Monday 7 July 2014

July 7th - I was there

I've never ever blogged about it and don't even speak about it much, but I was there.

I used to get the 08:11 train, then the Victoria Line, and then the Bakerloo line, but on some days, I would stay on the train to Liverpool Street (if my bum was glued to a seat and my eyes to a paper) and then the Circle or Hammersmith & City Line to Paddington.

On this day I did the latter.

I waited at Liverpool Street at approximately 08:45, no longer than normal, but then an odd thing happened.

When we went through Kings Cross, we stopped there. The doors did not open, and we sat there for about 30 minutes with not much explanation from the driver. I think he didn't know anything, and what I read, much later, in newspapers, explained why (he had no radio coverage so was in the dark - literally).

After approx 30 minutes we were asked to leave the tube train, and go above ground. We wandered down deserted corridors, and it felt eerie to say the least, but we had no reason to fear the worst.

I am a punctuality freak, so when I got to the outside world, I saw a bus on the opposite side of the street and literally ran for it (it was already at the stop). I did not look left or right.

Ever since that day, I relive the moment, and cannot get inside the memory. I shout at myself, and say why didn't you look around? Did you see ambulances? Stretchers?

I cannot remember a thing apart from running for the bus and wondering how I was going to explain my lateness.

If I was reading this, I would shout at me, or at the screen and say you. must. have. seen. SOMETHING! For Christ's Sake! But I promise, I did not. Only that bus.

It was standing room only, and after a couple of minutes my phone rang. It was a colleague asking where I was. I didn't get defensive as I could tell he was concerned rather than accusatory. When I said I was on a bus, he sounded terrified. But then shook it off and went into reassuring mode.

I only later found out why me being on a bus alarmed him so much.

Later in the journey, I got a call from my husband and between that and what fellow passengers were saying I started to realise all was not right with the world.

We went through diversion after diversion and it took forever and a day to get to work.

When we did so, we literally drove passed my work - I asked the driver to let me off, (the standing room only meant I was near the front) and he refused, and stared straight ahead as if he was drugged.

I feared the worst and for the first time that morning felt scared. The fear that should have kicked in AT KINGS CROSS only hit me then.

A few of us tried to open the doors and he would not let us.

I waited till I eventually could get off, and then walked a much longer route to work.

I was on a detox at the time, and I remember they offered me tea, with sugar in, neither of which I was partaking in at the time. I said yes please and sat there drinking it in a fog of thoughts.

I later found out my line manager was not in yet, as she was 2 carriages away from the blast at Egware Road. 

When she did get in, her hair was standing on end, and full of ash or dust or something.

My colleague took her to hospital, to get checked over and saw horrific things whilst there.

She found out that my manager had to walk down the dark track in a tunnel to get onto the platform. She had to step over someone who had lost a leg.

She was traumatised.

Neither her or my Manager were at work the next day, which if memory serves me right was a Friday? As it happened on a Thursday right?

I remember my Manager was back at work on Monday, but it may have been Tuesday. I remember us saying she should have stayed at home longer.

I remember her saying that it was lucky her annual travel pass had expired as she was going to use her bicycle from now on. All these years later, no matter the weather, she still does, and the route is more direct and actually quicker, than whizzing along on London Underground. 

I remember my colleague who accompanied her to hospital, who despite not being THERE, saw things that I did not, was more traumatised than me, despite me going THROUGH Kings Cross, just after it happening.

She fought tooth and nail to get the Friday as paid absence but I think they made her take it as holiday.

I still cannot understand how I just ran for that bus. I don't even know Kings Cross, but I think some veil of protection must have just swooped down on me. It didn't make any sense then and makes even less now.

I feel cold today as I remember it all.

I have picked up a few newspapers and it is not front page in any of them.

Katie Hopkins (of all people) seemed to be the only person this morning on my timeline talking about it, so I did what I thought I never would: I retweeted her.

I remember at the time, I bought every newspaper every day for WEEKS and kept all of them. I wanted to find explanations. I wanted to consume every detail on it. 

I only threw them all away 4 months ago.

I was at work on the Friday, but if I remember rightly, I think we stayed at a friend's that Thursday night, near Regent Street.

Public transport was bonkers that Thursday night so I walked from Paddington (where I worked) to Regent Street, and when we went out to eat that night the streets were deserted but there was still people in restaurants and bars.

That actually has just sparked another memory. It was definitely a Thursday, as I taught yoga the next day (I taught every Friday night), and I remember they let us out of work early (as they assumed we'd have trouble getting home) and all it meant was I got to yoga early so I remember sitting in a cafe near Baker Street for about 90 minutes.

I went to my class with a heavy heart, expecting nobody would brave the West End to come to my class (it was central in Marylebone) and whereas I normally have 12 people I had about 18 that night.

We sat in a circle, at the end of the class and did a very special group meditation. The heart centre energy that we harnessed, channelled and transmitted was like nothing I've ever felt. It was like people needed to be there, to heal London in some way. I know meditation (especially when done in a group) does transmit energy to the surrounding area. We did good work that night.

London did bounce back, quickly and splendidly. Today however, I want to remember those who lost their lives, and spare a thought for the families who are still wondering as to why.

My memory of the whole thing is so vague, and I wanted to get this down, before I remember even less!!!

I wasn't on Facebook then, so I have nothing to look at.

I do know that I have never had so many relatives contact me in one day. Every relative I have in Ireland contacted me that day to see if I was okay. Everyone except my Mum. THAT hurt! 

Sorry for a deep blog post, but I am feeling a ripple from then, and wanted to pen it.

At 8:50 am, three bombs were detonated on board London Underground trains within fifty seconds of each other. At 08:45 I was at Liverpool Street, so when I arrived at Kings Cross it was all just after happening.

Liska xx


  1. Bless your cotton socks, it must bring back such strange feelings. Getting it down on 'paper' will help.

    1. Thank you. I really feel for the family of the victims. Was a very strange time, and my vague memories of it even stranger. Thank you for visiting and commenting x

  2. Oh wow. That is awful, but you were so lucky, although many were not. I can see why you haven't 'spoken' or blogged about it for so long, but I am glad you did - for you as much as anything. Also, though, I had not realised that today was that day and you have reminded me to remember xxx Love and hugs xxx

    1. Thank you for the love and hugs. Seems very surreal to look back on it.
      Wish I had journalled it at the time.
      Liska x

  3. I remember that day well. I was working for a publishing company in Jerusaelem and we were doing a project with HarperCollins in London. We were glued to the news online and sending urgent messages of love and support to out colleagues in London.

    Why was there a media white out in the UK media yesterday. Are they afraid to stir up more unrest or resentment? Or was there just other big news to run?

    Re your experience: I think sometimes we have the power (or God gives it to us) to protect ourselves in ways we don't even know we are doing it. Maybe something told you to focus on the bus and not look left or right. Or maybe you saw a glimpse and blocked it out? Who knows - just glad you missed it by 5 minutes. xxx

    1. Thanks so much for visiting and commenting. It was a very odd time. London bounced back immediately but there was a cloud that lingered for a few weeks. I am normally the sort of person who furtively looks left and right, often, so my tunnel vision for that bus was out of character, although the obsession with punctuality, as well as God was definitely responsible for it.
      Liska xx

  4. I'm outraged at the media whitewashing of the anniversary and am glad you've written this. You must have been amazingly protected and guided to have been oblivious to the carnage. These events are engraved on our minds for ever and it's important to honour those lost X


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