The word went round via Twitter and e-mail that the BNP were planning a protest rally outside the mosque in Pearson Park on Saturday morning, so Pete and I thought we’d go and join the anti-protest.
We pitched up just after 11, to find quite a few people milling about, none of whom looked remotely BNPish. I know you shouldn’t judge by appearances, but even so … Lots of plod, PCSOs, and four mounted police turned up as the morning went on, and a Community Liaison or Development or Something plod with an impressive, if lopsided, moustachio’d/bearded facial hair arrangement, but still no BNP; they were due at midday, but were apparently drinking in the Bull on Bev Road. The anti crowd grew, until there must have been a couple of hundred.
It was all tremendously civilised. People (from the mosque, I think) came round with plastic cups and kettles of tea, followed by someone with a jug of milk. There were cup cakes and biscuits. The SWP contingent (I think) tried to whip the crowd into chanting, with little success; it just seemed too aggressive, too tribal. For most people, it was enough to just be there.
At about 1.15, when I really couldn’t feel my toes any more, a few of us decided to repair to the Zachariah Pearson, for a drink and some hot food. We encountered a bedraggled group of BNPers on the corner of Pearson Ave and Beverley Road. They were shepherded by a few police person, and wearing Santa hats (not the police), which struck me as a tad incongruous, and tried half heartedly (and unsuccessfully) to hand us leaflets.
Just as we got to the pub, I remembered that I’d left a pan of onions on a very low heat, and we thought we’d better go home. So we stopped in at the wonderful Tony’s Textiles for another of their excellent thermal door curtains, picked up some veg in Frutopia, and some potted bulbs and a simple holly wreath from Pollenation. I do like Newland Ave for shopping.
Then home for hot tea, a restorative Bushmills, and sausages, and a bit of a slump for the rest of the day.
Today? I plan, although with no real enthusiasm, to address the Kilamanjaro of ironing, have put a chicken and leek pudding in the slow cooker, will pot the bulbs into bigger containers, try to clear a path through the snow to the back gate so we can get the recycling bin out (with no real belief that they’ll actually come and empty it), and make a plum crumble.