Day 1: 22.05.13
After having a great few days off from the school where I’d been helping with IT Support, I began preparing myself for my peace pilgrimage around England, with the aim of visiting many peaceful and nonviolent festivals to talk about the ideas of peacefulness, harmony and tranquility – of an event, and also of my pilgrimage as a whole. My first festival was to be Small World in Lincolnshire in the north east of England.
I woke up on 22.05.13 at the place of a good friend of mine in the London borough of Tower Hamlets. After having a late breakfast and an early lunch together, we said goodbye and I headed out at about 1pm towards my starting point, which in my mind is a place of much respect, a place which has given me love and courage throughout my OLSX (Occupy London Stock Exchange) time, which stayed with me throughout my peace pilgrimage to the Middle East and was now to launch my second peace mission; you guessed it right – St Paul’s Cathedral.
After walking for about 15 minutes from Whitechapel (Tower Hamlets) I entered another borough – Westminster – or should I say, the separate entity of the City of London around the Royal Exchange, which reminded me of 12th May last year when Occupy gathered there. I had a five minute rest then I begin walking towards my starting point, and it was here that I saw some of my good old friends who were coming from Downing St. They had just reached the place of the old OLSX camp and were on their way to the Royal Exchange (RE).
I greeted them and they took some photos and I spoke to some people who were doing live streaming, and I told the viewers about my second peace journey around the UK, so after this nice interaction, they walked towards the RE and I started towards King’s Cross Station.
On my way I went via the London Stock Exchange (LSX), which I always do as a starting point to a journey, first going through the centre of love and peace, St Paul’s Cathedral (this might only be symbolic, because St Paul’s has changed throughout the years and a lot of people believe it has become a centre for mainstream power itself), and then continuing through the centre of power and greed; LSX.
I got to King’s Cross (KC) about late afternoon, then I did go to the ticket office and told the duty manager about my peace mission, but they told me they can’t help me, and I was told by the duty manager of East Coast Rail that if I want to make a proposal I can send it to East Coast Customer Relations, Plymouth, PL4 6AB with a Freepost code RSRJ-LJCX-GHST; or I can email to email@example.com; or call 08457225333. If they like my proposal – and only a big IF “they like it” – then they might consider offering me a ticket to travel to Lincolnshire.
So I told them thank you so much, and I knew that I am already going to be late for the festival anyway and I’d not be able to make this proposal in time, but I might consider doing so for the next time, and I said goodbye to them and to KC station and I headed out towards a third borough of London – Camden. On my way north I always tried to hitch hike and without any luck, so I have to carry on walking towards the north. The weather was nice and kind and I got to Hampstead Heath at about 18:30 and this is the highest point in London at about 135m near to the pond, the history of which goes back to 986 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hampstead_Heath
After a bit of rest I tried to do some hitch hiking for about half an hour, but again with no luck, so I started to walk towards the northbound A1(M), and after about 20 minutes I entered the fourth London borough of the day – Barnet. It was here, near Golders Green coach, bus and underground station, that I had a chance to ask some of the drivers and the manager of the National Express coach office for help with my transport. The manager said to me the same as the duty manager of the East Coast Rail at King’s Cross: for me to get in touch with nationalexpress.co.uk and apply in advance, then they might help, so I thanked him and I got back to the coach stop and I tried to ask some of the coaches which were coming with just one or two passengers, but the drivers were saying no to me. I’ve already described an incident back in Swindon when a driver was even trying not to let me get on board with a handwritten reservation code, let alone without any things at all, so I had a little hope of convincing one now, with the drivers thinking of the safety and the insurance and many other stuff which was going on in their minds.
I was comparing this to the time I was in an Egyption coach station and the drivers were not worried about putting seats in the middle of their coach to accommodate extra people, let alone worried about insurance and the rest. And here were these coaches going empty and not even considering to give any help.
