Quote Of The Day

"Victory goes to the player who makes the next-to-last mistake - Chessmaster Savielly Grigorievitch Tartakower (1887-1956)"

Friday, July 08, 2005

Just Another Day...


It was a bit unnerving to travel through King's Cross station just now on the way to work. But now I'm in work I can reflect a little on my journey home yesterday and the people I saw.

Last night I'd decided to meet up with Drew after work. He had come back into the city via Victoria - a short hop from Green Park where I am - so it made sense that we hook up to go home together. There were obviously no tubes running so it was the pavement for us - along with thousands of others trying to make their way home. Although in fact the buses seemed to be running a reasonable enough service as far as I could tell we still decided to walk. The sun was shining on our city after all.

As I say there were many people at street level but I wouldn't say it was rammed. As many as in a typical rush hour crowd perhaps with a smattering more tourists thrown into the mix. But the thing that was slightly more unusual than normal was that there was precious little traffic on the roads; just the odd taxi, the odd bus and the odd car. I guess most people in vehicles had left the city already or just not wanted to drive in at all.

On a normal day our walk home would have taken perhaps an hour or so. But this was not a normal day. Our city had been bombed. We felt like a drink. A beer or two to steady our nerves. Well, we tried for a beer or two. But our nerve steadying mission was thwarted almost immediately we got to Bar Code. Bar Code was closed. How about Comptons? Comptons was closed. The Admiral Duncan? Also closed. Ho hum. We'd just have to keep going I guess. Maybe a pub in Islington would be more accommodating.

It was an interesting walk home I can tell you.

By the time we'd got to Angel, almost completing our journey, we had come across simply dozens upon dozens of policemen. Granted we'd passed very close to Russell Square en route but even further out from the centre on every street there were uniformed policemen. Some just pounding the beat (always in pairs, mind you). Some in police cars with giant numbers painted on the roofs screeching up and down the roads sirens blaring as if they were playing some giant game of sudoko controlled from the police helicopters in the air. Some policemen were standing at road blocks whispering urgently into walkie-talkies. Some were in police vans looking bored just waiting for that call while others had crowds of map waving tourists around them wanting directions. There were policemen everywhere. The atmosphere was a little weird to put it mildly. Unworldly almost. Like a Police World where the hi-vis jacket was the norm. Where were all these policemen earlier? Where will they go later? They seemed to have appeared from thin air.

The faces of many of the people walking with us as we progressed through the bustling streets of London were hard to read at first. Some seemed to be just trudging home, tired and looking forward to an end of this day of disruption - not really caring much about what was going on but perhaps looking forward to a day off tomorrow. Others looked perhaps a little more concerned. Where were they going? Should they be avoiding the trouble spots? Should they be worried that there may be other bombs?

But the majority were just walking. Walking and talking. Mobiles stuck to ears chatting to friends and family on their mobiles. "Yes, I'm fine. Yes, Mum, I'm fine. No, I don't get that line anymore. I'm fine." This mass of people was gradually making it's way home perhaps only mildly put out that it actually had to use it's collective set of legs for once rather than let public transport take the strain. For all these people it seemed a mere minor inconvenience that four bombs had gone off less than a mile away. Terror wasn't something that happened to them or indeed affected them - it happens over there not here - life goes on in a city - I've got to get home, there's Eastenders to watch - you can't let these things get to you, that's what they would want - it's just part of living in a city. For these people, the majority walking home last night I'd say, terrorism just doesn't work. They were completely unphased by it. Tomorrow will be just another day.

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