Wednesday, 22 February 2017

Day 36 in the Cuadrilla House...

Day 36 in the Cuadrilla House… and the good people took time to flourish in the brief moments of sunshine and to connect and share information about the rather huge National Rally this Saturday. We saw lessening activity on site and only a handful of trucks came, each escorted at speed by police escort and slow walked each time by a Protector for 15 mins; including a calm, peaceful and prayerful stand at the truck-side by a member of our Quakers Religious Society of Friends community. It’s clear that the site is set to sluggish at the moment with much idling. There are so many ways available to a diverse and creative movement, to take this industry down and we are at our best when we become more than the sum of our parts; I saw a lot of that today both at the roadside and online where much was shaken, stirred and shifted. Sometimes the unexpected extra challenges we face in this unpredictable struggle – strengthen our bonds and improve our nimbleness ;) The return of semi-naked Garstang cyclist was uplifting – all the more so because we sought the laughter and joy it brought into this often grey backdrop. We each have our way and EVERY act counts in some way to nourish some part of the whole of us x




Half-Naked Garstang Cyclist returns...
So our movement hey… the most intriguing, inspiring and infuriating thing I know. Sometimes we’re broken, damaged, fuelled with anger at the pain of this… but much much more often, we’re driven, empowered, fuelled with obligation to our young and united in the goal – even if not in the methods to attain it. We’re stuck together, whether we like it or not and we need every one we can get – if we are to succeed; issues arise, tempers fray, some may even be paid to rip and rear us apart with division but…

…When we most need each other to pull together… the very vast majority do so with gusto and surprisingly effective results come. I see in posts, messages, photos and emails relating to theDon’t Frack Lancs - National Rally this Saturday, that mock drill rigs are being crafted to a standard that would earn a Blue Peter Badge; newspaper adverts have been designed, written and paid for; letters to residents of the community have been sent/received and are full of warmth and politeness; online mailouts to huge mailing lists by Friends of the Earth England, Wales and Northern Ireland38 Degrees and Greenpeace UK have gone out; those with a spiritual connection to the earth are finding the most hypnotically beautiful music and chants for a blessing of the land and water; soups are being cooked and cakes baked; shopping for refreshments is done even without knowing truly how many we will be on the day; some know to become stewards for car-parking that got arranged to cope with over 100 vehicles and as for the coaches… they’re being booked, filled and financed to come from across the country. I do see a storm brewing over trestle tables – but hey, we can’t be perfect lol!

Where does this all go from here and how do we get what we NEED (ban on fracking) remains an emerging story – writing itself moment by moment at the side of a road in Lancashire, behind screens online across the world and in our own personal worlds too. I wondered today about what the final number will be on the final ‘Day ? in the Cuadrilla House… “ – then I thought about that old movie “They Shoot Horses Don’t They?” and shuddered just a little. See you tomorrow? x


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Protector at the roadside, Miranda Cox shares the day from her perspective :)

My thoughts on day 36.
After the anxiety and skirmishes of yesterday, PNR was much calmer. A lot of supporters arrived throughout the day and the hedges continue to be decorated with yellow ribbons and soft toys.
Those who witnessed yesterday first hand discussed the effects it had upon them. Many new to protest were still shaken, trying to comprehend policing tactics. More seasoned protectors were able to assist with this process by recalling events on other demonstrations.
All of us are in agreement that we'd all much rather live our lives differently, without the fracking spectre hovering constantly in our thoughts and troubled sleep, but we all have resolved to see this out, to find a way to rid our land of this nightmare. The view over the road to the site, pulls at everyone of us. Amid the story sharing and bonding there is often humour and laughter, but as our eyes meet the sight of the fencing and the muddy destruction beyond the smiles fade and our resolution grows. There is unanimous frustration at the way the trucks speed onto site escorted by police and this for now niggles away at as we are vastly outnumbered and it seems unheard.
With Saturday's family event almost upon us we are excited for a huge show of strength. We will not be fracked.]
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*Moving moment of the day – realising that the Quaker Protector at the truck delay, was in deep prayer throughout.


