Thursday, 7 August 2014

London Riots Take Over My Blog...

Yes, this blog starts relatively normally, and then it turns into one long rant about rioters.  Apparently they even looted my brain and took any thoughts that weren't about them!

August 6th 2011

David wasted the whole day sleeping.  He said he was "feeling sick and shaking with cold" even though it was extremely hot in this house.

He took me to Osterley Tesco in the evening to see the new G4 ponies in the UK for the first time.  I didn't buy any, of course.  I had no interest in collecting them myself and I couldn't re-sell them when they were retailing at £3.98 each.  I did like the display stand however.

They had some free leaflets there containing details of a competition to win a holiday at Santa's Lapland (and a MLP goodie bag!) so I picked up a few of them.  Amazingly, I even managed to sell a couple of the leaflets to people on the other side of the Atlantic!

I finally found some black tights but the summer dresses for which I had been searching were no more.  The last ones (in the wrong sizes) were there on clearance so I had to admit defeat at that point.

We stopped at Northfields Tesco Express on the way home to buy strawberry trifles.  No ponies or dresses in such a tiny branch though!

In other exciting news, I sorted through some more files of old drawings (and got rid of quite a lot) and began studying Cleveleys postcards online for tiny ride pictures.  The pictures were SO tiny though.  I can see the Dalek and Gabinella-type elephant, but can you make out what the other rides outside the arcade are?

August 7th 2011

I didn't leave the house.  David rolled up at 1pm, having spent the morning in the bathroom at Grottsville...and promptly headed back to the bathroom here at Woodberry.

When he finally came downstairs, he fixed the hinges on Mum's ottoman.  He hurt his back in the process and spent the rest of the day lying down.

I was still losing loads of hair and stressing myself to death about it...which, in turn, made me lose more hair.  Repeat vicious circle.  I desperately wanted to talk through my concerns but Mum would just snap at me about it.  "I can't see you wearing a wig," she said, "You'll just have to walk around bald and get used to it."  Nice.

Our local blackbird was driving me crazy, sitting right outside the window and making alarm calls ALL DAY LONG.  I don't know what had triggered it, but I know it was getting on my last nerve when I was already so stressed!

Another thing that was stressing me was the London riots.  Pathetic young people using the state of this country and their disillusion and fears for the future as an excuse to run around destroying things.  I never thought it would effect us personally (Ealing isn't really the kind of place where you expect riots to take place), but I still hated seeing pictures of old building being burnt to the ground and people losing their livelihoods.

August 8th 2011

I didn't leave the house again.  Wow, this is turning into another fascinating blog entry!

My alarm clock packed up, meaning I overslept again.  A quick look over it revealed the problem - the battery (which had only recently been changed so was in good date and almost new!) had exploded and leaked in the back of the clock.  Thankfully, cleaning out the acid and replacing the battery resolved the problem.

I cleaned the kitchen countertop.  I discovered that the kettle had scratched the worksaver (which made Mum angry for starters).  She then noticed that there were smears on the hob which I had tried so desperately to clean and screamed at me about that.  Apparently it would have been "better to leave it covered in filth than to clean it and leave a few smears".  Well, you're welcome, mother dearest.  I'm so glad that you appreciate my favour!

She grumpily marched off to continue rearranging her costume doll collection in the cabinet.  Yes, she was STILL displaying those.  It took her long enough to do anything, but I was supposed to fit thoroughly cleaning a whole house into my day!

My hair seemed to have left its severe moulting phase again but it looked a lot worse for what had happened to it over the last few days.

David had decided to sleep here at Woodberry that night.  We were concerned about rioters gathering in Grottsville because it was such a rough area so we had decided it would be safer for him to come here. (More chance of one of us hearing trouble before it arrived so that we could call the police too...ha!  As if there'd really be any police available for an individual family in an individual house.)  He would go and check the house at Grottsville was as secure as possible and then come straight here.

