I dragged myself out of my nice warm bed at 4.30 am to go picketing at Tow Law. I’m fed up with just collecting and want to be more active, and besides, a lot more men have been arrested since Bob Clay got lifted.
It was bloody freezing out there and the only way for us to keep warm was by burning some old tractor tires one of the lads had found. They kept us warm but the oily muck blowing about made us all look like we’d done a shift down the pit!
There were about 200 men present but we didn’t manage to stop a single lorry going in or out, didn’t even try. There were no union officials present and the police who were there had no problems at all. It was obvious to me that we had to block the road somehow, but when I suggested dragging the burning tyres into the middle of the road no one took any notice. If we are not careful men will stop coming because of boredom and inactivity.
When we got back to the pit I asked the Treasurer if we could have some funds to provide hot food for the pickets at Tow Law because that’s what other lodges are doing for their pickets. He claimed our funds are ‘all tied up’. I argued that we have 70 pickets going each day, and the Lodge gives them £5 a car for petrol money to do the 70 mile round trip. Surely they could afford an extra £20 to get hot food and drink to the lads? Same reply about funds being ‘tied up’. Bloody pathetic!
Ian Wilburn and me have decided to spend the £150 we’ve already collected to get hot pies each day plus flasks of tea and coffee, and we can continue to raise funds to keep it going. Hopefully we will shame the Lodge into taking over. We met a baker on Boldon Lane and he has agreed to have 70 hot pies ready for 7am every morning, and Ian and myself will take them up to Tow Law and still be in time for any action.