The main feature of the week before the bank holiday at the end of the week,is the weekend.
I think i’ve reached that stage in life where in some ways it easier to remember what i was doing 40 years ago than yesterday.
so lets start there:40 years ago on August Bank Holiday was Windsor Free Festival 1973,I was very much there.i was definitely a part of it,and i both remember it in some detail and remain affected by it 40 years later,not just with the force and centrality of the memory but because of the events,that have given me important experiences to live by and learn from and apply.I detail that account elsewhere.
My recollection of the weather in 1973 is that it was perfect late summer,bank holiday weather.2013 was not quite the same
Friday was awful weather-with a touch of wind and rain.Saturday,i set off to meet my friend and comrade Joe to distribute leaflets on the South Kilburn Estate,with 3 large and intimidating blocks to visit.We finished about 10 floors of one of them,which was about 60 apartments.On visiting the two others we discover that both,of about 80 apartments each possibly are empty apart from 2 tenants remaining in each.We decide not to go looking for them-the odds are stacked very firmly against us,but it does set us wondering where have all these people been”decanted”to-there is no completed development going on in this borough which means they will have been”deported”to hastings or Luton or Birmingham or anywhere…
So we leave the estate and walk back to Kilburn Square where we visit our favourite cafe before we get rained off in a few minutes trying to give out leaflets in the square,which is a location known to locals but not identified on any map.As they say,it is best hidden in plain sight.We don’t mind getting wet,but the leaflet’s won’t survive.We may have gone on trying but no-one wants to stop in this rain anyway.So home we head.
A couple of blocks away my progress is halted by a police cordon which blocks the path of everything,and its not until later that i find out why,although perhaps i should have recognised a situation i have been in before.So a big detour,and eventually i get home pretty exhausted.I wrote a brief report on our campaign page on facebook-and its only later that the police blockade was at the murder scene of a young black woman murdered in error as a result of not even mistaken identity.i rage when i hear police describe her as in the wrong place at the wrong time.No!That is not the case:she was going about her own business.Her murderers and no-one else are in the wrong-wrong about everything.
On Sunday i set off to a little village in Buckinghamshire,following on the heels of my partner who went to visit another location first,which included a visit to a community library.the local authority had planned to shut the library down completely but somehow were persuaded otherwise,and have made the building available,i believe,rent free,to be run by volunteers.This is not as good as a local authority fully funded library but in a Tory borough,its much better than in another Tory borough where the Community Library exists as the front line of defence against a local authority determined to take the austerity axe to everything,and better still than in our own borough which is run by a Labour Council who have completely axed 7 out of 12 libraries and can’t even open the new civic centre on the day promised,or fill it with books,nor even find this new”listening attitude”to the community…
On Monday we visit the local village fete which had for a number of years become a regular feature of my and indeed our family life.An all too brief conversation with an old friend of mine in the local pub over lunch.A quick stroll round the stall,and i come away with a pile of interesting and very cheap books from the bookstall before taking a break for coffee and cake and an interesting conversation or two.Tuesday its back to London,and an important evening meeting about the Counihan-Sanchez Family Housing Campaign,but more of that later.