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One of my friends, who lives in Birmingham, happened to be cat sitting in London the other week. She's now returned home -safely- to Moseley, but did find it rather hard going because of the recent riots. Here's part of the e-mail she sent me in which she writes down her eye witness report:

"I came back from London, Monday night, but did not realise what I was walking into. I was sitting in Euston station watching all the footage on the big screen, never crossed my mind that anything similar could be happening in Birmingham. The first cryptic clue came when we arrived at New Street, they announced on the train that all exits were closed apart from one, due to an incident in the city centre earlier on but the good news was that no trains were cancelled. There was next to nobody in the station but for a few people walking up and down talking into their mobile 'phones. Walked past the police cars, smiled at the police and walked into a group of lads who asked me where Argos was. I dutifully told them and added quite innocently that I did not think it would be open at this time of night. I did think it was funny, these lads doing late night shopping on a Monday night at 10pm, dressed head to foot in black. So I carried on into the Bull Ring and fell over all these coat hangers, funny I thought, was there some clothes give away earlier on. Then I realised I was in the midst of young lads and screaming girls, so I smiled at everybody and scuttled off to the 50 bus stop. There was one other guy there who was recounting this tale into his mobile, of him being in a bar and everybody crowding round him, checking his 'phone to find out what was going on outside. So I asked him, what is going on?

Basically an hour beforehand, things had really kicked off and they were smashing into all the shops, everyone had dived into the bars and taken all chairs etc in with them and locked the doors and told everyone to stay away from the windows, just in case. After chatting for a while it became apparent there was not going to be a 50, as everything kept disappearing off the screen. In fact there was no cars, buses, taxes or anybody over the the age of 20 passing through. From nowhere this mass flock of teenagers started walking down the road towards us, at around Moor Street Station they started running towards Selfridges trying to get into the shopping centre but they just bounced off the reinforced glass and bus stop guy started to put his rings in his sock ready for a rumble. We were just debating whether to try and go back and stay the night in the train station, when the cars started to arrive with four or five lads in each and we thought it was a good idea to move on.

We found the other civilians hanging round the riot police because none of us knew where else to go, we where pretty much trapped. We started to see all the broken glass, the mobile 'phone shop stripped, Louis Vuitton smashed into and even the sweet shop, which had a total cobweb of cracks but the glass had not broken. Ha! he says, what kind of people break into sweet shops, erh.. I say as we where passing a bunch of lads....people with a sweet tooth. No! crack heads, crack heads, I was beginning to see why this man got beaten up so much.

I managed to find a hotel, though all the lights where out and the reception abandoned, I caught this fleeting shadow and persuaded them to let me in, she was so nervous this girl, she processed me in the dark, it pained me to pay £69 for a room at Premier Inn but I was kind of glad to be there. The guy disappeared into the night, to take his chances. I still can't get my head around recreational looting as a nights entertainment, but there you go."

I'm preserving it here because -I don't know- I think it's too good an account to sit gathering dust and eventually getting deleted from my inbox. She has no online presence and she doesn't mind me recounting her story.



( 6 Speak Like A Child — Shout To The Top )
Aug. 14th, 2011 01:52 pm (UTC)
She seems to have kept her cool remarkably well in what must've been a surreal and scary situation; well done!
Aug. 14th, 2011 02:07 pm (UTC)
Though it is true that she usually keeps a cool head, I tend to think of her more as one of life's innocents, in that she always seems to get into situations to which she's totally oblivious, and then her natural insouciance seems to create some kind of protective bubble around her.
Aug. 14th, 2011 02:36 pm (UTC)
Wow. That sounds incredibly scary. I'm so glad she's safe.
Aug. 14th, 2011 04:31 pm (UTC)
Me, too!
Aug. 15th, 2011 07:42 am (UTC)
That's a fascinating account of something that must have been very, very scary.
Aug. 17th, 2011 07:21 pm (UTC)
Isn't it?

Sorry I didn't acknowledge your comment before; I seem not to get any notification these days, unless it's in Cyrillic...
( 6 Speak Like A Child — Shout To The Top )
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