Have been lax for a couple of weeks, mainly because not a lot has been happening, but felt I had to write something today after the events of yesterday.
What have we been up to? Well, we booked Alice's birthday party, for which
invites have now been distributed. Also, we celebrated Jacqueline's birthday
with a low-key meal at a Brewers' Fayre restaurant. (Great for Alice, though.)
Last weekend we headed over to Stockbridge for a Sunday-afternoon drive, and had
just about the worst afternoon tea we'd ever had. Small, extremely dry scones, a
very minute (and carefully-rationed) amount of clotted cream, all complete with
a Fawlty-esque character who was presumably the proprietor. I have forgotten the
name of the placer but it is somewhat immaterial - we shan't be visiting again.
It seems typical of these tourist-trap villages where proprietors know that they
can peddle any old rubbish and still make money. In fact, I suppose we are quite
lucky since another village we know - Burley in the New Forest - actually has a
rather nice tea room, despite attracting tourists by the coachload.
For Jacqueline's birthday, Alice bought her some stuff on eBay - heaven knows
what but something "crafty", and I have yet to buy her a Light Box. I'll buy it
after payday, but its not as if she needs it right now in any case! We also got
her some nice smellies from Fortnum's, and a small box of chocolates from
Charbonnel et Walker.
Still on the subject of Jacqueline, she's got a new job. Somewhat out of the
blue, since she wasn't even looking. The new practise contacted her, and she
moved forward with it on the basis that it might offer some extra hours on top
of her existing job. But it was sufficiently more hours, and the role obviously
had sufficient positives, that she has now decided to take the job instead of
her current job. Far better hours, since for the most part she is working
mornings which means that the "picking Alice up from school" chestnut for the
most part is resolved.
DVD backups are still in full swing, in fact almost complete. Another week
will see it through I think. I've also bought some DVDs lately too - mainly some
French language stuff but also the Indiana Jones and Back to the Future
trilogies. A bit disappointed since a lot of Alice's DVDs appear now to be
unplayable. I have just replaced Mary Poppins and it would appear that Sleeping
Beauty and Robin Hood have gone the same way. Of course, this is really the
first time ever that I've effectively collated the DVDs - and of course the
whole process of getting them onto the computer will mean that she does not
touch the actual disks again.
Had to visit the DVLA earlier in the week, my car tax had run out and I
hunted high and low, without success, for the registration document. Ended up
having to request a new one, of course in exchange for a disproportionate
So, yesterday started off fairly normally. I happened to take the later train
in and was just going down into the Jubilee line at a quarter past nine. There
was a train waiting in the station, but not going anywhere because of a "power
surge" at some stations. They let slip that the whole Tube network was affected,
and of course when you stop and think about it, this immediately raises
suspicions. Still, no trains going anywhere so in common with everyone else got
overground once again. Since I was in the midst of thousands of others at
Waterloo, there was no point waiting for a bus or trying for a taxi, so just
Fortunately, the first thing I did when I got to the client's office was to
phone Jacqueline to tell her what an awful journey I'd had. Whilst we didn't
know at that stage what had happened, she did at least know that I was safe and
whining like a good 'un. Then, of course, web sites started breaking the news.
Explosion at Liverpool Street, Bus blown up etc. All very piecemeal and, at this
early stage, unconfirmed. Different web sites saying different things. For the
rest of the morning it was clear that something had happened, but not yet what.
One of the guys who works for the client had been in contact with his wife,
who works in Fenchurch St, and who said that they had all been evacuated
into the centre of their (bomb-proof) building. Another report of a suicide
bomber being shot at Canary Wharf.
As time progressed events became clearer, although not the travel situation.
We heard that the whole of the travel network was suspended, yet at the
same time South West Trains were reporting that Waterloo was open and that
services were running. So, getting home may still be an issue... As the
afternoon progressed, there were continued mixed messages, and I pretty much
decided that the only way to find out what was happening would be to walk across
to Waterloo and see for myself. As it happened, I left the office early, at four
o'clock. There were lots of people on the streets, but Waterloo was indeed
behaving as normal. My train left on time and I duly arrived in Salisbury -
somewhat earlier than I had intended, to boot.
I would have to say that I felt a huge feeling of relief once I stepped off
the train at Salisbury - a definite feeling that my destiny was back in my own
When I got home, Jacqueline was surprisingly stressed about all of this, far
moreso than myself. I suppose there was the worry there that something might yet
happen - we had spoken several times during the day but the fact that the mobile
networks were out meant that we couldn't necessarily speak "at will". Plus,
Jacqueline has said several times about how she fears my working in London for
exactly this reason.
Phone calls from several people, including Isabelle, to make sure I was
Nice early-ish night last night and back into town this morning. Train quite
empty. Wore some trainers - if there's one thing these bombs have reinforced it
is how dangerous it is to travel by public transport, especially to somewhere
that is walkable anyway. So, an enforced fitness drive!
Plans for the weekend - possibly a visit to Mottisfont
Abbey, weather permitting (weather pretty lousy today, not at all July
weather). Plus I think Jacqueline has booked a shift in A&E on