David was late getting home.  It was nothing unusual, of course, so we didn't see any reason to worry.  When it got past 11pm however, Mum and I started joking that perhaps he really had got caught up in riots in Grottsville.  Just then, he walked through the front door, panting.  "The b*****ds have hit Ealing!" he said.  "They tried to put a brick through my windscreen!"  It turned out that all of the roads around Ealing Broadway were blocked with yobs.  David had witnessed the start of the chaos, a gang of black teenage hoodies smashing the windows of the Tesco Express at Haven Green.  When they saw his car, they turned around and threw the brick they had been smashing the windows with at the car!  Luckily he managed to dodge them, but he had to take an alternative route and try to avoid the danger of the main shopping centre.

I couldn't sleep that night.  I just sat in the corner, shaking and crying, listening to the sirens and shouting voices and watching the orange glow of buildings burning just up the street from us.  We had no real idea what was happening, but could hear the voices and smashing glass coming nearer.  It was terrifying, the last thing I needed for my nerves.  I finally got to bed at about 4am but I didn't get much sleep.

August 9th 2011

David dropped Mum and I at Grottsville for a day of clearing up.  It was horrendous driving through Ealing Broadway; the familiar streets littered with the skeletons of burnt out cars and litter bins, almost every shop window smashed and boarded up...  The beautiful Victorian building which had once housed Ealing Green Local Supermarket was gutted and the fire spread along the parade, destroying the three shops nearest to the supermarket as well as the flats above.  My favourite FARA Kids Charity Shop narrowly escaped the fire but was still victim to the pathetic raids, all of the toys taken and strewn around Haven Green along with the designed baby clothing from the neighbouring boutique.  I couldn't help but remember poor Glittering Gem who I had left at that charity shop just a few days earlier.  I hope she found a home before the riots.

One man, Mr Richard Mannington Bowes, bravely tried to stand up to the rioters and protect our neighbourhood but, as many of you will know, he ended up losing his life to the scumbags.  I still think of him whenever I walk down that street.

We were lucky really.  The yobs had obviously started to make their way up the road towards our house but the last evidence of them was a smashed window at Sainsburys just around the corner!

I didn't take any photographs myself but I think these Youtube video give you a good idea of what happened that night...

The first shows the Tesco Express where David almost got a brick through his windscreen (2:53) and poor Richard Mannington Bowes lying on the ground surrounded by flames (2:09).  The second - which won't allow me to embed it to this blog for some reason - shows the looted FARA Kids Charity Shop (1:37) and the smouldering remains of the Local Supermarket (2:02).

Anyway, back to Grottsville.  Mum had a doctor's appointment (which was the only reason that David had agreed to take us there) to talk about these strange stomach pains.  Her doctor urged her to have an endoscopy to find out what was really going on but Mum refused.  Reluctantly, the doctor just gave her a prescription for tablets to fight her acid reflux but made her "promise to come back if it didn't get any better in a month".  Sounds cheerful, doesn't it?

We moved the sofa out to try and find my old scrapbooks (complete with seaside postcard collection...looking for old ride pictures...I mean, trying to tidy up, of course!)  We found the scrapbooks but I wasn't so keen on looking through them when I saw how they had been kept.  There were literally piles of mouse droppings and chewed up paper actually stuck to the floor with mouse pee.  It's a wonder the mice hadn't chewed up the scrapbooks themselves!

We had great plans for emptying the house but then I suddenly got terrible cramps (oh, the joy of our monthly gift as women!) and Mum got overtired.  Then two hoodie yobs sat on our front wall and began loudly talking to each other (we had the front window open so could hear them). "It was so much fun last night and it's going to be even better tonight!" said the first.  "I know, right?" the other replied, "There was a hole in the door THIS big, man!"  It really freaked me after my nervous breakdown of the night before.  I don't know if they were telling the truth or not.  How could you proudly boast about being such a lowlife?  We also had no idea WHERE the rioters may be headed tonight.  Perhaps Grottsville would be their next target?  And the house there might not be so lucky as Woodberry, as it was situated on the main road, directly opposite the shops...

