Two months too late, the words of those Christmas carols about snow and cold weather are perfectly suited to London. My apologies to those of you who live in places where snow is a regular winter occurrence and who are wondering what all the fuss is about. I live in the south of a country where the climate is temperate, so any extremes mean acres of newsprint and all conversations dominated by talk of the weather. Actually we always talk about the weather, this may be a big island, but it is an island and the weather can change in a matter of hours. A lot of visitors from overseas, even somewhere as close as France, have the misplaced belief that it rains in London everyday, heavily. Er no, it doesn’t. Drizzle is more our style, Rome and Paris have more rain than London. That’s a fact. Yes, I do get irritated by people who seem to think Brits are born with webbed feet. Climate crisis is changing that though, and downpours are becoming the new normal. The snow is probably part of the same pattern.
So my pictures from today start in our garden.
I woke in the night and knew there had been more snowfall. There was a quality to the light that is peculiar to snow. I looked out of the window and saw everything covered in white.
Purple in the snow
Our poor flowers are suffering. There’s a pale pink hyacinth that’s completely buried.
Our plants today are bowed down with the weight of the snow.
Hartley was out and about early, but then must have retired inside. His apewprints were everywhere, and I saw him eyeing the bird feeders.
Mosaic with growth
When the snow goes I need to weed this mosaic. Continue reading
The current bout of cold weather is being called the Beast from the East. I think I prefer the poem:
The north wind doth blow, And we shall have snow, And what will poor Robin do then? Poor thing. He’ll sit in a barn, And keep himself warm, And hide his head under his wing, Poor thing.
Not a lot of snow in London, snow is a rarity here. I got my washing mainly dry on the line this morning, though until the sun reached it, some of it was stiff and frozen. It was bitterly cold, and my cuddle with Hartley was shorter than he wanted. He was curling up on my lap preparing for a snooze when I stood up and headed back indoors to the warmth of the flat. I didn’t think it was going to snow, the forecast showed a twenty per cent chance but the skies were blue. But as I knuckled down to some of the endless paperwork the room became very dark, and I looked up to see real snow, serious snow, swirling about. It started to settle. For about half an hour it continued, then stopped. Tonight there is some left, a smattering, and it will freeze, so tomorrow pavements will be icy and treacherous.
But it is pretty.
I had to photograph the honey fungus on the cherry tree to send pictures to a tree surgeon so I took a few more photos of the garden while I was at it. I don’t know where the robin was, but this male blackbird seemed happy enough.
I checked the bird feeders to make sure the resident avian community won’t starve.
I was watching Krishnan Guru-Murthy on Channel 4 news interviewing a woman in Syria who is sticking absolutely to one line. Krishan is polite but insistent when she claims that her side is suffering few casualties. He’s witnessed the fighting, the casualties cannot be as minimal as she suggests. It’s frustrating all round; for Krishnan who isn’t getting answers; for the interviewee who is not a fluent English speaker.
The gap between different sides is evident in so many of the arguments we see on the news. Brexit is once more grabbing headlines. I just heard that dread phrase ‘the will of the people’ again a few minutes ago. It’s a phrase that simultaneously makes me rage and makes me depressed. The will of the people is presumably all the people. So as the referendum result was so close, I cannot see any justification for a Hard Brexit regardless of what Jacob Rees-Mogg and his 61 cronies want; talk about the tail trying to wag the dog.
Across the pond there has been yet another school shooting, where a young man with evident mental health issues combined with a taste for guns and the politics of the far right killed seventeen of the students at the school from which he had been expelled. This is horrific on so many levels. It seems that concerns were raised about this youth; this massacre could have been avoided. We have seen composed and articulate survivors speaking out against the culture of guns in the US, we have seen less of survivors who have injuries that will scar their bodies as well as their minds for the rest of their lives. Continue reading
The weekend has been a rain sandwich. Friday was glorious; bright blue skies and sunshine flooding the flat. It was warm on the street, though not exactly bikini weather, until the sun went down and the temperatures tumbled. Tomorrow is forecast to be a rerun. But the rain gods have held sway for most of Saturday and Sunday.
