There was a man at the bus stop this morning who had on a Northern Rock t shirt.
At least, that's what I thought at first glance. Turned out when I looked back that he actually had on a Newcastle shirt that I hadn't seen before. Newcastle are sponsored by Northern Rock, so the words are emblazoned across the front of most of the shirts you see around town. Although I still miss the good old days of the Blue Star when the brewery used to sponsor the football team.
And that, to me, answers at least partly why the hysteria that has affected the rest of the UK hasn't really affected the north east. This morning on Breakfast News they were showing the queues elsewhere in the country - then they cut to a branch in Newcastle and there wasn't a soul in sight. In fact, I don't think I've ever seen Northumberland Street so quiet. They claimed there had been some people around a few minutes earlier, but I wasn't convinced.
I went into town at lunch, walked past the same branch. Noone queuing outside. I walked past another branch, just out of curiosity. Noone more or less than usual. According to this article it has happened, but I can't believe it's any more than usual. All the talk in my office is of confusion, not understanding the panic in the rest of the country. I even wish I'd had some spare cash to buy some shares yesterday when the price fell so badly.
In short: the country has gone mad.
I don't agree with everything BW has to say about the situation, but she sums it up pretty darned well. Worth a read if you haven't already.