Shocked (updated)Wherever you are, global news networks mean that you will be as well-informed about the bombs in London this morning as I am.
I am in my office in Central London about 10 minutes walk from the explosions at Russell Square and Tavistock Place. I'd already arrived here about 9.30 before we heard that anything was wrong. All morning there were sirens passing and helicopters overhead. Now it has gone quiet. We are still advised not to go outside, not to try and go home, there is no public transport.
It is no surprise. But I guess after so much time the thought was no longer in the front of our minds. Too soon to really take in what this has done to lots of ordinary people's lives. The mind shuts down, goes numb, in the face of the unthinkable.
6.30 pm I heard about 4 that buses were running, so I've come home. Walked south over Waterloo Bridge and down to Elephant and Castle, about 40 minutes walk, where there were plenty of buses. All was quiet on a sunny afternoon, with many people walking and pleasantly light traffic. You would not have known that anything was amiss. People were less aggressive than usual, perhaps. Less liable to elbow you off the pavement or run you down. Strange to have been so near and yet heard the news as though from a great distance. Time to be quiet and try to take it in. And watch the casualty figures mount. And feel broken hearted for all the dead and injured people and devastated families here in London today. And all the dead and injured and devastated in Baghdad on so many days. And so many in so many places all around the world. All of them the same, the same alive and even more the same in death.
¶ 11:21 am
Relieved to hear you're OK. I went in late and turned round and came back home when I heard the news. If I'd been at normal time I'd have been in the thick of it. Feels surreal here, but is all too real, I fear, only a handful of miles away. Unsettling how no-one really seems to know quite what's going on.
Have been glued to the telly all evening as the news unfolded. Was also wondering about you, and whether you were stuck somewhere on a bus. Hope you've had lots of cups of tea and taking in a bit of SUGAR, Jean. It's 11 p.m. here so I'm off to bed. Take care.
Thanks, all of you. It's very touching to think that you people so far away thought of London and thought of me. The sirens and helicopters overhead have stopped. No sign of anything untoward, even though I am about 10 minutes walk from two of the explosions. Making what's happened even harder to take in. I don't know how we are going to get home, but that doesn't seem a huge problem in the scheme of things. xx
Jean, I've been thinking about you. I left my office in the City at lunchtime, and walked through to Elephant & Castle, where there seemed to be an almost normal number of buses. If you can get to the Elephant or somewhere similar there are buses to your part of the world.
I'm still numb. There was a broken down train on the southern part of the Northern Line this morning, and a large number of commuters - including me - had to take a much longer overground route into London Bridge, much to our annoyance. I think, though we didn't know it at the time, we were actually kept out of harm's way ....
Jean, I'm so glad to hear you're safe. I grieve for your beautiful city and nation, and I'm disgusted beyond words by the barbarity and cowardice of such acts, wherever they take place. Know that you're in the thoughts of friends around the world.
Mary, I'm happy to hear you are home. And thank you! it's very useful to know that there are buses South of Elephant, as I hadn't heard from anyone who'd been in that direction and was wondering whether to go and stay the night with a friend closer to the centre.
"Time to be quiet and try to take it in. And watch the casualty figures mount. And feel broken hearted for all the dead and injured people and devastated families here in London today. And all the dead and injured and devastated in Baghdad on so many days. And so many in so many places all around the world. All of them the same, the same alive and even more the same in death."
Thanks again, everybody. The news keeps getting worse. Some of the rhetoric from politicians in response is not very nice, either. Whenever someone mentions 'defending the British way of life' I feel sick. What about the American and Spanish and Iraqi and Israeli and Palestinian and Indonesian and everybody else's way of life? What about just defending, valuing, life? I guess trying to forgive unfortunate turns of phrase is in order - I wouldn't like to be asked for an off-the-cuff statement in such circumstances.