Monday, 2 February 2009

Snow Day!

Overnight, London has had its heaviest snow fall in 18 years. Witness the scene outside my house this morning:

Therefore, everything has shut down. All buses have been suspended. Heathrow airport is shut. The status of the Tube is not great, as this screenshot shows (coloured lines on the map indicate the problems listed down the side):

And actually that makes it seem better than it is because the Waterloo & City line is suspended too but for about five minutes stopped showing as such on the web.

I'm therefore working from home - not necessarily just because I can't get in, as the one line that is still running is the Victoria line which would get me there, but also because our dilapiadated office has no working heating system and it was bad enough there at the start of January let alone today (no, this is not legal). Luckily I can log in from home, so I'm on the sofa with the spare duvet, a cup of tea and the heating on full.

How much snow have we had?

It looks like a Christmas cake! That's about six inches I guess, maybe slightly more (the doors to the garden open outwards so I can't go out and measure). That is all it takes to bring London to a standstill - the intrepid boyfriend who loves his snowsports is walking in and he says there's hardly anyone getting in to work and he's already seen a couple of crashes amongst the cars actually on the roads. Overseas readers may find this amusing, but this is extreme weather for our little island, or at least the south of it. Whenever I hear about blizzards, heatwaves and hurricanes in other parts of the world, I am eternally grateful that being in a temperate climate really does mean that here. When I was living in New York in 2006 there was a record-breaking snow fall overnight on a Saturday of over two feet. Sunday's travel was a bit disrupted but volunteers were out shovelling and the city had big snowblowers to melt it (we'll ignore the environmental impact of that for now). By Monday morning they were reporting a five minute delay on the trains as news. Here that's a normal day's delay - we have no trains today. We're just not set up for this kind of thing, but then most of the time we don't have to be.

It's pretty, anyway. This is the tree behind our garden that's had a blue plastic bag stuck in the branches for months:

And the keyhole on our front door, with its own little dusting of flakes:

Hooray for snow!

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