Saturday and Sunday
Being up north and a busy bee missing my train home I didn't really hear about the weekend riots until I read the Metro (free paper) on the way to work on Monday. Naively I thought that they were over.
Monday was spent in blissful ignorance until my boss got a call some time between 4 and 5pm to tell her that her part of town was seeing trouble.
At this point I was shocked. I hadn't expected any more trouble. And then I went online for info. My manager and I stayed at work til nearly 7pm keeping tabs on the incoming information. We'd been mentally plotting the news on maps in our heads watching the action edge closer and closer to her house in Hackney.
Colleagues anxiously discussed where they were going and the likelihood of running into trouble. I proudly announced that living in Ealing Broadway, we simply wouldn't get any trouble in West London. I made plans for my manager to stay at ours for the night if she wasn't able to get to her boyfriend's in Brixton.
I made it home without any inclination of any troubles and I laughedwhen my mum called to discuss whether it would be necessary to cancel her trip down on Wednesday. West London, I assured her, would not riot.
A friend posted on Facebook that the shops and pubs were being closed early by police in Ealing Broadway and I had a few exchanges laughing that Ealing would only riot if the organic supermarkets ran out of vegan felafel. I started to follow #LondonRiots on twitter and started to see #Ealing more and more. At this point I started to panic.
Monday 11 pm
Long before the news of Ealing's riots hit the news channels it was on twitter and substantiated by the friend who lived on the main shopping street. At this point I started panic retweeting everything that looked vaguely credible. News was coming in that the yoofs were heading nearer and nearer our home. It was so scary to hear that our tescos had been hit. Our Starbucks. Oh god.
At half 11 we realised that we needed to take Gwilym for another walk and we did it together before dashing home. I didn't see anyone at all on our walk but I was petrified. As news came of a home invasion I wanted to bolt the front door shut from the inside but the Boy wouldn't let me in case any of the other flat residents were due to return.
Monday evening / Tuesday morning
I stayed up til half 1 watching the news and twitter, reassuring friends on Facebook and generally panicking. At this point it became apparent that I wouldn't be going to climbing training at 7:30 the next morning!
We'd already arranged for Gwil to stay at Auntie's for the day and it was a relief to know that if anything did kick off during the day Gwil wouldn't be home alone. An arson attack is never particularly welcome but it's a heightened fear when your dog would be barbecued in the process :-(
The route to the tube station took me past most of the damage and I took pictures to document what had happened.
At work, the morning was filled with everyone affected sharing the tales of their part of the city and how it fared last night.
As news started spreading around the Internet we picked up that riots were planned for 2pm and nervous chatter filled the office. Unsubstatiated reports batted around and HR said that if we needed to we could leave early to ensure safe journeys. We cancelled our plans to have dinner at friends and planned to leave work as soon as possible. At this point, I was so tired of worrying I just wanted to cry. When would it stop?
Tonight has been spent with TV on the news channels and scouring twitter for viable news. Seeing the riots spread across the country is devastating. My life feels like it has come to a standstill and I am in a constant state of tension. I haven't had time to follow up on Tattoo Jam and the fun I had this weekend feels like a lifetime ago.
I am a bit of an alarmist but I know that I am by no means the only person to feel this way and these kids are making us feel like we're under constant attack. Just go home nasty children.
Stay safe everyone xxx