*Literally laugh out loud bit of the day… seeing semi-naked Garstang cyclist coming up PNR declaring love in just his cycle shorts and a lampshade for a hat – fellow Protector at the roadside remarked: “Lot of shady characters about.”. The return trip down the hill saw semi-naked Garstang cyclist without his lampshade and without his cycle shorts… thankfully for all concerned, he kept his underwear on… perhaps to keep off the chill <3 span="">

*Image thanks to John Hobson

Tuesday, 21 February 2017

Day 35 in the Cuadrilla House...

Day 35 in the Cuadrilla House… and the good people are tired but tragically stuck with a task that cannot be delegated – the protection of air and water. The day though started brilliantly with news of falling share prices, dismay of investors and the withdrawal of services to Cuadrilla by another supplier – thanks to amazing work at this morning’s POP (Pop Up Protest) in Wigan. Some of us brought toys from the children of our community, to recognise what we stand to Protect and we laid these along the entrance at the feet of staff – more on that later. No lock-ons today but lots of activity at the entrance with some preventing the exit of vehicles and only succeeding really in bringing a massive police response and minutes of delay for exiting drivers – arrests too that occurred after I left. The 15-minute slow-walks happened – differently though as there’s no work-lane anymore; the delay happened in the entrance-way to the site. Any delay is a good delay and the opportunity was taken – especially as they can’t ‘stack’ trucks with so little entrance and no work-lane. One Protector at a time crossed over to stand with the truck for the 15 minutes – 4 lots of delay happened whilst I was there. I can’t be certain of the number but think less than 8 trucks got in today. 


So the diversity that we are as people in the role of Protectors, means our approaches vary and sometimes the overlaps are sharp. Today some brought teddy bears and dolls from the children of our community, in order to lay them across the entrance of the Cuadrilla site. Other Protectors also had actions at the entrance (delaying exits) and this brought a huge police presence that impacted the ‘teddy protest’ in the most ridiculous way. We had laid the toys in a line and as the last was peacefully and gently laid in centre – we were surrounded by police and a kettle formed. I got out before it sealed around me. Meanwhile, security guards gathered the toys and said they had done so as thought they might get crushed… which rather missed the point of the action. We placed the toys in the hedge facing the site (where the ribbons are), to remind them what it is that makes us un-stoppable – this is not a choice, it’s an inescapable obligation. Some in the kettle were deeply shaken by the experience – this blend of experienced activist and newly arrived residents… is often like oil and water – although the moments where it’s like milk and honey are reasons to hope. Our actions can complement as well as clash – the PUPs being a brilliant example of one group positively impacting the work of another.

The need to protect so much of our country that is licensed, means there are not enough ‘experienced activists’ to go round and we are going to have to grow within communities if we are to succeed. It is so difficult though for those not used to the chaos, the noise, the anger, aggression and risks of a protest – to find their place in it… yet every day the residents com, give it their best amidst the new of it and ARE becoming ‘experienced activists’. This influx is forcing change as each individual brings their own ways, limitations, expertise and determination; impacting the movement – and each other. It’s often messy, frustrating and infuriating – but it’s NOT FRACKING so it’s not the worst that can happen and we can’t prevent it from happening – without each other. I truly believe – what we learn here, we grow from. I always needed more patience…

Today’s PUP in Wigan took less than two hours and resulted in the supplier ,CHR Plant (WN4 0BW) agreeing to withdraw their machinery from the site at PNR and to no longer provide services to Cuadrilla – they also wished us luck in what we are doing. Wow. Some from Frack Free Wigan, Leigh and Makerfield who were at the PUP and talks with the company, joined us at the roadside for the day and it was great to be able to sincerely thank them and tell them that the result was even more than they knew… as share prices took another hit. I know I’ve said before but it really is ONLY us that is working to stop this industry and so all reactions by them – are caused by our actions. Three supplier pull-outs in a fortnight clearly makes them jump :)

Plans for Saturday’s Don’t Frack Lancs - National Rally are looking impressive and numbers high – seems that parking, stage, PA, refreshments and running orders are sorted along with coaches… and the press is asking for times so we can expect coverage. If you’re coming, it’s asked if you could bring a red rose for Lancashire as part of an action on the day. Meanwhile, back to the ever-changing scene at the roadside in the morning… see you tomorrow? X

*Moment to remember… looking across to see Miranda glaring at the site whilst stroking the white cat toy she’d brought and seeing scenes from Austin Powers in my head.