The loud mouth from two doors away, Donna, was busily yelling her business to our neighbours as usual.  "Rooni!  Do you know where Freddie is?  I haven't seen him since last night!" Freddie is Donna's husband, by the way.  They are a typical chav-type couple who I would guess were in their early 50s (though you'd never guess it by the way Donna dressed!).  Knowing them, I expect Freddie was out looting with the youngsters and was still struggling to offload all the stuff he'd stolen!

My stress levels were through the roof.  My hair was falling out by the ton, I had butterflies in my stomach, felt sick (yet hungry at the same time) and couldn't stop grinding my teeth.  The riots were the last thing I needed and had just tipped me over the edge.  Mum yelled at me to "get a grip" and blamed me for making David mount the kerb on the way back (even though I wasn't talking at the time) and for causing her stomach acid and pains!

Gangs were gathering all around Grottsville as we left and I was paranoid that this would be their next target.  Having said that, we could still hear sirens all around Ealing that night.  Police warned that Harrow was the next place on the rioters' hit list but I don't believe anything major ever actually happened there.  Ealing seemed to be the grand finale for the madness, to be honest, although there were still minor gatherings of pathetic troublemakers looting and destroying wherever they could.

August 10th 2011

I just could not get over my nerves.  I had a dreadful night, shaking and holding a hot water bottle.  I don't know how I would have lived through the World Wars if one little riot did this to me!

Just as I was beginning to calm down enough to go to sleep, David had announced that he was leaving for Grottsville!  We had thought that he was staying with us at Woodberry so this sent me into panic spasms once again.

Thankfully we all survived the night (there were no raids in Grottsville, of course...I suppose there was nothing expensive enough to bother looting in an area like that!) and David drove us through Ealing Broadway and West Ealing the next day.  I thought it might help me come to terms with things if I could see for myself how bad the damage really was.  I was shocked how quickly things had been cleared up.  A few windows were still boarded up but most had been replaced and you'd never know that anything had happened to look at many of the shops.  It seemed clear that the lovely Victorian building near Ealing Green would have to be demolished though.  (In actual fact, it has since been repaired and rebuilt to look exactly as it did.  Even the decorative chimney has since been replaced...but it's just not the same as the original.  The owners couldn't afford to keep their full supermarket either and had to reduce their size and sell half of the property.  It makes me cry because I remember my grandad shopping there and it was more or less exactly the same up until the day of the riots.)

News was starting to roll in about some of the rioters who had been caught and "sentenced".  One of them  was sentenced to one day in prison.  One day.  Wow, I bet that made a real impact on his life and ensured that he would never commit a crime again.  I wonder if he would like to give the owners of the businesses that were destroyed just "one day" longer to run their shops?

Three men had been killed by a car in Birmingham due to riots up there the previous night.  What an absolute waste of life.  Whatever did the mothers of the rioters teach their pathetic brats?  "Yes, this country is cr*p, honey.  Yes, you may feel resentful that you don't have as many opportunities as others.  Now go out and smash the place up to see what goodies you can steal and bring home.  You deserve it for the fact that your country is cr*p and haven't been granted everything on a plate.  Together we can destroy the country further, sweetheart!"  It makes me so mad.

My hair felt so thin and ugly, like a load of rats' tails hanging down my back, even at shoulder length.  I guess that's how you'll feel when you had such beautiful thick hair at one point and then slowly lose it all to stress and misery.

To make my day complete, a stupid brony came and commented on my MLP ride video on Youtube, telling me that it "needed to be 20% cooler".  Despite my foul temper, I resisted the urge to tell him what a moron he was.  After all, that just give them more pleasure, right?

And so ends another fantastic blog entry.  I will try to return tomorrow but seem to be getting less time with the computer again now.  I'm determined to keep this up though, even if it means staying awake all night!

Best wishes,
Desirée  xxx

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