Wednesday, 8 February 2012

Snowmageddon!

Last weekend England got snow. Real, white, falling from the sky snow. Here in London we got an entire inch.

My little plants covered in snow, yes, those are crocuses already blooming!

Naturally, the country shut down.

It was the funniest weekend I've had in ages. From about Tuesday on, the news was filled with warnings about the enormous snow storm headed our way on Saturday. Then on Saturday morning, almost 12 hours before the first flake fell they were cancelling flights out of London for Sunday. They were predicting that the snow would end by Sunday morning. Yes, that's 24 hours in advance of the actual flights when they were expecting 2-4 inches.

The news was chockablock with "Get Ready for the Snow!!!" stories. The BBC ran one piece where they recommended that drivers have the following "essentials" in the boot of their car in case they broke down in snowy or icy conditions. The three things they recommend?
1. Extra layers to keep you warm
2. Maybe water or snacks
3. Definitely, above all else, do not leave home without the all important and life saving...flask of hot tea.

Oh, how painfully English. Apparently, a shovel for digging your car out of a snow bank, salt for melting ice under your wheels or a torch (flashlight) to see in the dark are all completely optional and not nearly as important as tea.

Having lived in the US northeast (so sad, Patriots, so sad) and Canada I'm fairly well immune to snow and winter weather. On Saturday evening I was tempted to ring up BBC London and let the meteorologists know that they could stop worrying, it was too warm for us to get all the snow they were predicting. It didn't even smell like snow, though that may be due in part to the pollution problem in this city (why it's not getting some of the Olympic flack that Beijing did seems a little unfair, but that's another story). It was just too warm for a big fluffy accumulation.

Sideways shot of people with umbrellas in the height of Snowmageddon

So we got one wet inch in London and the Tube suffered major delays. Now, why the underground trains were affected by a little snow was unclear, but they were. In truth, this country really can't handle snow. All that being said, I should mention that some areas reported as much as 6 inches overnight. OK, Yorkshire, 6 inches is a pretty fair dumping overnight! But, London, you're just a bit wimpy. Have a look over at the continent where they're having some serious winter weather.

All in all, it was a very entertaining weekend, a lovely time to curl up with a good book (Vladimir Nabokov's memoir, Speak, Memory) and a mug of hot chocolate. The occasional look at the Brits going by in the snow with umbrellas was always good for a giggle - a resourceful nation who can always find a use for an umbrella.