July 7, 2005 was like any other normal day. A few days a week I took public transportation – either overground train, or tube – to my university office in north London where I then worked. Other days I drove. I liked to vary the commute.
That day, I’d pre-booked the car in with a dealer for a routine service, so drove to work a bit early. Being near the college, they would send someone over to my office, collect it, work on it, and return it by the end of the workday. Ho hum.
As usual, by 8:30 they’d picked up the car and taken it away. I think it was on my desktop sometime around 9:30 when I first saw the BBC web site update: there were rumors of electrical fires/ explosions in a couple of tube stations.
Very odd stuff, to say the least. I remember colleagues shaking their heads.
And I remember one – the first one to suggest it – saying these sounded like bombings.
Outside Russell Square, a station I traveled through often, a tube train had been blown up. Two other trains as well. And, later, a bus.
All public transport had been halted. By midday, no one was doing much of anything productive in the office. It being July, classes were not in full swing. I remember lots of people being on holiday. There were some students around, however, and I recall an emergency staff meeting with the Dean – but no one really knew what was happening or even what to suggest other than await developments.
At some point, my phone rang and it was the car dealer. By then, I’d totally forgotten about my car. Today, of all days, they didn’t have a part. They would need to keep the car overnight.
Day’s end, having borrowed her mother’s car, my wife made her way to the university to pick me up. I’ve got a fairly good memory, but I don’t even remember the drive home. Much of the day is a blur.
52 people were murdered that day on those three tube trains and on the bus, all blown up by terrorist suicide bombers.