Green politics, philosophy, history, paganism and a lot of self righteous grandstanding.

Saturday, 17 April 2010

Silence in the Bollin Valley

"F*ck off"

This was the sum total of my conversation with a one of Britain's elite soldiers, who I had just caught sneaking around the perimeter of our protest camp on the site of Manchester Airport's Second Runway.

He was the advance guard of the forces of Babylon, come to remove us from our tree houses and tunnels at the end of the existing runway, and it meant the beginning of the end of my time in the noisiest campsite I have ever pitched up at.

Following on the from the SAS were police in riot vans, swarms of yellow coated security guards in Land Rovers, and watching them a dozen or so cars and vans of the assembled press corps - all being served tea by the mobile soup kitchen of the Salvation Army.

Last night I returned to the Bollin Valley and found a very different scene. The runway has covered our camps in thirty feet of aggregate and the Bollin now flows through a culvert, but the wild garlic still infuses the night air.

Venus as the Evening Star sank slowly into the West following a blood red sun. The new moon hung in the sky over the red eyes of the airport's radar dish. But apart from that the skies were empty.

There were no planes.

Thirteen years ago our camp was rattled every few minutes by the engines of a jet taking off. In my tunnel the high pitch wine of intake was masked but the bass roar of the exhaust magnified. The overladen Air Pakistan jumbo that clipped the top of Zion Tree in the early hours of Sunday morning was so loud it made your teeth rattle.

All changed thanks to Icelandic Volcano.

The protesters produced a tape of songs recorded in the camps. It is a unique musical record, for a variety of reasons, one of which is that most of the songs are interrupted by a plane taking off. Sarah's contribution was called "Silence". Then it was ironic, now it seems prophetic.

In due course the ash clouds will pass and the planes will resume. Newly washed chives flown in from Ethiopia will reappear on our supermarket shelves, and travellers will return from far flung destinations, but for a few days at least it's possible to dream of another world.


Anonymous said...

thank you for you to make me learn more,thank you∩0∩

A Heron's View said...

re the dust cloud.

I find it ironical that those EU poiticians who are used to having high level power over our lives, are now in a position where their authority has been removed. For they have become powerless in the face of Nature.

Dangerously there are some within the aviation world who would still fly in the face of danger to gamble with safety and to risk lives. I have read that these lesser mortals, rather than take the advice of the scientific community of meteorologists are actually heaping the blame on them for preventing them from flying.
Yet it would be these same people, who if the advisors stayed quiet, would be the first to complain in event of an accident.

All of this reminds me of an Orwellian type film, where it is the talkers of society (committee types) rather than the workers, who create niches for themselves to bleed the hard won economy for their own self-effacing pointless glory.

My other observation is that regardless of man's technological achievements all
can come crashing down at the whim of Mother Nature.

If we were to look back at Irish history: then there was a time thousands of years ago, when this island was shrouded in darkness for several years. It is believed that the cause was either a major volcanic dust cloud or a meteoric dust cloud that obliterated and prevented the suns rays from reaching the island.
The proof of this event is seen in tree rings dated by dendrochronology. Mythology tells us that it was the Tuatha Dé Dannan who arrived during a period of darkness; what better time would you look for Gods to come to your assistance?

gareth.williams said...

Hey Martin! forgive me for posting this to this blog and the one about the pixies, i just really wanted to get in touch! how lovely to find you via the interweb! it is a long time since we lived together singing about how we didnt have a telly etc. I no longer go by the name Orange. I guess it is not a name you can carry for long. I found you because i was looking for an image of a protest tunnel and as luck should have it i found the very one i used to live in! I hope you are well my friend and that life is as rich and colourful as can be. I now live in cardiff and I teach sculpture in the university. me and my lovely girlfriend are about to move to london so she can go to the RCA (where I also studied a while back) so we are very excited. after i saw you last i looked after inverness john for a year whilst he was in prison. then unfortunately i got very ill and was bed bound for 2 years! however I suppose that if it had not happened I would not have gone on to become who i am today. I have no idea what anyone is up to. i saw olly a few years back. and blowpipe lives in liverpool but its a bit tragic.
anyhow, i hope you forgive my bad punctuation and the occasional spelling mistake.
big love
gareth williams

Martin Porter said...

Gareth - hiya, thanks for getting in touch. You still remember Wild Garlic then?

It's a funny place to visit now. I was able to retrace my route to and from the camp, the places I climbed over the wire to get in during the eviction and sites of some of the actions against the security - but the camps themselves are buried completely. Very sad.

I'm not in touch with anyone from the camps now, although I'm still campaigning when I get the chance. I have a wife, two kids and a job as a Social Worker which all together take up a fair bit of time though.

Good luck on your move to London. I can't say I fancy that myself, but a place at the RCA is not to be missed so good luck to your girlfriend.

If your on Facebook look me up there. You've obviously got a few stories to tell!