I tried to get into work early to get some stuff done before I headed off to the company prize giving at 1pm. Predictably Tooting Bec tube stop was closed because of some technical fault and I ended up walking to Balham taking an overland to Victoria and then bussing the rest of the way. I was enjoying my morning latte when I heard the news that there had been a derailment or an electrical surge that had damaged one of the tubes. London had won the 2012 Olympic bid the day before and transport was one of the key weaknesses of the London case. Having been delayed 45 minutes getting into work because of a technical fault I kind of felt that maybe the sticking plasters and number 8 wire that held the whole Underground together had held out just long enough to fool the Olympic committee. These thoughts quickly turned to disbelief as it became clear that what was going on was something much more abhorrent. At this stage all transport in central London was halted and most city workers were confined to their buildings as a precaution.
We were discussing how we would cross central London to the prize giving at Kensington High Street when we were evacuated as a suspect package was found at the police station across the road from our building. With the exception of the people from our building and the police the streets were eerily empty as we headed for the local park. After about 5 minutes or standing around feeling uncomfortably exposed in the open park with only our colleagues to act as a human shield in the event of an explosion we headed for the local pub.
During all this I had been trying to contact my parents. Initially I tried to send a text but the lines were so jammed with worried people texting each other that it was nearly impossible. After 30 minutes of trying I finally got one off and then rang the Olds on a payphone because they both got a C- in mobile phone use 101.
At this stage we began the long walk across central to the venue where the prize giving was to be held. They may have cancelled the prize giving but the exclusive rooftop garden, bbq and beer were all paid up and ready to go. This was probably a bit foolish as large parts of central London were still cordoned off as the police carried out a number of controlled explosions on packed lunches and gym bags. We even heard one of these go off near Kensington Palace. Thankfully none of these were actual bombs and the rest of the day passed without additional carnage.
In the end we did the only thing that sane people would do in this sort of situation – we got hellishly drunk.
The following map shows where the bombs went off in relation to my work.