I’d never been to a Lord Mayor’s Parade in London before. It’s been occuring annually for 800 years so I thought, ‘this must be good considering the fickle nature of the human’. So, when the RSVP came through from the www.MeetUp.com group I didn’t hesitate to click on the little green tick to say ‘I’m coming!’.
I envisioned golden carriages, bling, sleek horses and Boris. My first mistake was to assume there was only one Mayor of London. My hands hold aloft, yes, I am shamefully uneducated. Boris is the Mayor of Westminster. This was all about the Mayor of the City of London. Oops. After meeting up with the group, a fine bunch..out to get them some flag waving, we marched in our little band to the processional route.
After about an hour of clapping and using the time as a good excuse to have a bit of a shout, along with the energetic and very vocal Scouts group standing beside me, I started to think about the whole parade thing playing out before me. Basically, I was confused. All these army personnel, centennial watchmaking companies, highly fragrant horses (not in a good way) and marching bands and I thought, I’m clapping people who fight and institutions who court war and commerce. I don’t believe in war. I wonder if it is just a source of revenue for the upper classes. But I am grateful for living in a peaceful country.
Around the corner, hundreds of people were trying to bring about change, sitting at steps of St Pauls Cathedral for Occupy London, and putting forth their vision to give power back to the people by knowledge sharing. As much enthusiasm I had at the start of the parade for being there I turned on a pin-head and felt an equalled enthusiasm to leave. I didn’t get to see any golden carriages or even discover who the Mayor was to be. I felt it was time to leave. And so I did.
My head span wildly then, after a deep, questioning, perplexing and somewhat anxious (due to the information he shared with me) conversation, struck up in a little alleyway cafe with a participant of the debate at Occupy who came to sit at my table as I sipped on a freshing cup of green tea. I was prompted to speak out and we both had our time on our own personal soap box. We had an open and frank debate that went on for much longer than either of us envisaged. I found his ideas at once refreshing and slightly chilling in regards to the way our country may be directing it’s subject.
I walked back over Waterloo Bridge and took up a spot on the Thames Wall beside two animated, giggling Chinese women to watch the fireworks. I took a deep breath and took in the atmosphere. I’d never seen the Southbank so busy, the Thames Walk a moving carpet of humans like hurrying leaf cutter ants. It was 5pm and unseasonably warm. November in the UK and I wore just a blouse! The pictures speak for themselves and stimulated lots of ooh..ahhh…moments from the crowd.