Ceasefire: How we changed

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THE IRA mainland campaign affected many aspects of our daily lives:

stations and streets were strewn with litter as bins were removed

forgotten bags and briefcases became suspicious objects; holdalls, forgotten or otherwise, became suspicious objects

transport delays were commonplace, but cars moved faster in the City of London

British justice creaked as convictions were declared 'unsafe'; body searches and police armed with machine-guns became commonplace

actors with appropriate accents found work in news rooms but dubbed interviewees suffered fewer interruptions than their opponents

we affected nonchalance when ordered to leave the shop/office/station immediately

loud bangs were not necessarily thunder

the Conservative and Unionist Party could no longer rely on the support of the Unionists

steel gates put paid to the childhood snap a la Harold Wilson outside No 10

no romantic dinners at the top of Telecom (formerly Post Office) Tower

Blackpool and Brighton turned into fortresses at party conference time

some of the most beautiful countryside in the British Isles remained unspoilt since few holidayed in Northern Ireland

glaziers made money

a 'Troubles' genre was created with films like The Crying Game and novels like Lies of Silence