in London

Yesterday in London

It started as a great journey to work. I still couldn’t quite believe that we’d won the 2012 Olympics and London felt like such a great place to be. I’d decided on my way in to get off at Liverpool Street instead of my usual Moorgate as I wanted to buy a magazine. I remember checking my watch as I got off the train to see how much time I had to browse in WH Smiths – it said 08:41, which really meant 08:37 as I keep it four minutes fast. It seemed as though it was going to be a good day at work; I knew that I had a lot to do, and went straight at it.

I first heard something in the news about a power surge at Liverpool Street from one of the RSS feeds that I receive at work, a little after nine o’clock. I was interested in the story as I had just disembarked from a Metropolitan Line train and hadn’t noticed anything unusual – it turns out that I had got off the train 12 minutes before the bomb went off.

The reported power surge sounded strange to me, especially as we started to hear about other power surges across the network. When the electricity company said that there was no such surge and we also heard about the bus, it was obvious that this was turning out to be a terrorist attack.

I first had a call from my mum to check if I was okay – at this point everything seemed to be alright. I also managed to speak to my wife who told me that there had been a loud bang outside her office – it turned out that this was the bus exploding just a few hundred yards away; it had driven right past her office block at Euston just moments before.

I cannot imagine what the 750+ people must have been through yesterday. I, for one, was safely tucked away in my office block near Liverpool Street, watching the news as it came in. Suffice to say, I didn’t get much work done. The Transport for London staff and emergency services did an amazing job and the public were fantastic at keeping calm.

It does seem senseless to me that this kind of thing happens and it’s almost impossible to understand. But, as Madrid showed, sometimes these acts of violence do influence government policy. I am completely against both terrorism and war, and feel sad that this is yet another manifestation and escalation of the terrible atrocities that have happened since September 2001, including the Madrid bombings and the Afghanistan and Iraq wars. I am still not convinced that Al-Qaeda really exist, but I do know that there are a lot of different people out there with different agendas, opinions and strongly-held beliefs – sometimes these basket-cases take it upon themselves to commit horrific crimes as they did yesterday.

Living in London, I think you get used to the fact that there is going to be a terrorist attack sooner or later. My parents used to worry about me when I ventured into London many years ago when the IRA were active, and since I’ve lived here there have been a number of bombs. Sad as the fact may be, I think that you just expect that this kind of thing will happen in London and it’s a chance you take every day when you go to work. But you can’t let it ruin your life and stop you going about your business – the alternative is to give in and stay at home, which most people – including myself – are just not about to do.

My thoughts are with those of you who lost your loved ones; I hope for you that the terrorists are found and jailed for the rest of their lives.

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