Riot on departure

London riots, Tottenham burning bus, 07.08.2011, by Beacon RadioLeaving London behind in flames is a strange way to start a holiday. That’s just what happened last week when my family and I headed off to Gatwick airport with the streets of London in the grip of anarchy.

Following rioting in Tottenham the day before, gangs swiftly organised hits on Enfield, Walthamstow, Hackney, Stratford and other London boroughs on Sunday night (8 Aug). The blare of sirens could be heard as we sped towards Victoria station.

The mood was one of anxiety as we boarded the train to Gatwick. Bleary-eyed clubgoers and daybreak commuters filled the carriage, whether they were a tad more sullen because of the night’s unrest I don’t know.

Once we arrived at Gatwick I hoped the mood would lighten with the knowledge that we were on our way to a well-earned break in Bodrum, Turkey. It didn’t. Four years have passed since I took my last plane flight, and in that time the excitement of airports – the busy thrones of people, nationalities and cultures, the excitement of high-tech machinery and conveyor belt walkways – seemed to have evaporated. The queuing, the unapologetic firmness of baggage control, the loud, embarrassing sibling arguments… I didn’t need any of it.

Thankful, Thomson’s adorable safety video (2009) cooled my conflicting emotions and put a smile on my face. Top marks to Thomson for their inventiveness. Wouldn’t it be great if Alice and crew really were running the joint?

It was time to leave London behind, I only hoped it would be there when I got back.

Image: Beacon Radio/Flickr