London Bridge Station: Fire Alert 3 July

I arrived at London Bridge station on Monday, at about 11.30 am. I bought some stuff from Paperchase and went up to the platform. Everything seemed normal and calm at the station with some orange construction workers on the other platform beavering away. I only saw one uniformed police officer.

My train was twenty minutes late, as it was still at Charing Cross. Apparently, about 1030am there was a Fire Alert and everyone had to be evacuated. The tannoy announcement just said ‘London Bridge Station had to be evacuated’ and it was only when I got home, I discovered that it was a fire alert. So, I missed some ‘drama’ by an hour. I had important meeting so I was quite glad the trains were running again, as best as possible. I tend to make sure I have enough time to get to where I want to go, as anything can happen on the trains, ie signal failures. I didn’t check the news before I went, and even if I did, I would have been walking to London Bridge at the time, and completely oblivious.

Sorry, I wasn’t ‘right in the evacuation’, but I was pretty close! I bet all the Americans out there are cancelling their holidays, it seems to be all Fire and Terrorism lately in London.

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London: Street pastors pay a visit to the #Bermondseycarnival

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The Street Pastors are a group of Christian men and women who go out in Southwark at night-time and speak to vulnerable people and try and help and signpost them. They say it is really important to talk and to listen to vulnerable people found alone on the street of London.

At the Bermondsey Carnival in Southwark Park this afternoon, they were out during the day, handing out lollipops to the public.

They commit to volunteering at least once a month, but sometimes they do more than this. They tend to go out late at night and finish about 4am in the morning. Southwark can be dangerous at night but they feel that it is their duty that they must go out and help people.

They help talk to people on London Bridge who want to commit suicide and who feel that life is not worth living and try and give them ‘some meaning’ in life.

The Pastors also go out and help Clubbers who are intoxicated. Sometimes they take them home to ensure they get home safely, rather than letting them get attacked at night. Other times they give women flip flops as some women clubbers cannot walk in their shoes or have lost their shoes in their vulnerable state.

PHOTO: Below – Street Pastor’s flip flops:

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They seem to be a great team, full of character, and some of them have been on the team for over five years.

To find out more about the Street Pastors in London see http://www.streetpastors.org

South Eastern Railway passenger from Kent tells of his Experience of the London Attack

A passenger from Tonbridge, Kent, said that he was travelling on a train at 10pm on 3rd June to Lewisham when the South Eastern train driver said that he had heard some information and said there had been ‘an incident’ at London Bridge and that the train wasn’t going to let passengers off at the station.

The train driver told the few passengers that were on the train that it had to go back to Sevenoaks.He said the situation at London Bridge was ‘out of control’. He sounded like he knew more about the incident than he let on.

The driver was then seen to walk on the railway tracks at London Bridge to get to the other end of the train, presumably Network Rail turned the electrics off. There appeared to be no guard on the train.

The passenger said that while the train was waiting at London Bridge for a good half an hour he could hear several police sirens near the station, although he thought it was ‘just drunk men fighting’ at it was a Saturday night. Charing Cross station was swiftly closed during the incident was known.

The passenger was pleased that South Eastern Railway staff knew very quickly what was going on, and that they took swift action as soon as they knew something was up,

Though he never got to Lewisham, the passenger came home safely thanks to the driver and those communicating with him.

#Blacklivesmatter Protest in Bermondsey

I thought there was something going on as I saw several police cars with burly police officers in vans, parked in side streets on a Saturday afternoon.  

Shortly after, a group of about 100 or so  #blacklivesprotesters turned holding placards on Jamaica Road. There seemed to be a lot of women in the protestThe atmosphere generally  was  pretty chilled.

The police vans, however, gave the protest a bit of tension. Road traffic police officers had their hands full controlling the heavy weekend traffic while all this was going on.  One of the protesters said they were on their way to Downing Street and that the march started from Southwark Park.

I didn’t see any trouble from any of the protesters or the police, but a 60-year- old pedestrian who had just finished shopping at Tesco, shouted at them that they were ‘racist c**ts’ but everyone chose to ignore him.

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Cycling and Mental Health Stigma

Many cyclists ride a bicycle because it is great for their well being.

I speak as someone that has experienced mental health issues. When you go through all this difficult stuff, sometimes you can be at rock bottom, cycling and sport in general, is a great way to get out to relieve all those annoying symptoms.

 I am not a medical person but cycling gives us with mental health issues some thing positive.  For some people with phobias, anxiety or depression, they can find it hard to get out in the first place. Anyway to get people out and socialise is  a good thing. They can also unleash their creative talents by doing photography or similar. Cycling opens up new opportunities.

 Despite my health, I cycled  from London to Paris for charity with 500,mostly serious  or ‘corporate’ cyclists. I did back out from the ‘gala meal’ at the end as it was too much for me, but I still came home with a medal and raised £1000 towards a £250,000 hospital unit. 

I had a nice meal  with a cyclist who was about 59 the other day.  He isn’t one of these cyclists who races  but he lives in a very rural location  Kent and pops into town nine miles away to do a bit of his shopping.   He was telling me about the loneliness he experiences in his village and how he has depression. As a rural cyclist as well, many of us are extremely isolated. There may be very limited social cycling groups in the area.  So I had spent a bit of time talking to them. It was great for him to open up, and I did my bit to help.

Yet there still stigma towards mental health in the cycling world.  Derogatory, old fashioned words are still being used towards cyclists with mental health conditions. Words such as ‘weak’ or ‘paranoid’ are being weaved around as if that is acceptable, with cyclists being afraid to stand for anyone who is vulnerable. Macho culture is still rife amongst cyclists. Men have the highest suicide rate in Britain and hence campaigners like Campaign against Living Miserably (CALM) tackles men’s mental health issues, so  many men cannot open up without fear of being seen as ‘weak’, although they think they are ‘survivors’.

Most of us with mental health conditions are actually strong after what we have been through. As an endurance cyclist, it is mind over matter. How can such a person be ‘weak?’?  We may get upset for a short time over something but overall we can be very strong and resilient and often highly successful people.  More cyclists really need to talk about cyclists attitudes towards mental health and stand up for those who need support and help prevent their health getting worse.

Cycling should be inclusive.

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Where to get help: MIND charity, Rethink Mental Illness, Campaign against Living Miserably, Samaritans, AnxietyUK.

1/4/2016: London:Tooley Street Closed due to another smash

Parts of Tooley Street and  Jamaica Road was closed by police this afternoon after a two vehicle smash involving a motorcycle and a Mercedes vehicle. (I only saw two vehicles involved so this is unconfirmed report).

The road has been closed between Tooley Street, by the Wetherspoons pub and Tesco, in Jamaica Road.

Several police were in attendance as well as the Highways Agency.

There are frequent crashes on these two busy main roads where motorists have suffered lots of injuries, as seen on  crashmap.co.uk, a site which details police crash statistics. Motorists are frequently  to be seen  driving with mobiles, without a care in the world,  along these roads too. I have also seen a motorist eating lunch on his lap and carrying a drink whilst driving on Jamaica Road. It is unsurprising that there are so many crashes here.

More to follow………