I moved out of the station and walked towards the north, and by this time it was about 9pm and that means the last time I had something to eat or drink was before midday, apart from a bite of bread with a taste of olive from an occupier at St. Paul’s while we were chatting, so it was time to go into some places of food and ask for some, and guess what, it was plenty of bakeries on the main road towards the north circular near Golders Green station. I went to a bakery and I told the woman there can I speak to the manager and she said the manager isn’t here but, how can I help you?, and I told her what I was doing and it seems to be I used the right remedy of talking human-to-human and forget about the money, and she kindly gave me a choice of a sandwich and a sliced loaf of bread as well, and to this day I am carrying the bread. It was so good that in an emergency I had one or two slices with some water, and that has kept me going without any problem, when I am in a difficult situation and can’t get any food, from anywhere.
So I walked out of the bakery feeling a great respect and thanks-giving and I headed towards the north circular, and at the junction I stopped and while I was watching the traffic I had my sandwich. Then I tried to do some hitch hiking again but with no luck and even a group of young boys that were passing by wished me good luck, and that was showing the likelihood of difficulties that I might have to go through in order to get picked up by a driver! So with no sign of a lift and the skies getting dark, I walked for another 5-10 minutes and I realised it was going to get difficult to find a place to stop. The time was about 21:45, and I had to find a shelter before it got very dark because I don’t like to put up a peace camp in the dark. After a quick evaluation of the area I found what I thought was the backyard of an old church. By the time I’d set up my peace camp, I think the time had just gone to 22:30, and I was preparing myself to say goodnight to my beautiful Mother Nature and the whole universe that was going to protect me till the next day… and then I realised that I have no sleeping mat and that the last good one I had, with aluminum foil on one side, has gone in the no man’s land between Al Hadiythah in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and Al Omari in Jordan. Sleeping on concrete is very difficult, so I had to put all my clothes and a small blanket, which I was using as my pillow, underneath my sleeping bag to protect myself from the cold weather.
After on and off waking up and sleeping due to traffic noise and the cold, finally I was woken properly by the conversation of a man and a women who were reading my board which explains that I have had done a peace pilgrimage to the Middle East as well. Later, at about 10am, I spoke to someone from the building whose yard I slept in, he was telling me all about the place and that it was a church that had been converted to a hotel. He began to tell me “I know you are not causing any problem for us”, but before he said another word I told him I am about to disassemble my peace camp as I have a whole day ahead of me with good weather again, and I asked him if he can get me the name of the place that has given me refuge for the night so I can mention it on my blog so the readers of the blog will imagine where I have been sleeping for my first night out and still in London, and he kindly brought the details of the place and also he offered me a cup of coffee, which I accepted. The place was: The Pillar Hotel, 19 Brent St, London NW42; phone 0208 4574000; email firstname.lastname@example.org; website www.thepillar.co.uk.
If I’d known it was a hotel I could have asked to see if I could get a room for the night, but never mind, next time around, if such a thing is going to happen again. After packing my stuff I headed north again, but I needed to go to a place to use a bathroom and further up at no.35-37 Brent St was an office for DODD Harris chartered accountants, with the main door open, so I went in and put everything down and relaxed sitting on the sofa waiting for someone to come out of the main office, so I can ask if I can use the bathroom, and I realised a man was struggling to get in from the other side of the building, and I went to open the door for him and he was apologetic and sorry for forgetting his keys and I told him “you don’t have to worry”, and I asked him if he’d kindly let me know where can I use the bathroom? He and another person, who came out from somewhere else, showed me how to get there and after using the bathroom, I came out much more relaxed and sat down on the sofas again and made my first audio tape, of day 1 of my journey, and the beginning of day 2, then I left the office to carry on with the rest of my journey.
