Info Tour Blog # 5
Travelling down from Glasgow on our way to the next meeting offered some light relief in the form of a pint in the village of Twice Brewed, which sits in the shadow of Hadrian’s Wall; though sadly even here we were unable to escape the important (though slightly fearsome) content meetings. Newcastle saw the sad departure of Yamuna (The Benevolent) from the tour who signed off with one final meeting and a disappointing defeat to Aidan in the Settlers of Catan Board game (expansion pack version). The meeting was another relatively small one, but was attended by prominent members of the local Amnesty International group, and by people working locally with different Travelling groups. Good discussion was had about issues effecting Travelling communities locally, with particular attention spent on issues of racism, prejudice and fear surrounding them in Newcastle area. After the meeting we headed to the house of some awesome locals and their dog where we enjoyed a mixture of skipped sandwiches and left over stir fry. Come the morning however (after a swift but delicious beans on toast breakfast) the awesome foursome separated, with Dan and Aidan heading to York for a midday fixture and Jenni and Jacob chilling out in Newcastle before a later meet in Durham.
The gruesome twosome (that is Dan and Aidan) landed in York just before 3pm to prepare for the days meeting. With the help of some pretty cool locals, we set up quickly and were ready to go. The meeting was quite different to some, with a Documentary Film Maker recording the entire talk and then interviewing the two of us afterwards!!!! We met up with a few locals who had been at Dale Farm (including the person who put in the English Heritage application for our scaffolding!!!), and some who hadn’t, who all seemed keen to get involved and there was a good energy and discussion at the meeting. The meeting was also attended by several local Romani Gypsys who spoke about their experiences of police and council harassment in York, and who expressed their interest in the network. After the meeting and searching for some time for half way affordable food (and failing) we tried to escape the city of York (a near impossible feat), and were only eventually able to find the car with the help of two lovely old ladies. Onwards and upwards to Durham to pick up Jacob and Jenni.
Jenni and Jacob headed to Durham with some of the wonderful Newcastle crew to the meeting there, partly organised by http://www.abebooks.co.uk/peoples-bookshop-durham/56739685/sf -anyone passing by Durham should hunt it out, though be warned it’s up some death defying stairs. It was a small meeting but a good discussion and we learnt a lot about the local Durham situation. Rejoined by Dan and Aidan we began our St Patrick’s Day celebrations in style by the Sat Nav getting us lost in the woods outside Sheffield. Jenni has yet to hurl it out of the window but it gets a bit closer every day…
So we stumbled into the steel city (thanks to the sat nav it really was stumbling) to begin what felt like a holiday (Saturday night till Tuesday daytime felt like a long stretch of time in which we could really relax). We enjoyed a whole variety of activities including: a lovely walk, playing in a children’s playground, and going to a Ceilidh organised by locals. We held the meeting in the Black Rose centre (a small social centre in Sheffield’s Burngreave area)where around twenty people crowded into the small main room; good discussion was had, and there was clearly a desire for people to start working locally where possible. It was great to hang out with old friends and after the meeting we all headed down to the pub for a few pints. Walking back to a friend’s house we even managed to skip 8 bottles of cider from a local Co-op’s bins, and enough food to repay the kindness of all who put us up in their house. Midday Tuesday (after a lovely trip to the park, and some tree climbing) we left the steel city headed for the famous 1 in 12 club.