Monday, 4 February 2013

London Snow

I remember it well: snow does dreadful things to London.
The black ice trekking down the hill towards the train station, the frozen ground that numbs toes clad in office-appropriate shoes, deceptive puddles of slush by the roadside. And that's without even mentioning the effect it has on transport.

It is as though the trains, like the tourists, stop to admire the beauty of the landscape.
Year round.
In summer the tracks heat up too much for the trains to run properly. In London, too hot... you've got to be kidding me. 23°C is NOT too hot.
In Autumn the leaves get on the tracks causing insurmountable dangers.
In Spring the rain gets in the way: slippery tracks. Or something.
But in winter, on the odd day that it snows, well then the public transport surpasses itself. It shuts down completely. But not without staggering the cancellation notifications of each service, leaving a false ray of hope for those of London's inhabitants who have no other way of getting to work. That one train that is fighting its way through the frost to wind its way past you into the city, just in time for work... That one train that suddenly disappears off the schedule when you'd already waited a full half hour for its arrival.

I remember Waitangi Day last year, when a fine dusting of snow allowed me to travel across London at the usual pace and get home to a warm bed without the slightest trouble or delay. 1 hour and another dusting later it took the lovely C more than 3 hours, several transport changes, optimistic waits, lengthy waits and a very queasy stomach to make a journey that should have taken at most a bare 30 minutes to complete.

And yet, I miss it.

I miss the blanket of white that covers the dull depressing grey of London town.

The bare branches of Greenwich Park's trees covered in a delicate frosting and lifting the spirit of the whole neighbourhood.

I miss the childlike spirit that comes out to engage in snowball fights and tobogganing in the park.

The delight of students and teachers alike as school is closed for the day.
The happiness of the childrens' bright snowsuits as they contrast with the winter terrain.

Snowmen also showing the signs of last night's celebrations and this morning's hangover.

Real Christmas trees frosted with real snow.

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