I’d been living in London just a few months and was in the first few weeks of my new job when 7/7 happened.
I took the tube to Victoria from Ealing Common and remember changing train in South Kensignton after a ‘signal failure’. As we waited on the platform it got increasingly busier with little room to move, to the point where I left for fear of being pushed on to the tracks by impatient commuters trying to scramble on to the next train.
At the bus stop opposite the station the crowds were growing too. Surely it wasn’t this busy yesterday I thought to myself while I tried to make sense of the ‘Signal failures’ and panicking about being late to the office.
Buses came and went, full to the brim. After waiting for what felt like an age I took it upon myself to walk to Victoria, in heels and heat I might add.
It wasn’t until I got right outside the office that I realised what had happened. I got two text messages. One from my mum and one from my dad. Both checking I was okay. At that point I was thinking oh crap, my boss has called my parents because I’m late to work. In actual fact they’d both seen the news there had been a bomb on the underground!
No one likes to be the scare fairy but that day it was my job to tell my two colleagues in the office what had happened. In minutes the internet went down, email wasn’t working, and phone lines were playing up. The lines of communication were being freed up for the emergency services and I’d imagine to prevent unwanted communication by the terrorists.
I remember talking to my boss on the phone who told me to carry on as normal and that I should work until the end of the day. Not something that’s easy to do when your office is next door to Buckingham palace! A prime target for terror!
By 4pm my colleagues and I decided to leave anyway. I walked from Victoria to Clapham Junction, still in heels and the heat, to my friend Suzie’s place. She feed me coco pops and a banana. It’s funny the things you remember on days like these.
When I heard the buses were back in action by 7pm I took myself home but it was quitea journey. I went towards East Dulwich at first then came back, then via Clapham Junction and Shepherd’s Bush and at that point I broke down. So tired, realising what had happened and just wanting to be home and safe. I called my friend Lydia who calmed me down and got me on the right bus home.
It was 10pm by that point and all the girls in my flat were home but Carina was worried sick about her boyfriend who hadn’t been in touch all day. Minutes later he turned up without a care in the world telling us he’d witnessed the scene where the bus had been blown up. Luckily he was fine but he did get an ear bashing about not thinking to tell people he was safe.
It was the commute to work on July 8th that was probably the scariest time for me though. The adrenalin the day before along with some coco pops at Suzie’s had kept me going. The first tube ride into town the day after was so quiet and I remember looking at everyone as they got on at every stop to see who they were or might be. Every coke can left on the floor, newspaper on the seat was a suspicious item. I could see I wasn’t the only one feeling this way but we had to be defiant and stand up for ourselves by being British and just getting in with it. And we did.
It’s a day I will never forget and my heartfelt condolences go out to anyone who lost loved ones in the horrific attacks.
The only pain I suffered was in the form of blisters from my shoes. And for that I’ll be eternally grateful….