It's been a really strange few days in Croydon. We did have William's birthday party but, sadly, only two of his friends made it. William still had a lovely time but he did keep saying it didn't feel like a real party with so few of them and that he was sad his friends didn't come. He understands why and is upset that the riots spoiled his first very special party. I'm glad we didn't cancel it. I'm glad I am teaching my children to carry on and be strong. I can understand why others didn't venture out on Tuesday though. There are many road closures on key routes around town so getting around isn't easy and when you have a disabled child or a child with any additional needs things are already tricky enough.
Having paid for a party for 10 children, it did mean that the big sisters, who would have been there more as 'adult helpers' could be big kids for the day and have their own party hats, balloons, pizza and ice-cream. They even had balloon swords each!
While the children played, unaware, the adults were checking facebook, twitter and text messages full of rumours that the riots were starting again. I was sure they were just rumours but you never know. We weren't sure what we'd come out to and it did put a strange atmosphere on things. Everyone at the play centre were feeling the same. It will certainly be a party to remember.
Yesterday, we took a walk around Croydon to see things for ourself. I think it's a pilgrimage most of us in Croydon feel compelled to make. There's a really strange atmosphere in town at the moment. It's quiet with a lot fewer people around than normal but also because people are walking around so quietly, almost in a state of shock and certainly in disbelief. The damage is everywhere. Many shops in the centre of town have been looted, some of the main roads leading into town are closed. There have been six major fires leaving burned out shops and flats, many of which are no longer safe enough to stay standing. I met some amazing people and heard some incredible stories. I will post a picture blog later today.