Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Back in London

London is getting back to normal after the events of last week. I was getting ready to hit the beach in Mykonos, Greece last Thursday when I started getting random text messages asking if I was OK. We walked into our hotel lobby and they had the BBC World News on. It was about 10am in London and we were starting to see footage of the bus that had exploded. The reporting was vague (a deliberate ploy as it subsequently turned out) with the underground problems being blamed on a power surge. I texted Grumpy at the agency and he said everyone was OK but that it was really strange. Fraser tried to call London but couldn't get through. (The authorities had jammed the London mobile network) There seemed nothing more we could do so we headed to the beach. (It was our last day after all!) As the day went on more news filtered through. It felt bizarre to be sat in the sun while in London everything was chaos and confusion.

We arrived at London Gatwick Airport on Friday afternoon and the usually frenetic atmosphere was very subdued. The only real noise was the pre-recorded security announcements, you know, those supposedly soothing upper middle class male voices telling you not to leave your luggage unattended at any time or the posh lady who tells you to keep your children behind the blue line! We all caught the Gatwick Express into Victoria and were amazed at the number of police everywhere. I'm not sure that the high visibility made me feel any more secure, and the constant sirens howling in the distance were a far cry from the gently lapping waves we had been listening to.

I feel very lucky, no one I know was physically injured. One of my colleagues was on the train that was bombed at Kings Cross, but managed to break free from her carriage and get back to the platform, she was taken to hospital and treated for smoke inhalation, but was back at her desk on Monday. She's a toughie! Another of our friends was on the train behind the one that exploded at Aldgate, he was evacuated from the station and got on a bus. His bus was directly behind the one with the bomb. Two very close shaves, he feels it just wasn't his time. Very philosophical!

The underground is much less crowded in the morning than it normally is, more people on cycles and scooters. The lady next to me on the way home got quite fraught about a suitcase at the end of our carriage. It belonged to a Japanese tourist, who seemed perplexed at her increasingly hysterical demands as to it's ownership. I guess she was just being vigilant.

Next couple of posts will be about holidays, birthdays and possibly even love in the afternoon!

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