Friendship Walk : 29th March 2019
We met at the Dover Sea Front by the North Downs Way START/FINISH Line and walked on March 29th 2019 on the Dover Cliffs in friendship and solidarity with our European neighbours.
Open School East, Folkestone Fringe and Uwe Derkson spread the word and Bruno Cooren and colleagues from the City of Dunkirk came over to walk with us. Anna-Marya Tompa left Dover for Cyprus on March 21st and walked with us in Cyprus.
It was wonderful to walk.
Whatever happens we consolidated friendship with our neighbours across Europe.
I wanted to wholeheartedly thank you for taking the initiative of yesterday’s gathering that I think none of us will ever forget. We will never forget the intensity of our common conviction to keep and develop the bonds of friendship which link us despite the sirens’ call for separation, closure, and jingoism. We will never forget the smile and care of all participants, who took time to walk and voice their attachment to Europe and, thereby, in a way, to human unity. We will never forget the beauty of the Dover harbour, of our mare nostrum, that day, and the soft mist from which ferries seemed to emerge like in a dream.
We were not millions, we were almost invisible, but we all expressed, in the most sincere, modest and concrete way, the significance of love of neighbour.
I want to believe that we thereby contributed to yesterday’s events which resulted, at least partly, in maintaining the connection between the British Isles and the continent. Thanks again for making the other shore a welcoming heaven and for helping us dream.
I invited fellow resident transnational artists, Anna Georghiou and Phil Bird to accompany me after explaining the concept of the Friendship Walk. They applauded the idea but, upon consideration, declined. They had already been out whereas I hadn’t ventured from the house that day. That’s because it was raining.
It has been raining in Cyprus since December. Incessantly. Before I arrived, I watched, with dismay, videos of furniture floating down the streets of Limassol.
I flew out on 21st March. It rained on day 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8, etc
In summary, it is quite wet.
A walk in gathering darkness in the damp held scant charms. The Saturday here was the weekend opener for Cyprus National Day on 1st April. It’s quite nice to become aware, in the midst of a national obsession, that other people celebrate significant dates, too.
So, after being waved off by Anna and Phil, my meander took me through the quiet streets of Lefkara, past Holy Cross Church and the evening service and the fairground stalls of dried fruit and tombola. Some damp cats gathered under a dustbin and I turned for home.
The Church of the Holy Cross venerates one of the sacred splinters of the Crucifixion, donated by Eleanor of Aquitaine, after her travels in Palestine, (for a consideration) in support of her son’s crusading ambitions. Connection to Dover? Yes, wife and son, Richard Cœur de Lion, of Henry II, builder of the fine castle on the white cliffs.
It took eight more centuries to devise the notion of Europe but connections have been amongst us for a long time.