Day 2: 23.05.13
I walked for about a mile or so and I found myself at the mouth of A1 / M1 and after some rest, and after trying to do some hitch hiking with no joy, I had to carry on walking. I got to near a bridge and before I got onto the motorway I said to myself “Let me ask the last shop for some water.” From outside, the shop appeared to be a distributer of popcorn machinery and plenty of popcorn, so I asked a young boy there if I can have some water and he took me into the shop, and here we go there were two older people there, and I told one of them (the second one was on the phone), what I was doing and asked if I could have some water, because since yesterday I hadn’t had any, and could he kindly help me with some and he asked me, “no one gave you some?”, and I answered “no”. He asked the young boy in a Hebrew language to go to another room and he just filled my cup half full of water. Even though I clearly told him that I didn’t have any water for almost two days, he just gave me half of a plastic cup of water, so I was wondering what would happen if I asked for anything else (especially some popcorn), but my gut instinct told me to get out of these as soon as possible and so I came out, then I had the water with one or two of my slices of bread from the Day 1 bakery and that was all my breakfast.
I walked towards the motorway and after about half a mile going along it a police bike turned up and the policeman told me in a very bad mood that if I carry on and don’t return he was going to arrest me, and I said to myself “arrest, doesn’t go with my peace mission”, so I had to turn back and find an alternative way towards the north.
After some more walking I got to a BP petrol station and I said to myself “I might be able to just catch a car so I can hitch hike towards the north east”, but more than an hour went by with no luck and then I saw outside and in the window of the petrol station shop the front page photos and stories in every newspaper and magazine, all filled with this barbaric killing in Woolwich. Just the day before I’d been wondering to myself about the mentality of 1982 and the Hyde Park bombing, which they now have a suspect arrested for, and today this news! What is going on, what has happened to humanity? Must we consider it lucky if we don’t go out and just massacre each other? After seeing this my heart nearly stopped beating and I was so saddened that I couldn’t even go in and ask for some water, which I needed very much.
Behind the petrol station and near to a shopping area there was a place with a sign saying “every day here is Always Fridays” and I said to myself “I’ll call in for food before I head out towards the main junction of Apex Corner and the split of the A1 and M1”, so I went in and one of the waiters came to me and asked “How can I help you?”, and I replied by saying “I’d like to speak to the manager of this place”, and he told me, “May I ask what it regards?” and I shortly told him, and he said to me “Of course, I’ll go and ask her.” I went back to the main reception area and waited for about five minutes, and suddenly this wonderful manager called Carrie came and she immediately said to me “So, Earthian, I have heard you have done a peace pilgrimage and all that, tell me a little about that,” and I was so keen to tell her all about it, but I tried to be short and concise as well, and she kindly told me “Yes, we do have this managerial discretion, and you can choose anything up to £12.99.” I said to myself, and to Mother Nature “Yes!!” and “Here we go, the universe has provided for me again, five minutes ago I was out there for more than an hour in the rain and the cloud, and the sun, and the bad news in the papers, and now I can sit down and order a lovely chicken steak with spring onion and mashed potato meal!” And I got two lemonades with it as well, thanks to the kindness of the waitresses.
So many thanks to Carrie and all the personnel at the Always Fridays. After a little discussion with some of the waitresses about the current situation in the world and the distribution of the wealth – because Carrie wasn’t there and she has gone for a meeting – I told the rest goodbye and headed out towards further north.
After walking for some more miles I passed Apex Corner and it was here again that I tried to do some more hitch hiking and after no luck for about 30 minutes I moved on and got to a main junction where I have to decide whether I should go towards M1-Watford or A1(M)-Hatfield. I had to go to a petrol station to ask members of the staff to borrow a UK map to find out which way was the right one, and I found out I had to go towards the north east to get to Lincolnshire. Because it was on and off raining I waited there for another 30 minutes and then, after no luck with anyone offering a lift, I headed out by myself again and walked towards the north east.
