July 13, 2005
Osama: My Part in His Downfall

So, Last Thursday. What a day.

I started out leaving home at about half past seven, as usual. There was a report of major problems with The Northern Line on the news. These reports are usually so out of date that it's worth having a go anyway, but in this case when I arrived at Colliers Wood, there was indeed absolutely no service South of Kennington. The bus stops looked like like the first day of the sales, so I walked to Wimbledon.

Had the Northern Line been running normally, I'd have been at work, safe in my office before anything happened.

From Wimbledon, I got an overground train to Waterloo. It was heaving, as expected, but quick. At Waterloo, I just missed one train as I got down to the Waterloo and City line platform, which would have taken me to Bank. The next one came in, but didn't open its doors. Then there was an announcement that "due to a power surge", the Waterloo and City line was suspended.

I had absolutely no inkling at this point that this was anything more than tube problems, albeit rather spectacular ones.

I walked across Hungerford Bridge - always a beautiful view - to Embankment, and got on a District line train to go round to Aldgate. The Train sat there for a good while, then started off. It got two stops, to Blackfriars, then came an announcement that the District Line was suspended. Again, this was put down to a power surge, but we were asked to leave the station, so someone knew that something was wrong.

Again, I still thought that it was just a particularly bad day for TfL at this point, so I started walking. It was around ten when I approached Aldgate. It was now that is started to occur to be that something serious was wrong. Aldgate was wall to wall fire engines, police cars, and ambulances.

Just then, I bumped into Trevor from work. He told me that there had been an explosion on the tube, that our office was behind the cordon and inaccessible, and the the police were advising everyone to just go home.

It took about twenty or thirty goes to get through, but I rang my parents to tell them that I was OK. They hadn't yet turned on the news, so they didn't know what was happening. I asked them to ring around and reassure everyone, since I didn't thank that I'd be able to get through. Then I, eventually, got through to work. It seemed that everyone was accounted for, except for Tulna, who was on a course, so I texted her. Then I walked to London Bridge to get a bus. The 133 would take me most of the way home.

As I was waiting at the bus stop, Dad called, and told me about the bus explosion. So I decided not to get the bus after all, and started walking.

In the underpass at Elephant and Castle, I bumped into Helen, a friend of my brother's, and Miranda, a friend of hers. They had walked from Tooting all the way up to Borough before realising what was going on, and were on their way back. They were a bit lost, so I confidently led us all out of the underpass and in completely the wrong direction.

A kind stranger put us right, and we were soon headed in the right direction, but we were all tired ant thirsty, so we stopped for a rest. Being British, we stopped at a pub, and I had the earliest pint that I've had in years. They had a telly on, and I began to realise just how bad the situation was.

There were reports of an incident at Stockwell, which was on our way, so we stayed put for a while.

We pushed on, but Helen needed to rest her blistered feet, so we stopped again at The Circle. We were there for an hour or so, avoiding the rain.

Busses were running this far out of London, but we decided not to risk them, and kept walking. We did feel a bit wimpy after about how short our last leg was, so we kept going a bit longer this time, but Helen was in too much pain to go on forever, so we stopped again at The Duke of Devonshire.

So, when my grandchildren say to me "Granddad, what did you do on the seventh of the seventh", I'll have to tell them that I went on a sort of bizarre pub crawl.

We waited at the Duke of Dev for a while for Miranda's boyfriend Martyn, and ate some bad food. We chatted for a while, then pushed on home.

I was seriously knackered when I got home. Still no answer from Tulna - at which point I realised that I'd texted her old number. Sigh. I rang her new number, and got straight through - she was fine. Worried for nothing.

I'm glad to see that at the end of the day the bombers have achieved nothing. They've killed a few people, yes, and inconvenienced many, but if they were hoping to intimidate us or change our attitudes, they failed - See London Will Fucking Twat You In A Minute, Son and Quotes of the Day. And let's face it, the death toll, though tragic, was less than a week's worth of UK road deaths.

I wonder if they realise that they've achieved nothing? Do they see it as a defeat, or a victory?

Posted to Apropos of nothing by Simon Brunning at July 13, 2005 04:17 PM
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