Newly arrived in London's leafy (and warm - ten degrees warmer than it was in Dunoon today) southern suburbs, I find that Neil has been reminiscing about the Greenham Common days , when he was a small boy and I was heavily involved in the local CND. It is 25 years since the establishment of the Greenham Common Peace Camp, and 22 years since the big Greenham demo in Dunoon and the subsequent events which saw me as a frequent witness in the local Sheriff Court ("my" women all got off) and my consequent emergence as persona non grata in local Episcopalian circles - perhaps because there was about to take place a high-profile visit from the Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church in the USA.
When I look back on that time in the 80s, I remember primarily how the arrival of the women and the increased attention on the local CND at that time intensified the feeling of being somehow an outsider in this town where no-one outside a small circle of "incomers" seemed aware of the implications of the American Nuclear Submarine Base - "Site One" - in the Holy Loch. At the time, I was subject to feelings of guilt at having produced a family to live in such proximity to these subs - a proximity which, I learned, would never have been allowed in the States. I did what I could to alleviate such feelings with action - appearing on TV and radio, speaking in public, demonstrating, supporting those whose convictions led them into breach of the law - or "the peace", ironically enough. I even went to Greenham Common myself, though only for a weekend, and experienced the same abuse from the soldiers on duty as the resident protesters.
Now the Holy Loch is home to a marina and the American housing is available for locals to buy. And more people tend to criticise our allies, even if our Government won't. Life in Dunoon is altogether more staid than it was in the days of sudden demos and confrontations with the local police - always very civilised, but with the frisson of breaking with a normally law-abiding existence. And we are all considerably older. But would I do it again?
Yes. I think I would.