Ficklish Blog

Thursday, February 05, 2009


As you may have read there was some snow in London this week. Lots of snow! Okay, not that much snow by the standards of the rest of the wintry world, but the biggest snowfall here in two decades and a pretty big deal. It was spectacular.

It brought the city to its knees on Monday. There was no public transport, the business district was a ghost town. Most of my colleagues who depend on trains or buses to get to work were stranded, but I live so close to the office that I figured I had no excuse, so no snow day for me. Besides, I was keen to get out and see what it all looked like. It has only snowed a little bit on a couple of occasions since I’ve lived here and the novelty hasn't come close to wearing off. This was very exciting indeed.

The first thing I learned is that I really don’t have the right footwear for these conditions. I wrapped up as warm as I could, but shoes were a definite problem. I am, as you will be aware, really not an outdoor type and I don’t own hiking boots, or snow boots, or anything even remotely similar. I surveyed the options available in my cupboard and settled on knee socks with my trainers, rolling the cuffs of my trousers up so they wouldn’t get wet and securing them with clothespegs. I looked a treat, as you can imagine.

What is normally a half-hour walk took me over an hour – slipping and skidding my way across the icy paths with tiny little steps. I only fell on my arse once. It was tough going, but I couldn’t care – it was so beautiful! Grey, dirty London all sparkling and clean and draped with thick white blankets. Everyone out walking was in a festive mood – chatting and laughing with each other along the way. That never happens here, it was amazing. I saw a guy walking along with ski poles, everyone cheered as he went past.

Soft flakes fell constantly all day. The handful of my colleagues and I who made it into the office had a very good time – snowball fights at lunchtime, stomping about in snowdrifts like Godzilla, excellent fun.

We left the office early to try to get home before dark. I skidded my way towards home, and to my amazement happened upon a lone bus going in my direction. I waved at the driver, who stopped and let me on. I gushed my thanks effusively, it felt strange to be so grateful for something that happens on every other regular day. I smiled to myself as I then sat on the bus and heard every subsequent passenger do exactly the same thing, ‘Oh, THANK YOU! Thank you so much! This is brilliant!’, exclaiming their gratitude to the driver for saving them the long walk home. Best bus ride ever.

I know it was pathetic. We were the object of scorn from places like Moscow and Canada and I guess rightly so. But it was freaking brilliant, and I’m so glad I was here for it. As I got home to the Pickle, the guy at the wine shop downstairs was hanging outside his doorway, sprinkling table salt on the icy footpath so that customers wouldn’t slip coming into his shop. I have no idea what – if any – effect it would have had, but it was very charming and it made me smile.

I’ve been so inspired by the snow and my new-found love for stomping in it that I have invested in some genuine outdoor footwear: my first wellies! They are most excellent:

I ordered them online on Monday night and they arrived today. This photo is of me modelling them in the office. I wore them outside for a smoke break and stomped about gleefully in the last patches of melting slush. Now I'm checking the weather report obsessively, waiting for more snow to come along. I'm ready!


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Where is the photo of your trainers with the cuffs of your trousers rolled up?

9:38 AM  
Blogger jLo said...

Kloss: sadly, there is no photographic evidence of this ensemble.

General Welly Update: they just got their first proper (non-snow-stomping) workout! It's raining a lot here, and a couple of years' worth of grime and dirt and sediment clogged the drain on our balcony, which then flooded! I strapped on the wellies, went out and poked at the sludge pile with a stick, and now it's all draining beautifully. I have learned, however, that it is nearly impossible to pull your welly onto a sockless foot.

11:39 PM  

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