I was working yesterday, inside, so in the dry, but someone had definitely decided to economise on the heating. I was glad of my long sleeved thermal vest under my presentable work clothes. By the time I finished working the rain was having a pause. Good news as I was meeting Celia in a pub prior to taking in our second evening of Lumière London. We had explored installations in Mayfair and the West End on Thursday after attending a lecture at the Royal College of Physicians about William Harvey. Yes we really are that cultured, I haven’t even mentioned last weekend’s poetry evening.
On Thursday I took some photos, they probably aren’t great, I haven’t looked at them yet. But I didn’t photograph our favourite installation, seesaws in South Molton Street. They were soooo relaxing. I don’t know about Celia but I had to stop myself from entering a zen like trance. I could have seesawed for hours. We ceded our places to a young couple and walked about until the lights were turned off, impressed by some installations, underwhelmed by others. Maybe we are picky. Continue reading
We’re late. Take off should have been thirty minutes ago. I lift my head from the magazine in my lap and see snow falling, snow I did not know had been forecast. As I watch it becomes heavier, swirling little white dervishes covering the grass and the stationary planes.
Across the aisle there is no visibility from the starboard window. In minutes the snow has covered it as effectively as a shutter. Continue reading
I think I've redeemed myself with WestieBoy. After taking him for a walk shortly after arriving on Tuesday I went awol in Belfast for the next two days, but today the snow meant our other plans were put on hold so it was a two walk day.
The worst of the weather was elsewhere, but we have a nice dusting that feels seasonal and right.
I was wrapped up in warm clothes from London and the one of the hats Cousin has knitted.The first walk was the best. We only met two vehicles. We saw sheep in the fields and birds in the trees and hedgerows but no other living creatures.
The sky turned from white to blue and then grey again. More snow fell, and the wind made it dance in the air around us. Slieve Gallion was all but invisible, and this tree stood alone in a blue white fieldpp.
WestieBoy found plenty to sniff at but tugged and even whined when I wanted to stop and take pictures.
It’s pelting down. There has been lightning and almost simultaneous thunder. MasterB is hiding under a chair. We are experiencing all the seasons at the moment.
Spring is unsprung.
Yesterday it snowed.
It wasn’t for long and it didn’t settle, but still it made me remember 1979 when Margaret Thatcher was elected. I came home from Italy via France to vote against her. The first time I was able to vote in a national election. My vote was symbolic. She got in. But I have always felt the snow was an omen. It’s going to take a long time for this country to recover from Thatcherism, and the road is not linear.
There was a sprinkling of snow this morning. Maybe it was forecast, I don’t know. It soon vanished and today has been a bit warmer thank goodness. Not exactly balmy, so don’t imagine us out and about in summer frocks, fanning ourselves to keep cool. It’s still multiple layer weather, and when I head out again to work in a few minutes I shall swap what I am wearing for clothes with greater insulation.
Last night I was up and down the stairs repeatedly as MasterB tried to decide whether he wanted to go out or not. On the whole he thought not. I believe his decision was complicated by the need to pee, as once he had achieved that objective in the litter tray, he seemed much calmer about the whole business.
He had had a trying afternoon. I had come home shortly after lunchtime and Cookie was there to greet me, even hoisting her tail into the upright position. Her humans must have been out. I was her passport to warmth and a snack. She wanted to settle and sleep. Her presence was like a wasp sting to MasterB. He walked backwards and forwards; played rough games with a feathered toy and the rug; meowed at me in demanding tones.
It is so hard to believe that I took these photos just a week ago. Today it is mild, warm enough to walk outside without gloves.
Palace of Westminster
Trees and Eye
Crossing the Divide
This morning, just before eight, as the sky was getting lighter, I saw this cold fox on the top of the wall.