Par­sons Green com­mu­nity quickly gets back to nor­mal life

For some, a re­cent string of ter­ror at­tacks in the city had caused life to change some­what

Gulf News - - From The Cover - BY BEN QUINN

On the sur­face, lit­tle ap­peared to have changed in the west Lon­don neigh­bour­hood of Par­sons Green a day after the ter­ror at­tack that in­jured com­muters on a Tube train at the lo­cal un­der­ground sta­tion. Save for sev­eral cam­era crews loi­ter­ing out­side the sta­tion, and the free ar­ti­san cof­fee be­ing handed out as a “keep calm and carry on” ges­ture from the cafe next door, the area’s well-kept streets were filled with the sights and sounds of its cos­mopoli­tan lo­cal pop­u­la­tion em­bark­ing on their week­end. For some, how­ever, a re­cent string of ter­ror at­tacks in the city had caused life to change some­what.

The fam­ily of Jesse Fre­itagAk­sel­rod, for ex­am­ple, had started to take fewer un­der­ground jour­neys with their tod­dler.

Over a break­fast of smashed av­o­cado and sour­dough toast that sup­ple­mented a free cof­fee from Dis­trict, the cafe next to the sta­tion, Fre­itag-Ak­sel­rod said he had ini­tially dis­tanced him­self in his mind from the at­tacks ear­lier this year.

“When I heard it on the news I even laughed a lit­tle bit, but as the day went on it started to dawn on me that th­ese were peo­ple run­ning around with knives,” added Fre­itag-Ak­sel­rod, a Ger­man-Bri­tish na­tional who has lived for the best part of the decade in Lon­don with his Ira­nian-Bri­tish wife. “Then yes­ter­day felt much closer to home, and it lit­er­ally was.”

In­side Dis­trict, which was evac­u­ated on Fri­day, its Aus­tralian-Bri­tish co-owner Chelsea Finch said that the cof­fee was a way of say­ing “thank you” to cus­tomers. “All our usual regulars are here to­day, so it’s busi­ness as usual. “To be hon­est, I didn’t think that we would be open so soon. With all the po­lice ac­tiv­ity and foren­sics yes­ter­day we were un­der the im­pres­sion that it would take longer, but then when the sta­tion was re­opened this morn­ing we thought why not?”

Other lo­cals in­cluded Richard Bent, who was pass­ing the sta­tion with his dachs­hund Reg­gie, and in­sisted that life con­tin­ued as nor­mal in what he de­scribed as the area’s “vil­lage com­mu­nity”. He added: “I live on the Ful­ham Road and was get­ting ready for work yes­ter­day when I saw four po­lice armed re­sponse cars roar past. I also saw the po­lice stop and board the num­ber 14 bus a bit later on. We thought it was some­thing to do with the lo­cal school.” Come Mon­day morn­ing, how­ever, he said that he might al­ter his be­hav­iour a lit­tle when it came to the daily com­mute: “I’ll prob­a­bly leave the ear­phones off and take a bit more notice of what is around me to be hon­est.”

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