*Photo thanks to Cheryl Atkinson

Monday, 20 February 2017

Day 34 in the Cuadrilla House...

Day 34 in the Cuadrilla House… and the good people spent most of the day amidst an 8-Protector lock-on that prevented any deliveries (until early evening after arrests and once most had gone home). Vans of police, police in vans, vans, police and other police vehicles cluttered the road – unlike the protectors who had safely tucked into the fencing onto what would be pavement area – if it wasn’t being the entrance to Cuadrilla’s site. Vehicles passed easily and without much notice for the first few hours, then as the ‘Protestor Removal Team’ arrived, the entire road was closed. Police said this was to get everyone who wasn’t locked-on, across the road to the other side. Seemed a bit dramatic. Meanwhile just behind this dramatic scene, the real crime goes on without any police attention to the destruction it brings that will make 8 little humans on a fence, look like a picnic in the park. The diggers moved dirt from one side to the other idly – as if passing time more than achieving anything and the impatience of the site staff was clear in faces and mood. I had to leave just before the last 2 Protectors were ‘removed’ so don’t have first-hand knowledge of what followed. Other feeds are carrying info that all 8 arrested and later, a further incident in the dark that resulted in arrest. I haven’t followed this up yet as just in. Massive thanks to Protectors at Ellesmere Port today taking action against supplier Morgans <3 span="">


So lock-ons… this peaceful, non-violent direct-action tactic is used to prevent construction or operation of industries like fracking, from being able to do harm. When watching livestreams and seeing images, it looks far from peaceful but worth noting that it’s only when being removed that things get louder and more worrying. Sometimes even the cutting of the lock-on apparatus can be done without drama. The effect of lock-ons is obvious as they prevent work continuing and so in the scheme of what we aim for – today was a ‘success’. In my heart and my mind though – it was a day that still echoes the shouting, verbal abuse, raised tempers, tension and torn feelings – I GET our rage, I feel it too… but increasing anger creates an ugliness that makes it harder and harder for many to endure. This alien landscape is populated by people fulfilling roles that pit them against each other and how we each handle these conflicts – is very different. An exhausting day that made me think of war zones… that if we think this tension every day is hard – I can’t bear to imagine the suffering of families amidst daily conflict and wonder at the damage that is irreparably done to each of them having to be in a heightened state of anxiety and alertness for so long.

Tomorrow some at the roadside have decided to bring reminders of our children’s say in all this and will be placing small toys and dolls around the area and along the entrance-way. Symbolism of the way this industry is crushing the chances for our young to have a safe future where clean air and water are normal and crops grow in these fields of Lancashire – not drill rigs.

…Tomorrow… every time I’ve written that word these past 34 days – has been as unclear as the bottom of a mucky pond, on a dull mucky day – you never know what will come to the surface when stirred. See you tomorrow? x
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Another perspective from today at the roadside with Miranda Cox’s view:

[Day 34. I awoke to the news of another lock on and arrived at the site to see cheerful faces amid the tension of security staff and workers. There were plenty of protestors along the path and once we were happy everyone was comfortable and had sufficient food and water the morning slipped into its usual pattern. This is the pattern of passing cars, honking horns, hand gestures of various kinds and friendly chatter from protectors. Then mid morning the Protestor Removal Team arrived, their vehicles shielding those on the ground from our view, and yet nothing happened. The road was closed for a while, heightening our anxiety as we foresaw the coming inaccurate headlines. Then a mass of police drafted in from across the region, added to the ominous mood. As protectors suggested repeatedly the road be reopened, it was done so safely and the cutters began their afternoon's work. The air was full of drilling, and birdsong. At one point a large flock of swans flew over quite low, reminding us all of the wonderful eco system we have and wish to protect. After a lock on lasting almost 10 hours the eight protectors were cut free. Immediately those of us remaining roadside sensed a mood shift from the site as a mass of orange coated security gathered. Within minutes of the PRT vehicles leaving we were surrounded by police and vans moved to secure the site. Three large wagons sped in convoy and the gates locked behind. Subsequent live streaming showed a ninth protector brutally treated and arrested after dark. Four vehicles in total entered after the direct action. Who knows what we awake to tomorrow....What I do know is this is not over]
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*Highlight of the day… the lack of work done on site and the wonderful solidarity action with the PUP at Ellesmere Port <3 span="">

*Photo thanks to Ros Wills x

Friday, 17 February 2017

Day 33 in the Cuadrilla House...


