s. Small world :o)

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  4. I've never been on a march, I feel left out now! It sounds rather good fun. Good on you for not putting your heating on, mine however has been on twice a day since the middle of November. Just for a short time mind! Since we had the cavity walls filled the other year the walls retain heat like you wouldn't believe. You get a lovely warm feeling from them, rather like the one when you've quaffed half a bottle of Baileys.

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    1. I enjoyed it- it felt good to be doing something active about something I feel strongly about.
      We had our house cavity-wall-filled in the summer and it has def made a difference, plus as it was paid for by a Govt grant it was cheaper than getting through 1/2 bottle of baileys a night :o)

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  5. Look at you all tuckered out from marching and upholding democracy :)
    Oh that lemon tart ~ yumma !!!

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    1. Yes, no stamina these days... :o) I'll send you a virtual slice of pie Willow :o)

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  6. Great post, I too have never been on a march, just hope it would make a difference some times and they listened to to people over money...
    Lovely shots of the birds.
    Amanda xx

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    1. Time will tell on that one, but I guess at least we all feel better that we've made our point xx

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  7. Good luck - I have known Winchester for over 40 years, and have watched the planners slowly begin to ruin it over that time.

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    1. I am hopeful, largely because there are so many people who care about the city and are prepared to be vocal about it.

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  8. Oooh hello! When St Micheal's hospital in Hayle was threatened with closure, we all marched in support of it, and my sister in law's job. The chant was "Save St Micheal's" (obvs) but my nephew Matt and Sam chanted "Save George Micheal" who was going through some difficulties at the time. And I am ashamed to admit that when I was a student in Leeds, me and some of my friends got on the Council Tax protest coach bound for the march in London, and went shopping instead. I think as a family we may be rather glib...
    Leanne xx

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    1. L was chanting 'I want your change' at one point, and if you can't behave badly when you're a student when can you?! xx

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  9. What an exciting weekend. Well done you for getting stuck in at the protest, far too many beautiful places are being spoiled by developers. The lemon tart and Eton Mess were very well deserved. CJ xx

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    1. I agree- sometimes you have to make a stand. x

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  10. My Future in Your Plans - bloody good banner!

    Jean x

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    1. Wasn't it fab? I've just had an email from the organiser of the protest who was thrilled and amazed at the number of people who turned up and wrote to thank everyone. I am full of admiration for him for organising it all. ps- just read your guest post from Willie- what a dear he is :o) x

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  11. Great pictures of the march. We having been protesting the introduction of water charges here in Ireland -it is an interesting mix of people because the argument either for/against is quite nuanced. Myself and Mr S were on the big London anti-Iraq War march which was incredible, we really thought at the time at the gov could not ignore such a swell of public opinion. How wrong we were! It is very tiring working up holding the principles of democracy, isn't it?. Bless! xx

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  12. Great photos of the march - can just sense the atmosphere and looks a great turn out. The "stop the cull" march in Stratford earlier this year is the only one I've ever been on although I did once attend a protest outside the council house!! Good Luck with getting changes to the plans.

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    1. Here's hoping. Kim won't give up and hopefully the weight of public opinion will give some power to his elbow. There was a badger march in winchester the weekend before- I've only just found out, otherwise I would have been on it :o(

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  13. I have never been on such a march or demonstration, but it sounds as though you are very experienced! Well done you for joining in and expressing your views. Winchester is a beautiful city so I hope that whatever happens it doesn't spoil the feel and look of the town and that it brings only good things to the area. xx

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    1. I think that's basically what everyone on the March felt too. It is a lovely place and it deserves not to be spoilt xx

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  14. Your pictures reminded me of a union rally I went to in Winchester a very long time ago.I hope the protest will be noticed and the plans are changed. We vowed this time to not allow the dog on the couch, three weeks in and he often lies on it with us in the evening! Sarah x

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    1. It would be hard to resist that little face, Sarah :o) Pop is only allowed on the sofa when Dad isn't around to see! (shhh, I didn't say that out loud :o) ) x

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  15. I hope your protest succeeds - and did Banksy do those great spray stencilled signs for you?

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Thank you for leaving a comment. I always enjoy reading them and will try my best to reply to every one. CT x