For those of you unfamiliar with geography (don’t be ashamed), South Africa is a pretty hot place. I mean, sure, there are some cold days but very few cities hit the below zero degree mark on a regular basis. London is often described as having a “temperate” climate – meaning it doesn’t get too hot or too cold. Coming from South Africa, I am not entirely comfortable with this definition as I have been cold more days than I have been hot and have become far too familiar with my coat. Nonetheless, despite the lack of sunny days, the UK has let me down significantly when it came to snow for Christmas.
However, as with most things, snow comes to those who wait and sure enough last weekend the city was covered with a frosty white blanket! The chill in the air whilst walking to work on Friday could not prepare me for the leap my heart took when I saw bits of fluff falling from the sky as the first school bell went! By lunch time it was significant enough that the school contacted parents to come and collect their children amidst fears that transport routes would be severely affected – London doesn’t do the whole snow thing very well. It continued throughout the weekend, and I soaked up the white rooftops and pathways, the icicles dripping from the traffic lights, the flying snowballs and assorted snow people! I became that person with the camera, who is constantly stopping in the most inconvenient of walkways to take seemingly obscure pictures. And I loved every minute of it! I threw my first snowball at my always tolerant friend, A; we built a snoctopus (and I almost lost feeling permanently in my fingers); I got nailed by a stranger’s off-course snowball in the middle of the park; I drank hot chocolate whilst watching the snow fall; and I danced in the snow with my fingers outstretched, my head back, and my mouth open. It was glorious.
By Monday morning, the euphoria of snow had melted (as had much of the snow) and all that remained was the reality of slippery iced walkways and dirty sludge. This, I can assure you, is not as exciting as fresh snow. In fact, it is positively annoying. The next few days were marred by far too many almost fatal slips on the ice, sludgy brown snow ruining the previously picturesque scenery, freezing cold weather and indoor play at school due to an unsafe playground.
Don’t get me wrong, those 3 days of soft fluffy snow were just what I wanted – I’m just not sure they worth all the post-snow consequences…