Tuesday, 22 September 2009

Tuesday 22nd September 09 International Car-Free Day

and York's First Car-Free Day!!!

Our plans swung into action. I got up at 6.30am (not my favourite time of day!) and got together Lynn's parasol and filled the base with water, my smallest 'dalek' compost bin (actually the one which belongs to the school and was delivered to me by accident), and a planter with a courgette plant and a broccoli plant just about ready to harvest. In my panniers I took bread, hommous, apples, Danish pastries and similar, a knife and a toy car which belonged to Gill's Uncle Tom, for sticking the ticket on for the parking space.

I got there just after Candy, who had bought a 3 hour ticket at 7am. We chose a space as close to the junction of Lawrence St and Foss Islands Road, between a pub and two fast-food places. Very soon Rich arrived on the St Nicks load-carrying trike with the plastic sheets to put the turf on, and the 12 rolls of turf. Bryony came with her palm tree. The turf was rolled out and garden stuff placed carefully, and a couple or road cones with bamboo canes in to support the banner which read 'PEOPLE PARK NOT CAR PARK' and I think another line underneath about York in Transition and/or Car Free Day. The picnic table and deck chairs went up, and the table was soon covered in breakfast-type food. We also had leaflets about Car Free Day and York in Transition, and as we were right next to the traffic lights, several of us were able to speak to drivers and give them leaflets.

Three City Councillors turned up, Christian Vassie (LD), Dave Merrett (Lab) and Andy D'Agorne (Green), and I was disappointed that my friend John Galvin, our current Lord Mayor (and a Conservative) didn't appear. That would have been a real coup to have all four parties supporting us.

We suffered a bit with the gusty wind, and it was an unpleasant place to be as the area is totally dominated by roads and cars... but that was the point, to have a little chunk of parkland in an urban jungle. The media turned up, BBC Radio York interviewed Candy (sorry, Dr Candida Spillard!) who was very eloquent, and the York Press guy hung around waiting for the right light... he couldn't do anything whilst the early morning sun was so bright, but when it clouded over he got his photo... I think he might use the 'Uncle Tom's Toy Car in the foreground' shot... I hope so!

At about 10 am we had a little conference and as we had just about run out of leaflets and the weather was looking ominous, we decided to strike camp. I took the compost bin and parasol home in the trailer and came back to help transport the turf round to Anna's. She bought the turf off me, so there was no net outlay for the turf. We got a few donations, which paid for the Danish pastries and parking ticket.

On the way back from Anna's I stopped off at Country Fresh and picked up yet more compostables. I got in at midday. Gill was about to head off into town, so I had a quiet afternoon and at 3 cycled down to school to collect our youngest, and had a nice chat to Mrs Lee, one of my favourite teachers, about the school now not composting AND having lost bits of two compost bins I had lent them and they'd removed. She said that she'll say something quietly to people... I kind of want to write the school a letter but I don't think I should.

Later in the evening I returned Lynn's parasol.

Rich made this video of the day, nb the traffic noise!

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