Thursday and Friday were lovely sunny days, cooped up in the Green Zone in meetings looking out, so we were looking forward to getting some fresh air on the march! The trouble was that the weather forecast on Fatima`s phone indicated a certainty of rain during the day on Saturday - and the forecasting record for her weather service is remarkable accurate.
In fact, Fatima was, not surprisingly, reluctant to face the vicissitudes of the Scottish rain. However, our group arrangements as to when and where to meet had been, shall we say, a touch haphazard and I personally knew nothing of the proposed route of the march apart from place names which were divorced from my mental map of Glasgow. And that was somewhat restricted to the stations and the Green Zone and the river Clyde between them!
In the end, Fatima was so concerned about her poor husband potentially being lost and alone in a crowd of strangers in the pouring rain ("You`ve had pneumonia twice already!") that she decided it was her wifely duty to come along and look after me! I am so glad she came - the day was so much better with her company - I just feel a bit guilty for her getting so wet. And it was windy too - walking up to the start of the march our small umbrellas kept blowing inside out in the wind!
What I knew, was that it had been suggested that we meet up with the "Nature Bloc" which were due to meet near the Suffragettes` Oak on Kelvin Way. I had looked on google Earth and discovered that Kelvin Way was not too far from the Exhibition Station we had been using to get to the Green Zone. But the policemen I asked near the station about Kelvin Way were as much strangers to Glasgow as we were, so we headed off in what seemed likely to be roughly the right direction, meeting up with a small group of flag-carrying young people going equally blindly in roughly the same direction. Gradually it became clear from the flow of foot traffic that we were going the right way.
However, when we got to Kelvin way, nobody knew where the Suffragettes` Oak was... "There are some more stewards further along with maps of where the Blocs are meeting - they may know!?" Suffice to say we eventually found it, but, of course, there were no Lib Dems there. We were the first to arrive (or maybe, the only ones?!) so I put a message on the WhatsApp group that we were there, including a picture of Fatima sitting on my handy "walking stick stool" which I had bought for the Bollox to Brexit marches a couple of years ago in London!
Baroness Kate Parminter found us quickly as a direct result of the picture! She wasn`t far away and Fatima`s red coat and the flowery umbrella were clearly visible. And, soon afterwards Councillor Pippa Heylings found us, too! Not long after that we were joined by colleagues, Jules Ewart, Steve Mason and our new Political Assistant, Francis Thomas - Oh, and there was a tiger, too!
Various of the campaigning organisations had pantomime animals of puppets wandering around. It has to be said, however that some of the visual displays were drooping a little in the rain - but, for a little while the sun came out and the growing `Blocs` started practising chants for the march. Some worked, but some fell flat or were too complicated for repetition. But the Nature Bloc to which we were attached had rather a catchy chant (not sure about the grammatical structure - but it strikes home!?):-
Nature is us - crowd response - Nature is us
We are IT! - We are IT!
Stop the Blah, Blah, Blah - Stop the Blah, Blah, Blah
And do your bit! - And do your bit!
When we started marching - well, shuffling! actually - we were joined by a column from lower in the park and we happened to see a bunch of Scottish Lib Dems in the midst of that column. So we decided it would be a good idea to join forces - and we were able to provide some of our Scottish colleagues with relatively dry copies of our posters. Though the ones we were carrying had become a little bedraggled by this time.
All in all, it was a friendly and lively occasion, and we were pleased to see the sun for a few minutes when it peeked out through the clouds. And we were delighted later, to see a very bright rainbow, despite the pouring rain, trickling down our necks at that stage!
But I wouldn`t have missed it!
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