Tag Archives: london snow

It snowed in London!

28 Feb

It started with wimpy flurries on Monday. I went for a walk and didn’t even need my snow boots. Yesterday our builder said he needed the day off, so I took the opportunity to go for a daytime run. When I left it was sunny with the wimpiest of flurries — the kind that are so small and sporadic you’re not even sure if it’s really snowing. The pavement wasn’t even wet. I checked the forecast and there were no pictures of snowflakes for the next few hours, so I figured I was safe.

In fact, in Hyde Park I even took this photo to mock the Great Snowpocalypse 2018.

hyde park fountain snow.png

Haha, look at all the snow London got! Some “Beast from the East” polar vortex storm!

And then exactly 5 minutes later I took this photo:

london blurry snow.png

And this one:

london green park snow.png

Suddenly I was running in a blizzard. In the nearly 5 years I’ve been running, I’m not sure I’ve ever ran in snow before. I’ve ran days later once the sidewalks had been cleared, but not while the snow was coming down. Of course my first thought was “It’s the perfect texture for running!” because it really was, it was nice and crunchy under my feet.

snow perfect texture for running.gif

But it was coming down so hard I couldn’t see two feet in front of me, so I had to stop and walk lest I end up on my butt. My face was burning and I was losing feeling in my fingers despite wearing two layers of gloves.

snow running

I actually laughed out loud at the ridiculousness of it all. Green Park was empty and eerily beautiful covered in a blanket of white. It almost felt wrong to desecrate it with my footsteps. Except, of course, I really needed to get home before the frostbite kicked in.

green park snow.png

The snow stopped 15 minutes after it started. And if the evidence wasn’t still lying on the ground, you’d never know the mini blizzard had happened — the sky was a brilliant blue and the sun was shining. Tourists just emerging from hotels and museums gawked at my snow-covered clothing, like I was that car you see on road trips that has snow on its roof even though it never snowed on the highway you’re driving on. That’s what I get for believing the no-snow weather forecast!

It snowed more overnight, which wreaked havoc on public transport. Our builder texted me this morning that he wouldn’t be able to come because all the trains were canceled. And it looks like there’s snow in the forecast for tomorrow and Friday, so who knows if he’ll be able to come at all this week. Our little “two-week” project really might just turn into a two-month one!


Funny snacks and SNOW!

29 Jan

Before I post my promised snow photos, I want to talk about something completely unrelated that I witnessed while — you guessed it — going grocery shopping yesterday. I was wheeling my trolley through the O2 Centre (my grocery store is located in a dining and entertainment complex, which makes it really easy to sneak candy into the movie theatre), when I walked past this woman eating a bizarre snack. She was carrying a head of lettuce and just munching on the leaves. Of all the delicious, nutritious and not-so-nutritious snacks available for purchase at Sainsbury’s, this woman decided on a head of round lettuce. All I could think of was this Iams commercial:

i am not a rabbit

And now for snow. It snowed in Cincinnati in late December, and everyone went nuts.

someecards snow

This made the rounds on Facebook, as did many statuses and Instagrams of snow. But when I saw the way the snow had landed on the trees, I couldn’t resist taking my own photos, and now I’m posting them a month later.

snow tree

snow bush

snow branch

snow beetle

I believe this particular storm happened on my birthday, which was actually exactly a month ago. The bad part about pretty snow is when it’s covering your car and you need to go shopping to buy warm liners for your rain boots. The good part about snow on your birthday is that you can say, “It’s my birthday, I don’t want to clear off my car,” and your mom will do it for you. That only works once a year though.

My parents have a bird feeder in the backyard that always attracts a cardinal couple. I was trying to photograph them for months, when I finally captured the male. He flew away before I could get a better shot.

snow cardinal

When I left Cincinnati to come back to London it was relatively warm — we went down to Louisville to see my brother and I didn’t even need a jacket! (Louisville post coming soon) — but the day after I arrived in London it snowed. I wasn’t brave enough to take my new camera out in it, so I took these shots from the window.

London sled

That’s right, I have a new camera now! The magical DSLR I’ve always wanted! Except now I’m a bit intimidated by it. I want to take it off auto mode, but I forgot most of what I learned in my photojournalism class. I’m also afraid I’m going to break it, especially since I passed on the extended warranty. I did manage to take this shallow depth of field photo of my balcony, which you’ll remember is my favorite kind of photo:

London snow

Hopefully London will have a nice day within the next two months and I can go practice taking photos in the park, because I’m getting awfully tired of shooting the same scene out the window.

When in doubt, wear snow boots

4 Dec

Which is better: living in a city that gets a lot of snow and knows how to handle it or a city that rarely gets snow so it doesn’t know how to handle it. I have a feeling I’m going to find out this winter.

London had its first snowfall of the season this week. It was just the right amount of snow for me — enough to look pretty, but not enough to ruin your plans. Although come to think of it, it still managed to ruin Stephen’s plans, canceling his business flight to Copenhagen. There better not be snow the day we’re flying back to the states or I’m going to beat it up Lorelei Gilmore-style.

