Info Tour Blog # 3
The room in Cardiff was packed out. The talk went very well and generated lots of passionate discussion with people from the South East Wales Regional Equalities Council, interested members of the public, and some new Travellers. There was discussion about the ongoing eviction threat of Marley Head, a Traveller site in South Brent and it seems peeps are organising a TSN group as we speak – watch this space…or that space I suppose.
We stayed at the Red and Black Umbrella, a squatted social centre with some of the crew who came to Dale Farm. In between press-releases and blog-writing we were attaching chimneys to the outside of the building by dangling Welsh-men out the windows and helping to sort out the info-stall. We joyfully had time on our break day to go for a long walk up and around Castle Coch (pronounced cock). We enacted a Lord of the Rings style adventure, assumed new names (Jibli, Yamodo, Jegolas, Dandalf, Laragorn and Squallom the hound.) We picked wild garlic, attended the local pub, and went home to make a lovely hot dinner for all the folks after which we played Crunch and horrible cheating commenced which is apparently the aim of the game.
We waved bon-voyage the next morning and set off for Birmingham.
It was Birmingham on Saturday, we left at 10am and ventured through a very boring looking part of the country between Cardiff and our destination. We swang by the house of Ladislav, a Czech Roma activist who’s organisation EUROPE ROMA, was co-hosting the event today and all bundled into the car. The turnout wasn’t as high as we would have liked, perhaps partly due to the fact it’s Saturday afternoon and that Aston Villa were at home to Fulham (it was 1-0 Villa in case you’re interested). People were especially interested in hearing about Meriden, the Romany Gypsy site facing eviction near Solihull and some are hoping to arrange a visit before Roma Nation Day.
With a break day on Sunday, we were able to relax in the company of our next set of great hosts, Jack, Martina and Edd, who were preparing themselves for their Student Guild election results after Jack had stood for president on a Monster Raving Loony Party platform. 20% of the electorate (which wasn’t quite enough to get him elected) wanted to see his policies which included, a slide off the university clock tower, greater recognition of the ontological dialectic between the guild and university and large scale agrarian reform or planting vegetables everywhere.
None of us had ever been to Liverpool before, so we were looking forward to having a look, but it didn’t really work out that way. We met Anna who had been very helpful in helping us set up the meeting took the short stroll from the car park to the meeting venue, did the meeting, walked back to the car and drove to Manchester. As there wasn’t any people we knew from Dale Farm in Liverpool, the meeting itself was quite small but the people there were keen to get organised and visit sites about Roma Nation Day.
Our drive to Manchester was accompanied by a classic rendition of Bernard Cribbins ‘Right Said Fred’, see it for yourself if you don’t know it.