Further up, near a parking area, I asked two stationary cars, which I thought might be going north, but both declined to even talk to me, so I tried some more hitch hiking with no luck again. By this time it was about 20:30 and a young boy came and I asked him how far I can go before I get to Hatfield and before he answered my question he said “What you are doing, it is just amazing, and I hope and wish you every success in your peace journey”, and then he looked it up on his mobile and found out I was about 5-6 miles away from Hatfield and very near to Borehamwood, which was just after another main roundabout near to a Morrisons store. I asked him what he was doing at this time of the night here, and he told me his grandmother has come to Morrisons to get some stuff and he has come to help her, then he took a photo of me and my board, and I asked him to get in touch when he has access to the internet and also he can become my friend on facebook as well, and then he can upload the photo there with his comments and the position to show that he has seen me in this place. We walked for a little more together and I saw his grandma was coming and after saying hello to her, he told me that she speaks only a little of English and she speaks more Chinese and I told him I have a Chinese friend and also I tried to learn some Chinese, so I can say to her “Nihao”, and then we said goodbye and I headed north east and they headed south.
I walked another mile or so and I got to the main roundabout and the Morrisons store and I headed into the store and I asked for the manager or duty manager of the store at the info desk and after about five minutes a nice gentleman came and I told him about what I was doing and asked if he could help me with some food and drink, and he took me to a sandwich area and asked me what I would like and I told him “Can I have some vegetarian one?” and he asked me whether I can eat an egg sandwich and also a cheese one, and I thanked him and I also asked him if I can have some drinks, and he offered me a small bottle of sparkling water which reminded me of Hungary, where almost everyone was drinking sparkling water (I didn’t know why, and now thanks to the internet and wikipedia, I do know why: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carbonated_water)
After eating the egg sandwich and some of the sparkling water in there, and leaving the cheese one for the next day, I said thank you to the duty manager Mo Thayudeen, and told the customer services to thank the manager Aytan Tuncel, who wasn’t there at the time, and I got the details of the store so I can send them a thankyou letter after my journey and can also invite them to read more about my peace journey. Their details were given to me by a very nice and wonderful lady from customer services, as follows: Morrisons, Borehamwood: 388 Sterling Retail Park, Stirling Corner, Borehamwood, Herts, WD6 2BT; 020 89536828; www.morrisons.co.uk
I came out of the store and the time was about 21:30 and I had to find a place to shelter for the night, so I walked further and got to an industrial area with a lot of carparks and found a small place near to a high voltage building, and set up my second peace camp, hoping that Mother Nature and the universe will connect and provide me with more wonderful people and another wonderful day. After I went into my tent I had to cope with more rain and more coldness of the night due to my insufficient sleeping equipment, but after doing my end of the night audio record I said goodnight to my surroundings and slept.
Day 3: 24.05.13
I woke up with more rain, and wetness of my tent and my sleeping bag as well, but after some struggle I began to get out and found immediately in front of my tent there was a box of ginger biscuits wrapped in a Morrisons bag, and I thanked whoever has provided that to me the night before. I had left my peace flag and my board outside my tent and I think early morning people have seen it and they just perhaps wanted to show their solidarity with me with that little ginger biscuit, which is one of my favourite biscuits, and so all I can say to them is “Thank you!” again.
As I got out further, I found out too much rain has caused the water to pool and try to penetrate into the tent, I managed to shake the tent a bit and tried to redirect the water, and then I walked around the industrial area and after a first refusal to get into the bathroom of a building I managed to talk to a receptionist of another building, and she kindly let me use the bathroom, and after I told her what I was doing she got me a cup of water as well. At first she thought I was a lorry driver, but then when she heard about my peace mission she was trying to be more helpful.
I went back to my camp area and I found out the building near me had gone into administration and no one was going in or out of it, so at some point during the day, in the late afternoon, when the rain for a duration of 5-10 minutes had stopped, I moved my peace camp and everything within it to about 10-15 yards from the building, into a more sheltered area, and I waited the whole day, not going anywhere due to the heavy rain. I went back to the same office that gave me two cups of water earlier, to get more water, and I had already eaten earlier in the day the cheese sandwich from last night, so all I had for the afternoon was a few chips and some ginger biscuits and one or two slices of bread. I was close to Borehamwood and I noticed some of the locals were paying attention to my tent and board, and I tried to talk to some of them, and they were kind and trying to be helpful.
