It has been more than a month now, that I wasn’t able to update the blog, so I have a lot to catch up on. I hope that you’ll find some time to read all about my peace journey adventure throughout England, without using any money and ID, surviving purely out of people’s love and kindness.
After staying with a very good friend of mine in London for about a week, having a rest after a month of peace journeying, while updating and writing about my journey for the blog, I finally linked up with another good friend from OLSX, who I came to know more at the Green Gathering festival. He told me he had kindly arranged for me to go to the Small World festival to talk about my peace journey on the coming-soon August bank holiday weekend. This is the autumn version of Small World, and it was the spring Small World festival which I spent almost a week trying to get to in May, when I went to Lincolnshire and the festival was happening elsewhere. So, at last the universe did connect me to the Small World festival through this wonderful human being, but first we went on a journey, in his car, to Balcombe.
We headed out of London southward and our first destination was a place which is called Balcombe, situated between London and Brighton. After passing more than four different boroughs of London, through some heavy traffic, we finally managed to get to our destination before dark.
Let me tell you a bit about this place, and why I started my fourth stage of my peace pilgrimage journey towards Balcombe (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Balcombe):
As some of you might already know, there are so many people – including the majority of locals in Balcombe – who are not happy about the exploration of deep underground fossil fuels on the edge of the village (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fossil_fuel), and therefore people have camped on a roadside very close to the drilling site, and they are not happy with the current government and the land owner of the site, who are happy for fracking (http://www.what-is-fracking.com/) to go ahead there. Naturally there is disagreement between the parties, and amongst the group of people who are not happy about drilling the land, some people have done some research on the subject, including a group or network called Frack Off (http://frack-off.org.uk/) and also from a more spiritual point of view, Claire Smith of Geohealing (http://www.geohealing.co.uk/about-me). You can check the internet for further self enhancement on this subject, there is a lot of information available.
I had heard from many wonderful human beings that they wanted to go there and show their support and solidarity with the locals, and so I have joined these wonderful friends of mine and headed down to take my peace journey there.
A photo from the drilling site in Balcombe.
After seeing many old friends from OLSX and saying hello to them, then we went a bit further for about two miles to a newly built camp set up by a group of people calling themselves RTP (Reclaim The Power), and some of my wonderful friends including my brother and sister were there showing their support, and I joined them and stayed with them, and helped them in any way that I could to live in peace and harmony with each other and with the locals. I stayed in the RTP camp till about 10pm and then I headed back to the main, original roadside camp right beside the fracking site, which is run by a company called Cuadrilla. More information is here http://blogs.marketwatch.com/energy-ticker/2013/08/22/cuadrilla-drilling-resumes-at-u-k-site-occupied-by-anti-fracking-protesters/ and also here http://www.theguardian.com/politics/blog/2013/aug/20/fracking-balcombe-sussex-gas – in this report you can see a friend of mine standing in front of a lot of police officers in front of a lorry; this has been a daily event now for more than a month, with people in the camp trying to stop or slow down the lorries coming to work on the drilling site. I stayed overnight with some wonderful people who were there in support of the roadside camp, and I was introduced to them by a good friend from OLSX.
So I stayed there overnight and spoke to them a bit about my journey and why I was there to show my support, and asked if I can be in any way a help to the camp, and later on I went back to the RTP camp and on my way I spoke to some people about my peace journey, and why I am here, including some journalists from the Observer and another newspaper reporter.
At the time of my stay at the RTP camp I tried to observe and take in what was going on in the camp, and indeed one of the most interesting subjects was living together in a very short-term but loving, peaceful, tranquil way. Experiencing this gave me a hope that what I was doing and advocating in a greater geographical space is possible to implement and make it happen on a small scale, so we should be able to do it in a local way but all across the planet, and so live without the problem of modern day stress and all the rat race things that comes with it.
If I briefly describe the camp that I was in for those four days , I can tell you as if you were just coming into the camp, and wanted to find out what was going on or happening.
There was a main gate and outside it was always present a minimum of two police officers, and sometimes I have counted more than ten of them, in many different outfits and with different outlooks. I never knew the reason for this amount of police officers being present there!? Anyway, on the camp side of the gate we had two people present at all times to let people to come in, and also to be in communication with police and media people, so we could radio the main press office or to let them know we have the presence of media; the reason I know about this is because I did help with some gate control shifts.
A photo taken from the main gate to the RTP site.
