Sunday, February 5, 2012

Snow Day

It snowed last night!  Apparently, it doesn't happen all that often in London, where the average low temperature in the dead of winter is 36 degrees.  It's been quite a bit colder than that for the past week, as all of Europe has been frozen by a mass of chilled Siberian air, and news reports were predicting 5-10 cm (2-4 inches) of snow in London last night. 

Now I grew up in central California, where it NEVER snows, but after living in Washington, DC for 15 years, I've had enough experience with it to consider 2-4 inches to be just the right amount of snow.  It's just enough to cover everything with a fluffy white blanket, transforming the landscape into a winter wonderland.  But it's easily dealt with and won't linger long after the novelty has worn off and it becomes an icy, dirty, inconvenient mess.  Of course, here in London, even a couple inches of snow seems to cause all sorts of problems.  At least a third of the flights out of Heathrow airport were canceled before a single flake fell, and this morning ten of the eleven Tube lines, the overground trains, and the light rail were all experiencing various delays and closures due to weather-related problems.  It was a good day to stick close to home.   Good thing it was Sunday!

Our neighbor was outside this morning playing in the snow with his two kids, so we poked our heads out the front door to say hello, and were immediately pelted with snowballs.  By the time I got around to taking photos, the snow had already started melting a bit, but it was still pretty.
Our back yard
Our neighbors' yards
We went for a walk this afternoon and found an eerie collection of partially melted snowmen in the park a couple blocks from our house.
Misshapen snowmen in South Park Gardens
Josh does his Frosty impression
None of the sidewalks or walking paths had been cleared of snow, so it was a bit slow going at times.  It's a commonly held (but mistaken) belief in the UK that if you clear snow off the sidewalk (or pavement, as they call it here) in front of your house and someone falls and injures themselves, you could be held liable.  As a result, no one shovels when it snows.  And since it snows so rarely, most people don't even own a snow shovel anyway.  It's supposed to rain tomorrow, so that might help wash the slushy mess away.  Fingers crossed that the temperature doesn't dip below freezing again, or we'll end up with an ice-coated nightmare. 

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