After resting, reflecting, and writing an update for the blog about what I had gone through during my journey from London to Lincolnshire for the Small World Festival, I said goodbye to my wonderful Leeds friend, and I walked towards the top security train station. After arriving I looked around to find a place to sit down, rest a bit, and then try to think what to do next.
A man was already sitting on the bench, and after him seeing my peace pilgrimage board, he asked me whether I am a Muslim or not? This was happening while my board was facing a camera – I realised this later, when a security man came to me and asked me to take away the board. This man was also asking me about what do I mean by peace? and I did explain what I was doing and then he was apologetic, and said that he shouldn’t have asked me the question! I told him “You don’t have to be sorry, if I didn’t want to talk about religion, nationality, and many other questions, I wouldn’t and couldn’t carry on my peace pilgrimage this far”. So I told him my point of view on the subjects, and then we said goodbye.
I then went to the information point of the station to ask for the manager and the person on duty kindly pointed out to me how I can get through the barriers and find the duty passenger manager of the Leeds City Station.
Finally, after finding the right office, and going a few times from one office to another, I managed to find the right person and explain to her what I was doing and asked if there was a possibility of getting on board a train going as far south-west as possible. She kindly, after about five minutes, came back to me with a paper of “authority to travel” with northern rail (www.northernrail.org) as far as Nottingham, and she did very kindly direct me to platform 17 and train time 1805, so after thanking her and saying goodbye to her, I walked towards my destination train and waited at the platform until the train arrived.
I caught the right train and after passing through Wakefield, Barnsley Interchange, Meadowhall Interchange, Sheffield, Dronfield, Chesterfield, Alfreton, and Langley Mill, I arrived at Nottingham Station at about 2005.
I have to mention that the supervisor of the train has kindly checked my letter and corrected the date of the letter, and allowed me to stay on the train until the end of my destination, I have to thank him here for his kindness towards me and my peace mission.
As I arrived at the Nottingham station I had to make my way to the manager/duty manager of the station and ask them if I can catch a train which was going to Birmingham at 2037 and he told me, that I have to speak to the supervisor of the train and there isn’t anything he can do, so I had to wait for the train to arrive and then see if I can find the manager of the train and then hopefully head down further towards south west of England.
I looked around the inner and outer areas of the station, and I noticed that the station is under a lot of construction work, as I have seen in Peterborough station as well, and I have realised a lot of people, if they aren’t careful, might not be able to catch the right train.
So by the time I found my right train it was too late to be able to speak to the train manager, and I had to jump on it and not to lose the last train to Birmingham. As I am on the train and on the last carriage (an 8 coach train), I saw the manger and the inspector of the train is coming towards me, and I went towards him as well, and here we go head to head I was square about all my story and he kindly told me, “I can’t issue a train ticket, but when you get to Birmingham please go to the station manager and try to speak to them in order for them to help you with the rest of the journey”, so here we go it was another wonderful human being has helped me towards my destination without any problem.
After passing Beeston, Long Eaton, Derby, Willington, Burton on Trent, Tamworth, and Wilnecote, I have safely arrived at Birmingham New Street at about 2145.
As I have been advised by the train supervisor I straight went to the station manager, despite at this station there was a lot of work was going on as well, but finally managed to find the manager and she told me again the same thing that the manager of the Nottingham train station told me, so I have to make my way to the right platform to see what the reaction would be of the manager/supervisor of the last train to BTM (Bristol Temple Meads).
I managed to find the right platform and the right supervisor of the right train to BTM, and he was very kind, but he had a dilemma of whether he should tell me “Yes, get on this massive train with a few passengers on board and carry on with the peace pilgrimage” or “No, wait till next day and ask the same question at the next supervisor”. I clearly remember he was scratching his head in the last few remaining seconds before the train left the station at 2212, and again – here we go – heart and kindness has prevailed over money and greed!
So I remember he did come along, later when the train started going, and shouted out “Birmingham New Street tickets please”, and he came and passed me with a peaceful smile, so after passing Cheltenham spa, Bristol Parkway, I arrived at the BTM at 2344.
From here my destination was towards Bath Spa, so hopefully I can make my way on time towards the Sunrise Festival, which was near a place called Frome. The last train to my destination had gone at about 2300 and the station was looking deserted of passengers and just left with the people who were maintaining the rails, and there wasn’t any sign of the station manager either, so I made my way to see if I can catch the last bus to Bath. I managed to get to it on time (I remember there was a last man to step into the bus, and he told me “you made this one just on time!”), but now I had to talk to the driver and he straight away said “No, without £3.50 you’ll not be able to get on my bus”, and he drove away from the stop.
