Saturday, February 4, 2012

Unprecedented snowfall. Unless you count last year.

The roofdeck at my friend The Gambler's fabulous flat, where I am staying. I think I'll eat breakfast inside tomorrow.

It's snowing in London: thick, and deep and lovely. Big fluffy snowflakes are still coming down, and even scruffy old Kentish Town looks pristine, all covered in a blanket of white. Victorian railings look even more Victorian when they are dusted with snow. And the mismatched paving slabs are better hidden too. Just when I thought I couldn't love London any more, it went and got a new white coat.
Prince of Wales Road, from The Gambler's window. Trust me, it doesn't always look this pretty.
Snowfall is rare in London. Snow that settles is even rarer. In fact, you only see snow like this every twenty years.

Which is funny, because in the winter of 2010/11 there was a crazy amount of snow, the likes of which you only see every twenty years. And remember that violent cold snap with all that heavy snow in the winter of 2009/10? That too was the kind of snow you only see every twenty years.
Last year's unprecedented snow

Hmmm. Either we've used up the next sixty years of snow... or there might be something in all this talk of climate chaos after all.

Which is a bummer, partly because it discredits me. I've been vehemently insisting - to all those New Yorkers who disparage the English climate - that 'the weather in New York is SO much more extreme' and 'we NEVER get snow or temperatures below freezing'.

Clearly I am wrong. It used to be true but it isn't any more. And yet, I'm not the only Londoner who hasn't caught up with reality yet. Londoners really don't handle this weather well at all. Tonight on my short walk through Kentish Town I saw a man wearing a blazer over a shirt, with no scarf or gloves on. Another man in canvas plimsolls. And a girl in jazz shoes, bare ankles and leggings.

People, it's below freezing, and it's been snowing for five hours! You'd be laughed off the island of Manhattan in that get up.

2009's unprecedented snow. Note the woman without clothes and all the flimsy shoes. Not a pair of boots among them!
I never thought I'd say this, but it is time to succumb to the appeal of the duvet coat. Make like New Yorkers and wrap up for goodness sake!


  1. "Make like New Yorkers and wrap up for goodness sake!"

    Rubbish! Remember that you may be a Brit at heart but uber alles you're a YORKSHIRE Brit. Remember how folks dressed in the Bigg Market in Newcastle, on Saturday nights in the depths of winter? Reputations could be at stake here.

  2. Must be my age, or I was softened up by Malibu living, I am dressing as if for an Antartic expedition today.