Riots Tonight?

The holiday gifts have come in handy as Not Cat and I stay behind locked doors this evening.

Pause in the Game

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.

After Play

Update 8.20
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.

10 thoughts on “Riots Tonight?

  1. I could hear the helicopters over Hackney earlier, and intermittently now.

    Must get my new point ‘n’ shoot insured – it’s a Leica but I’d prefer it were a Smith and Wesson!

  2. I do hope your area continues to be calm, Isobel. What’s going on is totally unbelieveable. I was just watching the building in Rye Lane catch on fire and turn into an inferno and spread to neighbouring buildings. Not a fire engine in sight until about 20 minutes later when it was too late. Is everyone too health and safety conscious these days? There could be elderly people in accommodation above those shops, yet there wasn’t a soul who appeared concerned. Dreadful.

    The sooner the police get those louts behind bars the better. Go and get your bike in, Isobel!

    • I’m too much of a wimp Jan, though Not Cat is desperate to go out and play! There are people going up and down the street like a speeded up tide. All the same faces, or scarves. No one seems interested in our garden, so I think the bike is probably safe there.

      When you think of all the outrageous things happening in the world, and reasons why people might riot, it’s lowering that here it seems just an opportunity to get consumer goods from shops.

      I can hear sirens now.
      It’s not exactly restful…

  3. I hope it remains uneventful where you are. It must be stressful not knowing whether anything could erupt. Its extremely saddening to see the events unfold.

    I remember being in London for a team event the day of the G8 riots and walking down the street where all of the ambulances were lined up waiting for patients, whilst being deafened by the helicopters. It generated a very strange feeling in my stomach and I was very glad when I arrived at my destination.

    • It seems quiet now. I just looked out of the window and there are two policemen at the end of the street. They are just standing there, arms folded, in ordinary uniform. I guess it’s because people are using the side streets to run off and head into the estates beyond.
      Still, I wouldn’t like to be in their boots!

  4. It is absolutely quiet here, though I have not been down to the main road to see what the damage is.

    It seems that Lewisham, Croydon and Peckham have been the hot spots tonight.

    It may help that we don’t really have any big shops here, it’s mainly independent, and I guess there’s a limit to what you would to loot from Poundbusters…

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