I didn't get to post my Friday Five News this week. The week ran away from me. Of course the news has been dominated by the events in Paris and the subsequent follow up in Belgium. Then of course there was the attack on the hotel in Mali. It's been hard to turn on the TV or pick up a paper without the atrocities being thrust at us in glorious technicolour showing us the full horror of these events.
These are frightening times and everyone is on high alert. This was brought close to home on Thursday. During the afternoon I noticed that a police car was blocking my road at the end of our block. An area of the common by the road had also been taped off. Next they taped off the road and van loads of police arrived. I initially assumed that maybe an incident had taken place on the common and that the police were going to conduct a search and maybe make door to door enquiries. Instead they were knocking on doors and asking us to evacuate our houses.
I was told that there was a suspicious package on the common that needed to be checked out. My neighbour said he'd been told there was a possibility of a bomb in a van. Whatever it was, given the current risk of terrorist attacks no one was taking any chances.
Fortunately a friend of mine lives further along the road beyond the cordon so I was able to call on her and have a cup of tea while we waited. Fortunately it turned out to be nothing sinister, although I didn't get to find out what it was - by the time I'd had my tea and a good catch up with my friend all the police and cordons had gone. It didn't even make our local news site. It's good to know that whatever gave cause for concern was taken seriously.
Living in a major city that is on a terrorist's target list is a worry but like most Londoners I'm not going to change the way we live "in case". Of course when warnings are issued by the police or security forces they cannot be ignored but if we change our routines etc we let the terrorists win.
We also need to remember that all our neighbours deserve to be treated fairly. There has been such horrible things posted on social media this last week. The events in Paris and Mali are truly awful but they have been carried out by extremists. They are not the actions of ordinary law abiding people or those who believe in a God.
The problems in the Middle East are complicated but we will not help solve them by making cultural assumptions and we have to be tolerant of and kind to one another. You might say that living in London makes that a daily necessity but actually if we aim to be decent human beings we should all be doing that all the time.