Thursday, July 07, 2005

Sitting on the sidelines

My alarm went off at 8.10 this morning; I’d planned to go to the gym in Holborn. “No No No” I thought as I flicked off my alarm; I was having strange but exciting dreams. I awoke again at 10.30 to the sound of a helicopter, and blearily kneeled up in bed to draw my blinds open feeling slightly ashamed of my idleness.
“Hmmm, what are they up to?” I wondered as I saw some men in uniform gathered by the rear gate of the prison which squats uglily next to my flat. As I squinted into the sky at the circling police helicopter I absent mindedly pondered the likelihood of a jail break, before deciding that if I didn’t get in the shower soon it was inevitable that I’d fall back asleep.
Switching on BBC News 24 I settled onto my settee, half an ear hearing the words “multiple blasts” but really mostly concentrating on my breakfast. However, as the blank screen gradually became a picture I realised I was looking at a familiar street, albeit one looking most unfamiliar. There was the zebra crossing on Tavistock Square I used to cross each day, enroute to University from my Kings Cross flat. But today there was a bus - minus its roof - strewn across the road, its orange top-deck handrails exposed, still pointing upwards but tragically twisted like cocktail straws. The British Medical Association building sat next to it looking untouched, but I was later to learn it was splattered in blood.

I ventured out of the flat. There was nowhere really to go, but I wanted to get out onto the streets. Initially everywhere was deserted; I guess everyone was watching TV. But at about midday, the pavements of Camden Road became a solid body of people snaking home from central London, either eager to escape any further carnage or having prudently deciding that any attempts to make it home later would be chaotic. There was an eerie calm feel. There wasn’t much traffic, certainly no buses. People weren’t animated and weren’t talking, but people did seem to be giving each other meaningful looks and reassuring half smiles.


Shane said...

Good tone. Take care.

obb said...

A *very* strange and sad day. South of the river here and it has been similar. Empty streets, and then busy streets full of workers walking home from around 3pm. And now it looks like we're about to be hit with a major thunderstorm.

Chin up London.

deanne said...

It has indeed been a surreal day. God, that bus photo - man. I don't know what to say.

Claire said...

The whole country is behind those of you in London...I know one of my friends had a narrow escape and was much luckier than some. We're a resiliant country and London is an extrememly resiliant city and I think we all go to bed tonight stronger and more determined people.

Michele said...

My thoughts and prayers are with you, your family, your neighbours, and your frineds; as they are with the many friends (and family) that I have in London.

Please be well.