So, as you were entering the site you had this big banner which was written on it “Reclaim The Power” with some art work on it, and immediately on your left was the “welcoming and info tent”, then the site office for storage of food and other donated materials; then you had the purple village and inside the purple village you had the healing and meditation tent and the children’s tent; then it was the red village, which had one of the main kitchens – “the Bradford kitchen” – and also there was an old style brown big tent with small windows which was a place to sleep and was also used as a meeting point; after that you had the showers, and the toilets were right at the back end of the camp (apart from a disabled toilet which was near to the kitchen – I didn’t understand the idea behind this positioning and we weren’t there long enough for me to question the reason behind it!) anyway, next around the central circle after the red village was the blue village, which was situated right at the top right corner of the camp, and in here we had the first aid tent, the legal tent and the legal observers’ training tent, and we also had another kitchen – “the Oxford kitchen” – and next to this kitchen you were coming to my favourite space in the camp, which was the workshop space number 3… At the camp you had three workshop spaces and for at least three days so many different workshops were going on about many different subjects, and number 3 space was a geodesic dome which my brother had made (the same one we put up already at Green Gathering festival and there we were calling it Green Energy Exploration Dome), and at RTP this dome was one of the main workshops and also it was one of the charging stations in the camp, with electricity from solar panels; and this dome was also the beginning of the final village in the camp, the pink village. Every day each village had their own morning meeting at about 0930 hours to talk about what the camp needs and how each villager can help to allocate some of their wonderful time to the camp.
A photo from the camp which shows the main gathering tent and the “Bradford kitchen”.
A view of the camp which shows the “Oxford kitchen”.
Further around the circle of the camp was another dome, which was the press office, and every day villagers during their free time were going there to check a board which was all the news about what was happening at the drilling site, and how media was putting things out into the public domain, and you could have a chance to put your own story to the public domain via the no dash for gas website (http://www.nodashforgas.org.uk/) so that many more people all around the world could see it. Also there were so many other messages to read that sometimes you could be there in that dome for quite a while before you come out! This wonderful wooden geodesic dome was also at the Green Gathering festival and there it was used by a Radical Wales people’s organisation.
Next in the pink village we had our wonderful Veggies kitchen, and a big green bus, and finally the site control room or liaison tent, which was called “Communication Tent”. That was the layout of the camp, and apart from the main gate we had two more gates, which people from the camp were looking after – gate 2 and 3 – as you were entering the site from the main gate on your right about 200 metres away and then another 100m away – you could see the whole site quite nicely from there, and outside of these gates you had police present as well.
A photo of the site taken near gate 2 and 3 as you were going back to the main Balcombe camp.
In the middle of the camp (which was in the middle of all villages, as you can see from the above photo) we had a massive marquee which could take up to about 500 people and we had talks during the days and entertainment during the evenings. In day time it was divided into two main sections for workshops 1 and 2 and it was a wonderful place to be there. I helped to bring down this tent and the geodesic dome at the end of the RTP camp as well.
During my stay in the camp I met quite a few wonderful new people and two of my favourites were first a film maker called “Richard Herring” from Vision on TV (http://visionon.tv/people), and I had a talk on his channel, and then “Danny Chivers” who is a climate change researcher, activist and performance poet (http://dannychivers.blogspot.co.uk/) from the press and media team, and I enjoyed an evening of his life story about how he got involved with the current climate change situation.
I certainly have learnt a lot from the camp. and I hope that I can use the experience to help build many of such communities and villages, without the pressure of so-called a landlord and/or police forces, all across the planet in the future.
After seeing the land was slowly returning back to its natural status I headed back to the main roadside camp by the drilling site, and stayed there for another extra two days, and I helped the camp to set up two geodesic dome and a few other tents, plus installed three old “linesman’s telephones”.
A linesman’s telephone schematic for communication between people from the camp.
After saying goodbye to all those wonderful people from the Balcombe camp, I headed out with two wonderful and kind human beings “Simone and Kazia” who were going back to East Anglia. They kindly gave me a lift from Balcombe camp all the way past East Grinstead and Tunbridge Wells to junction 4 of the M20, which took from about 1130 hours to about 1245 hours; we had a wonderful time of getting to know each other and had a safe journey there, then I had to say goodbye to them and get off at a main junction while they were waiting for a red light to go green – I had to jump out quickly, and this made me forget my black and white umbrella in their car, but on the other hand this made me to connect with another wonderful human being, just because of that umbrella, next day in the Small World festival.
So, after leaving RTP and Balcombe (my 13th and 14th gatherings), I made my way towards my 15th festival – “Small World” – travelling from Sussex to Kent in the south east of England.