The other day I decided to go to the Tesco Express to pick up a couple things. I looked out my window and saw a clear sidewalk in front of our building. So instead of wearing my snow boots which hurt my feet, I decided to wear my white good-for-walking but traction-less Pumas. It seemed like a good idea at the time…until I got past my building. That’s when I discovered that Londoners don’t seem to have snow shovels. Their solution is to throw salt on the snow. All that does is turn it into a salty slushy mess. The only reason the path by my building was clear is because the porters (doormen) of our building are amazing. I would not be surprised if they cleared the sidewalk with a gardening shovel. If I remember correctly, business and building owners in Chicago could be fined if they did not shovel the sidewalk in front of the building. That’s definitely not a concern here.

I started walking on the snowy-slushy-salty mess, but each time I put my foot down it would slide out from under me. I felt like Bambi on ice or a dog with new shoes on. It was the longest most ridiculous half a mile I have ever walked and have no idea how I made it there and back without taking a spill. The people staring at me were probably thinking, “Look at that silly American, she’s probably from Florida and has never seen snow.” Next time, snow boots, next time. And I wonder if I can get some snow tires for my shopping trolley.

Snow, salt and shopping

30 Nov

Today I woke up to snow on the ground. Normally snow in London would be an exciting thing — I don’t have to drive in it, after all. But for some inexplicable reason I got it into my head that I was to go shopping today. I don’t know why I was so insistent about it — I could have gone tomorrow, when it is not supposed to snow, or maybe next week sometime. But I really wanted to go today. I tried to convince myself that the Tube and stores would be less crowded because of the weather, just like an amusement park is less crowded when there’s a thunderstorm (and for good reason…)

So I put on my big winter coat — the one with the hood that restricts my peripheral vision — and my snow boots I thought I’d only need in Chicago. And I was off.

The minute I stepped outside my building I dropped my glove into a pile of snow and salt. Not a good start to the outing. In London they use an orangish brown type of salt. When I saw it all over the sidewalks yesterday I wasn’t quite sure what it was. It looked almost like the pine shavings janitors put on cafeteria “accidents.” For a minute I thought there had been some carnie food-ferris wheel bad mix “accidents” from the fayre, but it was just salt. It confused me because it was not snowing at the time and had not snowed yet. It seems Londoners are very proactive about their ice prevention, applying the salt before the snow comes. In Cincinnati they are proactive about snow too, often calling off work or school before the snow comes (and then sometimes it never comes. But I’m getting sidetracked).

I trudged along, stepping in salt and slush because I was wearing boots and could. “This isn’t so bad,” I thought. And then the wind turned and the snow started blowing directly into my face. I then cursed the Tube stop for being so far away from my flat. But there was no turning back now — I was going shopping.

I took the Bakerloo line for the first time. Only in London can you have a train line that ends in -loo. I still giggle when I hear it and start coming up with immature jokes (“What do you call the toilet at the Baker Street station?” “The Bakerloo!”   …I need to get out more. Or get more sleep.) This was about 10:30 a.m. on a Tuesday morning and the train was PACKED. Don’t people work anymore? Or want to stay inside when it snows? I guess I was crazy to think snow would keep the tourists from shopping.

Despite the weather, I had a relatively successful shopping trip. I bought some Christmas presents and a few things for myself (you know, as a reward for being a trooper through the snow). I must have spent an hour in a certain store looking for a certain present for a certain someone (don’t want to give details since they’re a reader) to no avail, but was able to find something else for them at a different store. I also spent an unnecessary amount of time wandering around that store because I do not understand the British floor system. I looked up at the big directory and it said what I was looking for was on the first floor. So I wandered back and forth on the ground floor and could not find it. I kept going back to the sign to make sure I read it right. On the fourth read I realized I came in on floor zero and had to take the escalator up to get to the first floor. It made as much sense as taking the escalator up to Filene’s Basement.

At another store my total came to £23. I have written previously about my hatred of British coins and constant quest to rid my wallet of them, so I decided instead of paying with a £20 note and three £1 coins, I would give her eight £1 coins and a £20 note so I could get a fiver back. (I love that they call £5 note “fivers” and £10 notes “tenners.”) The cashier looked at me. “This is too much!” she said. “I know,” I replied, and told her I was trying to rid my heavy wallet of coins and wanted a bill in return.

“I don’t want to give you change,” she said. I laughed, but could not tell if she was joking or not. She then started muttering about coins and I couldn’t tell if she was agreeing with me for wanting to get rid of coins, or angry that the coins were now her problem. It was a really strange interaction and I just wanted to get my purchases and go.

The snow had thankfully stopped by the time I got outside and I took the Tube back. I was crossing the final street before my apartment, thinking to myself how well things had gone considering the conditions, when I almost got hit by a car. My lack of peripheral vision caused by my hood and forgetfulness about what side of the road people drive on is not a good combination. From now on I’m taking off my hood and looking both ways when I come to an intersection, even if it makes me look like an ignorant American.