Monday, February 02, 2009

Snow in London, not many dead

The capital is truly a lady in her white veil: capricious, cruel and a damned all-round nuisance, but what beauty, what pleasure besides.

The only possible response to that is an amused, half-charmed insouciance. So it was that my misfortune at having to get into central London at an ungodly hour was redeemed by the certain knowledge that I could not travel there by the direct route, and must instead start the morning with a pleasant stroll through the silent and snowbound streets of Cricklewood, Kilburn and West Hampstead, enjoying the sparkle and the cheerfulness of most passersby. Far preferable to standing sullenly for hours on a platform hoping in vain for some sort of train. You're going to be late; why not just enjoy that fact and mark it with a leisurely passage through the capital with a clear conscience? To experience the delights of flânerie on a journey into work - in the morning - is a rare delight.

Admittedly the joy was short-lived owing to the fact that I actually had to do some work on reaching my destination, peaceful as SW1 was with its sense of ordinary life being suspended in the icy air.

No, it isn't a very good picture. Too bad.

It did make me wonder about how many of the estimated six million or so British workers who did not make it/were asked not to go into work did not feel sufficiently motivated by a love of their job or find sufficient self worth in said job to fight their way through the snow. (There is also a nagging question about how important many of these jobs are; are they part of an economic structure built on the flimsiest foundations?). Let's leave that for another time.

I rather hope that the complete shut down of London's buses and near total paralysis of the transport system was, in part, due to the fact that a number of lowly drudges deciding to enjoy this sense of normal life being frozen. Being part of a nation that is surly and workshy is no cause for embarrassment; being utterly incapable of doing the simplest tasks is.

Some more pictures, better than mine, many not taken on a camera phone in the half light.

Yes, the newspapers were right: snow was general all over London... His soul swooned slowly as he heard the snow falling faintly through the universe and faintly falling, like the descent of their last end, upon all the living and the dead.

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