Day 16 in the Cuadrilla House… and the good people shivered at the roadside in fewer numbers than usual this freezing morning. There was an unsettling of mood that combined with more rapid truck movements and the shaping of new kerbs that meant we seemed more on edge; or maybe it was just me ‘feeling’ more today?. Fresh arrivals of sunshine and smiling faces around lunchtime and throughout the afternoon, lifted spirits, brought sumptuous lemon drizzle cake and the truly welcomed gift of cough medicine from our ‘Herbalist to the Protectors’ … but talk was of change to come and ways to deal with it.

So it seems the site is being pressured to up their game and in the absence of Saturday work (permitted on planning but not yet undertaken – we suspect due to less police availability on match days) Cuadrilla’s contractor AE Yates of Bolton, managed to bring in 5 trucks by 11 o’clock and a total of 10 on the day – the highest number yet. We slow-walked each and the road-sweeper at the end but there was no satisfaction in witnessing the shaping of the kerbs on this Cuadrilla road to hell.

The melancholy of the morning may be more about my mood but I sensed it in other Protectors at the roadside too; in fact I’m sensing this post will not be as pleasant as usual, apologies. It would be unnatural I suppose for us not to be suffering turmoil emotionally as we witness the thing we have dreaded, fought and held at bay – clawing up through the farmland before our eyes each and every day. The entire movement online too, seems awash with anger. Of course we’re angry; this is assault, an attack, an abuse of our right to protect our young, to nourish their futures with fresh water, clean air and a democracy fit for bloody purpose. In the absence of the actual assailants, we turn on each other, critique our methods, wonder at motives, challenge intent and gnaw away at our bonds… because we’re fuming and the genuine enemy, is cloaked and unreachable.

This industry has no moral core, no part of it that looks into our children’s eyes and puts their needs above all else… it self-regulates to the lowest standards, runs rings round our politicians (who will later be employed by them) and has command of law-makers who bend at its whim – we Protectors on the other hand act from our clear and certain moral core, defend our young at the expense of all else and yet – we impose the highest demands on each other, insist on results, work our unpaid selves beyond tired and still expect more. THIS is why we are angry… and although understandable, it hurts when this rage spills like acid onto each other.

The kerb stones are weaving an entrance and behind them, diggers eat away at the green fields, leaving mounds of dirt and metal fencing in their wake – the business of un-beautifying nature is the ugliest process; stripping off layers of adornment, seasons in the making. Beautiful opportunist birds sieze the upside though, flocking to feast on once hidden little critters freshly exposed. I wanted to cry, watching the man in the digger. We’d spoken earlier and smiled; I know he is not with a union, has no other job prospect and has a family to feed and house… I don’t know how to change this fact that means he is hurting my grandchild with every new gouge in the earth.

I looked across at my sister and she was waving, smiling, rousing ‘honks of support’ and I know, although she would not be anywhere else because this matters so much – that she wishes she was. What we do is sad… why we do it, is obligation and so we have to find the smiles, the kindness and the truth of each other if we are to get through the hardest bit of this. In 6 years, I have watched us tear and mend countless times… we get stronger every time.

Big thanks to those who stayed a little longer today as we didn’t trust that no more trucks would come. My sister and I had to leave at 3 but came back at 3:40 when we heard two trucks were on their way. They were pulled over a bit before the site and we drove past to see the temporary traffic lights being removed and no opening for them as the fencing had been pulled back… think the site rejected the late arrivals and was perhaps encouraged in this by the big car that would have prevented them letting anything in anyway. A local resident and Protector had decided to help them make their decision with inappropriate yet useful parking!

For me today, a low – but I know it will lift when warm Protectors meet at the roadside again and the kindness online, finds its way into my veins… see you tomorrow?

*Sign of the day in picture… honest, straightforward, to the point 🙂