Ding, Dong, the witch is dead!


I’m lying on a road outside the air base, the loose grit rubs against my face.
All around me are other women, lying, sitting, waiting.
It’s December, cold, grey, early morning.
Yesterday, we cocooned Greenham Commen in song and hand clasps.
Today is different, serious, someone starts the chant
“The whole world is watching you”
The police move in, not yet as skilled as they will be at the pinch, the quiet blow, the shove that hurts a little bit too much.

I’m standing outside the supermarket in a leafy left-wing suburb
“Food for the striking miners, make your donations here”
shouts a man, his voice honed from years of selling socialist worker.
People are running, actually running to place tins, packages in battered carboard boxes.
It’s an eclectic collection:
Pasta
Rice
Tomatoes
Cat food
Chocolate
Someone has dropped 2 jars of olives into the mix.
At 20 something, I wonder what the miners’ wives will make of them.

I’m on the Mall and somehow there’s a gap, a space and I launch myself
The car is so close that I can almost touch it and then I’m on the ground.
The secret service man looks terrified and only afterwards, long, long afterwards, I realise how close I came to being shot by trigger happy Reganite protectors.

Upper Heyford 1980s – the plan to close the base for 5 days.
It becomes a game, we link arms, they scoop us up, we, taking non-co-operation to a new height, refuse to move, to speak.
They cannot process the sheer numbers of protestors, so release us and we do it all again and again and again.

Outside my window, my neighbours are rioting, we go out to take photographs.
We watch a woman, fleshy, middle aged, skin gleaming in the half light, enter the over-priced local supermarket, minutes later, she reappears, a trolley laden with toilet rolls and bathroom cleaner.

Someone says that Thatcher is dead, blown up by the IRA, we lie in bed, wondering what will happen next, we consider packing, re-homing the cats, moving on.

I’m on an outer -city estate, where the only people who work are us, the project workers, parachuted in to make the place better for the community. The community is unified only in its suspicion of these middle class young women. they refuse to believe that I am 26, they don’t know any 26 year olds that don’t have children.
One day, I go to the local pub, an airport hangar of drink and smoke, it scares me so much I cannot swallow my low cal bitter lemon.

I’m watching the master race assemble for a rally.
They are surprisingly short, almost stunted, with bad skin and badly fitting jeans.

I’m speaking at a rally, Hiroshima day.
Over-taken by rhetoric, I raise my hand in a clenched fist.
Afterwards, one of the camp children, hair dreadlocked, not a fashion statment, just a lack of running water, asks
“Why did you do that thing with your hand?”
And I’m embarassed and can’t think of an answer.

There’s a protest against capitalism.
The City is full of interesting hair dos, woven clothing.
A group of nuns are standing quietly on the pavement, a policeman, young, a little confused, asks them politley to move away.
he doesn’t understand that they are in disguise, not nuns at all and that in 10 minutes time, they will walk calmly into a McDONALDS and spray fake blood on all the walls.

On every rally, every protest, every march
“Maggie, Maggie, Maggie”
“Out, Out, out”

Margaret Hilda Thatcher, Baroness Thatcher, LG, OM, PC, FRS (née Roberts, 13 October 1925 – 8 April 2013)

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About cathi rae

50ish teacher & aspiring writer and parent of a stroppy teenager and carer for a confused bedlington terrier and a small selection of horses who fail to shar emy dressage ambitions. Interested in contemporary fiction but find myself returning to PG Wodehouse when the chips are down View all posts by cathi rae

One response to “Ding, Dong, the witch is dead!

  • Stephen Wright

    Not before time. Just a thought, “taking non cooperation too a whole new height” I think “to a new level” is better, but that’s just me maybe. Quite an Obit…

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