I was woken up this morning at about 8am by the door buzzer.
"Who is it?" I asked through the intercom.
"Electricity," came the reply.
"Can you be more specific?" I said.
"Electricity," he said.
"Yes, but what is it you actually want, are you here to read the meter or what?"
I considered going back to bed, but the buzzer went again, and, throwing caution to the wind, I went and let him in.
"Electricity," he said. "Come to read the meter."
I let him read the meter without bothering to ask why he couldn't tell me that over the intercom, grabbed some food, and set off for work at about 8:45.
I live in Finsbury Park, in London. My normal route is to catch the overground train to Moorgate and catch the tube around through Liverpool Street and Aldgate to Tower Hill. The train was a few minutes late. When it eventually arrived, I got on, but it didn't go anywhere. Eventually there was an announcement that the power had failed at Moorgate and that the train would be diverted to King's Cross.
"Well, might as well catch the tube via King's Cross then, it'll be faster," I thought to myself. I headed downstairs to catch a Piccadilly line train, but as I was about to get on to the crowded train there was an announcement that the Piccadilly line was shutting down, and that customers were advised to use the Victoria line.
"Fine," I thought, "Victoria line then," Along with all the Piccadilly line passengers, I piled onto the next, blessedly empty Victoria line train. Just as it was about to set off, there was an announcement. "Please be advised that due to a power failure this train will not be stopping at King's Cross."
"That's fine!" I thought, the experienced tube traveller. "I will simply change to the Central line at Oxford Circus".
As the train passed through Euston, I heard a station announcement. "All customers please leave the station. We are evacuating due to a warning." It was about this point where I started to think there might be something seriously wrong.
At the next stop, one before I was planning to change, the announcer came online. "Please be advised that this train is going to, er, stay in the station here. We don't... we don't know what's happening up ahead. We'll be stopping here until we... until we know."
"Sod THIS," I thought. "A smart commuter knows when to give up and go HOME." I left the tube station, leaving a tube full of sheep-like commuters who were apparently content to sit there, zombie-like, indefinitely.
My familiarity with London's bus network is almost non-existent, but there was, marvellously, a bus stop right out side with buses going all the way back to Finsbury Park. A bus arrived after only two minutes, and I got on board.
The bus didn't seem crowded, and there didn't seem to be too many people with the same "head back out of London" plan as me. I wondered if I was fussing about nothing, but then I did seem to be able to hear a lot of police sirens, and emergency vehicles were passing all the time, so I remained nervous.
Still, as the bus proceeded back out of the city centre, everything seemed to be pretty normal. I suddenly remembered my new phone has web capabilities, and had a look at the BBC's WAP site. It loaded, slowly, and then the top story was still London's winning the Olympic bid. "Must just be a power failure then," I thought.
Five minutes later, though, a few seats back, I heard someone on his mobile phone. "An explosion? Where?" That sent me back to the BBC site on my phone, but the site was now not responding.
As I got off the bus, I phoned my Mum at home. She told me she'd heard there was some kind of incident, but it wasn't clear what.
At about 10am, I got home. I checked into the catbox to see if anyone knew what was going on. I turned the radio on and BBC Radio One were still playing music, which I thought must mean that things weren't too bad.
I checked my work e-mail account and had a message from the office manager listing "missing" employees, including me, so I had to reply indicating I was fine.
It's about noon now. Over the last few hours, the initial reports of a "power surge" causing the tube problems have evolved into reports of a co-ordinated terrorist attack on both tubes and buses. I can't phone anyone on my landline, or on my mobile. I seem to be able to send texts, though. My sister hasn't replied yet. It's probably just that the network is overloaded, but she works in central London and I would really, really like to hear from her at this point.
Update 12:54 - My sister's checked in with my parents. I knew, rationally, that there was only the tiniest chance of her being hurt but I am still so relieved.
wertperch's writeup for July 6, 2005 currently holds a checklist of britnoders that have reported in that they're OK.
The chatterbox archive shows the day unfolding from the E2 perspective - http://ascorbic.net/catbox/archive/0/1535875/
Just for the record, the problems with my landline turned out to be entirely unrelated to the attacks.