After the bus left a nice man turned up at the bus stop and he kindly double-checked the place of the Sunrise Festival (because of my last missed festival I wanted dearly to get this one right) and we found out it is near Bath and Frome, so the only way for me to make it on time was to try and use the train to get there, so I headed back to the station, to catch a last train which was coming from London Paddington. Passing the station was a First Great Western train to Cardiff at 0145, so I took that one with no problem and I took my peace pilgrimage into another region of the UK, the capital of Wales, of course after passing Newport, then I arrived in the capital (Cardiff Central station) at 0222.
I had to go out of the station, because they were closing the station, and I went out and put up my peace camp in the capital and I remember next day at about 7am some people were calling me to say “We are people from the outreach, and we help people who are sleeping out rough, and if you would like us to give you something to eat, come to the car park.” The car park was just opposite to my peace camp, so I did go there and they even filmed me when I was coming out of my tent and getting the food from them, and they told me if I wanted to stay longer I can go to their outreach office and they can help me to find somewhere to stay, so I packed up my peace camp and headed to this place which was called “The Huggard Centre Cardiff Action for single homeless”, and I told them about what has happened this morning, and asked if they can help me to get in touch with the right people to get a copy of the video which this outreach action group were making, and the manager of the centre kindly got in touch with the right person and sent my email to them, so they can email the video link to me so that I can put the link on my blog.
A bit later I went to the place that the outreach people told me I might be able to get a place to stay for the night, and they told me that I have to fill up a form and go for an interview etc… and I thanked them for their time, and said goodbye to the centre after having some bread and a bowl of soup, and headed back towards the Cardiff Central station. Once there I asked for the station manager and he kindly assisted me to find the train manager, so I managed to get on board of a 1230 train and after going through Newport, Filton Abbey Wood, BTW then I arrived at 1334 in Bath Spa. Here again to get to Frome I managed to speak to the train supervisor and he kindly agreed to help me to get on board the 1407 train from Bath Spa to Frome, and after passing Freshford, Avoncliff, Bradford on Avon, Trowbridge Hill and Westbury, I arrived at 1448 in Frome.
It was here that I managed to speak to some of the people who were going to the Sunrise Festival and I was so happy that I have made it to the right place this time, and I told them about my story and they were happy to help me to get to the main place of the festival by a shuttle bus, as it was pouring down rain like cats and dogs, so I couldn’t walk towards it – still I had to get to Chapmanslade and then the Thoulstone farm to get to the festival itself, so it was a wonderful opportunity that just came up and I couldn’t miss it.
After more than a week of planning to carry on with my peace pilgrimage all the way from the north east of England to the south west, finally half of my effort to get to the Sunrise Festival was done. After arriving at the site at about 1530, the other half – talking to the organisers to get into the festival, and telling about my first peace pilgrimage journey to the Middle East – had just begun.
Straight away I went to the orange box office and a lady in there told me come back a bit later, we are very busy at the moment. I went to an old big London routemaster red bus, which had a lovely marquee by its side, and I waited and rested there, meanwhile talking to some of the crews as they were helping public to get into the festival, and some of them were very kind, and after telling my story, they kindly helped me with some food and drink.
Later that day I went back to the orange box office and the lady told me she has spoken to the director of the festival, and he has wished me luck on my peace journey and she told me that they can’t help me to get into the festival, to talk about my peace pilgrimage, so then I told her “Ok, if you can’t help me to get into the venue and talk to the public and the crews, then I have to find alternatives in order to do so. I will go to the main gate, and I will try to speak to the people (public and crews) from there. At the end of the day, I am here to speak to them, and not to a piece of land (the farm), that you have organised your event in”, so she told me, “go ahead”. I walked back to the old big London routemaster red bus and after taking my stuff, and thanking the crew over there for their kind help, I straight went back to the main gate and started to speak to people; by now the time was about 1830.
