Last week everything was as normal and then bam panic on the streets of London! (and Birmingham and now Manchester and other places!)
Being (relatively) young I've never experienced anything like this before, it was very frightening. Not that I thought anything would happen to me (I live in a very middle class area away from Wimbledon town centre so I wasn't really at much of a risk) but just because it's a really horrible situation to be in. I have friends who could have been in danger (thankfully everyone is ok), two of them could see burning buildings and the gangs from their windows. It also spread closer and closer to home, hitting Colliers Wood on monday evening and then yesterday the shops in Wimbledon were evacuated by the police as a precaution. Yes, the extent of the rioting in Wimbledon was a single bin set on fire but it's just weird to know that your local town is actually being evacuated and protected by police.
The whole thing is scary and senseless and just appalling.
However the thing that has struck me most about the whole situation is just how much it brings out the best and the worst of people. And I don't just mean the obvious looting/community spirit. I've seen some people become hideously right-wing and been reacted to in a hostile manner because I can empathise with the kids doing these things. Does that mean I agree with them? No, obviously not. What they're doing is hideous and criminal and wrong and they need to be punished. However I just don't believe that people just suddenly decide to go out looting for fun, something happened to make it start, there was a catalyst and things need to be done by the government to make sure this doesn't happen again. And by that I don't mean 'shoot the hoodies' as I've seen people suggesting. When people have everything taken away from them it's inevitable that they're going to strike out. Of course that doesn't make it right, but it's happened before (hello 70s and 80s!) and will happen again if nothing changes to make things better for the people living below the breadline.
However I have also been so moved by peoples love and kindness. The people who have banded together to clean up their communities are so so amazing and I wish I could have helped. And so many people have just so supportive. Thank you so much to everyone who has emailed/tweeted/facebooked me checking that my family and I are ok. It's really so touching to know that people care. And I know it's not just for me, I've seen wonderful spirit all over where people are banding together and sending their love and wishes and prayers to people they've never met and probably never will. It's amazing and wonderful and makes me feel very sappy.
I hope all my readers are safe and happy today