I tried to get to sleep early in order to wake up early the next day, because I had a feeling that the universe would provide me with a lovely, maybe more sunny day for me to keep going after this day of rest, which I think my body wanted to have after two long days of walking all the way from the centre of London to Borehamwood. My ligaments were hurting and that rainy day was just enough of a break to have time to recover, so I did go to sleep early and said goodnight to my surroundings for the third night in row.
Day 4: 25.05.13
I woke up with the noise of traffic from the A1(M) in Borehamwood and it was a lovely day of sunny spells and I managed to dry my tent nicely and I packed everything and headed out towards the north. After about 15 minutes of walking I got to an accommodation place, and I went in and I asked the receptionist if I can use the bathroom. The time was about 08:30 and she asked me “Are you staying here?” and I said “No, I am just a peace pilgrim”, and she kindly let me use the bathroom and after this I went back to her and asked if I can speak to the manager or duty manager of the place, and she pointed out to me where was the duty manager. I went towards her and told her what I was doing, and asked her if I can have some breakfast, and she told me “Let me check something with my manager”, then after about five minutes she came back to me and she said “You can’t have a full breakfast, but you can have some toast and coffee, but not in the main area, come over on this side towards the main entrance.” She also asked me if I can put away my stuff somewhere near to the main entrance, then I did wait for about another five minutes and she kindly brought me a couple of toasts and some small sachets of butter and jam and a cup of coffee, so I started eating my lovely breakfast and I also managed to charge my phone battery, which I hadn’t done for almost five days. After this I went back to the receptionist and told her that I am writing on my blog about where I have gone and who has helped me throughout my journey, and I would like to see if the duty manager would like their name to be mentioned or not. I was told by the receptionist that they would like to remain anonymous and don’t want any publicity, so although I asked for the address of the place and the receptionist kindly provided me with it, I will not say what it was here.
After leaving the place and walking towards the A1(M) junction 23, I saw a massive statue of a dinosaur and some small ones as well; it was on the other side of the dual carriageway so I couldn’t go there to find out what was that all about – if anyone knows anything about it, I would really love to hear from them, I couldn’t find anything about it on the internet either, so please get in touch!
I walked and tried to hitch hike and entered the junction 23 area and tried again to do some hitch hiking but with no luck, so I carried on again and I walked for about 15 minutes, then I could hear someone is honking at me, and when I looked back it was a police motorway maintenance patrol and the driver asked whether I can speak English and I said yes, and he told me “You are doing an arrestable act by walking on the motorway and we would like to ask you if you can cross the fences and walk on the public footpaths and not on the motorway”, and they told me I am lucky, that the weather is not bad as well. I told them “No problem, if you are saying that people, especially university students, are doing this and people are being killed doing it, clearly I don’t want that happen to me and I will take your advise and move into the footpath”, and so the patrol man kindly helped me and he was very nice, and a lady who was with him watched us moving my stuff over from the motorway. Then I said goodbye to them and I carried on walking, despite I knew it was going to be longer and I wasn’t going to be able to do any hitch hiking, still I carried on walking from the side of a field and headed north.
After about 2-3 miles I got to a private farm place near to a WWI & WWII memorial, and I went into the farm to ask for some food. I rang the bell of some of the houses there and in one of them I saw a lady with her daughter and a massive dog came out and I explained what I was doing and I asked if she was able to help with any food or drink, but as soon as I finished talking, she went into a state of disbelief, I could tell it from her body language, and I think that it was a direct response to the events of the past few days reported in the media. She didn’t say a word, just went back into the house. I didn’t wait for other people to come out, I just headed away as fast as I could, thinking that clearly the media has done a great deal of damage to people’s trains of thought and in that woman it was a fume of hate that I could see. As peacefully as I could, I headed out of the area and I went to the memorial and sat on the bench and reflected on what could have made these people so sad if it wasn’t for our corrupt media? It seems that the people behind the media do not analyse what will be the consequences of the images they show before they put them in the public domain.
