There were lots of tourists doing their usual thing, though there seemed to be less than usual. Many locals were walking to work or otherwise going about their business as normal, as if nothing had ever happened. There were a lot less young people about than I’d have expected – the late-teens and early-20’s age-groups simply didn’t seem to be about. Perhaps they’re all sleeping. Maybe Greenwich just isn’t a hip and happening enough place for young people on a nice summer day. It might be that they’re keeping a low profile for, erm… whatever reason.
Here’s some pictures and comments as I found them:
I’d heard from many Twitter posts last night that pretty much every shop along Trafalgar Road was boarded or shuttered from yesterday afternoon onwards. I was expecting a veritable ghost-town. What I saw this morning was pretty much business as normal.
I grabbed a coffee in Greenwich Market – best Flat White I’ve had in quite a while, I might add!
Greenwich High Street
I honestly don’t know what I expected to find here, but I was surprised by seeing so many shops open for business. Life goes on, I guess.
Journey home – and reflections
I’m glad that the riots haven’t arrived yet. Conversations with fellow locals suggested a mood of incredulousness and defiance. Some are concerned for their families and livelihoods, others despair at the loss of a generation. Tourists perhaps seemed more cautious than I’d normally experience, but were otherwise mostly unaware of anything having been wrong.
As I took my train home, I saw that David Cameron had announced that the events of this last few days apparently show “that there are things badly wrong in our society”. Well thank you Sherlock, I think a good number of us had already deduced that. Still, his speeches yesterday and today have come across to me as some of the first clear-talking I’ve heard in quite a while on any political issue in recent times. And I hope it continues, supported by appropriate action to match.
Another lady stopped me for directions after I got off my train. We got talking. She was new to the area, having apparently moved here from Nigeria, via some other London suburbs along the way. She felt that the excuses given by those involved that they were bored were simply irrelevant – that they really were just excuses to kick off. She suggested that engaging young people in society, enabling them do something useful, and to contribute to the world around them would be good starts.
As for I’m not sure what I think. But I am encouraged by what I’ve seen today. This is not a suburb living in fear. It seems to me the boarding-up of yesterday and the keeping-calm-and-carrying-on of today stand in clear defiance to whatever might come our way.
Oh and one last gambit: Apart from the car I photographed going by earlier, I didn’t see a single policeman the whole time I was out, until a vanload of officers disembarked outside Westcombe Park police station.