Flowers at Edgware Station, two days after the bombing there
Ten years ago, I was getting ready to take my daughter to the train station so she could meet her friend at Baker Street Tube Station. They were going to do some exploring, since her friend had just moved to London. But the friend called before we left, said she was seeing lots of police activity from her flat window overlooking Baker Street station. So I turned on the BBC (Twitter didn't yet exist) and saw reports of explosions on several Tube lines. One was at Liverpool, another at Edgware--the tube station nearest my husband's office. But I didn't think anything of it; he had arrived safely at work and as far as I knew, wasn't planning to go anywhere.
I was wrong. He called later, from Guildford. He'd been walking to Edgware with some colleagues when they saw an empty cab, hailed it, and went to Waterloo, not knowing a bomb had just gone off in Edgware. They probably got the last train that ran that day, as soon after the bombings all transport came to a screeching halt.
Another bomb struck in Tavistock Square, on a bus. My friend lived near there, I remembered her saying. I tried to phone her, repeatedly through out the day, and finally heard from her later. She and some other students had taken in some shell-shocked passersby, whose faces had been blackened by the blast on the bus.
Later that afternoon I had to go pick up my husband in Guildford, since there was no other way for him to get home. I remember joining the queues on the M25, nudging along bumper to bumper, boot to bonnet, when I looked up. On one of the overpasses near Heathrow, a flock of sheep was crossing over the motorway, followed by a shepherd and his dog.
There were signs, normally warning of motorway queues, that instead announced dire warnings of travel to London. "Avoid Central London, or Prepare to Meet Your Maker" or something like that, I remember.
Even the sheep were leaving London, I said to my daughter.
I wish now I'd taken a photo, of the sheep, of the warning signs, of the cars all trying to get out of London. But no one had camera phones back then. All I had was a blog.
A couple days later we went to a play in London, where we laughed at the antics of The Producers, and of a man on the Tube at Edgware trying to teach his daughter to avoid saying "bombs". I wrote about it here.
Hard to believe it's been ten years, and even harder to believe I don't live there anymore.