A few other blogs have done this so I’m going to join in:
I was outside up a ladder painting window frames around my flat. I was listening to Terry Wogan on Radio 2, soothing listening when you have a mindless task, when the first news came in. I continued to paint and listen to the updates on the radio. One thing I remember was that the presenter said that there was another plane (not the ones we’ve heard about) gone missing. We never heard any more about that plane.
At 4 p.m the school bus dropped off my daughter and the lady driver said “Have you heard what’s happening?”.
A French guy, a trained engineer, was staying with me at the time. When we turned on the TV that evening and watched the footage for the first time he instantly said: “The building wouldn’t collapse like that from a plane. That’s dynamite. That’s a demolition.”
I was naive then and thought he was talking rubbish.
Princess Diana’s death – 31st August 1997
I’d just come out of Eurodisney outside of Paris. Around 6 a.m. I pulled into a petrol station and the assistant said to me, excitably pointing to the TV behind him: Vous avez vu? Lady Di s’est tuée!
For a minute I thought he meant that she’d killed herself. Then I thought it was a sick joke because he knew I was British. But he didn’t as my car had French number plates. I said something, clearly shocked and he heard my accent. He immediately apologized.
I drove into Paris, to the Pont d’Alma where she was killed. I entered the tunnel with my, then, 3 year old in her buggy. The Mercedes car had gone but the black skid marks were still evident. An elderly black lady came and put down flowers at the post where Princess Diana’s car had crashed. She was the first one.
I stood back stunned.
Margaret Thatcher’s Resignation – 22nd November 1990
I was living in Paris but had returned to Britain to get stuff done. I was wandering around Hampstead Heath looking for a printers to print up my photographic calling card. I saw the Evening Standard newspaper booth at Hampstead Heath station. The seller was shouting out the headline “Thatcher resigned”.
England’s World Cup Semi-Final against Germany – 4 July 1990
I was travelling in South America for a year. I arrived in Argentina for the World Cup. It was quite difficult to find bars that were willing to switch on the TV to watch England play. Nobody cared when England lost. A Bolivian man started up a conversation while I was watching; “Everybody criticizes Hitler but I think he had alot of good ideas. You in England have la dama de hierra, the iron lady. You are very lucky.”
President Kennedy’s Assassination – 22 November 1963
I expect I was in my cot. But I clearly remember his brother’s assassination. I was in Ireland on a horse-drawn gypsy caravan holiday with my parents. We were in a pub and the news came through. The adults were very upset. More Guinness was required. A flickering black and white television broadcast the news.