7th July 2005 Terrorists are dickheads. End of.

From the bravecaptain forum, 7th July 2005, che was his username

Today is my first 7/7 without Jamie. He was living on my sofabed in 2005 when it happened and is inextricably bound up in my memories of that day and every anniversary. I think you could say he was collateral damage, a random choice meant that he missed being on one of the bombed trains, but the horror of the bombings brushed so close that he didn’t feel like they had really missed . He was wandering dazed after being let off work early in Camden, unable to get back to Walthamstow because of the tube  shutdown, when I reached home and called to see if he was ok.

I worked at Westminster Abbey at the time and Victoria station was emptied due to a “power surge” as I arrived that morning. There were too many Police sirens from  Scotland Yard, just around the corner, that morning and just before 10.30 one of the Marshals leaned over the Information Desk and said to me “two bombs, two buses”. The horrible news was updated through the day, but visiting seemed to continue as usual. My journey home was a boat from Westminster to Tower Pier, wonderfully calm after such a surreal day, then the train home from Liverpool Street

At first Jamie seemed ok and we spent the evening of the 7th walking around Walthamstow Village, enjoying the lovely summer evening, peaceful, quiet. But then there was the time he called me from the station, the train was arriving and he couldn’t get on. I had to get him on the train: “you’ve got to get on the train, if you’re late you’ll lose your job”, not too gentle, not rough. “Yeah, I can do it, get on the fucking train, just get on the train”. He talked himself onto the train. He moved out in August, living his dream  in Archway in a house share, a better job, having fun in London. Until he just couldn’t do it any more. He went to Bedford to visit his family and on the 5th of December called me: “I’m not coming back, can you clear my room out for me?”

Every subsequent anniversary brought misery at the damage done, the tenth brought tears and anguish. He always took the 7th off and we would talk about it, it ate at him, the scab he couldn’t leave alone. A lovely man eaten up from the inside by the memory of one day in London.

2013: James and the Legendary Elstow Barbecue

James and Megan Ellis were living in  a lovely cottage called Roselea in Elstow in 2013 and this was the site of the Legendary Barbecue featuring next door’s dalmatian.

The gang were all there -Berni and Sean, Steve, Alex and myself and the weather was good. The cottage had a gas-powered barbecue in the garden – none of that frustrating nonsense of  waiting around for the charcoal to get hot enough, the food was cooked beautifully in no time under the expert hand of Jamie.

As always, Jamie was on excellent terms with his neighbours and when the woman who lived next door popped her head over the fence to say hello he invited her to join us. She pointed to her dog but a chorus of “bring the dog too” convinced her to come round.

As you’d expect, the dog was very good-natured and loved Jamie’s cooking. I think the dog was a fella, and he also took a liking to a red and white tea towel I’d got hold of. With just a shake of the tea towel in his direction the dog was tempted, and fastened his teeth round it and wouldn’t let go, much to our amusement. In fact, the dog was so keen on the towel that it got ripped!

Spotting an opportunity for more fun, Jamie tempted the dog with the tea towel himself and once he’d established that the dog really wouldn’t let go, he took things to the next level.

The friendly Dalmatian took that bait and when he had a good grip on the tea towel, Jamie started turning in a circle, stepping faster until I swear the dog’s feet left the ground! Picture if you can our James, not quite a stripling, with the determined Dalmatian and a mouthful of red and white tea towel, moving through the air as if flying! We were all in hysterics, really couldn’t believe the dog’s tenacity, and I don’t think I’ve seen Jamie laugh so much ever. The tea towel didn’t survive I’m afraid and sadly there are no photographs that I’m aware of. I think they’d probably be a bit blurry if there were any, caused by beer and laughter.