07 July 2005

Sorry - nothing interesting or witty to say. I just wanted to post to let everyone know that I'm safe, despite the close proximty of two of the blasts to both my home and workplace. Two of the blasts were within a ten minute walk from my flat - one (Kings Cross) directly between my home and my workplace.

This story has been updated since I originally found it. It did mention the chaos on the streets of Kings Cross, something to which I can testify - about 11am I went to get some breakfast from the café around the corner. The streets were lined with people looking lost. Anything that people could lean on (post boxes, litter bins, cable boxes, etc) was covered with people leaning and looking at maps trying to work out how they could get to their destination. Little residential side streets which are usually quiet are full of people trying to walk somewhere. Anywhere. The quiet little café that never has more than 2 people in it was rammed. Strangers sharing tables and lending each other their maps. All frantically trying to use their phones and not succeeding (I can't believe that my panicked mother managed to get through to me). I heard someone sitting behind me say that they were unable to walk to their appointment at the Throat, Nose and Ear Hospital because Grays Inn Road was completely closed to everyone, including pedestrians.

To give you an idea of how mad it was outside about an hour ago - there was a bus which had just been left outside my office. It was parked at a diagonal angle in the bus lane, and the driver nowhere to be seen. The street was lined with vehicles that weren't moving. I'm not sure I'm going to be able to get home, because Euston Road is closed, and that is the only pedestrian route between my work and my house since I believe they've dug up the other road that ran from Somers Town to York Way as part of the CTRL works.

According to this article the bus that "ripped open like a can of sardines and bodies everywhere" was just down the road from my house. Given the location of the explosion, it must've been either a 59, 68, 168 or 91 - all buses I use regularly because of their close proximity to my home (especially if it was a 168, I use that all the time) - I'm just glad that my annual staff appraisal at Other Job wasn't an hour later, or I'd have very possibly been on that bus. That thought is actually making me shake with nerves. And if it was a 168 and the bomb had gone off 2 minutes earlier (if it was going southbound) or later (if it was going northbound) those bodies and body parts sent flying could've feasibly landed outside my living room window.

The sounds of sirens are pretty constant still in Central London. I can't believe hospitals are closed to everything that isn't life threatening. It's a bit like a diasaster movie. I've seen one person walking along with blood coming out of her chin - but that wasn't neccesarily caused by a blast, the pavements are heaving with people so she may have just been knocked over in the crush, or even randomly just tripped on a paving slab or something.

Listening to Tony Blair on the radio and not being able to see his face - he sounds genuinely upset. I feel quite lost stuck at work without access to a TV.

I still can't believe that I managed to get from The Barbican to work in Kings Cross between 9:15am and 9:40am without even having a hint that anything was wrong until I saw this post from Flamingkitties (this has a still-being-updated timeline of events which shows how amazing it was that I was travelling through Central London oblivious to events). The first time I noticed anything was different was when I was pushing from Angel to Kings Cross and there seemed to be an incredibly high volume of pedestrians walking along Pentonville Road.

Now the scene outside my office is completely different to how it was an hour ago. It's kind of like a ghost town, there's no vehicular traffic, and all the buses have gone (presumably recalled to their depots as there are now no buses services in zones 1 & 2). There's still a very high volume of pedestrians, though they seem less confused now. There's a smell of burning in the air which I hope is unrelated and that some poor misguided fool has just decided to have a barbeque in the rain.

I'm thankful for such wonderful people. I cried a little while ago when I heard from not one but two internet friends, whom I've never met in real life who both said that I was the first thing they thought of when they heard the news.

I'm currently following The Guardian's Newsblog with interest as things unfold.

Update at 2:35pm - 1420 London Transport confirms the bus hit by one of today's bombs was a number 30, travelling from Hackney to Marble Arch.

To be where it was - Tavistock Square, it must've been on diversion to avoid road closures from the underground blasts or something - the 30 doesn't go down that road ordinarily. Still one of the bus routes I use quite a lot.

Update at 8pm - Well, I made it home, and apparently made it onto TV whilst doing so. A friend spotted me in the background on five news, when I asked a police officer the best way to get from Kings Cross to Euston with Euston Road closed at the top of the road I work on, which was where the area of Kings X which was closed only to vehicles, met the bit where the road was completely closed to everyone and everything. While the radio is claiming that London is slowly reopening and there are now buses in Zone 1, blah, blah, the area of cordoned-off-ness around Kings X was gradually spreading. By the time I left work at 6pm the road was closed up to about 50 yards south of my office.

There are police *everywhere*. There are ambulances *everywhere*.

Cars trying to get out of London are literally double file on single carriageway roads trying to get northbound out of the city.

This is the current view out of my living room window:

cars queuing double file on a small residential street, trying to file onto a main road in the distance on the photo


My road is not a one-way street. It's just a usually very quiet residential road running through a council estate. In the distance in the photo though, you can see a T-junction - there my road meets with a main road. The solid traffic on my road is double file with people trying to rat-run to get out of London, and failing. Because that main road is double file with traffic trying to get out too.

The scene outside Euston station is incredible. There are police cars, ambulances and TV crews... and that's really all you can see. You'd never believe that they're actually running services out of there now.

The sound of sirens is still constant... you can see an ambulance on my street in that picture, stuck in traffic with everything else.

Update at 9:57pm - Though it's very morbid, I found this page interesting to put todays events, specifically the death toll of 38 into perspective.

8 comments:

  1. Glad to hear you're ok lisy

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  2. I'm relieved to hear you are safe.
    x

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  3. Anonymous3:10 pm

    Ditto.

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  4. Thanks, all of you.

    Anonymous - who are you? Any chance of a name signed at the bottom or something?

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  5. Lisy so glad to hear you are safe. Still reelling from this and glued to the news reports.

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  6. Glad to hear you're okay. I know the "what-ifs" are so unnerving: it's natural and inevitable to do it, but it'll eventually drive you crazy. I hope you're able to get some rest tonight.

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  7. Glad you're ok...good to know the bloggers I read from across the pond are doing well

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  8. Hi Lisa, glad to know you are ok from the terrible attacks, I wrote about it on my blog too, and only found out when my sister told me, Check my blog to read my account www.personaleyeview.blogspot.com

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