I managed to speak to a lot of people and gained a lot of support, and even some crews suggested that, “If we all pay £1 each, we can easily get you into the festival and you can talk to more people about your story”, and I told them, “No thank you, not at the moment, at this early days, I don’t want you to feel any pressure”, then I carried on with my peace mission advocacy, until about 2100. By now I told myself I had to start scouting for a nice place outside the festival so I can sleep at night there, and during the day come back to the main gate and start speaking to people again, then I went and found a nice place to set up my peace camp, and then went back to the main gate, and I spoke to people that night all the way till 2230. By then the main gate was going to close, and I said goodnight to two of the main gate crew and went back to my peace camp to sleep, and to prepare myself for another busy day at the main festival gate.
The two main gate crew were: Andy, who was a wonderful nice man who has been doing these sort of activities since 1983 for major festivals across UK, and lived in a basic and sustainable way of life ever since; and we had another gate crew member, who was Andy’s friend as well, called Taff (as Andy told me, this is a nickname in Wales http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=Taff from this Welsh river https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/River_Taff).
I have to say here, Taff wasn’t as friendly with me as his wonderful nice friend Andy, but this was at the time of him being operating the gate; later on, when he was having few drinks, I found out he could sense my humour after all, and he was much nicer and friendlier to me than when he was at the gate. I remember he was trying to tell people that “this man [he meant me] has got nothing to do with the festival, so please don’t listen to him”, but I was trying my best to be as friendly as I could possibly be to him, and not to make him upset. He told me that he has been worked in Glastonbury for more than 20 years, and I couldn’t blame him, he just couldn’t be as friendly to people, and make people smile so much, as Andy and I could.
Today I started my day by welcoming public and crews from the outside festival area to the festival area, and vice versa, and then talking about my peace pilgrimage to those who were interested and loved to hear about it, so I had a wonderful day, and I enjoyed every bit of it.
It was today that a crew member told me she’d try to speak to one of the organisers of the festival to see whether he will help me with permission to get into the festival area. It was about 1430 that she kindly brought out a gentleman called Fred (one of the organisers), and I spoke to him and he seemed to be a bit difficult to convince that what I was doing was good for humanity, and he was trying to question how on earth all those rail companies and other people had helped me to get here! He was also saying “What we are doing has incurred some costs and I can’t just let you have a ticket”, and he was even suggesting I should ask people to see if they can pay £5 each so I can raise the money for the ticket. In response to all of this I told him, “I want to take this opportunity and thank this nice crew member who has very kindly asked you to come to the main gate to visit me, and thank you for all your effort and time to come here, but this is not how I get from A to Z or see places by raising money; it doesn’t work like this, the only time I have done such a thing was at the border between Bulgaria and Turkey, now I don’t see your’s and my position to be at that top governmental level, and I won’t make here as tough as the (what now remains of the) Ottoman Empire border crossing, but anyway, enjoy your festival, and I hope we do have good sunshine so I can carry on and speak to people with an open heart here at this main gate, after all I am here to talk to people and advocate peace and say what I think is going on in the current capitalist system”. Then he said goodbye, and I carried on talking to people at the main gate.
It was after 1900 in the evening, that a tricycle came by with a wonderful rider called Paul McGarry and on board was Leigh from Glitter Junkies Angels, and three little girls (angels), and they kindly presented me with a crew ticket to get into the festival. I thanked them so much for what they have done, and told them “I’ll always remember the Sunrise Festival as you two, these three little angels, and the tricycle ticket delivery to me at the main gate”.
Here I have to mention that yesterday and today I have seen many of my old friends from Occupy. Phoenix with his partner, who were there to do an Earth Circus Production at the festival (their networking website was www.squashcampaign.org); Bear, and his partner, who kindly read a nice poem to me each, and I enjoyed it; Joshua; and James who famously was known as “James the Window Cleaner”; Danny from www.nemusend.co.uk; and also Andy, of the famous Occupy tricycle sound system, with his partner and a lovely child; and few more, not to mention all their names.
It was earlier today, about 1100, when I was at the main gate and welcoming people, I saw Phoenix and his partner with a lot of stuff that they were carrying, and I offered to help them into the festival area called “story lands”, which I did. I went with them all the way there, without any problem, but when I was coming back security people stopped me and made a big issue out of it, wanting to know why am I wandering about without a wristband. I told them “All I was doing was helping my friends, and now I am going back to the main gate, where I was coming from”, but they didn’t let me go back myself, they had to call for more security people to come and escort me back. I told them who I was, and what I was doing, told them that I have been in communication with organisers and people to see if I can manage to get in, but with no luck so far, and I told them “I’ll solve the problem of your wristband if I solve the problem of a ticket!”
