Tuesday, February 03, 2009

The snowman cometh....

...well actually there were quite a few snowmen assembled in the UK yesterday.

Kids who have never ever seen snow like we had yesterday in London (6-8") and the southeast (8-12") were all out making snowmen. They were everywhere!

Here's a selection of what I saw on my slow walk in the snow to the Ecology Park ponds and Victoria Park and back again.

Snowmen of Bow
Top row (left) Morgan Street snowman - best conventional 5' snowman
(right) Victoria Park snowman - winner of the biggest roundest ball of snow
Bottom row (left) Art Pavilion snowman - style over substance prize
(right) Tredegar square snowman - "coolest" snowman - it had legs(!) and its very own spiky hair!
(Those are teenagers building it not children)

Half the newspapers commented on the travel chaos. Happily the other half found time to comment on what a wonderful day people had yesterday in the midst of the gloom and doom! Walking in the snow, tobogganing, snowboarding, having snowball fights and making snowmen.

As one person commented - everybody found time to talk to one another! Plus it was great fun watching the children experience heavy snow for the very first time. It was also noted that there were quite a few adult "children" out and about.

No sketching yesterday - all the seats were piled high with snow and total focus had to be maintained on staying upright!

However I did come across this poem for the first time
London Snow
by Robert Bridges

When men were all asleep the snow came flying,
In large white flakes falling on the city brown,
Stealthily and perpetually settling and loosely lying,
Hushing the latest traffic of the drowsy town;
Deadening, muffling, stifling its murmurs failing;
Lazily and incessantly floating down and down:
Silently sifting and veiling road, roof and railing;
Hiding difference, making unevenness even,
Into angles and crevices softly drifting and sailing.
All night it fell, and when full inches seven
It lay in the depth of its uncompacted lightness,
The clouds blew off from a high and frosty heaven;
And all woke earlier for the unaccustomed brightness
Of the winter dawning, the strange unheavenly glare:
The eye marvelled - marvelled at the dazzling whiteness;
The ear hearkened to the stillness of the solemn air;
No sound of wheel rumbling nor of foot falling,
And the busy morning cries came thin and spare.
Then boys I heard, as they went to school, calling,
They gathered up the crystal manna to freeze
Their tongues with tasting, their hands with snowballing;
Or rioted in a drift, plunging up to the knees;
Or peering up from under the white-mossed wonder!'
'O look at the trees!' they cried, 'O look at the trees!'
With lessened load a few carts creak and blunder,
Following along the white deserted way,
A country company long dispersed asunder:
When now already the sun, in pale display
Standing by Paul's high dome, spread forth below
His sparkling beams, and awoke the stir of the day.
For now doors open, and war is waged with the snow;
And trains of sombre men, past tale of number,
Tread long brown paths, as toward their toil they go:
But even for them awhile no cares encumber
Their minds diverted; the daily word is unspoken,
The daily thoughts of labour and sorrow slumber
At the sight of the beauty that greets them, for the charm they have broken.
PS For the record I only fell over once and I was (rather stupidly!) crossing a grassy slope at the time! The snow was very dry and powdery so if you stuck to less frequented places and 'dry' patches it wasn't too difficult to walk. Today however the pavements look like they're lethal!


  1. What a magical day it must have been. I gather you had a soft landing on the slope. Brava for getting out there and taking photos.

  2. I thought it was great - everybody was walking round animated with a smile on their face!

    I forgot to post the link to the Guardian's lesson in how to make the perfect snowball (you can tell how long it's been since we had dry powdery snow like this!)

  3. I felt quite envious of you all and that snow - its so long since I saw any! Mind you that was several feet deep in the depths of an Iowa winter. I remember my first snow when I was 14 or 15 - and we were snowed in for a week (in Somerset) and the novelty wore off very fast when we had to spend 6 hours in the attic of my grandparents house getting out the snow that had drifted under the eaves before it thawed and brought the ceilings down! Saw some lovely snowy pictures on The Times online site.
    Super poem!

  4. You can't beat the memories associated with snow when you were young.

    That's if you live somewhere where you don't get heavy snow that often of course! :)

  5. I can't believe it was snowing so much in London, I really wish I was there to see it! It seems like it really lifted everyone's spirits and it makes you wonder what all this work, work, work is doing to us. Made me happy just reading about that spontaneity!

  6. lovely, lovely. I did get very sentimental when i saw all the photos of london covered in snow, and all the reports of people being really happy. I love a bit of snow, and being a londoner i know it never lasts very long, which makes it all the more exciting!


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