It was about 14:00, and I tried to fetch some water from a golf course and they told me, when I rang them, that they are miles away from the main gate where I was, so they advised me with the direction towards Hatfield and after this I headed out and started walking again towards the north east, and after a couple of miles walk and a rest I got to a place called Welham Green, which had a train station, and I waited here to take the 14:43 train to Welwyn Garden City.
I arrived in Welwyn Garden City station with no problem, then I was waiting for a train to go to Peterborough at 15:01, when – as the train approached – an inspector came to me and told me “You have frightened children with your board and all your stuff and in light of recent events, I ask you to put away all this stuff”, and I was like shocked, thinking “What children?” and “Why is my board explaining my peace mission frightening children?” Clearly, to me, it was something he had imagined in his mind and wanted to transfer to me, he was using mention of children but it wasn’t about children. As I heard him telling me this, I realised I couldn’t allow myself to get on board this train and I decided not to get on board this train with him being an inspector. I said to myself “I haven’t said anything, this is about his own state of mind, but if I get on board this train, clearly I won’t get very far”, so I sat down again and I was a bit sad. I waited, and reflected on what just happened, and I could wait another hour for the next train to Peterborough, but I decided to take a different train, the 15:31 towards Cambridge, with the hope of more opportunities. I got off in Stevenage with no problem, and it was just as I thought, when I got to Stevenage at 15:43 there was a train going to Peterborough at 15:47, so I got that one and after going through Hitchin, Arlesey, Biggleswade, Sandy, St Neots, and Huntingdon, I arrived in Peterborough at 16:41 with no problem.
In Huntingdon, while the train was waiting for passengers to come on board, I saw a lady with a pushchair had dropped her baby’s jacket underneath the train, then she was talking to the driver to say she has just dropped her baby’s jacket, and the driver didn’t have a solution and was about to leave, so I offered the lady my white umbrella to get the jacket out and it did work. After getting her baby’s jacket back she lifted her head and looked at me and, surprisingly to me, she didn’t even said thankyou. I wasn’t doing this for her to tell me thankyou, but it was my fourth bad encounter which I put down to what was going on in the media impacting on me directly – not in a violent way, but in the change of people’s perceptions.
After waiting and having some more water, ginger biscuit and bread at the wonderful Peterborough station, I managed to get the 18:59 train going through and stopping at Grantham, Newark North Gate and arriving at Lincoln Central at 20:02, so finally, after four days of peace walk, train catching, and nil successful hitch hiking, I got to my first intended destination in Lincolnshire. Now, my main task was to find the Small World festival, which at the station, and in the surrounding area, apparently no one knew anything about it.
As I was walking outside the station, on my left I saw an old church, and I looked around and found out it has been converted to a homeless place, so I went there and I asked the people who were running the place, and one of them told me there is a festival near here, so they asked a young boy who was waiting to get a place for the night to come with me and show me where it was, and when I got to the place I found out it was a Lincoln Beer Festival. I asked the security at the main entrance if they know anything about such a festival (Small World), and they told me they hadn’t heard anything like this, and told me if I can go to a minicab or taxi service in a building opposite to them and ask them, they might know. So, I headed there and I got upstairs, and I asked people over there and they didn’t know about it either! They told me “There is another festival which is about 20 miles away from here, and that is the only one we know about”, and I said to them “What is the guarantee, if I go there, that it is the one I am here for?” and there wasn’t any internet connectivity to check, but they told me to go further down the street, there’s a pub with free wifi.
I headed out and looked around and I put down my stuff and waited for a bit to ask some more people if they might know about the Small World festival and a couple of ladies turned up, and I asked them if they know about Small World, and one of them immediately knew the name and she told me “It is in August”, and I told her “Yes, but there is one in spring as well”, and she checked on her phone and told me “The spring one is in Kent!!!!!!!!!!!” And I was shocked that I had spent almost five days getting to Lincolnshire and the festival is all the way down in Kent, so as I was digesting this news and the time was also running out and the weather was cloudy and it was getting dark; the time was about 21:00, and I had to find a shelter for the night and try to find out what to do next?
