Tuesday, February 3, 2009

London hit by heavy snow

snow+in+london+telephone+boothGuardian became my favorite paper when "A Singaporean in London" was mentioned on it over the weekend.

The other phenomenal thing that happened in London is of course the 'Siberian' snow that hit the capital on Sunday evening and much of Monday.

There was chaos in the transport system much to the dismay to business owners and the delight of employees. Many took the day off and brought their kids out to the local parks for some snow angels and snowmen.

Along the streets, you have Londoners whipping out their phones to capture some spectacular wintry scenes before pelting each other with snowballs.

Hundreds of schools were closed across the UK and that set hundreds of thousands of kids loose on the streets. While I struggled to work on Monday morning, a bunch of kids waylaid me,

snow+covered+church+in+London+Islington"Sir, could we throw some snow balls at you?"
- "Erm, wait a minute, it's kind for you to ask but is that even a question?!"
"We're going to throw them at you anyway."

Let's say that I emerged relatively unscathed from the mini battle that followed. Would probably be still at it if not for the fact that work beckoned. I just love the kids.

Needless to say, London was totally unprepared for the thick volume of snow only last seen 18 years ago. Heathrow airport was paralysed as transport links were cut off with overland trains incapacitated.


Snow+covered+Camden+Head+LondonThere were grumbles that New York and Moscow have seen much worse and yet seem to be able to cope much better than London. But look at it this way, would you, as a commuter, rather pay more for a system that caters to a severe weather event that hits only once in two decades?

I wouldn't. I prefer to take a break and have some snow fights instead.

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19 comments:

xiaocangshu said...

Haha, those kids are sure polite AND fun loving!

Last Chinese New Year when there was that major snowstorm in China, Shanghai experienced its first snowfall in 50 years. My uncle mentioned that the younger employees in his company's Shanghai office were excited at seeing snow, because they had never seen it in their city before.

But on the flip side, the snow caused a lot of problems with the Chinese infrastructure (which was why it made news headlines for quite a while).

xiaocangshu said...

And congratulations on being mentioned in the papers!

PuNiao said...

I hope you're alright from the heavy snow though. Do take care, k?

SheR. said...

Yeah but at least it saves London from being the mockery of every country that experienced snow!!!

My friend from Russia who lives in London was laughing her head off over the chaos all over London!1 Muahahhaha

FĂ«anor said...

Ah, so you've totally arrived now, CK, old chap. You can now consider yourself one of the doyens of the blogosphere.

Dutchie said...

My little niece asked me once whether children get to stay at home when it snows in NL. I wisely told her that snow is another form of rain n in Sg when it rains, she still hv to go to school, doesnt she ?

Snow is never that severe here. It is in fact a good insulation. I often feel less cold than when it freezes (as in ice).

Was looking out into the dark n the silent fall of snow has tranformed the entire garden into a magical white landscape. It's so captivating !

Cashmere said...

Wow! Congrats on your appearance! :)
And look at that.. beautiful snow indeed.. Would really loove to experience it myself.. I hope you won't catch a cold though.. ;P

*lynne* said...

Heheeheh what polite kids! :)

My impression is Heathrow has really high airport tax/fees already, I certainly wouldn't want that to go up for weather preparedness that is needed once a decade, as you point out.

I'll be in the air between USA and Malaysia via Europe in a week's time... hopefully the weather will be good then - it's a long enough journey without the threat of delays and such!

Jennifer L Price said...

Congrats on the mention in The Guardian--that's awesome! But well deserved, because I think you have a great site.

Love the pic of the phone booths in snow, too. Definitely out of the ordinary for that part of the world!

C K said...

@xiaocangshu,
Strange, I always thought that it snows over at Shanghai, at least for winter. At least that was what depicted in movies and all.

You're right. The novelty of snow wears off pretty fast after people start slipping off on the pavements and cars skidding off the streets.

Haha, I just realised that 'xiaocangshu' means squirrel. I have always thought that it referred to a 'small long tree'. Bizarre. :)


@PuNiao,
Very much alive and kicking, thanks! Can't say the same for some of my colleagues who fell literally heels over heads!


@SheR,
Yep, grumbles all round. But for many of us, it was a day off and snowfights over at the local park. London just isn't prepared for the snow, but hey, I'm not complaining. heheh...


@Feanor,
Aww... thanks bro!

@Dutchie,
Really? I was under the impression that NL would be caught up in the same snow storm as well. That's what the graphics over at BBC weather report told us.

Anyway, I was out with a camera and started shooting like crazy. Thank god for the invention of digital photography.


@Cashmere,
Thanks! No cold, nothing a hot bowl of instant noodles wouldn't cure. :)


@Lynne,
I assume that's a direct flight? Is so, you needn't worry a bit. I'm not too sure about the airport taxes and have always looked at the entire fee (ticket plus taxes) as a whole. I mean, if you got to travel, you got to travel, right?

Bon voyage!


@Jennifer,
Thanks! And thanks for stopping by too. I had to take a picture that people will recognize as a London icon. The red telephone booth is one of them though they can be found all over the UK.

Hmm, perhaps I should be taking one of the London Underground!

waitingkitty said...

Yeah, I heard about the snow on the news...must have been really difficult for the commuters. But if I were there, I would do the same as you. Take a break and have fun with the snow! :D
BTW, I had fun going back to warm sunny Singapore for the Lunar New Year! ;)

Martin in Bulgaria said...

Glad you are making the most of the snow like many others, you can now look forward to hosepipe bans and a drought in the summer, somehow it's not as pretty. lol

Talen said...

Where I live right now in America we get snow like this every winter and everyone still freaks out and buys up everything in the supermarkets.
They also can't drive in it.

The church in the snow made for a beautiful picture.

My Bug Life said...

Beautiful snow scenes but the cold's not fun at all! Grateful for our warm weather here anytime :)

xiaocangshu said...

Actually my name means "little hamster"...

C K said...

@waitingkitty,
Ahh... can you not rub it in? :) Btw, is there a hike in airfare during that period? The flight prices from London to S'pore jumped quite a bit if you want to make it back for Reunion dinner but tapers off soon after.

@Martin,
You know what? The weather over here in the UK has been getting a bit erratic of late. Towards the end of last summer, there was widespread rainfall that brought floods to the Midlands.

You never know what you're gonna get. Ah... I love Forrest Gump. lol


@Talen,
Thanks! Same thing here on the food part though it's mainly the 'ready cook' stuff that got bought. And you can see some cars literaly skidding slowly off the road, which looked kind of comical.

@My Bug Life,
Thanks! Coming from a photographer, I would take that as a compliment. Then again, I don't fancy sweating in my t-shirt and bermudas for the entire day as well. Well, spring is coming, something to look forward to.

@xiaocangshu,
LOL. Really? Okok, little hamster then. My Chinese teacher would have flipped!

Dutchie said...

No storm here, thank goodness for that ! We probably got dusted by the tail of ur storm - hehe.

Just send u 2 pix to ur email. Check it out ;-)

LadyBanana said...

I loved it - pity it's gone already!

C K said...

@Dutchie,
Like LadyBanana, I miss the snow but not the 'black snow' in the aftermath. Those are just... disgusting.

@LadyBanana,
We got a light dusting over in Islington on Friday morning, which quickly melted towards mid morning. Well, I think that's the last of it this year.