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Buried Deep Under

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Chances are, you've already heard about it - while Australia reels under an intense summer, London today, just like the rest of England is being pummeled by arctic blizzards - the heaviest snow in the last 18 years. (Which one of you was asking for proof of climate change, then?)

It started late afternoon yesterday - I was out walking with my significant other and we'd just seen the extreme weather warnings on the news. He looked up at the clear sky and said it didn't look like it was going to snow at all. Three seconds later, we were caught in a snow flurry, which we thoroughly enjoyed for its suddenness and prettiness, not very aware of what was to come yet. The snow continued in spurts and became heavy sometime late in the night while London was asleep. This morning we woke up to about 6 inches of snow on our terrace, which has since gone up to almost 10 inches. That's nothing for Montreal, for Swiss Alps, even for Scotland closer home. For London, dear readers, this is rare, crazy weather.

I intended to post other things here today, but this could not be missed. In a flash I was out walking the streets of Chiswick with my cameras - there was no chance I could get to Central London or anywhere else for that matter, because there is almost no public transport today. Tube lines are severely disrupted, all major roads and highways are jammed and there is no bus service in London at all.

click on pictures to enlarge

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Not in Service - Buses lined up at Stamford Brook Bus Garage

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Empty roads, empty bus stops

Most schools are closed and almost three million people are "working from home", having to choose from either getting stranded somewhere on the way or to stay safe at home. Of course, a few brave and persistent souls were still defiantly trying to make it despite the weather.

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London's knees are buckling under the weather, and a lot of people are bitterly complaining about how 'inadequate' the infrastructure is and how this is all a big disgrace to this developed country. But I'm on the authorities' side on this. This is freak weather, a one-in-twenty-years occurrence, perhaps more, on average. You plan infrastructure for peaks, for future demand, for projected growth - you cannot plan a city to cater to an extreme arctic blizzard, the chances of happening of which are completely remote if not entirely unpredictable. Saying London should have been prepared for this is like saying that all buildings in the UK should be built to withstand earthquakes of the highest intensity on the Richter, even though it is a seismic safe zone. But I digress. Not everyone is complaining. Most people, especially children are welcoming the forced 'holiday', are thrilled with all the snow, and are keen to make the most of it.

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Call me shallow, but I fall into the category of people who are enjoying the day for what it has brought. Chiswick is under swathes of white today and is incredibly beautiful. I know this feeling will perhaps last only a few hours because this weather is expected to continue through the week and very soon it will become a major irritant. But I'm determined to enjoy the beauty while it lasts.

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Winter Wonderland around The Christ Church at Turnham Green

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Poor Mr. William Hogarth wears a crown of the white stuff.

All of you who're in England or Wales and reading this, please stay safe, stay warm, stay content. All I want is a refund on my December Swiss Holiday!

I'll soon be back with more flanerie from around London.

8 comments so far:

Anon said...

Excellent pictures!

Bhavna said...

I am in two minds - should I be pleased that I came back from London last week, or should I be upset that I missed the snow?!! ;-)

Love the church pic. And I never realized that the benches outside Cath Kidston were so red :)

SloganMurugan said...

:) Whitewash!

Flaneurbanite said...

Anon: Thank you:)

Bhavna: Danke:) The church pic is my personal favourite too. And the red and blue of CK was popping against the white! You should be upset you missed the snow. It was great fun!:)

SloMo: Yeah! But the sun is out today and some of the snow has melted:(

Shipra Chauhan said...

heyy flaneur...m back!
this is crazy & beautiful!
#7 the kid running with a snowball in his hand, #9 cath kidson, #11 the church & #13 with the snow canopies are the awesomest.
mr. william must be delighted to shot and framed so well!

in all this hoopla, expect you to stay safe & not go tripping around.

Flaneurbanite said...

Shipra: Thank you!:) The snow has turned into dirty icy puddles today - gone is all the fun and beauty.

Psychotropic said...

Ok so can I have prints? LOVING the winter wonderland...but then you knew I would!

Shipra Chauhan said...

newyork's own little followup!! :)http://dbeckerman.wordpress.com/2009/03/02/grand-central-snow-storm/

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