...in the bottom drawer
I knew I'd lose it so I put it in a safe place, and now I can't remember where it is.

currently stashed in: Cheshire Street, London
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July 22, 2005 || 11:28 am

Events pile up so fast and in such a strange juxtaposition. The start of the Ashes series finds me clutching a prized ticket to the first day at Lords, sitting up in the Warner Stand with an old family friend, the kind provider. A fantastic two sessions of cricket, leaving the England crowd glowing with hope and pride and a little tipsy in celebration, are followed by the ruthless wicket-taking of Glenn McGrath, stormingly authoritative, accurate and utterly destroying our hopes. We bump into Harrisson Birtwhistle at lunch, who has a tenner bet on England batting before the close of play.

But half way through England's successful spell, those members of the crowd who are tuned in to the radio commentary through their taped-together headsets start telling us that there have been reports of more bombs, two weeks to the day after the attacks that killed 56 on 7/7. We are a little perplexed but the radio is inconclusive. We spy a police helicopter over Warren Street, near the ground. But then someone says that the police have told everyone in London to stay where they are so we all laugh, shrug and tell each other that really, we couldn't have better luck than to be witnessing this extraordinary day of cricket.

We hear that there were no casualties and there is some speculation that it was an unconnected copycat attack. Despite England's collapse on the pitch, it's a glorious sunny day, this is the peak of English sporting culture, and all seems too well with our situation for us to afford much worry. I leave the ground, and get nearly home by bus before I get a call inviting me over to a friend's house on the other side of the city, and huff and puff my way through atrocious traffic, with many speeding police cars trying to wend their way through. I pass Finsbury Park, where a van of police is unloading outside a 'Muslim Refuge Centre' which is displaying a banner proclaiming their condemnation of the 7/7 bombings, and I pass the Regent's Park Mosque where police are on patrol around its perimeter. At one stage, the driver of a bus that I'm on opens the door of her cab and shouts out to us 'Did those two guys who just got off leave any bags on the bus? Did you see anything?' and after the initial shock and stiffening, we all feel guilty because none of us even noticed the two guys who just got off.

But I get to the party and we have a lovely time, drinking cold white wine and eating Mexican grilled chicken, talking about the cricket and the Arsenal gossip. No-one mentions the bombings. Tumble into bed happy and slightly drunk, and get up late. We have only just finished reading the papers, only just catching up on the seriousness of yesterday's attacks and the fact that there are suicide bombers on the loose, when we realise that we're late for the start of the cricket, turn on the TV and find Pietersen on the brink of fifty runs, and the BBC reporting the shooting of a man on the Tube at Stockwell.

It all makes my head spin. I don't know what to think or feel.



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