i remember the day of the bomb.
time tends to speed up or slow down at just the moments you don't want it to. the day at work had been a bit draggy, end of the week finishing off shit, the sort of things i couldn't just leave and come in at the weekend to do. all day it was bitty work. the gap between the tick and tock of the clock seemed to be minutes rather than seconds.
then, as ever, around 5 o'clock when all sensible people are leaving i get dragged into a phone call and dealing with a customer. yeah thanks. still no worries an hour before i have to worry about getting out of the warehouse so that i can get to the game on time.
just how long can this take?
now the gaps between the ticks and tocks are whizzing by and the clock is moving like the devil is on its tail.
a niggle, a worry that i am going to miss the game. can't miss the game it is an important one for the championship and it is our cross town rivals: leopards versus the london towers, and i have never missed a home game.
as the call continues more and more staff are leaving.
shit i am going to be left to close the warehouse up. piss on a stick.
finally get the call to end.
gone 6pm. don't have much time.
make sure everyone is out of the warehouse.
lock up downstairs.
check no one is left in the offices upstairs. chub the door. do my ablutions, get my bag ready. one more check that everything is locked and turned off.
set the alarm. slam the shutters and fit the locks.
now get to the game.
walk run to the station, can still make the start, i can still do it. no i can. just a bit of huff and puff and i will be there.
mmm looks a bit overcast, hope i get there before it rains.
bit of luck there is a dlr coming in. phew caught it.
going to make it, going to make it.
bloody thing has stopped. why?
oh come on just a few more stops and we are there. come on. move you bastard.
this train is out of service please change at the next station, west india quay. sod it i can run from here (well maybe shuffle) i can still get there for the first quarter.
spits of rain in the air not much but i can feel it.
still a bit grey overhead – but be getting dark soon.
running down westferry road aiming to go down marsh wall road – i am sure there is a quicker way but i don't know my way around here that well and i really have to get there. flash of light, big bang. fuck me it is going to storm and i am going to get caught in it. shit.
oi you where do you think you are going?
it's a copper shouting at me, why?
off to the basketball match.
don't you know area has been cordoned off?
didn't you hear it?
(the copper is looking at me as if i am a total retard who is having a very bad day)
the one that just went off.
can i get around if i go the other way. i've got tickets (as if that explains and justifies everything).
he dismissively waves at me – an expression of well it's your funeral on his face.
i run off down westferry road.
run. walk. jog. walk. run. jog. gotta get to the game.
go past one of the tower blocks. glass from windows carpets the forecourts
get the arena. i am on time as the game as been delayed. of course it has.
then it struck me i have run towards an ira bomb.
i have continued running into a potential site for a second bomb.
i am in a packed arena in an area where there might be another bomb.
as i watch the game – a little less involved in the lacklustre action then normal – all i can think is i ran towards a bomb, i ran towards a bomb, i ran towards a bomb. a fucking big bomb. a big fucking bomb.
can't remember who won. didn't really care.
we had to walk back from the arena. a bit more caution, a bit more fear. area swamped with police and army doing checks and clear up. loads of ambulance and fire brigade on hand just in case. huge numbers of press – big outside broadcast vans, small outside broadcast vans, reporters with backpacks and microphones. all looking for the big story or anything they could fill the airwaves with .
as we walked you could see more of the damage done by the shock wave: broken windows, buckled doors, damaged cars. eerily quiet.
was glad to get home.
it wasn't to be my last run in with a bomb – i would be near by the 7/7 attack at floodgate. i would be close by the brick lane and wardour street bombings as well. for a bit there i was getting paranoid, but just my natural bad luck.
fingers crossed it will be a while before i get caught up in something like that again – much prefer dull to that sort of excitement.