Reports of small explosions at The Oval, Shepherd's Bush and Warren Street tubes, plus an "incident" on a bus in Hackney. Maybe I should make that last one clearer - they're now reporting a small explosion on a bus in Hackney. Buses in Hackney probably experience dozens of incidents a day. One injury reported so far. Witnesses say they saw someone leave a large rucksack on a Victoria Line tube train before running like hell. Which puts the suicide bombing did-they-didn't-they in another light. It is being suggested that the police are looking for someone on the surface at Warren Street...which is even closer to my office than Tavistock Square was.
But on the other hand, Australia are six down for 175 and Steve Harmison has been bouncing the ball off their heads all day. Convict captain Ricky Ponting copped one through the visor of his helmet that laid his cheek open. Now that's fast. A couple of balls later he rattledly wafted at a good length and edged to Andy Strauss in the slip cordon. Good drills! Oh, make that 7 down, Warne run over by the Durham express. Whoops - 8 down now! Katich goes, caught behind, and it's three so far for Harmison and looking damn like a five-for.
In other news, University College Hospital has apparently been "sealed off by police". Part of it is just across the road, but it looks normal enough. Oh, that should read *armed* police, and someone says they've seen men in chemical protection gear, although you never know and they could be Ronald McDonalds.
Just to round off, I'll say this: at the end of the Dutch wars in the 1600s, De Ruyter and Tromp's ships sailed up the Medway to burn the fleet at anchor, taking a complacent government by surprise and incidentally boosting Samuel Pepys's career. In 1941, not far off three hundred years later, a Free Dutch warship collided with the anti-submarine boom across the Medway. The admiral in charge - the Flag Officer C-in-C, Nore - signalled "What, again?"
Update, 1502: It's now being reported that four explosive devices were placed but seem to have failed to explode, although the BBC is saying they were "dummy bombs". Sure the electricity system's all right, Beeb? No power surges or anything? Police now confirming they're at UCH. In Shepherd's Bush, meanwhile, there's supposedly a suspect package on. There is some mobloggage here, with video of a pub being cleared here. Usual liveblogga suspects are operating normally. And LAY OFF THE DAMN MOBILES.
Update, 1508 Tim Worstall comments at Nosemonkey's that the attack is so amateurish it could almost be the BNP trying to stir up racial tension. Funny he should say that. Their führer, Nick Griffin, is on trial at Leeds Crown Court today, and according to a "source" in the building the fascists were raising quite a bit of hell outside.
Update, 1526 Apparently, staff at UCH have been told to look for a 6ft 2in black man with wires sticking out of a rucksack. Not like he's going to merge into the background.. Wonderfully, there are multiple reports of someone fiddling with a bag, hearing a small bang or pop, and then either exclaiming something or looking "extremely dismayed". It must be deeply embarrassing - you press the tit or pull the wire or push the button, expecting a blinding flash and then paradise, but all you get is an artificial fart and a tubeful of people staring at you. Terrorism's answer to premature ejaculation. Darling, this doesn't usually happen to me...
Update, 1532 A man has been arrested outside the Ministry of Defence and taken to Richmond House. (According to Perfect.co.uk) This is weird - Richmond House, 79 Whitehall, is the Department of Health!
In the really important story of the day, the Australians are all out for 190 in forty overs. And Steve Harmison got his five-for - 11 overs, no maidens, 5 wickets for 43. If I were them I'd be shitting bricks, look what happened in the cricket two weeks ago.
Update, 1739 Well, everything seems to be calming down. Two men have supposedly been arrested but they are looking for an unknown number of fugitives. The UCH alarm has been stood-down. One wonders how stupid you'd have to be, having failed to blow up, to go to hospital..but then it would fit with what seems to have been a case of piss-poor performance from the general enemy. Meanwhile, the first demented yank troll has arrived and is poisoning the atmosphere over at Worstall's. Commenters are saying some sort of crisis is going on at Ludgate Circus, right on The Street Of Shame. Pity there's only AFP, the Jewish Chronicle and the Beano left there to watch.
And I'm really pissed off by the fucking CRICKET. 49 for 5. Ouch. Oh well, we'll do what we've always done. Improvise, adapt and overcome.