|The Big Meeting
||[Jul. 13th, 2014|10:27 pm]
Our train eventually limped into Durham just before midnight: we were an hour and a half late on what should have been a three hour journey. There will be compensation, but it will be paid in the form of vouchers for more rail travel (because a seriously delayed journey leaves you eagerly anticipating the next one). I would rather have my hour-and-a-half refunded, but we settle for what we can get.
I may have been sleepier yesterday than I would otherwise have been; certainly, if it hadn't been Gala day I wouldn't have leaped out of bed at eight o' clock. But it was, and I did, and we headed into town and found samarcand and his family, and followed the NASUWT banner and brass band with them, then slipped round the back way to avoid the crush at the junction - though durham_rambler did it the hard way, and heard all the bands playing for the platform party.
It was a hot and heavy day. It didn't rain until much later, but it made me feel even lazier, so instead of making an effort to see the new banners which had paraded in front of us as we sat on the bank in Old Elvet, we made a gentle circuit of the stalls (rich pickings at the used book stall, including a shiny hardback of Margo Lanagan's Tender Morsels) and back in time to hear Denis Skinner giving a fine rabble-rousing speech - I'd expect no less from him. Like all the other speakers I heard, he spoke with affection and regret of Tony Benn and Bob Crow, but he also did something I didn't come across anywhere else: he brought fraternal greetings from Scottish trades unionists, and a reminder that unity is strength.
By now it was mid-afternoon: we were ready for lunch, so we went to the Café Continental on Elvet Bridge, and sat upstairs and listened to the bands stopping to play below us. And then we came home: the party was far from over, but we'd had enough:
It was a good Gala, I think: there seemed to be a large number of new banners, and a big crowd on the racecourse.