On Friday night, oblivious to the events in Paris, I was watching Spectre in London. It made me reflect on the job of spies.

Whatever its failings – the love interest is a dud and is there something different about Daniel Craig's face? – you can't argue with its topicality. Surveillance by centralised machines versus highly-trained humans, licensed to kill.

Daniel Craig
Daniel Craig as James BondReuters

Coming home to find our babysitter and her boyfriend jittery with the harrowing news, I was struck by a desire for plenty real 00s. Preferably with less need for DJs and hard liquor. Working largely on brief and informed by very good intelligence programmes.

As these attacks do, it selfishly made me consider the risks in our daily life. Our commuter routes through London. The exits from Tube stations. Can you walk out down a train tunnel? Do our stations have terror emergency plans in case of an attack? I re-imagined the layout of the basement restaurant we had dinner in. I wondered if emergency services liaised with high risks targets: central venues, shopping centres and restaurants. Is there a web of plans in place that the rest of us are oblivious to?

Running up to Friday night, as usual, I worried about a lot of small things. I worried about our one-year-old weeing in the bath and drinking the water. About not getting my VAT return in on time. Middle daughter's croup. The resulting exhaustion. Whether I've booked a really creepy magician for a birthday party. Where to buy a Minion cake. Why I still haven't ordered the bloody thing.

And all that time I was angsting over those details, others were thinking.

Some were thinking about death and destruction. Stalking the streets of Paris. Maybe someone was also scouting the routes through London for an attack. Maybe they went to restaurants and venues and also thought about exits.

Meanwhile, a lot of other people were thinking about safety plans, risk factors and response strategies. They were thinking about how to save lives, control damage. And now we hear there will be many more hired by MI5 and MI6 to help with this job.

Next week I could worry about the big stuff. I could focus all my anxiety on a possible attack in the UK. But I'll try not to. There is nothing I can do. I'm not moving to the Isle to Wight because we know terrorists fancy a pop at London.

Instead I'll think of those who have suffered and suffer in France and beyond. I'll hold my close ones to me while keeping an eye out for the exits. I'll be grateful to the network I don't understand that works to protect us. And remember to be damned thankful I get to worry about the stuff that doesn't matter.


Christine Armstrong is a contributing editor of Management Today, author of Power Mums (interviews with high-profile mothers) and founder of www.villas4kids.com. She can be found on Twitter at @hannisarmstrong.