Day 33 in the Cuadrilla House… and the good people witnessed quite a lot more moments of tranquility than is usual. Little work was done and all senior staff seemed absent until later in the afternoon… important meetings about the state (shambles) of affairs. Fantastic PUP (Pop Up Protest) at AE Yates of Bolton from Bolton Against Fracking and Left Unity Bolton – massive thanks for this hugely effective act x Protectors were already slow-walking a truck just ahead of the work lane when we arrived, a large police presence accompanied them and it appeared as if they were joining in (now wouldn’t that be nice?). We completed three more slow walks inside the work lane and of course, the sweeper. That was it really for arrivals. Work on site consisted of dirt moving to make a mountain of brown that was feasted on by happy birds and the creation of the verge (where the old lay-by used to be). Done with lots of burning, hammering and digging about with sticks. We rose and fell in number with the tide of our availability and it was, if possible to be… a day that felt good. This good feeling may also have had a lot to do with the shaky, nervous, falling down share prices for AJ Lucas in Australia – key shareholder of Cuadrilla with tons invested since 2007 - no return on investment yet and loans due with interest to Chinese investor Kerogen. It’s the little things that make big things fall that make me smile :)

Protectors doing what they can for the cause x

So it was a day of reflection too for all of us who feel battered and bruised by this happening that goes on happening and there is healing that comes with this. The sun shone brilliantly, most faces wore smiles and the honks of support have never been so constant. There was a calm amidst the storm and we had time for planning. We plan on Tuesday to bring our small toys and dolls from the children of our community – sacrifices for the hedge and other things that will mean the absent little voices are part of our roar too.

Plans for the HUGE Don’t Frack Lancs - National Rally are coming together and volunteers for stewarding and catering coming forward. Friends of the Earth are doing a tremendous job pulling together the things we need in order to make this great and Frack Off (UK) are taking care of the mammoth task of sorting transport and subsidising it for visitors from across the entire country. Yesterday saw a call for support from Green Party of England and Wales‘s Caroline Lucas and today, from Producer of GASLAND Josh Fox – Standing Rock are sharing posts about our Rally as are Protectors in Australia, the Netherlands and Canada. The world watches the life of our roadside in Lancashire. Meanwhile, Cuadrilla twists and turns in antici……pation ;)

I come away today knowing we get to them… get under their skin and make them itch themselves raw as they try to get rid of us. We’re pulling their strings and pushing their buttons in ways they’ve not been pulled and pushed before and there’s more… much more to come. Their share prices slump, we know we made it so – their tempers flare in frustration at the lack of productivity, we know we caused it – they spend larger amounts to buy security – we know we made them pay. The certainty in these statements is borne of the fact that there is no-one else here but us… making a mighty unpredictable fuss in all sorts of unpredictable ways and places. And there’s always more to come because for us, this is not done till we stop them – there is no other exit point.

I watched a livestream from the site before I got there today and it was informed, engaging and told a moving story. The Protector who often films and comments through the dramatic events and is by nature of this, often in situations where conflict dictates the content of the images and words. This morning though he spoke calmly through his reasons for doing what he does and once he’d done so, in a deeply human and honest way – you got it. It made such sense and the urgency he felt and acted with, was clear… at that point, site staff pushed the fencing out to where he was and within the moment, it was back to the anger in voice and image… an anger that now though, seemed so much more justified. He raged at the fence because just beyond it – the absurdity of destruction by digger unfolds.

