London

Life in Occupy tent: 'Cold and achy' but not giving up

Mark Weaver
Image caption Mark Weaver celebrated his 31st birthday in the Occupy London camp

Mark Weaver turned 31 last month - he spent the day in a tent located in the shadow of St Paul's Cathedral.

He has been part of the Occupy London site since it started on 15 October.

His mother was with him on his birthday - the second occasion she had visited the site.

"She knows that this is what I do," Mr Weaver added.

Ironically his brother is a corporate lawyer in the City. Mr Weaver said they have differing views on the issue: "He generally doesn't say much."

Mr Weaver, from Leeds, has been involved in protests over the last eight years, but when he joined the demonstration outside London Stock Exchange, he did not expect to spend the next three months in a tent.

"I was totally convinced that we would be maybe a 100-people strong, with some tea and biscuits to eat, and then we would be kettled by police.

Image caption The Reverend Jesse Jackson was among several personalities to back the camp

"I didn't bring any change of clothing."

The next day he bought a new tent. He has been involved in organising events, helping out at various tents, including the food tent and the Tent University.

He eats "for free" the food donated to the camp and has spent about £300. But not everything was as easy.

"You get up in the morning and it's dark, it's freezing cold. You have slept in your clothes and you go to a portable toilet.

"There is no hot water. You are achy and stiff. Everyone came down with the November sniffles.

"The 24-7 attention that you get from the media is exhausting because you feel that every move you make is being watched."

Image caption Several protesters spent Christmas Day in the Occupy camp

But the "ridiculously mild" winter helped.

"We had Christmas dinner in the Tent City University tent."

He said he found the Reverend Jesse Jackson's support inspiring, enjoyed the Christmas carols and music concerts.

And he was amused by how the site "turned from a messy collection of tents to a spic and span sparkly penthouse suite" when the High Court judge decided to pay a visit.

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