Anyway, finally I managed to get into the festival after two days of talking to people, and then I started to talk to organisers of venues for my peace talk. I managed to secure two places inside the festival area, one in Groovie Movie (the first solar cinema in the world) originally for 1100 on Sunday but later changed to 1400, and the second in Cat’s Cradle, a place for green talks, at 2130, during the time of a banquet of free food.
Here I have to thank Holly (crew and volunteer manager), Jon, and also Paul for their help in organising for my peace talk. After confirming that I would talk for about 30-45 min in each venue, I started to go around all the festival area and tell people the time and the venue of my talks.
Today because I was so excited from last night’s events, and after having a wonderful day yesterday, so I woke up quite early, and I decided to go all the way around the festival area “outer and inner” to just familiarise myself with the size and the amount of people who were at the site, and it took me about three hours (from 0630-0930) to go all around it. Later I stayed a bit at the main gate, welcoming people again, and going around the whole site as well to talk to people, and it was today that at the Cat’s Cradle dome I met Satish Kumar, who has done a peace walk from India to America (http://www.resurgence.org/satish-kumar/). Also I met many other nice people, and I have to say my favourite dome at the festival was the Cat’s Cradle. During the day, I was going around and talking to people and at night coming back to my peace camp, and many nice people were leaving food and drink at my camp, which was still outside the festival area, and I decided not to move it, because people knew me from the beginning from outside the festival as a peace campaigner.
I started my final day of the festival by greeting people from the main gate and then went into the festival area and talked to people about what I was doing and asked if they would like to hear more about my story, so they can come to my talks.
I had a great time at the venues doing my talks, and again many people were sharing their solidarity with what I did, and over all it was another great day.
Yesterday at the end of the night, I went to the info desk at the festival to say if anyone was going towards Swindon and/or Cirencester, saying if so, I’d love to go with them and I left my contact details and I was told to go back if no one got in touch. I was told they will be open until just after midday today.
After waking up and going through the main gate, where there wasn’t any sign of my good friend Andy and everyone was trying to leave the area, and a lot of security personnel were at the gate and there wasn’t any place for me to say goodbye to people, I made my way towards the inner area of the festival. For the final time I went through all the venues just to say my final goodbye to people who I knew, and new people who I have just met at the festival, and as usual everyone was packing and preparing to leave the festival area, so I made my way back to the main gate. On my way back I wanted to talk to the second organiser of the festival whose name was Dan, I managed to see him in the production area, and I just said hello to him, because he was so busy, so I told him if he had few minutes I’d like to talk to him, and he asked me, “What’s it regarding?”, and I said “Peace” and I told him “I’ll be waiting outside, so whenever you’ve finished you can allocate few minutes of your time for me to talk to you”, but unfortunately long before I know, I found out he is gone and I couldn’t speak to him.
After asking the production area’s manager for the wifi code I managed to send an email, then headed out towards an area which by now was known as the hitch hiking area. I stayed there for quite a long time with no luck of a lift, so I made my way towards the A36 to see if I can increase my chances of getting a lift and finally at about 2050 I got a lift from a wonderful human being called Chief, who was coming out from the festival area and going towards my direction, and he kindly gave me a lift to a place called Nailsworth. There my wonderful brother from Cotswolds area came and kindly picked me up at about 2215, so we said goodbye to another wonderful human being known to his friends as Chief (www.outer-regions.net) and after that we were heading back to our home.
After getting back to my brother’s place I met a very nice person who his dad was from Yazd right in the middle of old Persia, then I had a wonderful welcome home with a cup of tea, which I had some digestives to eat with, and later on, after taking a nice shower after almost a week, then a wonderful supper of a potato meal, was already prepared for me by my brother, and we sat down eaten, and chatted a bit more again, before we said goodnight to each other.
Today I woke up after a wonderful sleep and rest, then had a great breakfast, then I did wash all my clothes, and hanged them in the sun, and in the afternoon I visited a great place where I helped with recording some very old maps and books, which have been photographed, including a couple of books which they came across to me as very interesting: Firstly, The Story of a Pilgrimage to Hijaz by Jahan Begam in 1909, and secondly Travels in Various Countries of the East, more particularly Persia in 1821. I also touched some books which were more than 400 years old, and have seen very old different maps of London as well, which was very interesting to me, and then I had my lunch, and afternoon tea with dessert at this place of old antiquity, and all I did was to record all these interesting materials.
