Thursday, 26 January 2017

Day 17 in the Cuadrilla House...

Day 17 in the Cuadrilla house… and the good people adapted to changes, briefly (about 30 seconds) lost control of the situation, got it back, laughed, witnessed semi-nudity (these last two things may be related lol!), sustained ourselves on a new coldest-day where the winds brought the chill into minus figures and almost played football – which with hindsight, was never going to be a realistic thing.

So on arrival we could see the traffic cones marking off the lane but no fence in place yet: as on a few days now, a resident had stopped the fence from coming out due to issues with breaches of planning and as we started to gather at the roadside, we were informed by site staff that the slow-walks couldn’t happen because of the situation with the fence.

Hmmm ...we paused for a moment to consider options, remembered who was right in all this and were about to go get in front of a truck anyway – when we noticed a lovely Protector with a Frack Free Lancashire sign had already brought the first truck to a halt within the work-lane.

We joined him and were asked by police if we could move forward as a second truck had nudged in but was sticking out into traffic… we edged forward for safety sake and said we would do our slow-walks. “Still the 15 minutes?” we were asked; we considered this and at that moment a bloody third truck rocked in behind the newly positioned second one and they wanted us to go forward to accommodate. NO then to any 15 minutes. They should have waved this third one on due to safety so we were now going to let it nudge in but would take as long as possible reaching the site entrance. Popped the music on at this point so we could slow-walk in style and in song.

Two hours later the trucks went in (well actually one of them broke down and had to lay lifeless and unemptied at the side) and the fence was brought out… about a half hour later came a truck, we walked to the fence, they opened and our rhythm of slow-walks continued as it has on previous days. Total trucks slow-walked in on the day was sort of 8… with 1 broken-down and 1 ‘wrong address’ lol! Ooo and of course… the road-sweeper.

After yesterday’s odd atmosphere and deficit of joy, it was clear from the growing numbers of smiling faces, new signs and enthusiasm – that NOTHING is going to be allowed to bring us down, slow us up or diminish what we truly are.I felt such gratitude for the spirit of fellow Protectors today and the ones who I KNOW showed up because of concern about my post yesterday - thank you for the warm glow of you that made yesterday fade into the shadows

A surprising sight for this time of year greeted me during the long slow-walk at the start, when a Garstang cyclist who had joined us, started removing layer after layer of clothing! When he’d got down to cycle-shorts only, he put on a lovely apron and announced he was going to be a Nana… I pointed out that Nanas ordinarily wear thermals and are rarely topless… this did not hinder his enthusiasm and he remained near-naked for a good half hour or so despite the temperature. Certainly one for the memory box that is forever now seared into my eyes.

Lots of lovely roadside conversations happened and much new information was shared as well as gathered as a friendly drone operator captured images of the site for us. Later in the day a lawyer for the police arrived, we think this is because there is talk of what happens when the fence goes, along with the temporary traffic lights and single lane traffic – around 7-10 days from now. Clearly at that point, we won't be slow-walking in the works-lane anymore as it won't exist. So new ways and ideas are being discussed - all input welcome.


Residents have looked at plans and noted that despite the new, private site-road that is emerging, there is still the first 6ft or so of it that counts as public footpath and alongside that, the cycle lane. The opportunity for walkers, cyclists and residents to stroll or ride these areas means it would be a struggle to turn trucks into the site. Trucks stopping to wait, will be nearly impossible on this busy road and the challenges highlighted by residents at the Planning and Appeal stages of this, will be obvious and confirm why our Council REJECTED the planning application. This disruption combined with 'PUPs' (Pop Up Protests) at supplier points of origin of trucks... will lead to more delays, more frustration for AE Yates and Cuadrilla, more distress from investors and more breaches that will be witnessed and documented for the pending legal challenges.

Day done now and so looking forward to tomorrow when we have visitors from the newly formed Frack Free Southport as well as friends from Frack Free Scarborough… can’t tell you how much these visits mean to Protectors at the roadside. The fact that others travel to be here in solidarity warms and refreshes us – there is so little we can do to make it welcoming though really; it is a cold road, no seating, no kettle… but there is love, joy, laughter, music, honks of support and snacks/sweets gifted through car windows as they pass. See you tomorrow?

*Playlist highlight of the day… Blue Moon the long slow-walk where we had more space and each Protector in the front of the trucks or on the footpath, was swaying and smiling – nearly asked a fellow Protector to dance, got so caught in the moment lol! Another day down the rabbit-hole of ‘Whatever next?’