An odd time to be blogging
So, I woke up late this morning and checked bbc.com before showering. It seemed a power surge had caused five explosions in the London Underground.
My phone bleeped. A friend in Italy had texted, cryptically: "Hi Doug, what's going on? Are you OK?"
I thought this a little odd, but SMS syntax maybe doesn't translate so well. "Hi, I'm fine," I replied. "Just back from Barcelona with my sister. Where are you now? How was Budapest?"
The reply answered my immediate questions but added: "There have been bombs in the London tube. Turn on the TV."
My first reaction, the emotional immediacy of the event, chimed strongest with the experience of hearing about September 11. I was working for a law firm in Sydney at the time, was woken at 4 am by the news, and then went to work in a very tall building. That firm had a lot of secondees in New York.
So, I knew the drill. I wrote a pre-emptive e-mail home to assure people I was fine, and then started e-mailing friends in London.
I'll let Peter and Jasmine tell their own stories in their own time if they want to, but I was glad to hear from them. I knew it was only a one in a thousand chance that they'd be hurt, but was still relieved. Other Aussie lawyer friends in London all seems, some rather shaken and many were basically confined to their buildings for the day. How they got home this evening (or if they're still trying) I have no idea.
Anyway, all of my friends will make it home safe and unscathed. I know that many hundreds of people in London will not be able to say that. They will know one of the dead, or the hundreds of injured.
Obviously, this atrocity has killed many fewer than the Madrid train bombings, let alone the Trade Centre attacks. Nonetheless, even in a country used to terrorist incidents to some extent, the first question for everyone in Cambridge today has been: "Are your friends OK? Is there anyone in London you haven't been able to reach?"