It’s November the 5th, so the sky’s lit up with fireworks. Like millions of others across the city, we went off to a big organised display to celebrate Guy Fawkes Night.
“Guy Fawkes in my pants. Bang.”
“Roman Catholic Catherine wheels.”
“Guy Fawkes died – bang!”
The Council-organised display we went to was amazing. It must’ve cost a lot and at a time when local authorities are under massive pressure to cut costs, some people might have argued against spending money on events like this. But there were thousands of people out to enjoy tonight’s event and it was great to share in something so exciting and magical with so many local people.
The ‘ticcing fits’ I’ve been having for the last few weeks have been dominating my life and restricting what I’ve been able to do, so it was with some trepidation that Leftwing Idiot and Poppy and I set out this evening.
When we got to the park we made our way towards the barriers. The crowd was already five or so deep, but when Leftwing Idiot explained that I couldn’t stand very well people let us through so I could hold the rail. To my left was a little girl and her mum I knew from work and to our right was a woman Leftwing Idiot and I had done some training with a few years previously.
When the spectacular display had finished there was the logistical nightmare of getting the huge crowd of 50,000 people through gates that are only a few metres wide. Though we waited for some time, it still looked as if getting out safely would be impossible because I find it so hard to stand still and I can’t move slowly. Leftwing Idiot went and spoke to a steward, called Gabriel, and he understood the problem very quickly. When he saw how tricky it was for me to walk, he let us through the barriers to the crowd-free side. We still had to go through the same gates to get out of the park, but he helped us through safely by asking people to move out of the way. Without his help we might well have ended up in a dangerous situation.
As we were making our way to the bus stop I began to have a ‘ticcing fit’. This wasn’t ideal as we were on a crowded pavement by a busy road, but Leftwing Idiot and Poppy followed the plan we have for when this happens and kept me safe.
Poppy also kept an eye out for any passing cabs and it wasn’t long before she spotted one and flagged it down. Many drivers, seeing a young woman writhing around on the pavement on a Saturday night might’ve assumed I was drunk and refused to take me, but this driver didn’t hesitate or even ask any questions.
By the time we got home I’d recovered. When Leftwing Idiot went to pay he refused to accept any money even though we tried to insist.
I’ve heard people say ‘Community is dead’ and that London is an unfriendly city. But tonight I felt very much part of my community and I was moved by the kindness and generosity of many people, both friends and strangers.