When I stepped out of the front door yesterday, I couldn’t
have foreseen how the day would unfold.
Up until 1.20pm yesterday afternoon, it was a typical
business day. I was just about to pop out to get myself a sandwich, when I was
confronted with a sight we haven’t seen before in our office – a policeman. He
told us to drop everything immediately and leave the building as there was an
unexploded bomb at Shepherd’s Bush tube station (Hammersmith & City
line). Our office is separated by a wall from the rear of the tube station.
We walked to the end of the Mews and on to Uxbridge Road
opposite Shepherd’s Bush market. Then we saw that they’d completely cleared the
road up to the Green – and we were told to move away in no uncertain terms.
We decamped to Albertine’s wine bar on Wood Lane. Of course,
as we were ushered out of the building so quickly, we had all left our wallets
and purses in the office. So we had no money. The very understanding bar staff
at Albertine’s were happy to give us some beer “on account”. We then had the
bizarre sight of sitting barely yards from our own office and watching the end
of the Mews on TV. As the minutes passed by, Albertine’s proved to be an
excellent media watching vantage point – film crews from NBC and ITN were there
very quickly. (But where was the BBC? Ironic given that Television Centre is a
couple hundred yards up the road. Some wag suggested that the Beeb crew were
stuck in Bush Bar and Grill having lunch……)
Shortly after 2pm, a policeman came into the wine bar and
ordered everybody out. I felt very sorry for the Albertine bar staff (*) as all
the people who had been sitting there eating and drinking simply legged it
without paying their bills. I do hope people go back and settle up at some
My business partner’s house is in Bulwer Street, just off
Wood Lane and Shepherd’s Bush Green. We decamped to his front room. The police
cordon was extended further to right outside his front door. Again, very weird
sitting watching the whole thing unfold on TV. By 5.30pm, we ventured out round
the Green, and down Goldhawk Road to the Bushranger Pub. On the way we observed
the media scrum as around 30 odd journalists and cameramen trying to get
interviews with police spokesmen. Got a good vantage point on roof terrace of
the pub and a pint in our hands. By 7pm, it was clear that we wouldn’t be
allowed back into the office that evening.
So we used the last remaining money to get tube and bus back
home to Richmond.
An extraordinary day. And looks like it will be Monday
before we are back in the office and back to normal.
(*) The two guys behind the bar were on BBC this morning
being interviewed – as they live locally too, looks like they weren’t allowed
back to their houses last night either – just to add to their woes.