Tuesday, 17 February 2009

As much of the world was aware, London recently got a giant hug from the North Pole and was completely snowed under. It was the most wonderful surprise as, while it will snow in London, it a) is more in slushy form as it falls and b) just doesn't stick past sunrise. I sat in my flat staring in awe out the window as the sun went down and the snow came in thicker and thicker. It was real snow, perfect ski weather snow. I quickly took to my facebook account to set my status only to see that I was not the only one, n'er a status in sight that didn't pertain to the snow. I suddenly felt 8 years old again. When Fred got home that night he said he couldn't remember the last time it snowed like that in London and the news was saying it was a good 20 years.

I had nothing to get up for the next morning but at 7am natured called so while I was up it suddenly dawned on me that I hadn't looked out the window in a good 5 hours, who knew what would await me. I ran to the window and I never could have imagined what was before my eyes. It was perfect "snow day" weather, there was a pristine white blanket covering everything. I sprinted to tell Fred who just reponded with a grunt and went back to sleep. Why didn't he want to celebrate this joyous occassion with me at 7:05am?!?!

I think I may have gotten back into bed with the intention of going back to sleep but at around 7:07am I sprang from my bed, donned my boots, grabbed my camera, and headed into the snow. For some reason the whole thing was very emotional and I felt a bit silly feeling on the verge of tears as I walked towards the park. Walking down Park Gate road I litterally felt like I was walking down the streets of Aspen. I was so glad that I did get up early because the snow was virtually untouched and as I got to Battersea Park walking through the gates was a bit like walking into Narnia, just minus the wardrobe. I certainly wasn't the only one in the park though, there were tons of photographers as this was certainly a once in a lifetime opportunity for pictures in London.

I suddenly desperately wanted to make a snow angel and was taken back to past snows in my life. For some reason the number one event that stuck in my head was the time I was about 7 years old and was greeted with a tightly packed snowball to the face as I got off the bus to go home. I had snow in my eyes, down my coat, and I was so distressed that I wet my pants. Not the most pleasant of memories but a memory none the less. I remembered blizzards in Colorado, ski trips to Winterplace, and watching desperately for our school's name to scroll across the TV screen to announce a snow day.

Skiing is very much an activity of my past and hopefully of my future but it's such an expensive hobby that it's just put on hold right now. Living in Colorado when I was young was great because it was where I learned to ski and without inhibitions. My mom said I would join her after ski school and just tear down the mountain while she swished right to left. She watched as her 4 year old got smaller and smaller in the distance. I've also always been very proud of the fact that it's the one sport I have completely excelled in and dominated compared to past boyfriends and current husbands. Some (Fred) say I have a slight competitive streak when it comes to playing sports and refuse to play games like tennis with me but the tables are turned when it comes to skiing. One ex insisted on snowboarding in the hopes that we'd be on a more even playing ground but I still kicked his ass.

So, the snow made the memories swirl around in my head and it was fun walking around the park watching others create their own memories as most certainly there'll be comments like, "This is nothing like the snow of 2009," and "You call this snow?" being made for years to come. It was hilarious to watch the people with their dogs though. Since London is such a metropolitan place and big dogs don't have room to roam the small dog is the norm. But the small dog disappeared in the untouched snow, much to their owners distress. The park was suddenly a huge game of hide-n-seek between the small dogs and their owners. I helped point out one elderly couple's dog who'd ran into the snow covered brush and they were greatful. But when they went to pick up their dog he looked like he'd recently gotten white dredlocks and they were not coming off. These dogs must have melted like Frosty on the way home.

I so desperately wanted Fred to come out and play in the snow with me and as I was getting nearer to home he called my phone asking where I was. Apparently in my excitment of the snow I had left my keys in the front door, whoopsie!! Well, despite no buses running anywhere in London and the tubes running every 4 hours he still had to go to work. I got a call from somewhere in Hyde Park saying he was walking and was almost there. No snow days for chefs, apparently people still have to eat and eat they did, they wound up having one of their busiest lunch services ever and it was only a Monday.

The snow stuck around for a few more days, particularly in ice form on the sidewalks which was a bit trecherous for some. Someone on our floor had built a tiny snowman and put a baby carrot for a nose and some peas for eyes which eventually just layed on their own on the ground. I rode a bus past Green Park which looked like an overcrowded graveyard for snowmen and women, all half melted and leaning to one side, spooky in a way. It's now gone and the facebook statuses are back to normal but I'm glad I took full advantage of the snow!

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