I Predict A Quiet

17 Jun
Sketch map of Runcorn, Cheshire, showing railways.

Image via Wikipedia

What would cause you to protest or riot for something?

Apart from the false imprisonment of my children – and possibly my husband, if I was in a good mood – nothing.  I’m British: I don’t do apologetic complaint, never mind protest.  I write a strongly worded letter and feel much better for it.

I bumped into a riot once, by accident.  I can’t say I liked it.  As a teenager, I went to Manchester to audition for the Manchester Youth Theatre with a friend.  It was the time of the nationwide riots against something or other.  I can’t remember what, but I bet it had hatred for Mrs Thatcher at the heart of it.  We had a summer of exploding protests, when staid young men and women became screaming thugs for the afternoon.  We are seeing something similar at the moment in Bristol, because of Tesco.  It’s not quite the breaking of the unions or the poll tax, but a supermarket too close to your back yard is certainly a reason to lose all common sense, I’m sure.

We had been to the auditions and decided to visit the Arndale Centre for some retail therapy (or ‘shopping’, as it was called in Days of Yore when I wurra lass).  As we walked up somewhere, a screaming, running gang of young gentlemen ran down, straight at us.  I grabbed my friend’s hand and dragged him onto the nearest bus, going anywhere.  When we got to anywhere, we had to walk back again, to catch the train home.  No shopping.  What a wasted opportunity.

Trains and a long walk featured once again in my teens.  I went with different friends to Liverpool.  Plenty of shopping and no riots – Scouse youth being better behaved than Mancunian youth.  So much shopping was done, we were late for the train, asked which was ours, and jumped on it just as the doors closed.

I think I was in charge of the travel on that day as well, which explains why we ended up in Widnes instead of Runcorn.  We explained to the man in charge that we had been directed to the wrong train and he said well, in that case, he wouldn’t fine us, but we had to get off there and we couldn’t get on another train without buying a ticket.  Did I mention we had been shopping all afternoon?  We didn’t have the fare for one of us, never mind three.

Did I mention this was in Days of Yore when I wurra lass?  No mobile phones to call parents who didn’t own cars to not fetch us.

Fortunately – fortune being a relative term – Widnes is right next door to Runcorn.  All we had to do was walk home.  Loaded with shopping bags.  In heels.  A mere three hours or so.  I was ready to start a riot.

14 Responses to “I Predict A Quiet”

  1. sarsm June 17, 2011 at 10:51 #

    We walked into a riot once, well maybe it was a fight. Shopping too, the Bull Ring Centre in Birmingham. My mum and I. I couldn’t have been more than 8yo, maybe I was less!
    Anyway there were a group of black youths on one side and a group of skinheads on the other. Both groups we’re waving around wooden sticks and broken glass bottles. To leave the building (which was suddenly empty apart from these youths) we had to walk through the middle. Or perhaps my mother just liked the danger.
    Anyway they all waited until we walked through. And I didn’t look back.
    But it was an odd feeling as I left. I knew all those men were about to hurt each other, perhaps some even died and why?


    • Tilly Bud June 17, 2011 at 10:52 #

      Now that’s interesting, that they retained civility enough to let you pass safely. Perhaps the interlude helped them calm down?


      • sarsm June 17, 2011 at 11:04 #

        Looking back, possibly because they hadn’t actually started yet. Or maybe it was my little petrified face. Anyway, it would be good to think they calmed down.
        An ex-boyfriend of mine, aged nine, actually got caught up in something similar around the same time (in London). But he wasn’t so fortunate. His arm was slashed with a knife. Not deeply, but he had a scar.


  2. vivinfrance June 17, 2011 at 10:51 #

    Terrific post. I don ‘t envy you the walk home, but at least you didn’t get teargassed! We did, through the car window in Seychellesduring the first elections for 20 years. We were driving home from Sunday lunch at the yacht club (there’s posh for you – fish and chips for 10 rupees – about one pound) and ran into a political riot. Nasty.


    • Tilly Bud June 17, 2011 at 10:53 #

      Nasty indeed! I was slightly teargassed when pregnant with TB, in SA.


      • Cindy June 17, 2011 at 11:05 #

        Now this you have to tell about!


  3. nrhatch June 18, 2011 at 02:32 #

    See? Shopping is dangerous to your health! 😀


  4. Perfecting Motherhood June 18, 2011 at 06:38 #

    It’s funny you remember so much about this event from years ago. I’m sure the 3-hour walk home helped you forge long-term memories…


  5. eof737 June 18, 2011 at 12:40 #

    Oh what a wicked man that train conductor was…. Three hours to walk home in heels! Urgh!!! 😦


    • Tilly Bud June 19, 2011 at 20:19 #

      It wouldn’t happen now – I haven’t worn heels in two decades 🙂


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