This Brexit Business: marching for the People’s Vote

The march, as seen in a plate glass window.

On Saturday morning, we got up at 4.30 a.m. and didn’t get to bed again till 12.30 on Sunday morning.  In between, we drove to York; forked out £60 for tickets and travelled in a coach to London where we spent the day marching, before reversing the procedure in the early evening.  At our ages – we’re both long past retirement age – you don’t do things like that unless it’s for something really important.

It is. For us, and on behalf of our children and grandchildren, this Brexit Business matters more than almost anything else.

We are members of North Yorkshire for Europe, and joined for the day with York for Europe.  We came to London to march and campaign for a People’s Vote on the Brexit deal.

York and North Yorkshire organise themselves.

Don’t talk to us about the Referendum being the last word on The Will of the People (a barely more than 50% of those who voted changing the course of a nation’s history?).  Don’t tell us what The People voted for – nobody exactly knows.  Don’t tell us that when companies like Airbus and Siemens warn they may have to leave the UK in the event of a no-deal, that they are simply part of an irresponsible Project Fear.  Yes, we are fearful of Brexit: for us, for our families, for those in insecure employment, for those European citizens now resident here who had considered the UK their home.

On arrival in central London, we joined 100, 000 others on a slow two hour march down Pall Mall to Trafalgar Square and Whitehall and into Parliament Square, which completely failed to accommodate us all.

Despite our serious purpose, we had fun.  Look at the banners, the flags, the posters, the facepaint and wigs; the young, the old: marching, hobbling, manoeuvring wheelchairs and buggies – you’ll even spot one fellow being carried by Donald Trump (as if …).  We enjoyed Mexican cheers (the vocal version of a Mexican wave), bouts of chanting (‘What do we want?’ ‘A People’s Vote!’ ‘When do we want it?’ ‘Now!’).  We chatted with marchers from Wales, Devon, Germany, Reading, France, Lambeth, Scotland…..

Then speeches. Rousing, energising speeches from the likes of Caroline Lucas MP, Tony Robinson, Vince Cable MP, David Lammy MP.  Passionate speeches from a hospital consultant, from the young people of OFOC (Our Future, Our Choice).  Video contributions from a WWII veteran and from Chuka Umunna MP.  We cheered them all, and at the end, especially the courageous Tory MP Anna Soubry.

What we want is a People’s Vote on the final Brexit deal, because apart from a principled few, most MPs are obeying the Whips and toeing the party line, regardless of either their own beliefs, or those of their constituents. If you voted for Brexit, and the government comes up with a good deal for the British people, you have nothing to fear from a People’s Vote.  The government will win the day, and we Remoaners will have to shut up.

If you think that, having learned the terms of the Final Deal, the people should have the Final Say, please sign the petition for The People’s Vote.  It’s here.

PS.  The Daily Express front page on the day of the march…..  there are no words…. don’t they read the news?

  Click on any image to see full size.

London Gasholders

I was in London yesterday, but due to travel back to Yorkshire from King’s Cross when Judith’s blog Beyond the Window Box tumbled into my in-box. She’d been exploring the area round the station, just alongside Regent’s Canal, and found some gasholders…..

As a child, these fascinated me.  Those circular cast iron skeletons, housing storage cylinders which telescoped up and down depending on how much gas they contained were a source of wonder to me.  Though assertively industrial, they were graceful too, rising above the narrow terraced houses and the factories and trades which grew up alongside them. But ‘Gasworks Street’ was nobody’s idea of a smart address.

The King’s Cross gasholders in their workaday world.

How things change.  Gasholders London is a site transformed from its dirty, workaday past into a smart desirable residential quarter.  All but one of the gasholders now contain not gas cylinders, but luxury apartments.  The remaining one has become a small  park with a gleaming reflective canopy with grass beneath.

Nobody seems to want to hide the area’s busy industrial past.  The über-smart shopping quarter, just being developed on the site of the cobbled streets and railway sidings where coal from the North of England was received and sorted is called Coal Drops Yard.

Gasholders London, seen from the Regent’s Canal.

Round here, if you need to know the price, you can’t afford it.  A hundred and fifty years of dramatic social change.

Click on any image for a closer view.

 

In which I more than feel my age

When I take William to the park, the playground, a museum, the library or the shops, there’s always a grandparent or two like me, doing their share of childminding.

Not today. Sarah’s friends recommended the new adventure play at a local leisure centre as a good place to spend the morning. I’d be able to relax while William let off steam.

It didn’t work out like that. Towers, tunnels, trampolines and slides went from ground to way above our heads. Daunting at first if you’re only two. ‘Granny come too’.

Which is all very well, but safety netting was at small-child-head-height. We scrambled up padded stairways; inserted ourselves into cylindrical tunnels; dropped through chutes to the floor below, and zipped down slides that, were they removed to a domestic setting, would have to be sited leaving from the bedroom window.

