Hi Pagan and all.
Don't worry Pagan, we'll meet up properly soon and we did at least have time for a little chat. That basement meeting room was a packed sauna and I myself do not tolerate heat and high humidity well, and I could see you were not to happy in the conditions either.
Good to hear Destiny is home, if still a bit poorly. Let's hope she's feeling much fitter soon.
As to my trip down to Titnore Woods, well it was a good'un.
I picked up Corkmole of the Anderida Gorsedd at Tunbridge Wells en route and we stopped in Lewes at Waitrose and raided their organic veg section for stuff for the camp and got soya milk, fairtrade tea/coffee, bread etc then we headed off to Worthing.
The trip down there had been a dodle all the way until we hit the vicinity of Worthing, where the traffic ground to a halt as it was rush hour. We crawled the last five miles or so, taking as long to do the final leg as I had to get that far from London!
We found the camp at Titnore without too much bother, although Worthing's road signage leaves a fair bit to be desired and mostly navigation was by inpired guess work.
Following the map directions got from the protest website to the camp with no problems and after walking in across the fields we were warmly welcomed by the 'happy campers'.
We presented them with the 'goodies' and they were most grateful, presenting us with a mug of tea in return.
They're a great and diverse bunch of people, all optimistic and cheerful and 'up for it'.
We sat round the campfire and had a nice lively chat for about an hour, then we went over to see the new site they are setting up in another section of the woods. This was an adventure in itself as it involved climbing over the Somerset family's (the landowner's) highly illegal electrified barbed wire!
The camp volunteers had however erected a wooden style to get over this and all crossed it without getting 'zapped' The Somerset's don't like this style though and claim it 'shorts out' their wire fence, (which being made of wood it of course does not)! Indeed doesn't even touch it.
We then crossed another smaller more legal type electric fence into the other camp and saw that this is well under way, with treehouses going up and a 'bender' erected.
We said our goodbyes to the campers and then I then took three of them to the protest meeting in town in my car which had been parked in the local Tesco car park.
The Meeting was packed out to capacity and more and was in the basement room of a pub near the seafront. It was, as Pagan said, sweltering in there and made me feel a bit 'woozy' after a while.
There was a mix of people at the meeting and many were of retirement age, it was good to see older people getting 'engaged' with eco matter, even if perhaps there is a degree of 'enlightened self interest' being involved. Concerns were expressed by many that the new housing estate will destroy the already over stretched services and infra structure, such as water supply, public transport and medical services/schools etc.
The three main speakers gave some history of Titnore Wood and the surrounding area, some info on the new South Downs National Park that they are trying to get set up and also dealt with some of the other concerns the plan to build over the ancient woodland raises.
However the speakers we had brought from the camp were also well received and told people what they are doing and informed them of progress and their coming planned 'open day' when they will be doing a lot of activities on the site.
Conspicuous by their abscence were, (of course) all the local politicians from the Council and the local MP, none of whom would dare show their faces or they might have to explain to their electorate why there is no real democracy in their area!
Sadly also absent was any real 'in depth' presence from the local media, although one local radio station reporter did show up and interview some who attended outside the meeting.
That lack of media response will of course change should our crafty King Arthur Pendragon find time from his busy schedule to get to Tinore, as he is trying hard to do.
As a self confessed 'media tart' King Arthur will be able to come up with some 'spectacular' such as his publically issued 'Druid Curse' which he issued against the planned road building at Camp Bling and thereby draw in not only radio but hopefully papers and tv as well.
I personally feel that the campaign and support from the locals is going as well as it can do, considering they have not got any way to influence the arrogant and undemocratic local Council, who will 'rubber stamp' this housing development without any proper consultation or environmental studies.
But the local people's campaign will not alone stop it, they are doomed to fail, as they have not succeeded in raising the profile of the issue veryy far in the media. :-(
The Protest Camp is their best hope and only perhaps if this can expand and flourish rapidly and gain due attention can this atrocity against our Mother Earth be stopped.
All concerned people must give their help and support to these brave and resourceful young people in their fight to save the dwindling ancient woodlands of the South Downs from the encroaching concrete and tarmac!
BB. Onion. The 'Eco Nagger'