Friday, July 22, 2005

Lucky, lucky..

What a morning!

I was running a bit late as I had a late night with the kids, we had been to the theatre and then out to dinner at The Ivy. Tra la la!

Anyway, this morning I caught the tube at 8.45 which was supposed to go via Charing Cross. It was diverted at Kenning ton and so most of the passengers got off and crossed the platform to wait for the next Charing Cross train. The platform was really busy but everyone was cheery. The train arrived and we all piled on. The doors closed and we started to move , then the train jolted to a halt. The driver told us that we would be held at the station for a while, but not to panic. Then police officers and rail staff rushed onto the platform. The doors were opened and we were asked to evacuate the tube calmly. As we walked towards the exit we were instructed to keep moving and turn left as soon as we left the station. The street outside the station was cordoned off and we were urged to keep moving. The traffic was at a standstill. One guy was trying to walk back towards the tube entrance, he was wearing a rucksack and police manhandled him in the opposite direction, telling him if he didn't move out of the area he would be arrested. I called the office, explained what was going on and walked back towards my flat in Stockwell.

I got to Stockwell at about 9.50 and saw that the tube station was open and so was debating whether or not to try and get the Victoria Line to Oxford Circus or walk back to the flat and pick up my bike. As I walked towards the ticket barriers a guy hurtled past me and vaulted the barrier. People began shouting, "He's got a gun, he's got a gun!" and then there were another five people all running into the station entrance. Now people were shouting, "Get out, get out!" So I ran out of the station and around the corner.

A lady walking towards the tube asked me what was going on, and who were the men with guns. I told her I had no idea, but I didn't think it was worth trying to get the tube. I called the office again to let them know the latest update and walked around the corner to my flat and switched on the news. There was nothing about Stockwell, and so I imagined it must have been a false alarm. I changed into some shorts pumped up the tyres on Flying Sue and headed out planning to cycle to the office. By now the roads in the area were at a standstill, a helicopter was circling over head and a Police Dog Handlers van was trying to get through. I cycled onto Vauxhall.

The whole of Vauxhall roundabout was cordoned off. Traffic was at a standstill. The roads were all taped off. People were standing beside their cars chatting on mobile phones. There were even army officers in camouflage gear. I texted the office and considered just calling it a day. Then a builder who was working on St George's Wharf announced that he would walk anyone that wanted to follow him through the building site and along to the riverside road on the other side of the police blockade. About 100 of us followed him along the path everyone commenting on the lovely views the flats had of the river and how much they would cost! Then someone said that a man had been shot at Stockwell station and I thought, "Hmmm..."

I got back on Flying Sue and cycled along the Embankment trying not to run over the Japanese tourists who were busy photographing Big Ben. Flattie called to check I was OK and he confirmed that someone had been shot at Stockwell!

Sometimes it is good to be a dawdler and not to rush!

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