I went out at 5:30pm (BST) to go to a local Irish pub for 2 or 3 pints of guinness. I was just thinking about going home at 6:30pm when the barman locked us all in! He was worried that the violence & looting that had just kicked off near West Croydon station (Rail/Overground). Fair enough, I thought, there is nothing to loot round here, so I'll stay in for a couple of hours and ride the problem out!
Two hours later I was treated to the vision of a burning pawnbrokers about 1200m south of where I was sitting on the TV. And then it just got worse! About 8pm the barman started handing out pool cues and tabel legs to the Irish builders who were in the pub (I stuck with my metal urban shooting stick, thinking that if anyone got in I could ram it into their throat to disable them).
We stayed there, occasionialy taking a glance out of the window on to London Road to see what was happening, hearing (and then watching) Reeves Corner going up in flames, but secure in the knowledge that it would be hard to get into this pub, but leaping up with our "weapons" in our hands every time someone kicked at the door or hammered on the windows.
At about 10:45pm we heard a loud bang from the one door we had not considered, Four of the Irish gents had gone upstairs to their rooms to grab a bite to eat leaving me (53), Brendan (75+), an Irish workman who's boss had sent him in to check if the pub (that has rooms to let) would be able to accomodate himself and 4 other coleagues, and the barman. To our supprise it was an Asian bloke who had broken through the door an was demanding a drink as well as yelling for his (as it turned out) non-existant friends to join him.
Not knowing how many people we were likely to be facing, we bailed out via the back door into the yard, locking it behind us. We notified the fuzz (not as if they were going to be of any use in the circumstances that were happening), and waited for the guy and his (non-existant) gang to break through the back doors of the pub, while we clutched our improvised weapons and vowed to sell our lives dearly.
After about 3 or 4 minutes we reopened the door to find that the intruder had fled due to two of the Irish builders (one of whom was built like a brick outhouse) coming down with improvised clubs in thier hands. We then baricaded them baricaded the door where the intruder had made his ingress with a varitey of stools, bar-stools and tables to prevent anyone else opening that doot more than an inch and a half.
As it happened, about 15 to 20 miutes after we had got back into the bar we heard about the non-fatal shhoting in West Croydon and mentally congratulated ourselves for not taking the mo-fo on in case he had been carrying heat.
Well, we all stayed i there untill about 1am when a few of us ventured out to supply bottled water to the firemen how were putting out the flames of the bookies that hat been torched just about 25 yards South of us.
After that I decided that it was probably OK to make my way home (however on my way back I did encounter a large number of people with hoods up and scraves or surgical masks on - not to mention a pair of scallies with a recycling box and a coulple of plastic bags full of dubious goods), getting back just before 2am.
If I had the contacts I would be picking up a kevlar vest, a chain mail shirt, a katana and either a 9mm (Glock or H&K) or a ferret (a heavilly sawn off shotgun).
If you would like to see what the Beeb has to say about toninght's violence, please follow this link.