Bardic Bike Tour reaches RAF Waddington

Last weekend members of SPEAK Nottingham, along with some of the Network Support Team, met outside RAF Waddington in Lincolnshire to peacefully protest against plans for the base to become a control station for drones later this year.  Jesca, who has come from the Netherlands to volunteer with the NST for the summer, gives her account of this leg of the Bardic Bike Tour.

This is it; my first protest action ever! First we need to draw the attention of the people around us and let them know what we’re doing. Then we'll hop on our bikes, and ride from Lincoln to Nottingham. It's my first time riding a mountain bike. Perhaps that’s why i'm so excited! 45 miles – we shall see…

Ground the Drones

On Friday evening we set up a small camp outside RAF Waddington in Lincoln. Across the way from us police are watching. While we’re painting  on our banners, writing slogans like “Lincoln Drones Strikes Soon” and “Civilians Deaths”, a bright yellow helicopter even flies above us. The Police have cameras with enormous lenses and sturdy men in uniforms, yet we’re only standing with our banners along the road.

SPEAK have asked me to take pictures of the protest. But other than capturing this event on film, what influence do I really have? And what difference have we really made?

On Saturday morning we set off from Lincoln to Nottingham. I've borrowed a mountain bike from Andy's sister. It has a man's frame, which i've never ridden before. Nevertheless, I manage to throw my leg over the bike, and the fact that it’s possible for me to stand with both my feet flat on the ground gives me a feeling of safety.

Shortly before our lunch at the river Trent in the town of Newark, we make a deliberate stop at a small industrial park along the road. Among these companies there’s one where they manufacture pressure vessels supplied to BAE systems for use in Naval military equipment. And that’s not something we just accept within SPEAK. Although we didn't bang on doors or shout about suffering and injustice, we did put some wild flowers on the doorstep, with a note explaining our statement, and signed - by me as well.

When we left Lincoln around 9am, I didn't expect that we would manage to arrive at Nottingham by 6pm. We cycled 45 miles at a chilled tempo, and enjoyed the scenery and each other. But we’ve actually done it - survived another adventure!

The day ends with a short bible study and prayer, and at ten o'clock we wish each other "Sweet dreams!"

At the protest Jesca read this poem which she wrote:

Let Go of the Kite

If thoughts could fly away
Just one second. To this other world
Like a kite in the sky, as I imagine
And take all the trouble with
Would you let go of the lines?

The only thing that gives control
And keeps you attached to darkness;
Those lines

The kite, fading away with the clouds
Becoming smaller and smaller
Until it is – well, so small it is unseen
Now the kite is gone
And with it the only reason
To lift up your face, once in a while

And no, not for the colored rainbow that is there to be seen
Or for the beloved doves that keep singing “happily ever after”
No – because if you don’t look up nobody is able to see those tears
I know your cheek is still dry, and it will probable always be
But this sorrow yours was never so real

But maybe, if you let me be the one
To whisper in your ears
And kiss away these unseen tears
Can I put my arms around you
And feel the warmth of your hands
When you and me together hold the lines

Sponsor this leg of the Bardic Bike Tour

See photos of the protest on Facebook.