Sunday, 17 April 2016

The Brighton Trip

Lisa raising a glass
Brighton Station
Christine Richard

On Thursday morning Richard phoned me and said, I know it's a bit of a long shot . . . . Cutting this story very short, an NUT member couldn't take her place at the conference in Brighton, and yes, I would like to spend my birthday weekend darn sarf.

Thus, next morning, I found myself at Leeds Station, meeting Claire, Nicky, Lisa, Bev, Laura and Kauser. In London we swapped Kings Cross for St Pancras, and got the very crowded 12.10 to a very crowded Brighton.

Jane me Christine B

waiting to shake hands and not giving up
Anyway, can't be sure if this trip counts as holiday or campaigning so will blog it twice. This is the holiday version.

Inspired and excited to see, to hear and to know that Corbyn is speaking. After years of Labour secretaries of state thinking that some academies are okay, I feel hopeful that they (the Labour party) will get it now: that all academies are forced academies, none are what parents asked for.

In party mood, we travelled south; someone even essayed a glass of wine. I would have joined her, but last time I was in London it ended in St Thomas's so I am being careful here. Then here's Brighton, and what a bright and lovely town. The Premier Inn, a glorious slab of concrete in North Street.

The conference centre is on the sea front! All pier and pebbles. In heaven.

Although this is the holiday blog, I have to mention that I hear am there to hear Jeremy speak, and I even get to shake his hand a afterwards. I am one of many many many. I have to wait till a break in the selfie-taking

Above is a pic that Jane took as I approached the man who really is our last hope to get rid of the abomination that is academisation (a pseudo-educational term signifying some rich business man or woman has got their hands on a piece of public property). Also above is me and Jane and the wonderful Christine B.

The bands who played from the Music For Youth were Five Foot Six and Burgess Hill Flutes.

In the evening getting our party of eight or nine (it keeps changing!) to eat at the same time is a nightmare. We try an Indian Restaurant on Ship Street. I am shattered and have to leave early.

Next day, conference, excellent, see other friends and acquaintances from the various campaigns (mostly anti academies and anti PFI), meet up again with Jane, formerly of AAA, now of CASE, and we take tea and talk of this and that in the Old Ship on the seafront.

In the evening I try an Italian meal, but am even more exhausted. The speeches are so full on, and there are so many. Early night, clocks forward.
Bridget at the Calais benefit

On Sunday we have the afternoon off, and I brave Brighton pebbly beach, then take a turn about town, find some ear studs, am assured they're silver. They are £1 each. Will see. And now now I find the best and cheapest meal, vegetarian, all you can eat for £4.95' Asian food. With mango lassi. Yummy.
Lisa and me

Monday, I attend the conference till it's time for the trains back to Leeds. Despite crowds at lunchtime, Brighton Station is easy. I have to disembark at London Bridge however and take the tube to Kings Cross. Last time I was at LB, I was waiting for a ambulance, or least the medics from said ambulance, so I am waiting on this very same platform with some trepidation, and ditto alighting.
Clinging onto the rails, I travel to KX where I fail to find the other early -leaving NUT delegates (whom I lost in Brighton), and then fail to find a moving train. The 6.03 and the 6.30 are cancelled. I launch myself at the 6.15, find a seat, and wait till they can find a guard (at 6.40) and finally a driver (at 7). Crowded, boiling,  bar only opens at 9, see the shutters going up, second in queue for a free cup of tea! What a way to spend your birthday. Arriving in Leeds at 11.10. Spend Tuesday in recovery.