Wow, it's been a long time since I did one of these, and much has happened! After Penrith I cycled across the Lake District to visit Sellafield, which has a glitzy, state of the art visitors centre, complete with interactive cinema that allows you to be energy minister for a few minutes and decide where you'd build lots of lovely new nuclear power stations! It wasn't as biased as I'd expected but still a much more sanitised view of the industry than I got from the people at CORE (Cumbrians Opposed to a Radioavive Environment). Whilst in Cumbria I also got to visit one of my theatre heroes, John Fox from Welfare State International, and have a good chat about my ideas and where to go with the project... excellent stuff.
Then it was back to Manchester, where I spent a few days enjoying clean clothes, baths and a kitchen to cook in, whilst frantically trying to decide where to go next. Eventually I decided that as it was all the direct action stuff around the G8 that has most gripped my imagination so far, I should pursue that rather than continue to aimlessly meander down to Devon and Cornwall via Wales, as was the plan. This is a bit sad because I was really looking forward to getting down there but it was all a bit badly organised anyway and I need to get back by the end of the month for a few things, not least the urgent need to stop buggering about and start writing!
So, I resolved to combine a couple of places I'd planned to visit in Wales with a couple of activist gatherings and here I am in Brecon library, fresh from a weekend in Monmouth at the Dissent! Gathering. Dissent! is a network of groups who organised the resistance against the G8 and are now trying to figure out where to go next, bit like me (apart from the organising resistance against the G8 bit)! Cue lots of tea, cigarettes, lentils, cider, and lengthy political/philosophical debates about the difference between a network and a group. My idea of a fun weekend, if not yours!
So now I'm cycling across to Pembrokeshire where I will be visiting the West Wales Eco Centre, staying on a sustainable organic farm for a couple of days, then cycling up the coast, visiting the Centre for Alternative Technology and then cycling to Derbyshire for the Earth First! (what is it about activists and exclamation marks?!) gathering (environmental activism training/meeting thing). Phew! Good thing it's bank holiday when I get back, I'm gonna need a break!