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The Grow Heathrow banquet – Dai’s blog

Posted: June 22nd, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Events | Tags: , , , | No Comments »

June the 18th 2010 will remain in my memory for quite some time, as that morning I attended my Uncle Arthur’s funeral in the foot hills of the Pressely mountains in Pembrokeshire, West Wales. He had died peacefully in his sleep a few days earlier at the age of 87. Standing around the grave in the sunshine within a silence that exists only within this context of collective familial grief there is a bond which is rare and precious. At the wake this rare atmosphere continued but now with lots of hugs and smiles, catching up and fond memories.

Leaving then to catch the train in Cardiff, then to Paddington, onwards to West Drayton then the 222 to Sipson Lane where I met a couple of mates who were also coming to the Grow Heathrow Banquet. We arrived late, and were told that the first course was ending, so we crunched across the gravel yard to greenhouse No. 2 where a long row of tables and chairs had been sumptuously decorated and laid out, seating around 80 people and the banqueting was in full flow.

The rare feeling of family returned, yet this time a gathering of disparate fellows of differing ages, classes, nationality, races, sexuality, ability, locality, religion, politics and philosophies gathering to celebrate in this common union, collective achievements, not least amongst these, this union in itself.

The atmosphere was buzzing a bit like a very exciting wedding, panache Paddy and beautiful Becky were our hosts, our celebratory chefs were outrageous Oscar and lush Lily who had prepared a three course meal of mixed vegetable tempura with chilli and ginger dipping sauce to start, followed by bean pea and broccoli risotto with fresh home grown salad and for desert elderflower ice cream with chocolate chip shortbread finger. We drank elderflower champagne and cordial hand picked and made on the site.

During the meal we were invited to discuss the future of Grow Heathrow and Transition Heathrow with our fellow guests, share ideas with each other and to write our conclusions on the back of the menu. As the feast was coming to an end Becky and Paddy asked some of the guests to give a short speech on there contribution to this project. Linda McCutcheon, member of local protest group NOTRAG, spoke of the energy that Grow Heathrow had brought to the community and the campaign. James Clarke told of how through his work he was able to bring wood and building materials to the site. Emily James talked about her experiences filming the site take which will be included in her film ‘Just Do It’. Rachel Taylor talked about how having found that she had a brain tumour and through her contacts with Plane Stupid she discovered Grow Heathrow and how she felt that this has become her retreat. Keith Robin talked of his experience finding Grow Heathrow and how he enjoyed living with such gorgeous house mates. May Mackeith talked about how she enjoys working hard at the site but also just likes to come and chill out with her mates.

The England match was screened on a large screen, a fire was lit and general merriment went on into the small hours, as for me it all got a bit hazy from that point on and as I retired to the sofa where I like to sleep, only to find someone was cleaning up chunder where I usually lay my head! I slept well, in a chunder stain, but on this day, somehow this didn’t matter.

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