London: Business as Usual

I feel truly heart-broken by events that have happened throughout the country in recent times; however, business as usual has quickly resumed. It is just the ‘usual’ that has changed.

Monday 5th June: ‘business as usual’

Over the past few weeks (and days), my life has been hectic but no where near as chaotic as those caught up in various attacks from London to Manchester. I do not have the words to describe my opinion, and feeling, towards these atrocities. Other than, how close to home they have felt at times.

Yesterday, my visiting Nan and I had a planned visit to The Shard viewing deck at 1:30pm. We spent the morning umm-ing and ahh-ing over whether or not to brave the trek across London; as for those who are not familiar with the area, The Shard is built more-or-less on top of London Bridge and Borough Market. The roads that surround the area remain cordoned off with police tape following the horrific attacks that took place in the evening of Saturday 3rd June.

Resuming…

After much discussion, it was decided that we absolutely should make the journey to our scheduled destination. This is because life must go on and resume as usual.

The bus route was interrupted by the taped off zone and so we departed ahead of our ‘usual’ spot. It was then a short, but diverted, walk through a housing estate, the hospital grounds of St Guys and, an otherwise lonely, back-alley.

We allowed extra time for the diversions and chaos, which allowed for a potential coffee in cafe prior to our visit to the 72nd floor of The Shard. There was one problem, as despite the ‘business as usual’ appearance Londoners put on, it was exactly the opposite in practice; as all nearby shops, cafes and pubs remained closed, empty and far from their expected bustling atmosphere on a Monday afternoon. Instead, London Bridge remained silent aside from the press and their cameras. The armed police were poised at the end of each cordoned off road, street corner and crowded public space. Many individuals laid flowers scattered around the site of attack with the following message attached, “London Loves You”.

It was eerie, serial and touching all at once.

From The Shard viewing deck, we were able to see the forensic investigation still taking place below. People in white suits on their hands-and-knees searching for evidence, in a place where hours previous innocent victims, caught in the wrong place at the wrong time, had lost their lives. The scene outside the pubs, still one of crime and disorder. However, from 306 meters up and so distanced from reality, it felt like a movie set.

As London moves on, and deals with the next catastrophe, the lives of those lost should never be forgotten. It is important that we pick ourselves up and get on with all the things that need to be done. However, we cannot live mystified or disconnected from atrocities.

If I could make you do one thing, that would be choose love, always. Love will always conquer hate, and London’s ‘business as usual’ attitude proves that.

 

** I wrote this prior to the Grenfell Tower Fire. Of course, my thoughts, love and hope goes out to all those involved. What has happened is incomprehensible and once more, I am lost for words.