Later on we came back to the house and my brother had to go for an evening singing, so I had some more time to talk to my brother’s friend, while he was away for few hours, and then later on we had a great evening meal together then I started to write about my days out there on my peace journey for the blog, and later on we said goodnight to each other and another day passed.
After waking up and having a wonderful breakfast I met another friend of my brother, who asked me what I think about the area (Cotswolds), and whether I like or not, and straightaway I said “I love it”, and after talking a little about the current situation over a cup of tea, my brother and him went to the place of antiquity and I started to write about my peace journey for the blog again.
In the evening it was apparently my brother’s turn to cook for today’s evening meal, and he cooked us a wonderful semi vegetarian meal and we really enjoyed it, but before this I had to say I made the hottest starter ever with some local made food (Doyan/Shalam), which I had with me since I left Leeds, so I could have a little of it dry whenever I liked, and I really was happy that both of them did like it, while myself I had difficulty eating it after adding many other continents’ different condiments. After our evening meal, and having a great dessert, I carried on writing, and we said goodnight to each other.
Today after waking up a bit late I was lucky enough to get wonderful scrambled eggs for my breakfast, and then I did some more writing for the blog. Later in the day (about 1700) my brother and I went out for a little trip to some farmland near the Thames river and I met my first farmer here in the Cotswolds area, I was so happy to meet someone who had a similar background to myself, and who was also very conscious about what we are doing to our planet and very aware of what is going on all around us – it did really make my day. Then we went for a short trip on the river Thames to a little town on the bank of the Thames, and my brother, did kindly let me steer the boat on the river for a little, I was navigating the boat on the Thames river towards Lechlade for the first time, then we walked a bit around the little town while we were waiting for a wonderful fish and chips, which he got us for our dinner.
We had rock-salmon/huss and haddock, because cod are in danger so we should avoid eating them my brother said, I didn’t know in the past that they were in danger (the cod) but I really didn’t feel much difference between the rock huss and the cod, so if you want to eat fish this is the one I recommend as well. The haddock was very strong for me, and I couldn’t eat a lot of it, but after a wonderful evening meal and twice having a tea break on the boat, while my brother driving the boat, we finally headed back to the house before it was getting very dark. On our way back to the docking and mooring place of the boat I saw a wonderful swan with a few of her babies on her back, carrying them around. Also, earlier on our way to the little town, we met a nice man called Tony from the north of England, who was telling us about how they were sharing a narrow boat between six couples, each year.
By the time we got home it was almost midnight and I managed to write a bit more of my daily encounter for the blog and we said goodnight to each other.
It is here that I would like to thank every member of the public and every crew member of every station that I have been through and especially the cross country and the first Great Western train people, that they have kindly allowed me and given me the opportunity to carry on with my peace pilgrimage, and spread the words of peace, tranquility and non-violent solution throughout the UK, and in particular at my first Sunrise Festival.
As I was writing this for the blog, I did hear the news about the Paris incident and my heart went out to the family of the victim, and humanity as a whole, so I would like to take this opportunity, and share with you my view, and some others on what is happening right now all across the world.
Aiming to raise awareness about state of peace in the world
I myself am in love with peace. I think if humanity wants to carry on its existence on the planet we should think at the present time more than ever of peace, so I call upon all the citizens of the planet earth, myself amongst them, that we must stand united if we are going to be effective as a peace movement. We must not be divided by the hate propaganda of the current climate, which is overwhelming the media; once divided we are more easily controlled; fear is the key to controlling the masses as we become increasingly afraid of each other. If we allow this to happen, we will lose the peace movement in a giant tsunami of hysterical racist bombardment; I believe this is happening not by accident but rather by design. We need to stand strong and resolute now more than ever, we must be prepared to face the challenges of more trouble on the horizon, and this time we must stop it before it’s too late. United we can stand, and be prepared, at some point, to go “on strike for Peace”.
What’s going on at the present time in Syria, Palestine, Africa, Asia, and now in Europe’s cities and towns; it is just the beginning, of a bitter taste on what they are planning for us.
So, let’s come and join in solidarity, with people of the world at the Bilderberg festival in Watford, which is my next peace destination, and let’s tell the world we don’t want to see all these barbaric and uncivilised acts on the planet.