It was at this time a few young people were reading my board and they were disbelieving what I was doing and they told me “So, you are coming up from London and you got here in four days – you must be in a wrong profession, you should be in the army” and I said “No, I don’t want to be in the army”, and then they started telling me about the news and what has happened in Woolwich in London and I told them loss of a life is regrettable and the way that the media has portrayed these events is barbaric too, and I want to send my condolences to the family and the relatives of the victim. The girls were standing and we were chatting, and the boys were asking the girls “What are you doing here?” and they replied “We were just trying to help this peaceful man” and the boys offered me a drink or an orange juice and I thanked them and then we said goodbye to each other, and I headed back to the homeless place (it was called “Nomads”), and by the time I got there it was closed and I thought to myself, “What to do now?”
I had a gut feeling that staying in a place which almost everyone was drunk would not be a good idea so I headed back to the station and in there there was a train going to Sheffield. I spoke to the conductor, told him what I was doing, and asked if he can help, so he very kindly told me to just jump on the train and come with us, so I jumped on the train and the train was just two coaches and the first one was full of drunken people and the second one a bit quieter. As the conductor asked me to get on board on the first coach, everyone was looking at me and saying to me “Where are you moving to?”, and I said to them “Nowhere, I am just doing a peace pilgrimage round the UK” and everyone with a loud noise said “Hooray!!!!!!!!!!” I managed to get to the end of the first carriage, and then showed the people my board and some were quite shocked that I have managed to do so much. A man looked at me and said to me, “Is it for real?” and I said “Yes!” and he took some photos, and then I found a seat in the second carriage of the train, and started to eat some more bread and water. The time was just 21:27, and as the train left the station I start looking out there into the sky and the surroundings, and after passing Saxilby, Gainsborough Lea Road, Retford, Worksop, Shireoaks, Kiveton Park, Kiveton Bridge, Woodhouse and Darnall, we finally arrived at Sheffield at 22:48.
One thing that I noticed on my way from Lincoln to Sheffield was two massive power stations near Gainsborough Lea Road station, and I was wondering how many of these we have to power the whole country. One of them may have been the power station where No Dash For Gas activists climbed chimneys and camped up there for a whole week in 2012 to highlight the environmental problems with these kind of power stations and soon these activists will be sentenced and may go to jail.
Here I want to thank the Serco & Abellio joint venture with www.northernrail.org for letting me cross the country and spread the word of peace everywhere.
In Sheffield I had two choices: I could go to Nottingham or Leeds and I had just 30 minutes to make a decision; that is if I was allowed to make any choice at all, otherwise I had to stay in the station. I had few days in hand before the next festival, Sunrise in the south west, so quickly I made two phone calls, one to Leeds and one to Nottingham, to see if my good friends in those places would let me go and stay with them to recuperate and rest before I head south. Nottingham was not available but Leeds was, so thanks to the cross country rail, (crosscountrytrains.co.uk) I took the direct train from Sheffield at 23:31 and I arrived in Leeds at 00:12. My wonderful friend very kindly picked me up from the station and we went to his nice friend’s pizza shop and got a lovely vegetarian pizza, and then we headed to his place. By the time we got to his place and had eaten and chit-chatted away, it was 03:30. We said good day to each other and slept away, till next day, and I managed to write all about my peace journey from London to Leeds while at his place, and after a very good rest we said goodbye, and I headed on my way to the south west.
Some thoughts on the media, and on reproduction
I have a bad habit of picking up a Metro or London Evening Standard (ES), to check the current news, whenever I pass a station. At the beginning of this journey that ended in Leeds, I picked up an ES in the late afternoon at King’s Cross. On the front page on that day (22.05.13) was the headline “Man is charged with 1982 Hyde Park bombing.” There was a photo of a smashed car and dead animals.
