Tuesday, 10 March 2009

On such a winter's day

Gawd, it's been bloody aaages, hasn't it? Months. There's been reasons for my falling out of the habit of updating this blog but they're mostly a bit boring so I won't go into them right this minute. Here's a post I started writing on The Day It Snowed and never quite finished. Better late than never (and the photos are quite nice). Expect more catch-up over the next few days...


Snow started falling as I went to bed on Sunday night. Although doubtful that it'd lie, I set the alarm on my new 'phone for extra early o'clock. I woke to an odd light, the bedroom walls gently bathed in soft yellow sodium streetlamp diffused by and reflected off a thick layer of white. Pure white, blanketing everything. The other thing that was noticeable, at first almost subliminally, was the hush, a muffling of the usual distant London traffic roar.

Transport for London was all blue Suspended and Severe delays but my route to work seemed just about doable. So I piled on my heaviest sheepskin jacket, gloves, hat and boots and headed out.

8am South London was as I've never seen it before. My street was near-deserted, only a handful of sets of footprints breaking the ankle-depth white. No cars or buses. The sky was television static grey with a hint of yellow, promising more snow. Walking between half-submerged vehicles, with no-one else around, I got a flash of Cormac McCarthy's The Road and fancied myself sole survivor of a frostbound nuclear winter. Drama queen.

Turning into the more arterial roads, an overcoated businessman handed me his camera ("not as fancy as yours") and posed on a set of snow-coated steps for me to take his photo. In the park, more photos: a couple filming their young kid whooping and gurgling, possibly his first experience of snow. A group of Australians were throwing snow around and laughing; I wondered if it was also their first time. Londoners generally seemed lighter-hearted than usual, smiley and appealingly childlike; Narnia Englishness. I wished it could be Christmas every dayyy.

When I arrived at work, they marvelled at my having got here from South London, saying, "we were just waiting for you to call in" (which immediately made me wish I had called in). Ah well.

Much of the day was a bit of a wash-out. I bunked off and went home early, wandering through a cemetery and various parks and marvelling at the various snowmen. Already, the snow was looking trampled and off-white, and I missed the virginal crispness of the morning.

Here's the inevitable photos:

That last one is a snowy South London homage to Don't Look Now...