As the day went on, more details started to emerge. People realised something was wrong with the car when paramedics dealing with an ill person saw what appeared to be smoke inside the car and raised the alarm.
Then we got word that Park Lane had been closed and part of Hyde Park had been cleared because of a `suspect vehicle' which Sky News initially and rather bizarrely described as an open-topped bus.
Towards the end of the afternoon, while I was outside having a cigarette, two police cars came howling down Fetter Lane, two-tones blaring and lights flashing, and blocked off Fleet Street. It was still sealed off when I left work about twenty past five - a `suspect vehicle' in one of the side-streets.
Because I couldn't get down Fleet Street or the surrounding streets to get to my station, I walked up to Farringdon to catch the Tube. On the way, I popped into a newsagents' where I heard the chap behind the counter telling a customer that she'd better get home quickly because someone had just told him there had been an explosion on Oxford Street and another bomb found at Paddington and the Underground was going to be closed.
There was, of course, no bomb at Paddington, no bomb off Fleet Street, and no explosion on Oxford Street. There was, however, a bomb on Park Lane.
What appears to have happened is that early in the morning, some parking wardens came upon a blue Mercedes illegally parked on Cockspur Street, just off Trafalgar Square. They impounded it and towed it to the underground garage at Hyde Park, just off Park Lane, but because there was a strong smell of petrol about it they decided not to put it in the underground pound but parked it near the ramp instead. When they later heard the news about the Mercedes full of petrol on Haymarket, they called the police.
It seems we've been lucky again, but as someone once said, we have to keep being lucky. The guys with the bombs only have to be lucky once.