I'm on annual leave this week. Hurrah! But a funny week to have time to spare in London. I don't really feel like going out and doing much ... and getting there on the bus or tube is a bit scary.
However, yesterday I broke my duck. I boarded a tube for the first time since the bombings. I felt really uncomfortable. I went down to Oxford Circus via Baker Street. These are two of the biggest tube stations in London but they weren't quite as full as usual.
On the tube train itself you could "cut the atmosphere with a knife" as they say. It felt very uncomfortable. I noticed things I don't normally notice.
* I noticed how small the tube carriages are really.
* I noticed the extremely long pauses between stations (somehow two or three times longer because I was willing my journey to end)
* I noticed the hums, creaks, buzzes and coughs, all of them.
As I understand it, everyone was looking each other up and down. It all seems a bit silly to look out for unattended baggage now we know that those involved in the bombing were suicide bombers.
Baker Street was particularly eery last night at rush hour - utterly silent, though there were lots and lots of people on the platform. The tube train was at least 5 minutes late but, even though the platform kept filling up minute by minute, no one talked, no one made noises.
I saw a newspaper headline on Google the other day calling London's bomb attacks the "7/7 attacks". Good in that it works properly both sides of the Atlantic this time ... but I didn't like naming these attacks after a date like 9/11 or 11/9. No one tried to call the Madrid bombings 11/3 or 3/11 did they? Something unpleasantly derivative about it. I feel odd writing that. I can't put it into words why I wouldn't want it to be called 7/7.
... and late last night I went out for a Mexican. Not all that nice food really. My week off has gotten me itno bad food ways - "it's my holiday god dammit" - and I'm feeling really unhealthy; the hot weather isn't helping.