The holiday gifts have come in handy as Not Cat and I stay behind locked doors this evening.
I got home from work about half past five and spent half an hour in the garden with Not Cat. Then I remembered something I wanted from M&S.
Leaving Not Cat alone in the garden, which is in itself a fairly new development and quite nervewracking, I headed for the main road.
Strange. Little knots of people I recognised as local shopkeepers stood on the pavement. The Afghani shop was closed and the shutters were down.
Very strange. It’s usually open until late.
I walked up to M&S. The doors were locked.
Puzzled, I checked my watch and the sign showing opening hours.
An assistant mouthed something to me through the door.
What? I mouthed back and moved closer.
Riots, he said. Expected here and in locations nearby.
I came home, scooped up Not Cat and came inside.
The surveyor is supposed to be coming to check the measurements for the shutters at seven thirty, so I called the area manager to suggest we postpone.
The surveyor is not answering his ‘phone.
I do hope the information is incorrect and we have a quiet night.
I heard sirens screaming last night at two, just after Big Ben had struck the hour,and wondered what was going on.
I remember the riots in the eighties; driving though Peckham after a cricket match on a sunny evening and realising that trouble was breaking out all around.
At that time, I worked in a boys’ comprehensive that the local police called Fagin’s Nursery.
It was in one of the more deprived parts of the capital. Not many leaves.
The boys were keen I should share in the bounty.
There’ll be riots around your manor tonight Miss, they said. You can get yourself a decent watch.
I didn’t, and my area remained calm, but it was remarkable to see the array of expensive horology on the boys’ arms over the next few weeks.
So. I’ve been wearing Not Cat out with his new presents, and wondering if I should have brought my bike indoors.
If it kicks off round here, I think the local shopkeepers are ready to defend their property. I have never seen so many metal shutters down or gates locked. It could be very nasty. Neighbours are standing on doorsteps looking worried.
Keep your fingers crossed that it’s a false alarm.
Not Cat is sleeping peacefully.
May it last.
It seems quite quiet now, but half an hour ago there were running feet outside my window and people with hoods up and scarves over their faces racing away from the main road. I could hear ominous noises that sounded like glass breaking and metal being hit reoeatedly. Leaning out of my window and restraining Not Cat, I could see an odd combination of people walking normally down the road, and more hooded and scarved youths on bikes and scooters. None of the neighbours are outside, and I’m not planning an exploration any time soon.