Sunday, December 11, 2005

Kings Cross United drinks, explosion in the morning

(Pic from BBC)
Last night was the Christmas drinks for Kings Cross United and a very jolly evening. It's amazing when you think what a mixed bunch we are. We would never have met if we hadn't been on the train, but we all get on so well, there are so many lovely people. You might think that we have only the explosion on the train to talk about, and that conversation would be flagging by now, but 5 months on and everyone was on sofas and chairs laughing and talking nonstop. For 5 hours. We whizzed through £100 behind the bar in about an hour which further aided the bonhomie. By the end of the evening even the people who had arrived looking sad or stressed looked cheerful. Including me, hooray.

When the pub closed J, me and *Jane and Eamon ( *2 people from my train) went on to one of my best mate's house for her birthday party and danced in a silly way 'til about 3am to funk and disco. We ended up doing what we always do at Susie's parties, swinging on the girders in the ceiling of her loft apartment and hanging upsidedown like sloths. Like kids on a climbing frame. So what if we are in our thirties and forties?

It was great to let off steam and have a laugh after the last few weeks, when I've been feeling tired and weepy.

I'm still tired, but that is because I had 4 hours sleep and danced for hours whilst guzzling vodka tonics.

This morning, I went out to buy the papers, and saw a huge black cloud in the North London sky. It was a sunny, freezing day with a strange light, half the sky looked like a thunderous bruise, the other half a pale, sparkling blue. 'I think it might be going to snow', I said to J, 'it's bitterly cold, and there's enormous black clouds. It's definitely cold enough for snow.'

There wasn't the clean smell you get before snow though. It smelt like something dirty. I didn't analyse it too much, it was too damn cold and I hurried back home.

Back inside the flat, I logged on, made a cup of tea, to find one of the KCU members had emailed about being woken at 6am by a tremendous bang that had shaken the house and rattled the windows. It turned out to be an enormous explosion and fire at an oil dept in North London. She was understandably shaken herself.

Hundreds have been evacuated. People living nearby found their doors buckling and windows cracking. People were even blown out of their beds by the force of the explosion.You can read the stories here, on the BBC news website, including the escape-by-a whisker account of Raheel Ashraf, the security guard who leapt 15 feet from a window as the building was devastated by the bomb, then watched 200 feet flames 'like we were in hell'. 36 reported injured, but thankfully nobody killed. It is possibly the biggest non war-time fire in Europe in 50 years. It must have been terrifying for those involved. Though the danger, and the possibility for tragedy, and the reports of casualities didn't stop dozens of people rushing out to film the devastation and raging fire.

J and I looked at the sky again as we travelled to meet friends for lunch. Now we looked properly, we could see it was smoke, not clouds. I wasn't very awake this morning.

(The explosion was only about 20-odd miles away, but we didn't hear it. We were passed out after the drinking and dancing when it happened at 6am. Apparently people heard it in Holland and Norfolk.)

Lunch: roast lamb and then blackberry & apple & oat crumble, followed by sloe gin, cooked by a lovely friend in Plaistow. We popped out to peep at the winter sunset. The grey dark smoke now spread over half the sky.

Back home, J and I and Miff have locked the doors and windows, and flopped, stuffed full of delicious food, and are now curling up on the sofa. We bought our Christmas tree on the way home. After last night, with my fellow passengers and my honey back again from South America ( he had to go over for work), I am finally feeling more positive - at last - and looking forward to Christmas. Roll on Christmas, roll on holiday, and hurry up 2006. I will be glad when this year is over and next year begins and so will a lot of other people.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well, at least you are alright, eh ? Have a good evening !

December 11, 2005 9:32 pm  
Blogger lady miss marquise said...

I was in Taplow and we heard it from there.

May 2006 bring infinite joy!

December 12, 2005 4:02 pm  
Blogger Dr. Deb said...

How are you doing since this terrible explosion. It got a lot of media coverage here in the States. One trauma tends to meld into previous trauma. I hope you are doing well.

Pass along my thoughts to you and your Kings Cross survivors.


December 12, 2005 6:06 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

hi rachel,

yes...CNN and many other u.s. channels have had extensive coverage of the blast and fire-hope all is ok with u...u said its less than 20 miles from your flat.


December 12, 2005 6:45 pm  
Blogger Rachel said...

Hello everyone, thanks for dropping in. I'm ok, Kings Cross United are ok, though none of us are very keen on the smoke and the smell of the smoke, (bad memories) but it's dispersing. They keep talking about the toxic effects of the smoke which os worrying - not because of this smoke, but because we were stuck breathing in really thick smoke on July 7th that made our faces coal-black - choking us - much, much worse than this smoke - for half an hour, so god knows what that did to our insides.

Daren't think about it really.

Thy are very brave, the firemen, getting the terrible fire under control.

December 12, 2005 10:06 pm  

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