To me it is an illusion to think that the media are unbiased and tell the truth and have no agenda. It is not true that those creating the media all want to publish the real news, just to let the public know what has come out of a police investigation (for example). It seems to me that they are hatching something very bad and putting wrong things in people’s minds. In this case, they were taking people’s memory all the way back into the past, which has happened and gone, and it was something bad as well, I ask you all: Why?
It is not always true that “If you want to move forward, you should leave the past behind” – it is correct that we learn lessons from the past, but what past? A past where we see the good things and take something from them, and leave the bad things behind. Why do we have a violent society? Perhaps because of the everyday perpetuation of violence through media, films, games and more; what do you expect, with all this violence?
If you ask me about today’s media, I’d say 99% of it is perpetuating violence every day and if we could reverse this, we could live in peace and harmony, side by side, no matter our colour, race or gender. So I ask the mainstream media to publish good news always, and leave the bad news out, until we as a wise community of the planet can solve things in an amicable way.
I strongly believe our brains haven’t yet developed the right mindset, and must develop much more in order to leave the violence behind, and all of us together need to work to create a free and fairer society without violence and in a peaceful way. I would advocate to have a book of peace at even before primary school level (maybe in nursery), to teach our children compassion, nonviolence, and freedom from hate and the mentality of today’s society which is all about competition, and win and lose, and the fittest, the strongest… With today’s science and technology, and free from money, greed and profit, we can develop such a society. It is not a dream.
I don’t want to see a human with a violent and destructive mind try to bring or create another look-alike human being. I don’t want us to recreate bad genes or bad mindsets, we are already struggling with bad genes left from our ancestors, and we can’t afford to reproduce violence in this manner. It isn’t a Big Brother mentality to say this, to say to yourself “Do I need to bring a child into this world while we have this level of violence and brutality?” I believe a lot of families think to recreate and reproduce so that their wealth won’t go into the wrong hands – it is not for the good of humanity, as a whole, all over the planet.
So please, please, before you bring another human being into the planet, think about all the aspects of the planet and do not reproduce just for the sake of your family line, or for making someone else happy by them becoming a grandma/dad. Humanity will not become extinct if you don’t reproduce, so let us all come together and rectify the failures of the past before we make it any more difficult for each other by bringing more humans into this world.
The violence and the barbaric acts that we have seen, in the heart of so-called Western democracy here in London, has affected me as a peace pilgrim. The only advice I have to the media and to the people in so-called “power” is that we can’t live in peace and harmony – even if we leave the planet - if we don’t try to eradicate acts of violence altogether and all over the world; in the current situation, violence will stay with us, wherever we try to go!
As I have said always on my first peace pilgrimage to the Middle East, the only way forward is to abolish artificially-created borders and try to stop all the wars and get rid of all our arsenals. We call ourselves intelligent human beings and we can show this by doing these things. I promise you we won’t see this sort of violence in our streets, no matter which street in the world – whether in Dimashq, Gaza, Kashmir, Tokyo or London – if and only if we start to teach our school children with a book of peace and tranquility and living all together. When we are at the age of 40+, and by this age you have seen and experienced every kind of violence, then to try to come to terms with “Now we should stop”… well, I am afraid it may be too late by then.
When our media talks about love, and compassion, and living side by side, it is only then we will be able to create a harmonious family and society. Communication is very important; we don’t know how to talk to each other, we don’t have time for each other, the rat-race is holding us back and it hasn’t left any time for us to communicate and try to understand each other.
Have you ever asked yourself “Why are we busy so much”? Going to school, then university, buying a car, and/or a home, getting married, raising a family, paying bills and now with the modern lifestyle we have to update ourselves with the latest gadget otherwise we will be left behind. There is no time left for any peacefulness in our hearts, for tolerance, compassion, or even celebration.
At the end I’ll leave you with a thought about our future, which is all dependent on our hands.
We can’t leave it for a Martian to come and rescue us, it is only us the citizens of this planet who can take us through to a good time.
I believe no one else can do it.