The eighth of August 2011 will go down as one of South London’s darker dates.  It will stay in our memories probably for ever.

As London was burning, the sirens were screaming, as news channels broadcast our hell live to the world, I can remember watching the thick black smoke all over Croydon on that appalling and terrifying evening. Smoke and fear mixed like a killer drug.

Strangely one thing that went through my mind as my part South London was seemingly out of control was how little my generation (myself included) seemed to ever really appreciate the level of fear that must have been experienced by Londoners and the British generally on a daily basis during the Blitz of the 1940s.  How I have listened to those in my parents and grand-parents generations explaining their life in the war. Then suddenly the generations were, for one dreadful night in 2011, equal in a bizarre and dreadful way. Now I could appreciate their fear and anguish. The only difference being that the enemy in the 40’s was in the sky where as on that fateful night on the eighth of August 2011 the problem was on the ground.

About one month on the physical scars and the mental fears of those living around here are quite visible.  Police presence is still very high as well as the tension that you can feel through Facebook and Twitter.  Londoners are a tough and resilient lot and within 24 hours of this appalling situation people were forming groups and cleaning gangs ready to go onto the streets and tidy up the mess created by this devastation.

I so very much wanted to blog and comment about the events, but deep down inside I felt like I was frozen to the ground with sheer fear and the personal alarm that I think we’ve all experienced one way or another.

From my point of view life in south London will never quite be the same again.  A whole new aspect, a different dimension has been added to our daily lives here.

My thoughts go out to the owners of businesses who’ve had their livelihoods wrecked through this event and of course some householders who have literally been burnt and scared out of their homes.  The words of the owner of Reeves furniture store which stood on the same site for one hundred and 44 years are still ringing in my head as he stood facing the smouldering shell of his former business asking what he had done to upset people.

This is not a good blog but at the moment it’s the best I can do to express the sheer horror of recent events.