Our evolving unity within this movement of many parts, comes genuinely from the heart of each Protector. We may not see eye-to-eye but will always stand shoulder-to-shoulder against the known target that threatens us all equally. See you Monday? <3 span="">

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Happy to say the view from Miranda makes a come-back today - her perspective from the roadside follows:

[ Well it's now day 33....and it seems barely possible the spring air and bird song now accompany our roadside protest. I, like everyone I talk to, awake each day wondering if protectors are safe and wondering what force will be brought into the fray.

This was somewhat tempered today by the sound of raucous car horns, shouts of support ( of course the occasional abuse remains) and the sight of the mass of yellow ribbons tied into the hedge. On arrival, I could sense some tension between police, protectors and site staff ; not surprising given the events yesterday, but on the whole the mood was somewhat lighter.


What is happening in the fields opposite us is depressing. Every truck full of aggregate, every scoopful of earth lifted tears at us. We take any light moment with which we are presented...however absurd, because this whole situation is surreal.

Thanks to everyone who shows up for however long they can manage, thanks for all the support, thanks for food and other donations, thanks to those who choose direct action, thanks to those making calls, those live streaming, those reporting issues and those making posters..

Whatever anyone is doing is amazing. We are all of us contributing something positive....countering the negative inhuman events on the fracking site. There is much to come.... ]

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*Chuckle of the day: great music was playing and a Protector was swaying on the recently christened little traffic island – Paradise Island – at the centre of Paradise is the pole of the streetlight. She danced about it and a passer-by… leaned out of his car window and donated £20 lol! We trust this was actually for the on-going campaign – although… !

Before You Came (You Will Not Take Our Flowers)





A truly moving song about events at the roadside and our Valentines Day there <3

Day 32 in the Cuadrilla House...

Day 32 in the Cuadrilla House… and the good people had a day that started with a 6-Protector lock-on that resulted in arrests, a hospitalisation and scenes of aggression and anger, with heavy policing. Rage is vile but it exists because this site grows more ugly each day and we each find our way to deal with what this brings out of us. I was away from the roadside for most of the day so not able to properly blog this – there is a lot of coverage on other Protector feeds and livestreams that will fill in the blanks. Also today another PUP (Pop Up Protest) this time in Ellesmere thanks to Ellesmere Port Frack Free – so grateful for the solidarity <3 span="">According to those on site, 7 trucks got through today but only two were slow walked – the others delayed by the lock-on.


So in the brief time I got to the roadside today, I came away with huge sadness from the encounters I had there… many who come to Protect this place, have never experienced anything like this and never expected to. There’s fresh shock too that comes with the growing awareness that WE are all we have, to stop this clearly dangerous industry - there is no-one else to turn to but ourselves. None of the agencies are fighting for us, our Council is neutered, our government sold us and any systems of checks and balances or overriding concern for safety – are clearly a fantasy. I see in strained faces that lives are being fractured as worlds of ‘normality’ collide with these raw truths. There is no turning back either, no ‘out door’ because once you know, you can’t unknow and once you see the flaws, the whole mess starts to show itself for the shambles of a system of government that it is.

Day in, day out at the roadside, the evidence of the corrupted system is played out before our eyes. Revelations that our ‘democracy’ …isn’t democratic, fair or just and lacks the wisdom and impartiality required to keep us and our children safe. When you first come to all this realisation, it’s hard to know how to be in this new, sharp reality where what’s to be expected, isn’t anymore. Preston New Road is an all-too-real, unfamiliar landscape that throws so much new our way – every minute of each day we are at the roadside. Amidst the people broken by realisations… are others at different stages of their personal anger at this – people with shattered lives, trying to get control and make this stop.

To all who Protect, huge appreciation & respect <3 span=""> See you tomorrow? X

*Highlight of the (very brief) day: Dawn and the children clearly on overdrive as the throaty horn held tone for three drive-bys in about 10 minutes. Great pictures by the children held at the windows x

*Interesting visitor: A friendly Stirling University student studying this industry who came to ask intelligent questions at the roadside.

*No picture of today as I was mostly away but the one I've used came in as a result of the meetings and work today for 25 Feb 2017 Don’t Frack Lancs - National Rally... oooo it is looking BIG :)