Saturday, January 09, 2010

London in the snow


I've managed to miss all the legendary British big freezes of the past ten years or so. I've been on well-timed sneaky mini-breaks, on shoots for summer campaigns somewhere hot, or I've been in New York, luxuriating in the American ability to function perfectly normally in extreme weather conditions.

While I was thrilled to the core of my inner five year old by the advent of the snow and my first ever (patchy) white Christmas, I think it is fair to say that I am now thoroughly bored with it all.

Late Tuesday night I bolted for London from Northamptonshire, having seen the Met Office extreme weather warning. Bloody good thing too as my mother was promptly snowed in overnight.

On Wednesday I left the house in NW5 in a blizzard to interview someone in Kensington for a mag feature. When I left their house at 3pm it looked like this:


Which is unusual for the centre of town as the foot traffic & density of the tall office & shop buildings (which also belt out heat) means warm microclimates evolve and the snow doesn't usually stick. Inching my way down the lethal pavement, I barely made it to the 27 bus stop around the corner.

It took me 2 hrs to come home, due to wobbling like a weeble on the sheer ice pavements through Camden as I got off the bus. I got stranded on Camden Lock Bridge, which has a slight camber, & was unable to move forwards, sideways or backwards without slipsliding, falling & breaking my bottom. I had to be rescued by a kind stranger who thought I was comedy act of evening.

As I have enough difficulty staying upright in summer, you can imagine what I am like on ice. I did nearly cry, but decided to shake out some Blitz spirit and just get on with it.

I didn't leave the house for nearly 48hrs, until I drove to dinner in Clerkenwell with BA & M, and Mich & Henry last night (Friday). Twas odd. It looked like this here:


and took me twenty-five minutes to remove the three inches of snow and layer of ice from the windscreen


yet the streets were perfectly clear and snow free in town. I see that it is snowing again this morning, so we are not yet clear of this big freeze. Gah.