And in an instant....
Earlier this week there was a stunning episode of BBC Two's Hospital series following the day to day life of a London hospital trust. The production crew happened to be at a mundane meeting in which staffing vacancies were being discussed, when suddenly mobile phones started to ring frantically - there'd been an attack on Westminster Bridge, and the hospital was suddenly on standby for a major emergency. Two French schoolboys on their last day of a happy holiday were rushed to the hospital along with the perpetrator of the attack, and a man who had been celebrating his 40th birthday. Ironically he and his partner were about to try to flag down a taxi on their way home from swimming with sharks at the London Aquarium. He survived the sharks, but was left with potentially life changing injuries from a short walk across the bridge and a coward who decided to use his car to mow down passers-by.
I could imagine the conversation he would have had with his works colleagues prior to his birthday:
"Got anything planned?"
"Yup! Am going to be swimming with sharks. It's something I've always wanted to do."
"??????. You must be mad, isn't that a bit, er, dangerous?"
"No (slightly nervously), I'm sure it'll be fine. They feed them well at the Aquarium."
Colleagues supportive, but think he's slightly mad.
And yet, the swim with the sharks was fine, it was the ordinary everyday walk that held the hidden danger. A walk that on that day would cost five innocent lives.
|Cherry Garden Lane, Chillenden. The site of fateful events.|
The book wasn't the usual sort of thing I would read, and I didn't feel altogether comfortable about it. Although I appreciated Shaun Russell's need to get the press on side, and to do what he felt was important for Josie, it sometimes sat rather uneasily; and indeed some of the press involvement has led to some of the concerns surrounding Michael Stone's conviction.
It was at times a deeply troubling read - most of all because of the sheer violence of the crime, but also post the scandal surrounding the unsavoury methods used by many newspapers, it brought home how helpless many victims can be not just because of the crime that has affected them, but by other people's action post the event.
But despite these concerns, what shone from the book was an indomitable human spirit, and the love of family and friends. Deeply troubling at times, it was also occasionally surprisingly uplifting.
Josie, by the way, is now a talented textile artist, and some of the beautiful items that she produces from her studio in North Wales can be seen here.