When the forecast said it was going to snow, I was a bit meh about the whole thing – snow is invariably rubbish in London, with the odd pathetic shower a couple of times a year, which then fails to settle (or even if it does, turns to brown slush within minutes). I certainly didn’t expect the heaviest snow we’ve had in years – at one point it was falling so heavily I couldn’t even see the block of flats just over a hundred metres away, and it quickly began to settle.
Pretty soon the blizzard outside was matched by a flurry of excited tweets & Facebook status updates, and I figured I should make the most of the rare conditions (I think I’ve seen snow settle in Clapham maybe twice in the fourteen years I’ve been living here) to venture for a walk out on the Common.
I love the way the snow brings out the big kid in people – before I even got to the common, I’d already seen my first snowball fight, out on the street, and soon after, a young couple making a snowman. The common itself
looked beautiful covered in snow, and being able to be the first to walk across the fresh blanket of powder had a similar effect on me, bringing out the urge to slide along the paths and down slopes. I even saw a couple of kids out with their dad, attempting to sledge down the slope at the side of the bandstand – I admire their efforts, but I’m not sure quite how exhilarating it when the slope in question is no more than three metres long.
The snow also brings out a second, more serious group of people – the SLR photographers. All over the common, mostly hunched in front of trees, were men with tripods and big lenses, snapping away. In most cases, they were accompanied by bored-looking girlfriends, tightly wrapped up against the cold. I don’t envy them (although I’m looking forward to seeing the benefit on Flickr later, as their photos will no doubt be a hell of a lot more impressive than mine).
Even on a normal day, when you’re stood in the middle of the Common, the noise of the traffic drops to a gentle background hum, and you can almost imagine you’re not in the city. In the middle of a blizzard, the effect is even more convincing. Stood there in the snow was about as peaceful as you’re ever going to get in London.
Clearly most people had decided to stay inside in the warm, and I felt quite sorry for the legions of pizza deliverymen I saw gingerly making their way down the hill on their scooters. They didn’t look like they were having much fun at all.
Back home in the warm now and there’s no end to the snow, apparently we’re due much more over night. Unfortunately, getting to work by tube means there’s no chance of skipping work due to being snowed in (and anyway, once everyone is out and about in the morning, it’ll be turning slushy pretty quickly), but nevertheless, it’s been nice to see London like this, especially as I’m about to embark on a year in the sun.