Stepping into Nineteen Eighty-Four

Last Friday, it was as though I had stepped into Nineteen-Eighty Four.

I had flown into the country a few hours earlier. From outside the country, I was asked was England under Martial Law?

The country on highest terrorist alert following Manchester bombing. Armed soldiers patrolling the streets.

At Gatwick, having spent the night there, around 4-30am, a poor quality coffee and cookie at Jamie Oliver, my phone dead, I moved a few feet to a shelf to charge my phone. Two armed police appeared at my side armed with semi-automatic weapons, plus a dog. I apologised and let them know it was my luggage. They thanked me for letting them know and moved on.

Disgusting English breakfast in a  deserted Wetherspoon. Deserted bar two gangs of loud-mouthed drunken yobs, putting down pints at five in the morning.

Begs the question, why serve alcohol at airports or on flights, as only causes problems on the plane?

Undrinkable coffee at Joes Coffee House, though the porridge was ok. I was only there because an idiot at Gatwick directed me to wrong platform.

Late night and early hours of the morning at Gatwick, few trains running, none to Reading, none to Victoria, due to overnight rail works for the foreseeable future. This in addition to weekend rail works that have been ongoing for the last decade.

Late morning, train to Gatwick. Tannoy warning beware, slogans, report anything suspicious. Same on the train. Plus scrolling messages.

The train was all but empty. Now this was unusual, highly unusual. Gatwick train usually packed on a Friday, as was today. And this was a Bank Holiday Weekend, start of school half term.

Guildford Station. It was eerie, the station all but deserted.

In Guildford, the town deserted.

What was going on? Had the propaganda got to people, were they too scared to go out?

North Street, market day, no one around.

Thai restaurant in Jeffries Passage, all but empty, though that not uncommon. Food good, service surly.

Harris + Hoole, not busy.  Cappuccino and cookie excellent.

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