At this point I noticed that I was easily twice the age of the next oldest carer. Just now, sore and creaky, I feel at least four times older.

From dinosaurs to fish: from butterflies to rainbows: and back to dinosaurs again

William began his day yesterday by lining up his extensive collection of dinosaurs (thank you, Ben and Alex).  Please note the previously unrecorded vaccosaurus right in the middle there.

Then we went to the Horniman Museum, as we so often do.

We had to visit the Aquarium, as we so often do.

We had to visit the new Butterfly House, so William could show it to me.

And we had to visit the new exhibition about colour, The Rainbow Revealed.  Here’s William, sitting in the light tent, soothed by the calming green light that followed the vigorous energizing magenta.

Just before home time, we came upon this dinosaur.  He lives out his days in the primaeval forest created in the Horniman Museum Gardens.  The primaeval plants are currently protected from the winter storms by very unprimaeval plastic, which slightly spoils the effect.

A fine day.

Click on any image to see it full size.  These are smart phone photos.  Not so smart really.

Winter: for one day only

Winter’s not been around in recent years, not really.  Those crisp snowy days we all seem to remember from our childhood, those snowball fights, those Jack Frost patterns etched our bedroom windows, those chilblains – all seem to be ancient history.

This week in London, where we had an early unofficial Christmas with William and family, winter arrived for one day only before becoming sunny and mild again.  Look at these ducks and gulls in the local park, standing in puzzled uncertainty or ineptly skating on a frozen pond.  One day only was quite enough for them.

Snapshot Saturday: a transient house in a temporary home.

If you go to London, and if you go to the Victoria and Albert Museum some time before next February, don’t miss a rather special temporary exhibition I saw there this week.

Find the glass lift, and allow it to sweep you upwards to the sixth floor.  Here, from this light and airy vantage point, you can enjoy views over the museum and beyond.

Contemporary Korean ceramics.  That’s what you’re looking for.  There are glossy ceramic tiles, reinterpreting Korea’s exquisite porcelain from the Joseon dynasty (you can see examples of these down on the first floor).  There are wonderfully lustrous translucent vases, in luminous reds, yellows and blues.  Oh wait ….  they’re carved from soap.

But what drew me back, several times, was this house.

Here’s what its creator Kim Juree has to say about this, and the many houses she has created in the same idiom.

So what you’ll see if you visit won’t be what I saw.  Don’t wait too long.  This temporary structure isn’t long for this world.

If you peer behind the house, you’ll see a few of those vases carved from soap.

This post is a response to this week’s WordPress Photo Challenge: temporary

Fresh air and fun, London style

I’m in London, doing a spot of childminding for two-year old William.  But after all that city living in Poland and Berlin, my inner Country Mouse needed some attention.

A city farm then.  This turned out to be a Good Idea.  It involved an exciting trip through the waterways and futuristic high-rise building sites on the route of the Docklands Light Railway.  It involved, in the smart business district of Canary Wharf, an exciting intermittent fountain that commanded William’s rapt attention for many minutes.

William and the fountain at Canary Wharf.

It involved a ferry crossing to get us from one side of the Thames to the other.  ‘Did you see the seal?’ said one of the crew.  No, we didn’t, but it turns out they’re rather common.

The ferry goes from Canary Wharf to the far side, back and forth, all day.

And it involved a saunter along the Thames views.  Then we arrived.  Surrey Docks City Farm.  Path, through parkland and with riverside.

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The view from Surrey Docks Farm.

It’s a farm, but not as we know farms here in North Yorkshire.  The animals are behind fences, and the crops are in beds rather than fields.  But it’s nicely ramshackle, in a good way, and a real piece of countryside among the high-rise.  William and I befriended sheep: monster woolly breeds from the South Downs and from Oxford, quite unlike their rangier northern cousins.  Donkeys requested loving pats on the back. Here was the biggest sow ever.  Ducks were a-dabbling, up tails all.  Goats played King of the Castle to increasingly complicated rules, jostling each other off the heights: and hens busied themselves policing the entire site.

A few goats having fun.

William was, if anything, even more interested in the vegetables.  Those gourds!  They were long, thin, and taller than him.  Those pumpkins!  So big, so h-e-a-v-y. And the long leaves of the cavolo nero!  So tough, so leathery, and such an intense shade of dark green.

William holds a pumpkin inspection.

Everything in the cafe is home-made.  So we had lunch there – an enormous lunch – before retracing our steps.  The ferry was still as exciting, and there were workmen hanging off the gangway onto the boat, doing unimaginably interesting things.

Maintenance work on the jetty.

The fountain as entrancing as first time round.  By the time our train journey was over, William was fast asleep.