I've never been on such a good-natured processional (in fact I haven't been on nearly enough protests in my lifetime, but I'm beginning to catch up). You could argue this one was about many things: a celebration of 60 years of peace in most of Europe, on a significant birthday for the EU; about remembering what happened close to the end of the route on Wednesday, and showing what the undaunted spirit of those who came from all round the country for the occasion is all about; certainly about our anger at the Brexit railroading of May and Co, with attendant ingenuity in the more indignant banners. But one thing's for sure - our experience of it was wholly positive, including the delight in walking the closed-off thoroughfares of the West End.
We were lucky to turn up at Hyde Park Corner about 40 minutes after the official start; nothing had moved, and we were ushered to what turned out to be the front of the march. All these pics were taken on J's phone, as my beloved camera had crashed to the ground while I was trying to photograph Bunyan's tomb a couple of weeks ago, and is in for an expensive repair to the zoom lens.
And so round into Piccadilly
where the rise gave a good view backwards
and down towards St James's Palace, where a good shot of J in his yellow waistcoat can't be used here, alas, though this one of three ladies will do,
then along to Trafalgar Square. We hadn't been able to meet up with my goddog Ted and his owners, who as it turned out had gone home after waiting for an hour and a half at the start, but it was good to see so many canines present or represented - note the banners to the left, including 'this cavapoo is pro-EU'.
Funny how few folk we met whom we knew - just a couple we'd become acquainted with last Saturday over Ted's owners' first 'Shakshuka Club' lunch, just after this heading into Whitehall
where although the space for walking became much more generous, we could still see the procession behind stretching back as far as the eye could see, and led by this most vocal of groups
and forward to Parliament Square,
where, securing a place on a traffic island rather than in the Square itself, we heard a policeman saying that the tail-end of the march was only just leaving Hyde Park Corner. And oh, the hosts of golden daffodils, such a nice touch on a glorious spring day.
Couldn't hear the speeches, starting with Alastair Campbell, and from memory of the last lot, they didn't promise to be too inspiring - and very short on the diversity/women front - though Nick Clegg, by all accounts, did a good job. In any case, we had to head off to the National Film Theatre cafe to meet our friends Nats and Danni, who'd come up specially from Bournemouth. Glorious to sit in the sun; happy thereafter and in one's sleep to thrive on the memories of a togetherness which will survive whatever happens next. Estimates of attendance range between 100,000 and 500,000: not bad. We are Europeans first, citizens of the world second, Brits third, and nothing's going to change that. Fingers crossed for the French and German elections - it's looking hopeful.